I like to compare the interior life to clothing, to the wedding garment the Gospel speaks about. The cloth is woven from all the habits or acts of piety which, like threads, together give strength to the cloth. And so, just as a torn dress is rejected even though the rest of the material is in good condition, if you pray and work... but are not penitent (or the other way round) your interior life is not (so to speak) complete.
Grace, like nature, normally acts gradually. We cannot, properly speaking, move ahead of grace. But in all that does depend on us we have to prepare the way and co-operate when God grants grace to us.
Souls have to be encouraged to aim very high; they have to be impelled towards Christ’s ideal. Lead them to the highest goals which should not be reduced or made weaker in any way. But remember that sanctity is not primarily worked out with one’s own hands. Grace normally takes its time, and is not inclined to act with violence.
Encourage your holy impatience, but don’t lose your patience.
Furrow - Josemaria Escriva