And if you are conscious that your hearts are hard, and are desirous that they should be softened, do not despair.

All things are possible to you, through God’s grace. Come to Him for the will and the power to do that to which He calls you.

He never forsakes anyone who calls upon him. He never puts any trial on a man but He gives Him grace to overcome it.

Do not despair then; nay do not despond, even though you do come to Him, yet are not at once exalted to overcome yourselves.

He gives grace by little and little. It is by coming daily into His presence, that by degrees we find ourselves awed by that presence and able to believe and obey Him.

Therefore if any one desires illumination to know God’s will as well as strength to do it, let him come to Mass daily, if he possibly can.

At least let him present himself daily before the Blessed Sacrament, and, as it were, offer his heart to His Incarnate Saviour, presenting it as a reasonable offering to be influenced, changed and sanctified under the eye and by the grace of the Eternal Son.

And let him every now and then through the day make some short prayer or ejaculation, to the Lord and Saviour, and again to His Blessed Mother, the immaculate most Blessed Virgin Mary, or again to his guardian Angel, or to his Patron Saint.

Let him now and then collect his mind and place himself, as if in heaven, in the presence of God; as if before God’s throne; let him fancy he sees the All-Holy Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

These are the means by which, with God’s grace, he will be able in course of time to soften his heart—not all at once, but by degrees; not by his own power or wisdom, but by the grace of God blessing his endeavour.

Thus it is that Saints have begun. They have begun by these little things, and so become at length Saints. They were not saints all at once, but by little and little.

And so we, who are not saints, must still proceed by the same road; by lowliness, patience, trust in God, recollection that we are in His presence, and thankfulness for His mercies.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Catholic Sermons of Cardinal Newman, 3: The Calls of Grace.