Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Most Precious Blood


“You know that you were redeemed from the vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, not with perishable things as silver or gold but with the Precious Blood of Christ as the Lamb without blemish and without spot.” - 1 Peter
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July 1 is the feast day of the most Precious Blood of Jesus, while the entire month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood.  I can tell you from experience that devotion to the Precious Blood is especially efficacious for obtaining the grace of contrition after falling into sin.  Likewise it is a powerful remedy against sins of the flesh.  I highly recommend recitation of the Litany of the Precious Blood, especially if you feel bound by a particular sin.
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From Fr. Hardon on devotion to the Most Precious Blood:
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There are certain words and phrases in the revealed statement that we have just read that we should begin to unravel in order to understand something of the depth of meaning behind those two simple words, Precious Blood. Peter begins by reminding the faithful to remember the hardest thing in this life for us is to remain mindful of the truths of faith. Because what we believe on God's revealed Word is twice removed from the common experience that we have in this world. What we believe is first of all not immediately perceptible to the senses. Moreover, what we believe is not even penetrable to the naked reason. The word, remember, is an imperative: keep in mind. Arouse your faith in what and how you were redeemed. And it is the how we were redeemed that is the foundation stone of the mystery of the Precious Blood. God took on a human nature so that in that human nature He could die. In order to die, the soul had to separate from the body. But for the Body to have the soul separate, the body itself had to be deprived of His Blood. Theologically speaking and physiologically speaking, the All-Holy Son of God who became Man to redeem us could only have died by being drained of His Blood. Christ, listen, could not have died of some disease. Christ could not have died because of some mortal illness. All illness, disease, the natural debilitating of the body is the result of sin. Let me emphasize this. All our illness, our disease, our sickness, our wasting away of our body for all of us this is our faith - is the result of our sinful nature. Not so with Christ. That draining of the human body of His Blood was the one way that Christ, Sinless Son of God and Son of Mary that He was, the one way that He could die.
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Why does Peter identify the Blood of the Lamb of God as “Precious?” Well, it is surely Precious because it is the Blood of no human being. It is the Blood of the living God who took on human nature, capable of shedding His Blood. Why was the Blood of Christ Precious? Because it is the Blood of God who took on human nature in order to be able to suffer and to bleed and, let us add, in order to bleed to death. Why Precious? Because it is the Blood of the living God.
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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, and I hesitate even saying this, but 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 - I am afraid for many people - casual words, Precious Blood, really mean.
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To understand the meaning of the Precious Blood we must (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. But we believe that we are here for only a very short time. We further believe that Christ when He told us the way that leads to damnation is broad and many there are who walk that way, that the way that leads to eternal life is narrow and there are few who walk that way. I am watching every syllable I am saying. The Church has never pronounced infallibly on the number lost and the number saved, but she has canonized St. John of the Cross and made him a Doctor of the Church. Says John of the Cross: "I believe that the majority of the human race will be lost." - Devotion to the Precious Blood

7 comments:

  1. When I read the words of St. John of the Cross, "I believe that the majority of the human race will be lost," I Googled to see if others thought along these lines. They do: http://www.romancatholicism.org/jansenism/fathers-fewness.htm

    I don’t know what sense to make of these words and thoughts, especially in light of the Divine Mercy revelations from Our Lord. It all seems like a puzzle too great to piece together. I don’t want to suggest it’s an outright contradiction because I don’t see how it could be, given the testimony of all of the saints and holy people where these various thoughts come from, but I don’t how to tie the two strands together.

    Is it true that both the “majority” of souls fall into Hell like snowflakes and, at the same time, that Our Lord’s mercy is so great and powerful, that He is so desirous to forgive and to give us much if we trust Him, that the greatest wound to Him is not our sins the way we typically think of them, but rather our lack of trust in Him?

    If so, then is the reason that the “majority” are lost because they do not trust our Lord? Is that their greatest crime?

    I don’t know how else to make sense of the horror of St. John of the Cross’s and others’ words.

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  2. When I read the words of St. John of the Cross, "I believe that the majority of the human race will be lost," I Googled to see if others thought along these lines. They do: http://www.romancatholicism.org/jansenism/fathers-fewness.htm

    I don’t know what sense to make of these words and thoughts, especially in light of the Divine Mercy revelations from Our Lord. It all seems like a puzzle too great to piece together. I don’t want to suggest it’s an outright contradiction because I don’t see how it could be, given the testimony of all of the saints and holy people where these various thoughts come from, but I don’t how to tie the two strands together.

    Is it true that both the “majority” of souls fall into Hell like snowflakes and, at the same time, that Our Lord’s mercy is so great and powerful, that He is so desirous to forgive and to give us much if we trust Him, that the greatest wound to Him is not our sins the way we typically think of them, but rather our lack of trust in Him?

    If so, then is the reason that the “majority” are lost because they do not trust our Lord? Is that their greatest crime?

    I don’t know how else to make sense of the horror of St. John of the Cross’s and others’ words.

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  3. Patrick - I think of Paul's leter to the Romans here, in speaking of the remnant of jews to be saved, Paul cites Isaiah "Though the number of the Israelites shall be as numerous as the sands of the sea,only a remnant will be saved." Romans 9 Earlier, quoting Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I choose, and will have pity on whomever I wish."

    This is why the prayers of Divine Mercy are so important, and why the Eastern prayer 'Jesus have mercy upon me a sinner' is so appropriate.

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  4. Then our country is another Israel, it seems. So many people apparently wicked and lost, sinful and far from God, by the saints’ standards. I include myself in that mix.

    It’s horrific the whole thing. Catholics who go to Mass as they should is something like 10-20%. What percentage of those love God above all things and are concerned seriously about their salvation and that of the whole world. How many bishops and priests and religious have taken that fundamental reality we all face—the possibility of damnation—casually?

    That this is the way of our country is so sad and so depressing and so frightening. It seems often like almost everything is lost. It really does.

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  5. Patrick, Jesus is Everything.
    And He is the Lord.
    We have to be careful about judging things according to "appearances"; God knows the "heart".
    I don't want to sound like a liberal/dissenter here; there are people who hate God and His Law; they will have a reckoning...but there are so many "lost souls"..."lost sheep"...and in the Gospels Jesus is seeking THEM out...while condemning the "religious leaders" for their hardness of heart.
    It's the weeds amongst the wheat for now, I'm afraid.
    We just have to keep telling the truth, in season and out.

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  6. Maria9:19 PM

    Fr. Hardon SJ, my man. Nothing could be more true about his writing when he states: "I am watching every syllable I am saying". I am so convinced that he is a Saint...
    I have always been struck by the fact that Francisco was told by Our Lady that he would go to Heaven but would need to say many prayers. Man oh man, am I going to need a lot of Mass cards.

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  7. Maria9:21 PM

    Francisco was told he would need to say many rosaries before going to Heaven,a child! This is something to ponder...

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