July, Month of the Precious Blood

By Chris Sparks

Precious Blood,
Ocean of Divine Mercy:
Flow upon us.

Precious Blood,
Most pure Offering:
Procure us every Grace!

Precious Blood,
Hope and Refuge of sinners:
Atone for us!

Precious Blood,
Delight of holy souls:
Draw us! Amen. — St. Catherine of Siena

The Precious Blood of Jesus is a clear example of the parts of our faith that seem completely simple, and yet if we spend any time contemplating them, we soon find ourselves swimming in very deep waters indeed.

The blood is the life, and the life is in the blood. So said ancient Israel; this is why, according to the kosher laws, slaughtered animals must have the blood completely drained.

In God, life (“I am who am”) and love are one and the same. To be, for Him, is to love. He is relationship. He is love. He is endless giving and receiving, the Beginning and the End. He is an endless dance.

All our relationships here below are some small imitation, some pale shadow, of the three eternal persons who are one God. We resemble them; they do not resemble us. The higher does not resemble the lower; the lower resembles the higher.

And yet — and yet, the Son became man. God became one of us. Spirit took on flesh. The higher went lower.

This was incomprehensible to the devil and his angels, and so they fell. This is a mystery to the holy angels, and so they praise God for His infinite mercy, His infinite mystery, and before the greatest of mysteries, are silent.

And one of the greatest mysteries is that we become members of the Body of Christ, grafted branches on the Vine descending from Heaven. We share in the life, the sap of God, in His divinity by way of His humanity.

Saint Faustina talked about the consequences of this, that the human heart has become a home for God, as it had been intended to be from the foundation of the world.

O Blessed Host, take up Your dwelling within my soul,
O Thou my heart’s purest love!
With Your brilliance the darkness dispel.
Refuse not Your grace to a humble heart.

O Blessed Host, enchantment of all heaven,
Though Your beauty be veiled
And captured in a crumb of bread,
Strong faith tears away that veil (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 159).

This month of the Precious Blood, let’s spend some time contemplating the mystery of the Eucharist. Let’s ponder how the life and love of God is transmitted to us under the appearances of bread and wine, and how the fire from outside of time is introduced into our hearts, into our very bodies. We share in God’s grace, God’s own existence, through the generosity of the Almighty. Let’s not take that gift for granted.

Chris Sparks serves as senior book editor for the Marian Fathers. He is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.

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Photo by Annie Theby on Unsplash

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What does it mean to work for the Catholic Church, especially by working for (or with, in the case of volunteers) the Marian Fathers? It means that we are reminded throughout our day, in ways large and small, that our earthly work depends on grace.

The devil may rage; the wealthy may grasp at their riches; the powerful may send forth their forces; the world, the flesh, and hell may do their worst. But Jesus Christ is Lord of Heaven and Earth, and there is nothing they can do about it.

Give thanks for the lives of our forebears, and obtain indulgences, knowing that we are fallen humans descended from fallen humans, and that grace is needed if we are all to meet again in happier circumstances.