Monday, July 01, 2013

The Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ

“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

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.

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.

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. - Fr. Hardon


  1. How would you recommend ordinary devotion to the Precious Blood? Is there a short prayer one can invoke at certain times?

    I'm sorry but I tend to shy away from considering the malice of venial sins. I know I must offend God thousands of times a day, and probably will be tortured in purgatory for a long time. But focusing on each and every small sin and imperfection - ESPECIALLY as I tend to see sin where there is none - is a recipe for despair in my case.

  2. Merc- a good way to deal with scrupulosity is to have a good confessor who can help you discern your sins better. Frequent confession with this confessor is necessary, but only if the priest is a good confessor and helps you to discern. The Litany Terry gives is a great way to start off your day as well. Maybe try and reflect on your sins with an examination of conscience and then pray the Litany.
    God Bless!

  3. Thanks Steven.

    I do have a good confessor, but I still haven't solved the problem that "reflecting on my sins" often means finding stuff that isn't there and an endless sort of questioning of what is and is not a sin.

    So, I usually don't do an examination of conscience. I try to pray an Our Father when I know for a fact that I have sinned. But an examen usually means digging and finding stuff that I need not worry about in the first place.

  4. It's hard to pray stuff, for example, like "Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins" because of my own stupid, stupid hang-ups that make we want to bang my head into a wall.

    (the reason being, if you haven't seen me complain over the years, is that I cannot get it out of my head that the Church's praise of virginity is a denigration of sex and the married state, and that those who do not desire virginity or total continence are doing wrong somehow)

    1. Or, if I have children, I somehow have to want them to all be consecrated Virgins, and if none of my children enter religious life, I'm doing it wrong.

      Yes, I am insane.

    2. I say "O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You" once in a while.

    3. You're definitely not insane. :-) I have a tendency toward extreme scrupulosity as well, I promise! What has helped me is to find one, just one, good examination, and then I use that for daily examens as well as weekly confessions.
      In the morning, when I make my daily offering, I always start listing a huge list of intentions, and then if I forget someone I feel guilty about it later, but I remind myself that God knows my heart far, far better than I do!

      Hope this helps, even if it's just little bit. :-)

    4. ck, thanks.

      Steven, when I go to confession, I usually go through the commandments and think about where I've been lacking. A daily examen often just causes me to nitpick and find "sins" everywhere, since my idea of "holiness" is an extreme form of puritanism based on the harshest sayings of the saints. I'm talking about literally worrying about every single act that I do, song I listen to, movie I watch, etc that is not explicitly religious.

      For my morning offering, a d morning prayers, I have actually tried to pare stuff down - I find that if it's too long I end up skipping a lot because I don't know what to leave in and out.

      I don't think I'm very good at being Catholic. I pray a daily Rosary and a morning offering, and I try to get the Divine Mercy novena in there too. But I don't know how to invoke te saints, and with most traditional prayers and devotions I just feel like a fish out of water. I do some charitable acts but I'm sure it's not enough, and I give up meat and video games and alcohol on Fridays, but I come nowhere near real penance or mortification.

      Add to that a feeling of IMMENSE guilt and fear because I want to be a normal, married man, and not a religious. And then in top of that I usually find myself more attracted to women who have good hearts but need work (sinners like me) rather than really religious girls who know all the prayers and stories about the saints and all the apparitions and sayings.

      There's just so much out there, and so much to fear.

    5. Merc- I think you are a better than Catholic than you give yourself credit for. :-) Sounds like you really need some spiritual direction. Read St. Francis de Sales' "An Introduction to the Devout Life", and ask your confessor for time for weekly spiritual direction where you talk about the book while you read it.

      St. Francis warns in his wonderful book against overdoing the devotional life. God wants you to be faithful; He knows you're not perfect. That's why Christ came. Be faithful to God, and have peace knowing that He is faithful to you.

      Pray a rosary for sure, but tonight spend some time in quiet. Just listen for God. I have a major tendency to get caught up in "I have to pray this or that devotion" but often forget that God wants to talk back.

      There's a story of Blessed Mother Theresa... One time when she came to the U.S. she was asked by a reporter how she prayed. She replied that she says nothing, she just listened to God. When the reporter pressed her and asked what God says to her, she said He says nothing, He just listens.

      So take some time to just sit in God's presence. If you need to read some Scripture, say a rosary, or go to Mass to get in His presence, do it. Actually, a good Scripture to meditate on would be 1 Kings 19: 1-13.

      As always, God Bless!

    6. Haha, I've read some of St Francis de Sales and ended up scaring myself to death ... I know! (To quote Terry)

      I went to confession with my spiritual director this past Saturday, and we agreed to start meeting monthly again. He is very aware of my fears, and we sort of agreed that there is a wealth of stuff written by the past few popes, and that that might be a good place to start spiritual reading - that way I'm not getting bogged down in the cultural and personal details I often do, not applying stuff written for religious life to myself. I am someone who found only fear in reading St Therese, for Pete's sake!

    7. Mercury, you made me tear up when I read your statement "I don't think I'm very good at being Catholic." I always read your comments and my heart goes out to you because you are so honest in your suffering. I don't think I AM very good at being Catholic, and I would be willing to bet that there are many others who don't believe THEY are good at being Catholic. I will be saying a rosary tonight for you.

  5. Since I was l a young adult, I've always looked forward to saying this litany daily in July. I especially liked that the response isn't "Have Mercy on us" but "Save Us". I always found that rather beautiful.

    In any missal I've ever seen it in, it's not grouped with the "approved" litanies. Anyone know why?

    1. Donald - I think it is because it wasn't approved until John XXIII - who inserted it into the Roman Missal - so in the old books it wasn't part of the publishing layout and usually inserted as an addendum.

  6. Terry,

    Natalie at the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis again - we've got another package for you! (Appears to be the same sender.) I'll leave it at the front desk for you - please note we're only open today and tomorrow, and then closed until Monday, July 8. Thanks!


  7. Read the Book of James, superman. I will pray for you.

  8. Whoever removed the Superman posts, thank you. I went to see "Man of Steel" last week, and I don't remember Superman going on and on like that.


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