July 1, 2017: PRECIOUS BLOOD OF OUR LORD
July 1, 2017: THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
Rank: Double of the I Class.
“…And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof, because Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, in Thy Blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation,
and hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.”
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast appointed thy Only-Begotten Son to be the Redeemer of the world, and hast been pleased to be appeased by his Blood: grant us, we beseech thee, so to venerate with solemn worship, the price of our salvation, and to be on earth so defended by its power from the evils of this present life, that we may rejoice in its perpetual fruit in heaven. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
The Feast of the Precious Blood.
John the Baptist has pointed out the Lamb, Peter has firmly fixed His Throne, Paul has prepared the Bride; this their joint work, admirable in its unity, at once suggests the reason for their feasts occurring almost simultaneously on the Cycle. The Alliance being now secured, all three fall into shade; whilst the Bride herself, raised up by them to such lofty heights, appears alone before us, holding in her hands the sacred Cup of the Nuptial-feast.
This gives the secret of to-day's Solemnity; revealing how its illumining the heavens of the holy Liturgy, at this particular season, is replete with mystery. The Church, it is true, has already made known, to the sons of the New Covenant, and in a much more solemn manner,—the price of the Blood that redeemed them, Its nutritive strength, and the adoring homage which is Its due. Yes; on Good Friday, earth and heaven beheld all sin drowned in the saving Stream, when Its eternal flood-gates at last gave way, beneath the combined effort of man's violence and of the Love of the Divine Heart. The Festival of Corpus Christi witnessed our prostrate worship before the Altars whereon is perpetuated the Sacrifice of Calvary and where the outpouring of the Precious Blood affords drink to the humblest little ones, as well as to the mightiest potentates of earth, lowly bowed in adoration before It. How is it then, that Holy Church is now inviting all Christians to hail, in a particular manner, the Stream of Life ever gushing from the Sacred Fount? What else can this mean, but that the preceding solemnities have by no means, exhausted the Mystery? The peace which the Blood has made to reign in the high places as well as in the low; the impetus of Its wave bearing back the sons of Adam, from the yawning gulf, purified, renewed, and dazzling white in the radiance of their heavenly apparel; the Sacred Table outspread before them, on the waters' brink, and the Chalice brimful of inebriation;—all this preparation and display would be objectless, all these splendours would be incomprehensible, if man were not brought to see therein, the wooings of a Love that could never endure its advances to be outdone by the pretensions of any other. Therefore, the Blood of Jesus is set before our eyes, at this moment, as the Blood of the Testament; the Pledge of the Alliance proposed to us by God; (Exod, xxiv. 8; Heb, ix. 20) the Dower stipulated upon by Eternal Wisdom for this divine Union to which He is inviting all men, and the consummation whereof in our soul is being urged forward with such vehemence by the Holy Ghost.
“Having therefore, Brethren, a confidence in the entering into the Holies by the Blood of Christ,” says the Apostle, “a new and living way which he hath dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh, let us draw near with a pure heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with clean water, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he is faithful that hath promised. Let us consider one another to provoke unto Charity and to good works. (Heb, x. 19-24) And may the God of peace who brought again from the dead the great pastor of the sheep, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Blood of the everlasting Testament, fit you in all goodness, that you may do his will: doing in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom is glory for ever and ever. Amen!” (Heb, xiii. 20-21)
Nor must we omit to mention here, that this Feast is a monument of one of the most brilliant victories of Holy Church, in our own age. Pius IX had been driven from Rome in 1848, by the triumphant revolution; but the following year, just about this very season, was his power re-established. Under the ægis of the Apostles, on June 28th and the two following days, the eldest daughter of the Church, faithful to her past glories, swept the ramparts of the Eternal City; and on July 2nd, Mary's festival, the victory was completed. Not long after this, a twofold decree notified to the City and to the world the Pontiff's gratitude and the way in which he intended to perpetuate, in the sacred Liturgy, the memory of these events. On August 10th, from Gaeta itself, the place of his exile in the evil day,—Pius IX, before returning to re-assume the government of his States, addressing himself to the invisible Head of the Church,—confided her in a special manner to His divine care, by the institution of this day's Festival; reminding Him that it was for His Church that He vouchsafed to shed all His Precious Blood.
Lesson from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Hebrews. Ch. IX.
