The solemn feast of the Most Precious Blood of the Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sunday July 1, 2018.

The Blood of Christ is precious because it is Christ’s own great ransom paid for the redemption of mankind. In this belief, as there was to be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, the “Incarnate Word” not only offered his life for the salvation of the world, but he offered to give up his life by a bloody death, and to hang bloodless, soulless and dead upon the Cross for the salvation of humanity. Jesus is said to have given his life – his blood – for the sake of all humanity, atoning for every form of human sin. The Precious Blood is a call to repentance and restitution.

Today at St. Mary’s Hermitage, the Hermits of Saint Bruno  commemorate the Most Precious Blood of the Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.   It is an adoration, a gratitude and love, directed to Him whose heart poured out its life-blood for our redemption.  Whether in its deep cistern, or in its unfailing out-flow, we honour and venerate the price of our freedom and our life. 

What else is the blessed Heart of Jesus but the wonderful cup which transmuted the food of earth, not merely into the nourishment of one body, and the life-stream of one person, but into the quickening support of millions, into the circulation of unity through the entire Church of ages, into the ransom beyond price of all mankind, into the golden flood, which flowing ever from the foot of the Lamb, waters and fertilises heaven and earth, becomes the river of life to one, the stream of grace to the other. 

Paschal lamb
The Sacrificial Lamb.

For what, again, is the adorable Heart of Jesus but the fountain of Paradise, from what source does the river spring that divides into four branches, carrying refreshment, healing, and life to every region, and to every race?  One is a basin of cleansing and regenerating water, washing away all sin and stain; another is a bath that restores or increases strength and vigour to those who have to wrestle and fight for God; the third is a rich flow of consecrating unction like the one that streamed from the head of Aaron; while the last and best is the refreshing torrent of delights, at which saints drink with renewed bliss, and forgiven sinners with strengthening relish. 

All these streams of salvation, however different their immediate action, are nevertheless one in source and substance.  For what is it that washes away our stains but “the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses us from every sin?”  How did the oil of unction come by its power to strengthen and to consecrate, but from those first instalments of our deliverance, which flowed upon the root of the olive, trickling from the pores of our prostrate Lord, like an enriching dew that saturates their fruit.  If not direct from the divine Heart, in full warm outpouring, flowing forth the tide of a spiritual cornucopia, water for our purification, unction for our consecration, and the chalice of salvation.  Hence the eucharistic “wine springing forth virgins,” (Zach. 9:17) the sap of the true vine, of which we are the branches, the balsam of soothing and healing virtue which issued, from His body, to the very hem of our Lord’s outer garment, but now rushes out through the open gash, that reaches to the very core of that celestial plant. 

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, that which is good, which is holy, whatever is perfect upon earth has come to us from, and through, and by the most precious Blood of our divine Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  This, from the beginning, was in several different ways, and more copiously representing to us than anything else in the New Testament; though its excellence is revealed by the contrast in which it stands with its types.  It was to be innocently shed like Abel’s, that it might be shown to plead better and more powerfully than it for mercy, not for vengeance.  It was poured out in sacrifice, that it might be proved vastly superior to the blood of oxen and of goats, which had no power to cleanse the soul. (Hebrews 9:13)  Finally, the paschal lamb, the noblest type of our redemption, by the anointing with its blood of the door posts of the Israelites, warned away the destroying angel, and made Pharaoh relax his grasp on God’s chosen people, and subsequently freed them; only to be a harbinger of how the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world would baffle and defeat the prince of darkness and of eternal death, and force the oppressor of earth and hell to let His own people go free, to offer sacrifice even in this wilderness.

And how was this?  The posts of the gate which alone leads to immortal life, the cross under which all must bend the knee who desire to enter into Paradise, are richly streaked, and more than that, thickly painted with the Blood of “our sacrificed Pasch”, more terrible to His enemies than the brightest flash of Heaven’s lightning.  And so, when we partake of the Divine Mysteries, the edge of our mouths, our lips are dyed with the same rich drops that fell so abundantly on Calvary. 

