The Precious Blood
Volume I/Issue 4/July 2016
The Power of the Precious Blood
Come with me to the Garden of Gethsemane. There Jesus is being in agony, praying, contemplating what He would have to face, the cup that He would have to drink that His Father was giving Him of your sin and mine, the price for our sin, the judgement for our guilt and shame. The Bible tells us that He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground. His sweat became blood. The second time we read of His bloodshed is when the Roman soldiers struck Him in the face with their fists and with rods, they smote Him. Thirdly, we read that they flogged Him with a Roman scourge. It was a whip a bit like the old cat-of-nine-tails with leather thongs on it, and embedded within the leather thongs there were pieces of iron and broken bone. As they whipped His back, it would lift a piece of flesh and peel it the whole way down, so that the Bible says - prophetically - His back was like a ploughed field. Fourthly, we read that His beard was pulled out of His face. The soldiers grasped great clumps of hair, and pulled them from His cheeks. Fifth, we read that thorns were pressed deep onto His scalp. They plaited a crown of thorns, not like the thorns of your garden, but Jerusalem thorns a number of inches long - and they pushed it onto His brow, and they further smote it home with a reed. The sixth time His blood was shed, we read that they spread Him eagle-wide on the cross, and they pierced His hands and His feet with nails. These were square, rusty, Roman nails, and they hammered them through His limbs and into the wood of the cross. Seventhly we read that when He gave up the ghost, the Roman centurion took the spear and pierced His side, and forthwith came blood and water. Seven times the blood of Jesus was shed, and you know what was happening? This was the sacrifice - not just to cover our sins, but to completely remove them forever. In the Old testament sacrifices the animals blood covered there sins but when Jesus blood removes our sins as we confess our sins and accept that sacrifice that is renewed in the mass.
I would like to show three ways that there is power in the Precious Blood of Jesus. There are so many more. But we will only look at three.
Jesus Precious Blood Has the Power to Redeem
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins, according to the riches of his grace,...(Ephesisans 1:7)
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins;(Colossians 1:14)
Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption, that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:24)
There are at least three words in the Bible which are translated “redeem.”
One means to buy or purchase. The concept is in the purchase of a slave. He is bought to be owned as property. Christ redeemed us, bought us with His Blood in this sense so that we belong to Him.
Another word translated redeemed means to buy something from something for another purpose. Again, we are purchased with Blood by Christ from the bondage of sin for the purpose of freedom in Him.
The third word carries the idea of a purchase that pays off a debt. A price that is necessary to secure the freedom of someone or something. Christ paid our sin debt with His Blood.
God gave us many beautiful stories that illustrate the wonderful truth of the redemption provided through His Son, Jesus Christ. Here is but one.
Ruth – Ruth 1-4
The book of Ruth teaches many lessons. But the overall story is one of redemption.
A Hebrew family moved to a foreign land. Ruth married into this family; but, tragically, all the men died. Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, move back to the land of Israel. Ruth then became the foreigner in a strange land.
In an effort to provide for her mother-in-law, Ruth went to gather grain in the fields. She met the wealthy land owner where she had been working. This man, Boaz, happened to be a near kinsman to Naomi. But, there was another family member who was an even closer relative.
As a close relative, the second man had the responsibility to care for Naomi and Ruth. He even possessed the right to marry the beautiful young lady. But he neither wanted the responsibility nor the right. Boaz approached the closer kinsman with the willingness to assume the responsibility for the family and the right to marry Ruth. The man accepted and Ruth joined Boaz in marriage.
The Bible calls Boaz the kinsman redeemer. He bought the responsibility to care for the ladies and the right to marry Ruth. Even as a foreigner, this redemption into the family of Israel put Ruth into the lineage of King David and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Precious Blood has the Power to Transform
Let me say this: The precious Blood from the wound of Jesus will not transform us without the water that flows also from the wound that was from his body.
But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it, (St. John the beloved) hath given testimony, and his testimony is true. (John 19:34-35).
Many Years later St. John rights: This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth. And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three are one. (I John 5:6-8)
Look at Romans to see what that transformation is:
For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.
