The month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood. The feast of the Precious Blood of our Lord was instituted in 1849 by Pius IX, but the devotion 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.
“The Precious Blood which we worship is the Blood which the Saviour shed for us on Calvary and reassumed at His glorious Resurrection; it is the Blood which courses through the veins of His risen, glorified, living body at the right hand of God the Father in heaven; it is the Blood made present on our altars by the words of Consecration; it is the Blood which merited sanctifying grace for us and through it washes and beautifies our soul and inaugurates the beginning of eternal life in it.”
Cain and Abel are making an offering. Abel’s sacrifice is pleasing to God, Cain’s is not. This gives rise to the sin of hatred, and fratricide is its resolution. 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.
Millenia pass, and now we see Israel oppressed by Egypt. God commands the people to kill a lamb and to sprinkle the doorposts with its blood; houses thus besprinkled are spared by the messenger of death. But where the doors are not reddened with the blood of the lamb, all male firstborn from king to slave die. This blood on the doorposts was a type of the Blood of Christ. Can the blood of a lamb save a man? No, but as a figure of the Redeemer’s Blood it certainly does. For when the Destroyer sees the thresholds of a human heart marked with Christ’s sacred Blood, he must pass by. And another soul is saved.
In a vision the prophet Isaias saw a man treading out grapes (in the Orient, trampling upon grapes in the wine-press was the usual means of extracting the juice). The prophet asked the man: “Why are your garments so red? “The wine-press I have trodden alone,” he answers, “because from the nations there is no one with me.” The trodder of the wine-press is Christ, His garments crimsoned by the Blood of redemption.
The Church reminds us of the first drops of blood that flowed for our redemption on the day when Jesus was circumcised.
It is night on Mount Olivet, and the moon is shining. We see the holy face crimsoned with blood during the agony in the garden.
Unhappy, despairing Judas casts the blood-money down in the temple. “I have betrayed innocent blood!”
In the scourging chamber we see the Lord in deepest humiliation; under raw strokes the divine Blood spurts out over the floor. Christ is led before Pilate. Pilate shows the blood-covered Body to the crowds: Ecce homo! We go through Jerusalem’s streets following the bloody footsteps to Golgotha. Down the beams of the Cross blood trickles. A soldier opens the sacred side. Water and Blood.
Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace , Pius Parsch
Devotion to the Precious Blood is not a spiritual option, it is a spiritual obligation, and that not only for priests, but for every follower of Christ. I really believe that one of the symptoms of modern society (and I would even include, sadly, modern Catholic society) one of the symptoms of a growing, gnawing secularism is the lessening and the weakening of devotion to the Precious Blood. Devotion, as we know, is a composite of three elements: It is first- veneration, it is secondly- invocation, and it is thirdly- imitation. In other words, devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who was slain, is first of all to be veneration on our part, which is a composite of knowledge, love and adoration. We are to study to come to a deeper understanding of what those two casual words, Precious Blood, really mean.
I found this passage in the oldest document, outside of sacred scripture, from the first century of the Christian era – to be exact, from Pope St. Clement I, dated about 96 A.D. Says Pope Clement: “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.”
To understand the meaning of the Precious Blood we must get some comprehension of the gravity of sin, of the awfulness of offending God, because it required the Blood of the Son of God to forgive that sin. We are living in an age in which to sin has become fashionable.
This veneration of the Precious Blood, which is the first element in our devotion to the Precious Blood means that we have a deep sensitivity to the awfulness of sin. Sin must be terrible. It must be awful. It must be the most dreadful thing in the universe. Why? Because it cost the living God in human form the shedding of His Blood.
Lord Jesus, You became Man in order by your Passion and Death and the draining of your Blood on the Cross, might prove to us how much You, our God, love us. Protect us, dear Jesus, from ever running away from the sight of blood. Strengthen our weak human wills so that we will not only 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
Excerpted from The Precious Blood of Christ, Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
INTROIT Apoc. 5: 9-10
Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, by Thy Blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation: and hast made us a kingdom for our God. Ps. 88: 1-2. v. The mercies of the Lord will I sing for ever: I will shew forth Thy truth with my mouth, from one generation to another. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, Who didst ordain that Thine only begotten Son should be the Redeemer of the world, and hast vouchsafed to accept His Blood as the propitiation for our sins: mercifully grant that we who here rejoice to honour that Blood, the price of our salvation; may be defended by its power in this present world, and rejoice in the everlasting fruits thereof in the world to come. Through the same Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen
Dominica VI Post Pentecosten O God of the heavenly powers, creator of all good things, implant in our hearts the love of Your Name, and bestow upon us an increase of godliness, fostering what is good, and, by Your loving care, guarding what You have fostered. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Hebr 9:11-15
Lesson from the book of Ecclesiasticus: Brethren: When Christ appeared as High Priest of the good things to come, He entered once for all through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands that is, not of this creation, nor again by virtue of blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of His own blood, into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkled ashes of a heifer sanctify the unclean unto the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, Who through the Holy Spirit offered Himself unblemished unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And this is why He is mediator of a new covenant, that whereas a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the former covenant, they who have been called may receive eternal inheritance according to the promise, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
GRADUAL 1 John 5: 6 and 7-8; 9
This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. V. There are three that bare record in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these Three are One. And there are three that bare witness in earth: the Spirit, and the Water and the Blood: and these three agree in one. Alleluia, alleluia. V. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. Alleluia.
GOSPEL John 19:30-35
At that time, when Jesus had taken the wine, He said, It is consummated! And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. The Jews therefore, since it was the Preparation Day, in order that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath for that Sabbath was a solemn day, besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other, who had been crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; but one of the soldiers opened His side with a lance, and immediately there came out Blood and water. And he who saw it has borne witness, and his witness is true.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON 1 Cor. 10: 16
The Cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the Communion of the Blood of Christ? The Bread which we break, is it not the Communion of the Body of Christ?
Grant, O Lord of hosts, we pray Thee, that in these holy mysteries we may draw near to Jesus, the Mediator of our new covenant: and at Thine altars be sprinkled yet again with the Blood that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Dominica VI Post Pentecosten Mercifully hear our humble prayers, O Lord, and graciously accept these offerings of Your people, and grant that no prayer may be without effect, no petition in vain, so that what we ask in faith, we may really obtain. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Holy Cross
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who didst establish the salvation of mankind on the tree of the Cross; that whence death came, thence also life might arise again, and that he, who overcame by the tree, by the tree also might be overcome: Through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Hebr. 9: 28
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
O Lord, Who hast suffered us to approach Thy holy temple, and with joy to draw water out of the wells of salvation: we pray Thee, that the precious Blood of our Redeemer may be in us a well of water springing up unto life eternal. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Dominica VI Post Pentecosten We have been filled with Your gifts, O Lord; grant, we beseech You, that we may be cleansed and strengthened by their effect. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PROPER LAST GOSPEL Mark 8:1-9
At that time, when there was a great crowd with Jesus, and they had nothing to eat, He called His disciples together and said to them, I have compassion on the crowd, for behold, they have now been with Me three days, and have nothing to eat; and if I send them away to their homes fasting, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come from a distance. And His disciples answered Him, How will anyone be able to satisfy these with bread, here in a desert? And He asked them, How many loaves have you? And they said, Seven. And He bade the crowd recline on the ground. Then taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to distribute; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few little fishes; and He blessed them, and ordered them to be distributed. And they ate and were satisfied; and they took up what was left of the fragments, seven baskets. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He dismissed them.