Merton on the timing of grace

On wondering why God did not reveal his grace to him earlier in life:

It is easy to say, after it all, that God had probably foreseen my infidelities and had never given me the grace in those days because He saw how I would waste and despise it: and perhaps that rejection would have been my ruin. For there is no doubt that one of the reasons why grace is not given to souls is because they have so hardened their wills in greed and cruelty and selfishness that their refusal of it would only harden them more…But now I had been beaten into the semblance of some kind of humility by misery and confusion and perplexity and secret, interior fear, and my plowed soul was better ground for the reception of good seed.

-The Seven Story Mountain, p. 210

Just like God allowed Satan to tempt Job, he allows our pride to be broken and our hard hearts broken by “evil” circumstances. Jesus told Peter that Satan had asked to sift him like wheat. Jesus didn’t tell Peter that he had said “no” to the devil, just that he would pray for him. Peter was sifted I think. So are we. Some would complain that this makes the Lord the author of evil. In an indirect sense maybe, but he is most loving toward his creation (us), and gives us grace when it can flower.