Sin and grace are related. In a certain sense the only way we really understand salvation, grace, and freedom, is by understanding their opposites. That's why the great saints are, invariably, converted sinners.
When you finally have to eat and taste your own hard-heartedness, your own emptiness, selfishness and all the rest, then you open up to grace. That is the pattern in all our lives. That's why it was such a grace in my hermitage year when I was able, at last---even as a male and a German---to weep over my sins and to feel tremendous sadness at my own silliness and stupidity.
I think all of us have to confront ourselves as poor people in that way. And that's why many of our greatest moments of grace follow upon, sometimes, our greatest sins. We are hard-hearted and closed-minded for years, then comes the moment of vulnerability and mercy. We break down and break through.