Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Most Precious Blood


Sanguis Christi, inebria me!

July 1st is the Solemnity of the "Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ." This feast, celebrated in Spain in the 16th century, was later introduced to Italy by Saint Gaspar del Bufalo and extended to the whole Church by Pius IX. The Feast of the the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ exists in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite as a Votive Mass. It commemorates all of the times Our Lord shed His most precious blood: the Circumcision, the Agony in the garden, the Scourging at the pillar, the Crowning with thorns, and in the Crucifixion. This feast was instituted only in 1849, but the devotion is as old as Christianity. The early Fathers say that the Church was born from the pierced side of Christ, and that the Sacraments were brought forth through His Blood. The special beauty of this feast is its focusing our attention directly on the Blood of Christ, a short cut to the heart of revelation. In these days we need to think of the Passion of Christ; we do not know how God is going to test us. Devotion to the Precious Blood is a fundamental, sane approach to God. It is hard and painful; it will help us to steel our own hearts against weakness. The Feast of Corpus Christi and the Feast of the Most Precious Blood were combined in 1970, becoming the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Until then, separate feasts existed for the Body of Christ, held on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, and the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, with a feast on July 1st. Some groups continue to use the earlier forms of the Roman Rite and the corresponding calendars, ie General Roman Calendar of 1962 and General Roman Calendar of 1954. 

May His Blood spring up within us as a saving water for eternal life.

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