Brethren, Christ being come, a High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by his own Blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the Blood of Christ, who, through the Holy Ghost, offered himself without spot to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? And therefore he is the Mediator of the New Testament; that by means of his death, for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former Testament; those that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance; in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Reflection on the Epistle.
The Epistle that has just been read to us is the confirmation of what we were saying above, as regards the special character of this Festival. It was by his own Blood that the Son of God entered into heaven; this divine Blood continues to be the means whereby we also may be introduced into the eternal Alliance. Thus, the Old Covenant founded, as it was, on the observance of the precepts of Sinai, had likewise by blood consecrated the people and the Law, the tabernacle and the vessels it was to contain; but the whole was but a figure. “Now,” says Saint Ambrose, “it behoves us to tend unto Truth. Here below, there is the shadow; here below, there is the image; up yonder, there is the Truth. In the Law was but the shadow; the image is to be found in the Gospel; the Truth is in Heaven. Formerly a lamb was immolated; now Christ is sacrificed, but He is so only under the signs of the Mysteries, whereas in Heaven it is without veil. There alone, consequently, is full perfection, unto which our thoughts should cleave, because all perfection is in Truth without image and without shadow.” Yea! there alone is rest: thither, even in this world, do the sons of God tend; without indeed attaining fully thereunto, they get nearer and nearer, day by day; for there alone is to be found that peace which forms saints.
“O Lord God,” cries out, in his turn another illustrious Doctor, the great Saint Augustine, “give us this peace, the peace of repose, the peace of the seventh day, of that Sabbath whose sun never sets. Yea! verily the whole order of nature and of grace is very beautiful unto thy servitors, and goodly are the realities they cover; but these images, these successive forms, bide only awhile, and their evolution ended, they pass away. The days thou didst fill with thy creations are composed of morning and of evening, the seventh alone excepted, for it declineth not, because thou hast for ever sanctified it, in thine own Rest. Now what is this Rest, save that which thou takest in us, when we ourselves repose in thee, in the fruitful peace which crowns the series of thy graces in us? O sacred Rest, more productive than labour! the perfect alone know thee, they who suffer the divine Hand to accomplish within them the Work of the Six Days.”
And therefore, our Apostle goes on to say, interpreting, by means of other parts of Scripture, his own words, just read to us by holy Church, and therefore, to-day if ye shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts. The Blood Divine hath rendered us participators of Christ: it is our part not to squander, as though it were worthless, this immense treasure, this initial incorporation which unites us to Christ, the divine Head; but let us abandon ourselves, without fear and without reserve, to the energy of this precious leaven whose property it is to transform our whole being into Him. Let us be afraid lest we fall short of the promise referred to in our to-day's Epistle, that promise of our entering into God's Rest, as Saint Paul himself tells us. It regards all Believers, he says, and this divine Sabbath is for the whole people of the Lord. Therefore, to enter therein, let us make haste; let us not be like those Jews whose incredulity excluded them for ever, from the promised land. (Heb, iii-iv.)
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. John. Ch. XIX.
At that time, when Jesus had taken the vinegar, he said: It is consummated. And bowing his head he gave up the ghost. Then the Jews (because it was the Parasceve) that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath-day (for that was a great Sabbath-day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came, and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony, and his testimony is true.
Reflection on the Gospel.
On that stupendous Day, Good Friday, we heard for the first time this passage from the Beloved Disciple. The Church, as she stood mourning at the foot of the Cross whereon her Lord had just died, was all tears and lamentation. To-day, however, she is thrilling with other sentiments, and the very same narration that then provoked her bitter tears, now makes her burst out into anthems of gladness and songs of triumph. If we would know the reason of this, let us turn to those who are authorised by her to interpret, unto us, the burthen of her thoughts this day. They will tell us that the new Eve is celebrating her birth from out the Side of her sleeping Spouse; that from the solemn moment when the new Adam permitted the soldier's lance to open his Heart, we became in very deed, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. Be not then surprised, if holy Church sees naught but love and life in the Blood which is gushing forth.
