“I will give you absolution.” As I heard these words, I started to say my act of contrition, to beg Our Lord to forgive me for all of my horrible sins. Then, from just a few feet above me, I saw three drops of Our Lord’s most precious blood, dropping slowly into my heart. I felt the warm, liquid, alive in the bottom of my heart. This, I thought, is what I have been missing all of these years, I believed this everyone experienced that was in the state of grace. The blood of Christ shed for sinners – He gives it again to them in the Sacrament of Penance.
By this grace, Dorothy experiences in the depths of her soul the life-giving effects of the Sacrament of Reconciliation where God’s merciful love, signified by the living blood of Jesus, is poured into the soul for its transformation and conversion. In receiving this grace Dorothy did not know it was an extraordinary favor. She thought all persons who lived in God’s grace experienced such things. It made such an impression upon her that, since she had not experienced any-thing like it before, she thought she had been in the state of mortal sin until that time. Her statement here is a hyperbole originating from her deep humility. This is an important point because otherwise one might think that Dorothy had been in the state of mortal sin for many years and that this grace was one of conversion from it. Certainly, there is no evidence of this in her life. Rather, Dorothy describes here a grace of conversion, not from a life of grave sin, but from the ordinary practice of virtue to a life of outstanding sanctity. This grace, which Dorothy receives through the Sacrament of Penance, gives her an especially profound insight into the holiness of God and the evil of sin, even the smallest, as well as into those faults which dispose to sin and, therefore, are obstacles to complete union with God. With this reception of the Sacrament of Penance, the divine action operates a profound purification of Dorothy’s soul. All the saints experience this grace in one way or another. Dorothy experiences the profound reality of Our Lord’s words: “you must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). Like Mary at Bethany, Dorothy chooses “the one thing necessary … the best part of all” (Luke 1:42).
It is interesting to note that this first grace took place about a month before she and her two small children were abandoned by Dorothy’s husband on August 5, l940.