January 2001 Passage of the Month

From The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman, page 491:

"Why--" Lyra began, and found her voice weak and trembling--"why can't I read the alethiometer anymore?  Why can't I even do that?  That was the one thing I could do really well, and it's just not there anymore--it just vanished as if it had never come..."

"You read it by grace," said Xaphania, looking at her, and you can regain it by work."

"How long will that take?" 

"A lifetime."

"That long..."

"But your reading will be even better then, after a lifetime of thought and effort, because it will come from conscious understanding.  Grace attained like that is deeper and fuller than grace that comes freely, and furthermore, once you've gained it, it will never leave you."

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