When I studied in France the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I was nervous, bought lots of calling cards to dial home, and dragged my pink and white teddy bear along for comfort.
The first time I said the Rosary with my French host family, my heart really stuck on "pleine de grâce"—full of grace. Our Lady was filled with it, full of it. God's grace animated and moved her and guided her.
I felt full of Nutella and homesickness.
It wasn't until graduate school, really, some eight years later that I was in a place where I could be really filled with God's grace. Our Lady had been working on my heart, generously distributing graces all those years in between. And in law school, she showed me what it meant to be "pleine de grâce" through devout friends + compassionate teachers + a culture of prayer + a devastating break up + a spark of great spiritual direction in the confessional.
Sister, if you feel a bit underdeveloped spiritually, filled with all the good intentions and armed with well-designed prayer books, apps you keep meaning to use on your phone, and unopened emails from Blessed is She's writing team, it's okay.
Ask Our Lady to prep your heart so you can be ready to cooperate with God's grace like she was. We can't force spiritual maturity. We just keep showing up and asking for help, trying to place ourselves in spiritually healthy situations, and ask God to work with what we've got.
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Nell O'Leary is a recovering lawyer-turned-writer and speaker who loves sewing baby goods while tending to her husband and four kiddos in the great city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. She serves as Managing Editor for Blessed is She and can down a hot cocoa in no time flat. Find out more about her here. She is the editor of our Blessed Conversations Series and guide for the Gift of You course.