And thou, soul, long rebellious to the secret touches of choicest graces, be not disconsolate; say not: “Love is no more for me!” How far away soever the old enemy may by wretched wiles, have dragged thee, is it not still true that to every winding way, yea alas! perhaps even to every pit-fall,—the streamlets of this Sacred Fount have followed thee? Thinkest thou, perhaps, that thy long and tortuous wanderings from the merciful course of these ever pursuant waters, may have weakened their power? Do but try; do but, first of all, bathe in their cleansing wave; do but quaff long draughts from this Stream of Life; then weary soul, arming thee with faith, be strong, and mount once more the course of the divine Torrent. For, as in order to reach thee, It never once was separated from its Fountain-Head, so likewise be certain that by so doing, thou needs must reach the very Source Itself. Believe me, this is the whole secret of the Bride, namely, that whence soever she may come, she has no other course to pursue than this, if she would fain hear the answer to that yearning request expressed in the Sacred Canticle: Show me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou resteth in the Mid-day! (Cant, i. 6) So much so indeed, that by re-ascending the sacred Stream, not only is she sure of reaching the Divine Heart, but moreover she is ceaselessly renewing, in its waters, that pure beauty which makes her become, in the eyes of the Spouse, an object of delight and of glory unto Him. (Eph, v. 27) For thy part, carefully gather up to-day, the testimony of the Disciple of love; and congratulating Jesus, with the Church, His Bride and thy Mother, on the brilliancy of her empurpled robe, take good heed likewise to conclude with St. John: Let us then love God, since He hath first loved us. (I St. John, iv. 19)
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - Time after Pentecost, Vol. III, Dublin, Edition 1890.
Ejaculatory Offering of the Precious Blood
An Indulgence of 100 days, is granted to all the faithful every time they make the following ejaculation.
Eternal Father! I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus in satisfaction for my sins, and for the wants of Holy Church.
Act of Reparation to the Precious Blood
An Indulgence of 300 days is granted to all who say this prayer.
Most Precious Blood of life eternal! Price and ransom of the whole universe! Drink and bath of the soul! Ever pleading the cause of man before the throne of heavenly Mercy! I adore thee most profoundly; I would, if I were able, make Thee some compensation for the outrages and wrongs Thou dost ever suffer from men, and especially from those who in their rashness dare to blaspheme Thee. Who will not bless this Blood of value infinite? Who does not feel himself inflamed with the love of Jesus, who shed it all for us? What should I be but for this Blood which hath redeemed me? And who drew Thee out of the veins of my Lord, even unto the last drop? It was Love! O immense love, which gave us this saving balsam! O Balsam beyond all price streaming forth from the fount of immeasurable love! Give to all hearts, all tongues, power to praise, celebrate, and thank Thee now and ever, and throughout all eternity. Amen.
Taken from: Confraternity Manual of the Precious Blood, 1861
Litany of the Precious Blood of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Jesus, hear us: Jesus, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.
Jesus, who for love of us wast crucified, and didst shed all thy Blood, Have mercy on us.
O Precious Blood, springing from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Flow upon us.
Precious Blood, vast sea of divine mercy, Overwhelm us.
Precious Blood, most pure offering, Reconcile us.
Precious Blood, pledge of immortality, Give us joy.
Precious Blood, sweet refreshment of holy souls, Comfort us.
Precious Blood, inexhaustible treasure, Enrich us.
Precious Blood, furnace of love, Inflame us.
Precious Blood, sweet delight of the faithful, Charm us.
Precious Blood, fount of chastity, Purify us.
Precious Blood, shed by the stroke of the lance which opened to us the heart of Jesus, Enlighten us.
Precious Blood, the hope and refuge of sinners, Answer for us.
Precious Blood, the seed of Christians, Multiply us.
Precious Blood, admiration of the Angels, Exalt us.
Precious Blood, the love and the joy of the seraphim, Inflame us.
Precious Blood, faith of the patriarchs, Enlighten us.
Precious Blood, hope of the prophets, Confirm us.
Precious Blood, charity of the apostles, Inflame us.
Precious Blood, strength of martyrs, Sustain us.
Precious Blood, reward of confessors, Animate us.
Precious Blood, beauty of virgins, Adorn us.
Precious Blood, delight of all the saints, Strengthen us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy upon us.
Anthem: The fountains of the cast abyss are poured forth abundantly from the heart of Jesus, and the gates thereof are opened to us.
V. Hasten, O thirsty soul,
R. And wash thyself seven times in this Jordan of blood.
Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast vouchsafed to shed thy precious Blood freely for us, make us speedily feel its admirable virtue, and salutary help, by its constant application to our souls, who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.
Taken from: The Manual of the Scared Heart, Edition 1866
V. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, with Thy Blood:
R. And hast made us a kingdom to our God.