Remembering the Month of the Precious Blood of Jesus

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One of the beautiful and mysterious characteristics of the Catholic faith is the course of its liturgical year – notably, May, the month of Mary, and June, the month of the Sacred Heart.

Christ, Spotless Lamb of God

But one of the months whose significance has been forgotten in recent times is July, the month of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.

Devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ goes back to the earliest days of the Church.

In AD 96, Pope Saint Clement I of Rome, the third pope in the succession of Saint Peter, wrote in the oldest extant document outside the New Testament, “Let us fix our gaze on the Blood of Christ and realize how precious it truly is, seeing that it was shed for our salvation and brought the grace of conversion to the whole world. “

And Saint Peter himself, in his first letter, identifies the great price of our salvation when he preached to the early Christians: “You know that you have been redeemed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by the Precious Blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

The devotion continued, rising and falling through the centuries and in various places, as worshipers continued to remember Christ’s pain and sacrifice.

Saint John Chrysostom, in the 5th century, preached the importance of reflecting on the suffering of Christ, noting the spear of the soldier who reconstructed the side of Jesus after his death. The Father of the Church wrote: “There flowed from his side water and blood,” warning: “Beloved, do not pass over this mystery thoughtlessly.

They go into battle filled and drunk with the Blood of Christ crucified.

And Saint Catherine of Siena, in the fifteenth century, spoke constantly of the Blood of Christ, even identifying herself in her numerous letters as “Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, write you in His Precious Blood”.

Speaking of those she considered her spiritual children, Saint Catherine said: “Indeed they go into battle filled and drunk with the Blood of Christ crucified. … They will pass through the narrow gate drunk, as it were, with Blood of the spotless Lamb.”

christian tradition related the seventh month, when the sun burns most intensely, with the redemptive source of the Blood of Christ reminding us — at the perfect moment — of redemption itself.

But it was during the bloody and warlike times of mid-19th century Italy that the sufferings of Our Lord received renewed attention.

As the battles over the Papal States reached their climax, Pope Pius IX was forced to flee Rome, in disguise, to Gaeta, a coastal town south of Rome. A superior general of the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood, who accompanied the pontiff on the trip, suggested that he create a feast dedicated to the Precious Blood to implore God’s mercy to end the war and bring peace.

The pope followed the suggestion and, still in exile, on August 10, 1849, declares that the first Sunday of July will be dedicated to the Precious Blood, extending the commemoration to the entire Christian world.

The war soon ended and Pius IX soon returned to Rome.

Pope Saint John XXIII took up the thread of devotion. In 1960 the pope Posted the apostolic letter India to Primisin which he referred to the Blood of Christ as “our ransom-price, token of salvation”, urging “the faithful [to] make it the object of their most pious meditations and of their most frequent sacramental communions.”

In the letter, the pontiff recalled how the faithful, including his own parents, had recited the Litany of the Most Precious Blood every day during the month of July. He also ordered that the words “Blessed be His Most Precious Blood” be inserted into the divine praisewhere they remain to this day.

One of the symptoms of secularism is the diminished devotion to the Precious Blood.

Only nine years later, however, Vatican II deleted the feast of the calendar, subsuming it in the Holy Feast of Corpus Christi.

Prof. John Hardon, SJ

Father John Hardon, SJ, a pillar of Catholic orthodoxy, maintained that devotion to the Blood of Christ “must be in everyone who claims to be a true follower of the Lamb of God”. In 1987 Fr. Hardon wrote of the dangers of ignoring it:

I do believe – and I even hesitate to say it – but I do believe that one of the symptoms of modern society (and I would even include, unfortunately, modern Catholic society), one of the symptoms of a growing and gnawing secularism is the weakening and weakening of devotion to the Precious Blood.

The priest stressed the importance of such devotion for Catholics, saying, “Devotion to the Precious Blood is not a spiritual option, it is a spiritual obligation…for every follower of Christ.”

There is no doubt that the faithful remnant will continue to meditate on Christ’s bloody sacrifice – from his agony in the garden to his scourging at the pillar to his crowning with thorns to the full extent of his torture on the cross. They understand that the endurance of the Church, despite its bloody and warlike periods (and its fickle adjustments), confirms again and again the eternal power of the Blood of Jesus.

As we meditate on his ultimate sacrifice during this hot month of July, may we pick up our crosses, make our way through the narrow gate “drunk”, as Saint Catherine said, “with his blood”.

— Campaign 31877 —

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