Precious-Blood-JesusWith what devotion, then, should we not commemorate this shedding of our Saviour’s precious Blood, at the very mention of which the Church makes her ministers bend their knees, in awe and adoration of a mystery so pro found and yet so sweet, so fearful and yet so tender.  As the more deep and terrible is the gulf that opens beneath us, the more we feel drawn towards it, and tempted to plunge into it, so is this abyss of wonderful and unfathomable goodness, awful to contemplate, yet inviting our love to dive into it fearlessly, and taste unsatisfied of its delights. 

To think that God should have taken flesh, the very body of man, with all its inferiority of nature but wonders of construction, purely so that He could die, and that He should have blood to shed, for man’s ransom, salvation, and nourishment; to contemplate by what traumatic and burdensome ways this outpouring should have to be made, by what stripes, lashes, wounds, gashes, piercing and perforation of every part of that three times holy Body, to the tearing in two of its divine Heart; to meditate on the formidable truth that God, the Father who loved Him with an infinite affection, should have been pleased, appeased, soothed and turned to love from just anger by this tremendous atonement, baffles and sets at nought all our estimates, all our reasonings on the eternal and infinite ways of a divine imposition.  Still how bright this depth, how richly illuminated by every tender tone of love! How meekness and gentleness, mercy and forgivingness, impartiality and self-sacrifice, bounty and liberty, affectionateness and familiarity, parental fondness and brotherly caress play through the abyss, as profound and as measureless, and as incomprehensible as itself!  How unsearchable are the ways of God’s love, as much as those of His power! Who has been His counsellor but Himself the infinite goodness urging on the infinite energy of the Divine in all things. 

Yet what multiplies beyond the bounds of a limited conception the immensity of this love is, that it is individual and singular. “the whole to all, no less the whole to each.”  Every drop of blood, so unreservedly poured out on Golgotha, was gathered into one cup, the whole contents of which every soul is allowed to drink and make its own.  The full price was paid for each: the value of each soul is the equivalent of the entire ransom.  The treasure is not divided and paid out in single coins, but the entire sum is lavishly given to each profusely.  Who can penetrate to the depths of this almighty mercy; yet who can restrain themselves to love it and do his utmost to be worthy of it! 

 

As a consequence, my brothers and sisters in Christ, when we put before you the claims of little ones — little by age or by being of little significance — we are accustomed to lay our principal stress on this one motive, that their souls have been thought worthy of His precious life-blood, by Jesus Christ, their and our Redeemer. When especially we call on you to exercise the highest act of spiritual charity, to save their souls rather than sustain their bodies, the plea comes home with tenfold urgency.  Will you not agree and assist to the utmost in saving the souls which He so dearly secured, and loved beyond His own precious life? July Month-of-the-Precious-Blood

To this appeal no one can say, no: it is impossible.  Similarly, then, especially, is our pleading the day that you hear these words.  It is only by multiplying the means of religious education that thousands of your poor children can be ensured that salvation which Jesus Christ purchased for them.  The society to which you are asked to contribute has this for its sole and universal object.  It seeks, like the charity of our Lord and Saviour, to embrace all and each, to extend its beneficial effects throughout the whole country, and to reach the smallest and most neglected child with individual assistance. 

God will reward you, and give you of His abundance, through the redemption which is by Christ Jesus.  Amen. 

