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The Precious Blood of Jesus

Header - July: Month of the Precious Blood of Jesus

By tradition, the Catholic Church dedicates each month of the year to certain devotions.
July is devoted to the Precious Blood of Jesus.

 

In the past, the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Christ was celebrated on the first Sunday of July as confirmed by past Popes and recalled recently by Pope Benedict XVI in His speech after praying the Angelus on July 5, 2009.[1] He made special mention of Pope John XXIII's apostolic letter "Inde a Primis" (dated June 30, 1960) which explained the devotion's significance and approved its litanies.[2]    

 

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The Old fulfilled in the New Covenant

Our Lord Jesus Christ and the EucharistSacrifice is the highest form of religious worship which man offers to God as an act of praise, thanksgiving, petition or atonement.[3] The most singular and pre-eminent sacrifice of the Old Law was the immolation of the Paschal Lamb which celebrated the sparing of Israel's firstborn from the fatal sword of the Angel of Death in Egypt at the time of Moses and Pharaoh.

The imagery of sacrificial blood from slain animals is made more vivid and meaningful if we recall Moses' words from the Book of Exodus, "And he took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people, and he said: This is the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you concerning all these words." (Exodus 24:8)

This old sacrifice took a new form in the New Testament when the Immaculate Lamb of God offered Himself on the altar of the Cross to redeem mankind from sin and the slavery of Satan. And during the Last Supper, Our Lord offered Himself in an unbloody yet real sacrifice when He uttered the following words:
"For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins." (Matthew 26: 28) Truly, this "shedding of blood' or "pouring out of blood" took place and forms one of the glorious mysteries of our Faith.[4]

 

The Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ

  • Catholic doctrine teaches the faithful that the blood of Jesus Christ is part of His Sacred Humanity and hypostatically united to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.[5]
  • And as such, it is worthy of adoration and veneration proper to latreutical worship (cultus latriae) which is rendered only to God. In other words, we adore the human nature of Christ because of its intimate and eternal union with the Person of the Divine Word.
  • It is for this same reason that we honor the Most Sacred Heart or the Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  

The Devotion to the Precious Blood

This devotion is one of the most ancient of pious Church practices. It is said that the Blessed Virgin venerated the Most Precious Blood of her infant Son on the day of His circumcision as she collected the first relics of His Precious Blood on a piece of cloth. On that momentous occasion she united her tears with that of the Word Incarnate on account of not so much of the sensible pain but of His supernatural sorrow for the hard-heartedness of mortals.[6]

It was the first of seven Blood-Sheddings of Our Divine Savior, The rest being:

2. The Agony in the Garden

3. The Scourging at the Pillar

4. The Crowning with Thorns

5. The Way of the Cross

6. The Crucifixion

7. The Piercing of His Heart

 

Our Lord and the Eucharist 2In his book, The Precious Blood, Father Frederick William Faber, D.D., calls St. Paul the Doctor of the Precious Blood owing to his evident fondness to preach on It in his epistles (Romans 3:25; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12).

He recounts that the lives of saints are replete with devotion to the Precious Blood making special mention of St. John Chrysostom, St. Austin, St. Gertrude and St. Catherine of Sienna whom he considered the Prophetess of the Precious Blood for putting emphasis on It as the solution to the ills of her times.

Father Faber also remarks that the Precious Blood makes us appreciate more Christ's redemption of mankind, His sacrifice and Passion.

It also makes us comprehend the beautiful doctrine and the august realities of the Blessed Sacrament as we kneel in front of the tabernacle in humble adoration.

Over time the Church gave Her blessing to the devotion by approving societies like the Missionaries of the Precious Blood; enriching confraternities like that of St. Nicholas in Carcere, in Rome, and that of the London Oratory; attaching indulgences to prayers and scapulars in honor of the Precious Blood; and instituting commemorative feasts of the Precious Blood, Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent and, since Pius IX, the first Sunday of July.[7]

Sadly, however, the feast was removed from the church calendar in 1969, the argument being that the cultus of the Precious Blood is included in the Mass and Divine Office of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). Nevertheless, it is still laudable and salutary to continue to see the month of July as dedicated to the Most Precious Blood, just as Blessed Pope Pius IX intended it to be.[8]

 

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 NOTES:

[1]Zenit News, ZE09070502 - 2009-07-05 https://www.zenit.org/article-26369?l=english last visited June 15, 2009. [back to text]
[2] Papal Encyclicals Online, "On Promoting Devotion to the Most precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ," https://www.papalencyclicals.net/John23/j23pb.htm last visited: June 15, 2010 [back to text]
.[3] Moorman, George J., The Latin Mass Explained, Rocfor, Illinois: TAN Books an Publishers, Inc., 2007, p. 6 [back to text]
[4] Moorman, George J.,Ibid, p. 22. [back to text]
[5] Ott, Ludwig, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, (St. Louis, Missouri: B. Herder Book Company, 1960), pp. 151-152 [back to text]
[6] The City of God by Mary of Agreda, Incarnation, Chapter XIV, Washington, New Jersey: Ave Maria Institute, 1971, Chapter XIV, pp. 446- 454 [back to text]
[7] New advent Catholic Encyclopedia. [back to text]
[8] New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12373a.htm Last visited June 16, 2010. [back to text]


 

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DAILY QUOTE for August 5, 2021

To the servant of God … every place is the right place and...

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August 5

 

To the servant of God
… every place is the right place,
and every time is the right time.

St. Catherine of Siena


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major

Built over the place where a miraculous snow fell in the mid...

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Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major

Santa Maria Maggiore or St. Mary Major is the largest church in the world honoring the Virgin Mary and was erected in the immediate aftermath of the Council of Ephesus of 431, which proclaimed Mary Mother of God.
Standing atop one of Rome’s seven hills, the Esquiline, it is also called Santa Maria ad Nives, or "at the snow." It is said that the Mother of God chose this location for a church dedicated in her honor by a miraculous snow that fell upon this spot in summer. Legend has it a rich and pious Roman senator and his wife thought of donating their money and properties to the Church. That night, in August of 358, Our Lady appeared in the dreams of the senator and Pope Liberius asking them to build her a basilica in the exact place where snow would fall that night. Since then, Our Lady has been venerated in Italy as “Our Lady of the Snow.”

The basilica is also home to a few remnants of the humble crib in which Christ was laid at His birth. These pieces of the manger were carried to Rome by Christians fleeing the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land in the 7th century. They are preserved in a silver reliquary resembling an ordinary manger, upon which lies an image of the Infant Jesus. The Holy Crib is the object of particular devotion and veneration during the liturgical ceremonies of Christmas Eve and Midnight Mass. On Christmas morning there is a procession in honor of the Holy Crib of the Infant Jesus, which culminates in the exposition of the sacred relic on the high altar.

Another venerable treasure of Santa Maria Maggiore is the icon of Our Lady under the invocation of  "Salus Populi Romani," literally translated as "health (or salvation) of the Roman people." According to tradition, this image of Mary embracing Jesus as a young boy was the work of the evangelist St. Luke, who painted it on a tabletop made by Our Lord himself in St. Joseph's carpentry shop. This miraculous icon has been carried in processions around Rome on many occasions. In 593 the newly-elected Pope St. Gregory the Great had the icon carried in public procession through the streets of Rome praying for an end to the Black Plague. Pope St. Pius V followed his example in 1571 to pray for victory during the Battle of Lepanto, as did Pope Gregory XVI in 1837 to pray for the end of the cholera epidemic.

Second Photo by: Fczarnowski

Weekly Story

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In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.