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The Precious Blood of Jesus Christ

Dr. Remi Amelunxen
The month of July is dedicated to the infinitely important devotion to the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This devotion is as old as our Holy Faith. Historically, it was alluded to after the fall of Adam and Eve when God clothed our first parents in the skin of an animal whose blood had been shed. (Gen 3) In the Old Testament, the sacrifice acceptable to God was the blood of animals shed in His honor, as can be seen in Abel’s holocaust offering of a prized lamb.

Precious Blood

The Angels gather the Precious Blood of Jesus, shed for our salvation

Such offerings were a prelude of the promised Messiah who would redeem mankind from Original Sin by the shedding of His Precious Blood. Foreshadowings of that sacrifice are found in Cain’s shedding of the innocent blood of his brother Abel, by the blood of the Paschal Lamb sprinkled on the doorposts of the Israelites the night before the Exodus from Egypt and by the sacrifices of Isaac and Melchizedek.

Then, at the last Supper ur Lord gave us the immeasurable gift of His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the first Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Precious Blood of Our Lord is daily offered in the consecrated wine and bread in the Holy Mass and is continually venerated by the faithful in Holy Communion and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

In the New Testament St. Peter points to the way our redemption was purchased: “You were not redeemed with corruptible things like gold or silver … but with the Precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb unspotted and undefiled.” (1 Pet 1:18-19)

This tremendous gift from God that won our salvation and entreats for us before the throne of God is seemingly little understood and appreciated. How many sermons have you heard on the Precious Blood or the multitude of Eucharistic miracles, such as the phenomenal Miracle of Lanciano in 700 when the unleavened bread became the cardiac flesh of the Sacred Heart and the Precious Blood flowed from this Sacred Flesh?

The Blood of Jesus is the fountain of salvation. Each drop that flowed from the wounds of the Savior is a pledge of man’s eternal salvation. St. John Chrysostom calls the Precious Blood “the savior of souls”; St. Thomas Aquinas, “the key to Heaven’s treasures”; St. Ambrose, “pure gold of ineffable worth”; St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, “a pledge of eternal life.”

Instances from His Life


Let us look briefly at the heart-rending instances of Christ’s shedding of His Precious Blood during His life.

Our Lord Scourged

Our Lord scourged and crowned with thorns

Ven. Mary of Agreda tells us how, at the Nativity in the stable of Bethlehem, the Angel Gabriel placed the Infant Jesus in the arms of His Blessed Mother. He was transfixed in His Divinity and spoke to her in detail about His bitter Passion where all of His Precious Blood would be shed and about the sword of sorrow that would pierce her Immaculate Heart. (The Great St. Joseph, pp. 45-49)

Eight days later Our Lord shed His Blood the first time when he was circumcised according to the law of Moses. This alone, according to many great Saints and theologians, was enough to redeem 1,000 worlds, but following the divine plan, He chose to shed it all. (ibid., pp. 57-58)

After the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, Our Lord and His Apostles went to the Garden of Gethsemane. There, he disbanded His Sacred Divinity to suffer more intensely in His Sacred Humanity only, foreseeing the horror of his Sacred Passion. St. Luke tells us, He entered into agony: “And His sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground."(Lk 22:44)

Again, it is worth noting that this agony is rarely mentioned in sermons today. Would the progressivists or even some conservatives even believe this?

Our Lord was abducted in the Garden by Roman soldiers, and the terrible moral and physical torture began, executed either by the apostate Sanhedrin and its cohorts or by the Roman soldiers and employees of Pilate. To survive it, Our Lord used His Sacred Divinity to enable Him to suffer beyond human capacity. No human could have survived the merciless beatings he suffered during his transports from Annas to Caiaphas, to Herod, to Caiaphas, and finally to Pilate.

One of the cruelest tortures inflicted on Our Divine Savior was the Scourging at the Pillar. Anne Catherine Emmerich describes the scene: The base wavering Pilate, after finding no guilt in Christ, ordered the scourging with the aim of raising the pity of the Jews and let Him go. Thereupon, the cruel executioners lashed the Innocent Lamb with three kinds of scourges, each more vicious than the last. Roman Law prescribed 50 blows, but Our Lord received thousands of blows. (This is confirmed by reports of Ven. Mary of Agreda and St. Bridget).

The pools of Precious Blood of the Savior were gathered up by His Holy Mother and Mary Magdalene with linens given to them, surprisingly, also by the wife of Pilate. (The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ)

prayer
Not yet satisfied with the lacerated frame of Our Savior, bathed in His Precious Blood and quivering with pain, the Sanhedrin then pounded into the Head of Christ a crown made with hawthorns, the hardest of all woods. These thorns pierced His Sacred Head in wounds as deep as one inch according to scientific studies of the Shroud of Turin.

Then, Our Lord carried the 250 pound cross on His right Shoulder from the Fortress Antonia to Mount Calvary or Golgotha, all the while being beaten and goaded by the soldiers. It is related in the annals of Clairvaux that when St. Bernard asked Our Lord which was His greatest unrecorded suffering, Our Lord answered that it was the pain suffered on His Shoulder while bearing the Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grievous Wound more painful than all the others. “ (Catholic Tradition online)

On the Cross Our Lord continued His agony, shedding His Precious Blood to the last drop. His hands and feet (one foot over the other) were brutally nailed to the cross with large spikes. According to data from the Shroud of Turin and Ven. Mary of Agreda in her Mystical City of God, His Sacred Hands were nailed through the palms, and large ropes were tightly bound about his wrists to help hold His Sacred Body to the Cross. Imagine the shock suffered by the Precious Body of Our Lord, who weighed 170 pounds, tied to the 250 pound cross, being dropped in the 16-inch deep rock hole on Golgotha.

We think too little of the sufferings of the Body and Spirit of Christ. We should contemplate often Our Lord, agonizing on the Cross for three hours, His moral and physical strength, entirely exhausted. Finally, He bows His head, saying “All is consummated.” “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” Thus, after shedding every drop of His Precious Blood for mankind, for us, the Savior of the World expired.

A suggested reading, with moving descriptions of The Passion of Our Lord, is Devotion to the Precious Blood, reprinted from a 1926 book published by the Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration. A highly recommended devotion to commemorate the sufferings of Christ is to pray daily The Fifteen St. Bridget Prayers, dictated to the Saint by Our Lord in the 14th century.

The 15th prayer, which speaks of the Precious Blood of Our Lord, seemed a fitting and meritorious end to this article:

O Jesus! True and fruitful Vine! Remember the abundant outpouring of Blood which Thou didst so generously shed, pressed down and running over as the grape crushed in the wine press.

From Thy Side pierced with a lance by a soldier, blood and water issued forth until there was not left in Thy Body a single drop; finally, like a bundle of myrrh lifted to the top of the Cross, Thy delicate flesh was destroyed, the very Substance of Thy Body withered, and the Marrow of Thy Bones dried up.

Through this bitter Passion and through the outpouring of Thy Precious Blood, I beg of Thee, O Sweet Jesus, to pierce my heart, so that my tears of penitence and love may be my bread each day and night. May I be converted entirely to Thee; may my heart be Thy perpetual resting place; may my conversation be pleasing to Thee; and may the end of my life be so praiseworthy that I may merit Heaven and there, with Thy Angels and Saints, praise Thee forever, Amen
.

Posted July 18, 2014

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