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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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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 23, 2020

The purer are your words and your glances, the more pleasing...

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November 23

 

The purer are your words and your
glances,
the more pleasing will you be to the
Blessed Virgin. And
the greater will be the
graces that she will obtain for you
from her Divine Son.


St. John Bosco


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Columban

He struggled with purity, and desperate to dedicate himself...

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St. Columban

Columban was born about the year 543 in County Meath, in the Irish province of Leinster, to respectable parents. He was well-educated in grammar, rhetoric, geometry, and the Holy Scriptures. The young Columban resolved early to embrace monastic asceticism and dedicate himself to a strict and disciplined life, abstaining from many of the pleasures of the world. However, he struggled with purity, and desperate to dedicate himself wholly to God, asked the advice of a religious woman who had lived as a hermit for many years.

His mother tried her utmost to deter him from the course of action proposed by the saintly hermit, but Columban took the holy woman’s advice and left Leinster to become a cloistered monk at the monastery of Bangor in County Down. He remained there a number of years before gaining permission from his superior, St. Congall, to evangelize in foreign lands. With twelve companions he traveled to Gaul and set about preaching and teaching the Gospel.

In 590, news of these monks reached Guntramnus, the King of Burgundy, who was so inspired by the holy men that he gave the Irish monk and his companions the ancient Roman castle of Annegray, in the region’s Vosges Mountains, in which to establish a monastery. Within a few years, the increasing number of followers obliged Columban to expand and, with the help of one of the King’s ministers, he obtained from the King another ancient Roman fortification named Luxeuil, on the site of some ancient Roman baths. A third monastery soon followed to house the growing number of disciples. The monks followed a harsh discipline similar to the unusual characteristics of Celtic Christianity: they carried out penances for every transgression, no matter how small, fasted, performed bodily mortifications and prayed at length.

Twenty years after his first monastic foundation, Columban and his fellow Irishmen were expelled from the country. Brunhilda, the wicked and corrupt queen regent, disliked the holy man for his reproach of the immoral ways of her court and ultimately exiled him in 610.

Columban and his monks traveled to Italy where they were welcomed by Agilulf, King of the Lombards. Agilulf gave the monks a dilapidated church at Bobbio to reestablish themselves. Columban himself did much of the repairs in spite of his seventy years of age.

He died at Bobbio in 615 having spent the last few years of his life praying and preparing for death. His followers established monasteries all over Europe.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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