Misery is the title to mercy. Our sins are a claim to be saved.  Of course, we do not sin in order to be saved.  We are saved because we are sinners.  Being saved, being united to Christ through grace is not a merited prize but a merciful gift. Mercy does not cancel justice.  Mercy is justice tempered by love.
Conscious of our emptiness and futility, we go with confidence to the throne of grace.  We go to our savior to be saved from ourselves. This is the self-denial that Jesus meant when he told us we must deny ourselves and follow him.

Martin Luther showed great insight when he defined the sinner as “curvatus in se” i.e. one turned in on self. That is the essence of sin, choosing one’s self will over God’s will Growing in the life of grace requires becoming less and less self-centered and more and more God-centered. That is a great challenge but that is what we are called to.
In contrast to the Protestant view we do not believe human nature was essentially corrupted by original sin.  For the Catholic, human nature was wounded, weakened     by original sin, and inclined to moral failure.  The wound of sin (original and actual) is healed by grace.

Grace is not some mysterious condition of the soul that lies beyond our personal experience.  Nor is grace a theory to which one subscribes.  It is the influence of the Holy Spirit on the soul.  It is an adaption by God, promising an eternal inheritance.  By grace a person attains their highest dignity, a sharing in the life of God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, makes a distinction that has become well known.  He contrasts what he calls cheap grace and costly grace.  He describes the former as “the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without contrition.”  Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross.

Costly grace must be sought again and again.  It requires constantly renewed effort. Costly grace is a gift which must be asked for, the door at which man must knock.  It is costly because it calls us to follow Christ.  It is costly because it costs a man his life. It is grace because it gives a man his only true life.  It is costly because it condemns sin.  It is grace because it justifies the sinner.