Special veneration of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord is by now a long-standing tradition during the month of July. It was by the shedding of Christ’s Blood that we are redeemed. The smallest of drops of the Precious Blood of Christ is our sinful race’s ransom, and now our guerdon unto hope for heaven.
There is a Feast of the Most Precious Blood in the Roman Church’s traditional calendar, leading the way into the second half of the year on the 1st day of the 7th month. However, it was removed from the general calendar by Paul VI, supposedly because Christ’s Blood is venerated enough through the feasts of Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart, and the Exaltation of the Cross.
I’m not convinced. Nor do I think that St Gaspar del Bufalo is impressed with that decision. As I write, I have his 1st Class relic, ex ossibus, on my desk. With Fr Francesco Albertini, St Gaspar founded a Confraternity of the Precious Blood at the Roman Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere (where I served for some years, directed a choir, and was ordained to the diaconate). With Gaspar we rightly exclaim: “I wish that I could have a thousand tongues, to endear every heart to the Precious Blood of Jesus.”
St Gaspar (d 1837) founded the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Gaspar’s third successor, Ven Giovanni Merlini, was companion to Pope Pius XI in exile at Gaeta. Merlini suggested that, if the Papal States were recovered, Pius should extend the Feast of the Precious Blood to the whole Church. Directly after, the French took back the Papal States and restored Pius. Hence, the pope extended the feast to all the Church for the 1st Sunday of July. Pope St Pius X moved it to July 1.
There is a Scapular of the Most Precious Blood with an image of angels adoring a chalice on, unsurprisingly, red cloth. The scapular is tied to the aforementioned Confraternity.
Speaking of the Confraternity, a chapter was erected in England in Staffordshire in 1847. It was transferred in 1850 to the London Oratory by the great Fr Frederick William Faber (d 1863). The Confraternity has been revived and meets on Saturday evenings in the Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
As June flows out and July streams in, turn your own life’s blood beating heart to the Most Precious Blood of Christ. Weigh also that, though we may be different in height or sex or shape of eye and colour of skin, we all bleed the same red. Our Saviour bled for our sins. Our unifying human blood, divinely infused, courses ruddy within His Sacred Heart, His risen veins.
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