**”The devotion to the Eucharist is the most noble, because it has God as its object; it is the most profitable for salvation, because it gives us the Author of Grace; it is the sweetest, because the Lord is Sweetness Itself.”

— Pope St. Pius X

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From In Need of Mercy by Richard Rohr

When we are too smug and content, we really have little need for the Gospel, so we make Christianity into pious devotions that ask nothing of us and do nothing for the world. We are never in need of forgiveness because we have constructed a world that allows us to always be right and “normal.” We are highly insulated from the human situation. When we are self-sufficient, our religion will be corrupt because it doesn’t understand the Mystery of how divine life is transferred, how people change, how life flows, how we become something more, and how we fall into the great compassion.

Only vulnerable people change. Only vulnerable people change others. Jesus presented us with an icon of absolute vulnerability, and said, “Gaze on this until you get the point. Gaze on this until you know what God is like!” That demanded too much of us, so we made the cross instead into a juridical transaction between Jesus and God (“substitutionary atonement theory”), which in great part robbed the cross of its deep transformative power.

A lawyer who joined the Catholic Church and then became a Franciscan said to me one day, “You know, this Church is harder and harder for me to understand. We claim to have the perfect medicine, the healing power to restore and renew hearts and souls, but we seem to say in the same breath, ‘But make sure you don’t really need it! Because if you really need it, you are a less than ideal member!'”

Too often it seems forgiveness, reconciliation, compassion, and healing are mere concessions, carefully doled out, to those unfortunate sinners and outsiders, instead of the very path of salvation itself. Thank God, we live in a time where we have a Pope who is shouting mercy from the housetops–for everybody who needs it and wants it. Desire is the only pre-requisite. Some cardinals and bishops who apparently don’t think they need mercy are very stingy and regulatory in handing it on to others. What does not come around, does not go around, it seems.

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Do not be frightened at seeing the greatness of the aim proposed…those who love do not feel the burden.

-St. Magdalene of Canossa

-from Sisterhood of Saints

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