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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 April 22, 2019

Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God rather for s...

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April 22

 

Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God
rather for sinners than for the just, since
Jesus Christ declares that
He came to call not the just, but sinners.

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St. Theodore of Sykeon

Endowed with the gift of prophecy and miracles, on a second...

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St. Theodore of Sykeon

Born in the Roman Galatian town of Sykeon in Asia Minor, Theodore was the son of a woman of ill repute, who kept an inn along the imperial highway.

As a child, he was so given to prayer that he would often give up a meal to spend time in church. From an early age he shut himself up first in the cellar of his mother’s house and then in a cave beneath a disused chapel. Later, for a time, seeking to further escape the world, he sought solitude on a mountain.

On a pilgrimage to Jerusalem Theodore assumed a monk’s habit, and though only eighteen years of age, was ordained a priest by his own bishop. His life was most austere, wearing an iron girdle about his body and only sparingly partaking of vegetables.

Endowed with the gift of prophecy and miracles, on a second pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he obtained abundant rain after a severe drought.

Theodore founded several monasteries, and ruled as abbot in Sykeon. He was consecrated Bishop of Anastasiopolis, though he deemed himself totally unfitted. After ten years he succeeded in relinquishing his post and retired to Sykeon.

From Sykeon he was recalled to Constantinople to bless the emperor and the senate and there healed one of the Emperor’s sons of a skin disease, reputedly leprosy.

Theodore had a great devotion to St. George and did much to propagate devotion to him.

He died in Sykeon on April 22, 613.

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The Miraculous Christ de la Vega

There was once in the city of Toledo, Spain a soldier, Diego Martinez, and a young woman, Ines de Vargas, who were in love.

Diego was called to fight in Flanders, so, at Ines’ insistence, before a crucifix known as The Christ de la Vega, Diego solemnly swore to marry her on his return.

With Diego gone, Ines felt lost and alone, and often sought solace at the foot of the Christ who had witnessed their solemn engagement.

Years went by, Ines always on the lookout. One day, at the head of a returning cavalry, she beheld her fiancé. She screamed and rushed to meet him, but he feigned not to know her, and passed on.

Successful in war and prowess, he had not only been promoted to captain, but had been knighted by the King, and no longer considered Ines a worthy prospect.

Tears being of no avail, the spurned young woman took her case before the governor of Toledo, Don Pedro Ruiz de Alarcon, claiming that Diego Martinez had sworn to marry her. But the captain denied such a vow, and with no witnesses, the case was about to be dismissed when Ines cried:

“Indeed, there was a witness–the Christ the la Vega!”

There was a stunned silence. But, this was Catholic Spain, and finally, judge, Diego, Ines, court and the curious repaired to the Basilica of St. Leocadia* , which housed the carved Christ.

Kneeling between Diego and Ines before the life-sized crucifix, Don Pedro held up a Bible and asked if He, Jesus Christ, Sovereign Lord, would indeed swear to the couple’s solemn vow to wed each other.

In the dead silence that ensued, all present heard a voice coming from the statue,

“I SWEAR.”

At the same time, to the astonishment of all, the statue’s right arm, descended, its hand coming to rest on the Bible which the judge held up.

So struck were Diego and Ines, that giving up all earthly plans, they entered religious life.

As to the Christ de la Vega, to this day, His right arm remains in the same position, and, some affirm, His mouth slightly open in the utterance of His witness.

By A.F. Phillips

*Now the Ermita del Cristo de la Vega

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In the dead silence that ensued, all present heard a voice coming from the statue,