A free book for our Library

Confraternity manual of the Most Precious Blood

Ven. Don Giovanni Merlini C.PP.S
Ven. Don. Giovanni Merlini C.PP.S.
pius-xi
H.H. Pope Pius IX
For many dioceses there are two days to which the Office of the Precious Blood has been assigned, the office being in both cases the same.  The reason is this: the office was at first granted to the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood only. Later, as one of the offices of the Fridays of Lent, it was assigned to the Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent.  In many dioceses these offices were adopted also by the fourth Provincial Council of Baltimore (1840).  When Pius IX went into exile at Gaeta (1849) he had as his companion the saintly Don Giovanni Merlini, third superior general of the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood. Arrived at Gaeta, Merlini suggested that His Holiness make a vow to extend the feast of the Precious Blood to the entire Church if he would again obtain possesion of the papal dominions.  The pope took the matter under consideration, but a few days later sent his domestic prelate Jos. Stella to Merlini with the message: “The pope does not deem it expedient to bind himself by a vow; instead His Holiness is pleased to extend the feast immediately to all Christendom“.  This was 30 June, 1849, the day the French conquered Rome and the republicans capitulated.  The thirtieth of June had been a Saturday before the first Sunday of July, wherefore the pope decreed (10 August, 1849) that henceforth every first Sunday of July should be dedicated to the Most Precious Blood.
Müller, U. (1911). Feast of the Most Precious Blood. In The Catholic Encyclopedia.New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved June 30, 2018 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12373a.htm

Author: dom.Ugo-Maria

Catholic Priest - Hermit of Carthusian Charism, following the early and stricter Coutumes de Chartreuse (Rule) written about 1121-1128 written by Guigues du Chastel the 5th prior and Father General of Grande Chartreuse. Served as a curate and priest in Ireland for a while then moving to Devon as Parish Priest. A spell as Prison Chaplain and then Chaplain to the Railways (SouthEastern). Then a few years as a Diocesan Administrator, Vicar Forane, Vicar General and called as a Bishop (which I turned down). In the past I served as an officer in HM Armed Forces, lectured at Oxford, and teacher at the Royal School for Deaf children in Margate (now closed), for a spell (13 months) run an NHS hospital where I quickly realised that if you have no medical background and tend to use spreadsheets to reach a decision then you should not be running a hospital. Now I serve as Prior to the Hermits of Saint Bruno at St. Mary's Hermitage near Canterbury in Kent. I write on the Eremitic way of life although sometimes I tend to broach other subjects of interest, and occasionally undertake translations for Bishop Alistair from English to Italian. My life as a contemplative is extremely fulfilling and busy and I no longer have a public ministry which I occasionally miss especially the out-reach ministry. I also enjoy gardening on the hermitage grounds and as most gardeners will know its a never ending task, albeit quite rewarding. The hermitage also has some other residents, there is the hermitage guardian who is a layman who lives in rooms at the front of our hermitage and acts as a barrier/intermediary with the outside world; there is Jules a 4 year old Staffordshire terrier, who seems to know the Monastic Horarium and occasionally acts as a prompt, Augustus the tom cat who is 1 year old now and spends most of his time in the fields surrounding us catching moles, mice and rabbits (not so keen on birds) or in my cell when it gets too hot outside (he occasionally assist in writing my articles - having adopted the habit of falling asleep at my desk, occasionally waking and hitting the keyboard with his paw), Buffy who is 25 years old and Terra, her daughter who is 24 years old, female cats that were with me when I was parish priest at St. John Bosco's in Barnstaple. The two hens Hildegard (von Bingen) and Rosaline (of Villeneuve) who provide the eggs that we need, and then there is Topo Gigio a mouse who lives in one of our outhouses who is not scared of cats or people, can be quite vocal if you upset him by encroaching although quite frankly is no bother at all which is why he has been left alone. We currently also have 6 sheep outside in the field (not ours) but they do keep the grass cut. We are fortunate to have several fruit trees, Apples, Plums, Cherries, Pears, and 2 fig plants which I brought back from Sicily, quite a few herbs: mint, St. John's-wort, basil, chives, garlic, oregano, lemon balm, sage, chamomile, bay, echinacea, coriander, feverfew, lavender, valerian, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, cilantro and others, there are also many flowers, too many to list. My interests are mediaeval church & monastic history, ancient liturgies, the Old Catholic Movement, Nicene and post Nicene Fathers, Desert Fathers and Mothers and Carthusian history. I also speak Italian and German, Latin, Catalan, Sicilian and French although am rusty with some.