July is traditionally dedicated to veneration of the Most Precious Blood of the Lord. From the earliest days of the Church, Christians have venerated Our Saviour’s Blood.
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled” (1 Peter 1:18-19). The First Letter of Clement (AD 80-100) offered: “Let us fix our gaze on the Blood of Christ and realise how truly precious it is, seeing that it was poured out for our salvation and brought the grace of conversion to the whole world.”
Even the smallest drop of the Blood of Jesus, shed in His Passion and trampled, erupting with water from His side at the rip of the spear, poured upon sinners in the confessional to make us once again as white as snow, called to our altars for the sake of our salvation, is dearer than the whole of the cosmos. With great devotion we should pour out our own gratitude and dedicate ourselves never to dishonour His Precious Blood by heedlessness or, quod Deus averruncet, sacrilegious Communions.
And yet, speaking of devotion, the erudite Servant of God Fr John Hardon SJ (d 2000 – check out his wonderful The Catholic Catechism) said:
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) … of a growing, gnawing secularism is the lessening and the weakening of devotion to the Precious Blood. … To understand the meaning of the Precious Blood … (otherwise the mystery will be lost on us) 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.
If that will not move broken hearts, perhaps these words of Benedict XVI shall: “Looking upon the wounds of the Crucified, every man, even in conditions of extreme moral misery, can say: God has not abandoned me, he loves me, he gave his life for me – and in this way rediscover hope.”