Knowing this, that our old man Our corrupt state, subject to sin and concupiscence, coming to us from Adam, is called our old man, as our state, reformed in and by Christ, is called the new man.
Douay Rheims Commentary is crucified with him, that the body of sin The vices and sins, which then ruled in us, are named the body of sin. Douay Rheims Commentary may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer. (Romans 6:4-5)
The Precious Blood of Jesus has The Power To Give Life
Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. (John 6:54,55)
There are many other ways of showing the Power of the Precious Blood of Jesus. But books could not contain what wonderful power it has. But let me summarize what has been said here.
For you who are not yet Catholic your salvation in part will come through the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ.
First He redeems you. That is He pays the price to deliver you from your slavery to Satan, Sin, and the World by shedding His own Blood for you. You must by faith trust in His shed Blood on the cross.
Second He transforms you. By being baptized by water and his Blood into His body, the Church. The old dead spiritual man is raised and changed into a new spiritual man cleansed from all sin.
Third He gives you life eternal. As you are raised from the waters of Baptism, you are made a live in Christ Jesus.
Ill. A family was involved in a serious accident. Mike, the younger of two brothers involved, was badly injured and needed a blood transfusion. Mike’s big brother, Danny, who was almost eight, was the perfect blood type. His father sat down with him and explained that his little brother was going to die but if Danny would give his little brother some blood that mike would be just fine. Danny sat and thought for a minute and then said o.k. Dad I will do this for my brother. They took Danny into the operating room and hooked up the needle to his arm and the blood from his body began to flow to his little brother. Everything had gone wonderfully and the nurse removed the needle from little Danny’s arm. Danny with a tear in his eye looked at his father and said, “When do I die?” The father suddenly realized with a shock that Danny had misunderstood his explanation of giving blood. Danny thought he was giving all of his blood to save the life of his little brother! He thought that he would die after the transfusion was over. Yet he still had agreed to help his little brother.
What love, what sacrifice, what a gift of life, what Blood.....all this we can find in the Precious Blood of Jesus.
Origin of the Feast of the Most Precious Blood
Pope Pius XI wrote of Feasts, when he instituted the Feast of our Lord Jesus Christ the King:
"The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God's teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life." (Quas Primas, Pope Pius XI, December 11, 1925, paragraph 11)
The Feast of the most Precious Blood originated rather recently in the 1800's. It was first celebrated by the Precious Blood Fathers. The Fourth Council of Baltimore assigned its celebration to the Friday after the Fourth Sunday in lent in 1840. Pope Pius IX was sent into exile in 1849. It was suggested to him by a Precious Blood Father to vow to extend the Feast of the Most Precious Blood to the Universal Church, if he was released. Instead, he immediately extended it to the Universal Church that same year and assigned its celebration to the first Sunday in July. He was released from exile about the same time. Pope Saint Pius X revised the Breviary and calendar and this feast was assigned to the First of July and is celebrated as a Double of the First Class.
Although we consider our Lord's Precious Blood on Good Friday, there are many things we meditate on that day, that the Church over time has extended various feasts to remind us of the Passion of Jesus Christ and the many considerations we should consider throughout the year.
Shortly after the Edict of Milan in the early fourth century, Constantine's Mother, Helena sought the Holy Cross and found it. A feast was dedicated to commemorate this holy event. And thus we began considering the Tree of the Holy Cross on which Jesus offered His holy Sacrifice of His Life for our salvation. This feast was instituted in May. In September we again remember the Holy Cross in the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
More recently the Feast of the Sacred Heart was instituted for the universal Church to remind us of the infinite love Jesus has for us. And this feast was first suggested in the 17th century by Saint John Eudes, who also recommended the Feast of the Admirable Heart of Mary, which is now celebrated as the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Saint John Eudes recommended the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to fight the hard hearted heresy of the Jansenists, a heresy which plagues in some quarters to this day.
Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary towards the end of the same century to encourage devotion to His Sacred Heart. Pope Pius IX extended the Feast of the Sacred Heart to the Universal Church after he extended the Feast of the Most Precious Blood. (1856)
Let us conform ourselves to the mind of Jesus Christ's Church and remember the various qualities of His holy Passion. Let us recall that this most precious Blood, which flowed from Jesus Christ, when He was pierced with a lance cleanses us from all sin:
But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7)
Yes, if we will only wash ourselves in the Blood of the Lamb.
And I said to him: My Lord, thou knowest. And he said to me: These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Apocalypse 7:14)
The Church has dedicated July to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus by granting indulgence for prayers to our Lord's Precious Blood, during this month.
DEVOTION OF THE MONTH CONSECRATED TO THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST.
From The Raccolta, which is the official collection of indulgenced prayers for the Catholic Church
Pope Pius IX., by a Rescript of June 4, 1850, kept in the Archivium of the Congregation of Missionaries of the Precious Blood, granted to all the faithful -
An indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines, for every day of "the month consecrated to the Blood of Jesus Christ," on whatever day the month may begin by the custom of any public church or oratory, the condition of gaining the Indulgence being to assist at the devotion with contrition.
A plenary indulgence to all who shall assist at it at least ten times in the month; which they may gain in the course of the said month, or on one of the seven days immediately following it, if, having Confessed and Communicated, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray there for a time according to the mind of the Sovereign Pontiff.
An indulgence of 300 days to those who shall practise this devotion in private, with devout prayers and good actions in honour of the Precious Blood.
A plenary indulgence, if they shall practise it for a month together, provided that on the last day of the month, or one of the seven following days, they go to Confession and Communion, visit a church, and pray as aforesaid.
In the very first chapter of the Gospel of St. Mark, we hear the story of St. John the Baptist. St. Mark is quick to point out that St. John the Baptist was expected to appear before the Messiah when he writes:
"Behold, I send my messenger before thy face . . . " (St. Mark 1:2) Of course, this is a reference to the Old Testament passage coming from Malachi 3:1: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me."
"Prepare", "Preparation",..... Our life is filled with all sorts of "getting prepared." Preparation is something we do on a daily basis, in ways in which we may not even think about because we do it so often.
For example, we prepare ourselves when we take a bath or shower in the morning. We prepare ourselves to go out by getting dressed. We prepare our meals. In winter, we prepare our homes and our cars by "winterizing" them. Reports have to prepared for work. When Mass is celebrated, we have to prepare the altar by putting up the altar cards; place the altar linens on the altar; place the ribbons in the missal; the priest has to get vested; etc.
Everything in life has to be prepared, it seems.
St. John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord. As both St. Mark and the prophet Malachi stated, St. John was a messenger for the Lord. He prepared the way of the Lord by announcing Our Lord's imminent arrival.
St. John prepared the way of the Lord by letting the people know about the goodness of God.
St. John prepared the way of the Lord by telling the people to repent their evil ways.
We, too, are called to prepare the way of the Lord in imitation of St. John the Baptist.
Our Blessed Saviour founded the Church to do His work here in this world. In the past, people viewed "the Church" as being only the bishops, priests, and nuns. And everybody else just sat back and did "their own thing." But we know now that every member of the church: bishop, priest, religious nun or brother, and all the lay faithful are members of the Church. As such, whether someone is ordained or a lay-member, everyone is expected to do their part by "preparing the way of the Lord." We all do this in our own ways.
We are all given gifts and talents. Each one of us have been given a unique talent.
Obvious talents that people would think of would include: being a musician, being a teacher, able to preach inspiring sermons; etc. But we don't have to preach a powerful sermon in front of a church-full of people in order to tell people about God. For preachers, they preach their sermons on Sunday. But for the rest of us we have the opportunity to preach sermons every day of the week. For most people, they preach their sermons, though, by the ways in which they lead their lives . . .
By the way that they treat people
By the way in which they show compassion to others
By the way in which they show love.
St. Francis said: "Preach the Gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words." All of us are called to prepare the way of the Lord and we all must do it in our own way. Ask God to show you, to guide you, to inspire you. And then go and inspire others to a closer relationship with God.