The month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood. The devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus is as old as Christianity. The early Fathers say that the Church was born from the pierced side of Christ, and that the sacraments were brought forth through His Blood.
In the first century, Pope St. Clement I wrote “Let us fix our gaze on the Blood of Christ and realize how truly precious It is, seeing that it was poured out for our salvation and brought the grace of conversion to the whole world.”
For centuries the Feast of Most Precious Blood was celebrated on July 1. In 1969, Paul VI removed the feast from the Roman Liturgical Calendar. Why??? According to the best information I could find, the feast was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969, “because the Most Precious Blood of Christ the Redeemer is already venerated in the solemnities of the Passion, Feast of Corpus Christi, Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and in the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.”
It is my opinion that removing a feast as “precious” as this one does faithful Catholics no favor. It seems to me an unintended consequence of Vatican II was to lessen traditional devotions and thus deprive those traditional Catholics certain opportunities to reverence the body and blood of Christ. Our Redemption, our Redeemer’s victory over sin and death is a pretty BIG DEAL. The Eucharist, the Real Presence of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ is a BIG DEAL at daily Mass. We can never be reminded too often of the Mystery of our Salvation!
BLOOD OF CHRIST FALLING UPON THE EARTH, HAVE MERCY ON US!
Sacrificial blood offerings that prefigure Christ’s Passion and death may be found in the Old Testament
In the Book of Genesis,Cain and Abel made an offering. Abel’s sacrifice is pleasing to God, Cain’s is not. Cain kills Abel in envy. The thirsting earth soaks up Abel’s blood as it shouts to heaven for vengeance. This shouting prefigured the scene on Calvary, where Christ’s Blood cried to heaven for the redemption of mankind.
In the first Passover prior to the Israelites exodus from Egypt, God commands the people to kill a lamb and to sprinkle the doorposts with its blood. Houses sprinkled with blood are spared by the messenger of death. This blood on the doorposts was a type of the Blood of Christ shed in His Passion and Death.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
In the scourging at the pillar, we see the Lord under raw strokes of the lash spurt out His divine Blood everywhere. Pilate displlays the blood-covered Body to the crowds: Ecce homo (Behold the Man)! We go through Jerusalem’s streets following the bloody footsteps to Golgotha. Precious blood trickles down the cross until a soldier opens the sacred side. Water and Blood flow from that side to wash us clean (for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:28)
As Adam’s wife Eve was taken from Adam’s side, the bride of Christ, His Church, flowed from Jesus’ side in blood and water. Through blood and water Christ willed to redeem God’s many children and to lead them to an eternal home. Sin must be terrible. It must be the most dreadful thing in the universe, because it cost the living God in human form the shedding of His Blood. In order to die, the soul has to separate from the body. But for the Body to have the soul separate from the body, the body has to be deprived of its Blood.
In the very first letter of St. Peter, Vicar of Christ, Peter addressed the need for reverence for the “precious blood” of Christ, “realize that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ.” I Peter 1:17-19
Because an infinite being was offended by His creatures, only an Infinite Being could provide adequate ransom to redeem us. “Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good, His Mercy endures forever!
Lord Jesus, You became Man that you might suffer your Passion and Death even to the draining of your most precious blood so you might prove to us your love for us. Protect us, dear Jesus. Strengthen our weak human wills so that we will not run away from the cross, but welcome every opportunity to shed our blood in spirit in union with your Precious Blood, so that, dying to ourselves in time, we might live with You in Eternity. Amen
(Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J).
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