"It fell to my mother to ask Effectual Calling at me"

This refers to the 31st question in the Catechism, “What is Effectual Calling?” The answer runs thus: “Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.” Robert’s sanctimonious pontifications on “Ineffectual Calling” are rendered superbly ironic by his failure to heed the message of the celestial being who visits him later (see p. 160-1).