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Eucharist by Robert Barron

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Robert Barron, now Bishop Barron, has the skill to write about complex theological issues and make them understandable. Of all of Bishop Barron's books, I reference this most commonly.

The Eucharist is the foundation of our Catholic faith and worship. The meaning of Eucharist is 'thanksgiving' and this must be remembered as you read this book. But it is not a sense of 'giving' that we are to be thankful for, but rather a giving of total self, something we barely believe possible. This is the gift of the Eucharist. Bishop Barron finds a human expression in the story of Babette's Feast.

Frequently in worship, we refer to the Eucharist as a sacrifice. Bishop Barron walks us through the Old Testament and the concept of covenant, with sacrifice being the bond that holds the two parties in union. I'm sure all of us who were married could understand the sacrifice that goes into a good marriage, but yet the joy of communion is what we really remember.

Take some time and read this book slowly, and read it holding a highlighter. When you are done, the phrases and thoughts will strengthen your understanding of this most precious gift.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

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"Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion," by Gregory Boyle was recommended by Rich Harter, now Director of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, as a St. Dominic Book Club selection years ago. It remains one of my favorite books.

Gregory Boyle has run Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world, since 1988. In "Tattoos on the Heart", he describes his experience working in the ghetto through a series of moving parables inspired by faith.

Shared with humor and generosity of heart, he offers a window into how the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally is possible. We learn different lessons from each character: how to feel worthy of God's love, the importance of being present to others and in being known, and that patience with others, has it rewards.

It's a book about redemption, compassion, and the power of unconditional love. Highly recommended for those who are looking to go deeper into the Works of Mercy.