The Deep Mystery of Christ’s Blood

The month of July is popularly called the month of the Precious Blood. This is because the first of July is the feast of the Most Precious Blood of the Savior, which Bl. Pius IX founded in the 1800s. This feast is found in the calendar of the so-called “extraordinary form” of the Holy Mass, and in some places also in the so-called “ordinary form.”

What do we comprehend by the worship of or devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus? St. Paul in the lesson appointed for today clearly attributes a power to the Blood of Christ. What is this authority?

After all, blood separated from a body is just a material substance, and it corrupts very quickly unless preserved under very careful conditions; it’s hard to see how it could have any real power by itself. Not only that, blood is also generally regarded with horror when shed or spilt, so that it is unknown for even grown men to be queasy or squeamish at the sight or even the thought of blood.

On the other hand, blood even when it has dried contains an almost unlimited amount of details about the person who shed it, so much as to provide science with all kinds of necessary knowledge.

The root of the Church’s devotion to the Precious Blood of the Lord is very easy, but also mysterious and deep. It is necessarily the mystery of the Incarnation of God taking to himself a human nature in its entirety: body, blood, and soul, along with his own eternal, divine Person.

Did you ever think about the Body and Blood of the Lord after the Savior’s death? The fact is—and it is a very important fact for our faith—that even though as a man Christ could undergo bodily death (that is, the separation of soul and body), and in as much as he did in fact undergo death, it still stays true that his divine nature (that is, his divine Person), never subject to death, was never separated from the parts of his humanity that were divided in death.

This means that the soul of Christ in death, his body in the tomb, and his shed blood were all united to the Person of the Son, the Word. Thus his blood deserves adoration, as it was poured out on the way of the cross and as it was taken up again in his resurrection.

Fr. Frederick Faber, in his great work of devotion The Precious Blood, which is still in print, expounds this doctrine at length in the line of the teaching of St Thomas. But the Church in our own time has confirmed the direct invocation of the Blood of Christ as to the Person of the Son in the litany of the Precious Blood promulgated by Pope St. John XXIII in 1960. Take a moment to pray this lovely invocation, and thus you will gain from the closeness of the Lord, who has brought us near by his precious Blood!

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