July: Month of the Most Precious Blood

Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the eternal Father, save us.
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word or God, save us.
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament, save us.
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in Agony, save us.
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging, save us.
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns, save us.
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross, save us.
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation, save us.
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness, save us.
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls, save us.
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy, save us.
Blood of Christ, victor over demons, save us.
Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs, save us.
Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors, save us.
Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins, save us.
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril, save us.
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, save us.
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow, save us.
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent, save us.
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying, save us.
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts, save us.
Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life, save us.
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory, save us.
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor, save us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord.

V. You have redeemed us, O Lord, in Your Blood.

R. And made us a kingdom for our God.

Let us Pray:

V. Almighty and eternal God, You have appointed Your only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world and willed to be appeased by his blood. Grant, we beg, that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation and through its power be safeguarded from the evils of the present life so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

The Old fulfilled in the New Covenant

In the past, the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Christ was celebrated on the first Sunday of July as confirmed by past Popes and recalled recently by Pope Benedict XVI in His speech after praying the Angelus on July 5, 2009.[1] He made special mention of Pope John XXIII’s apostolic letter “Inde a Primis” (dated June 30, 1960) which explained the devotion’s significance and approved its litanies.[2] 

Sacrifice is the highest form of religious worship which man offers to God as an act of praise, thanksgiving, petition or atonement.[3] The most singular and pre-eminent sacrifice of the Old Law was the immolation of the Paschal Lamb which celebrated the sparing of Israel’s firstborn from the fatal sword of the Angel of Death in Egypt at the time of Moses and Pharaoh.

The imagery of sacrificial blood from slain animals is made more vivid and meaningful if we recall Moses’ words from the Book of Exodus, “And he took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people, and he said: This is the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you concerning all these words.” (Exodus 24:8)

This old sacrifice took a new form in the New Testament when the Immaculate Lamb of God offered Himself on the altar of the Cross to redeem mankind from sin and the slavery of Satan. And during the Last Supper, Our Lord offered Himself in an unbloody yet real sacrifice when He uttered the following words:
“For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.” (Matthew 26: 28) Truly, this “shedding of blood’ or “pouring out of blood” took place and forms one of the glorious mysteries of our Faith.[4]

The Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Catholic doctrine teaches the faithful that the blood of Jesus Christ is part of His Sacred Humanity and hypostatically united to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.[5]
And as such, it is worthy of adoration and veneration proper to latreutical worship (cultus latriae) which is rendered only to God. In other words, we adore the human nature of Christ because of its intimate and eternal union with the Person of the Divine Word.
It is for this same reason that we honor the Most Sacred Heart or the Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
The Devotion to the Precious Blood

This devotion is one of the most ancient of pious Church practices. It is said that the Blessed Virgin venerated the Most Precious Blood of her infant Son on the day of His circumcision as she collected the first relics of His Precious Blood on a piece of cloth. On that momentous occasion she united her tears with that of the Word Incarnate on account of not so much of the sensible pain but of His supernatural sorrow for the hard-heartedness of mortals.[6]

It was the first of seven Blood-Sheddings of Our Divine Savior, The rest being:

2. The Agony in the Garden
3. The Scourging at the Pillar
4. The Crowning with Thorns
5. The Way of the Cross
6. The Crucifixion
7. The Piercing of His Heart

In his book, The Precious Blood, Father Frederick William Faber, D.D., calls St. Paul the Doctor of the Precious Blood owing to his evident fondness to preach on It in his epistles (Romans 3:25; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12).

He recounts that the lives of saints are replete with devotion to the Precious Blood making special mention of St. John Chrysostom, St. Austin, St. Gertrude and St. Catherine of Sienna whom he considered the Prophetess of the Precious Blood for putting emphasis on It as the solution to the ills of her times.

Father Faber also remarks that the Precious Blood makes us appreciate more Christ’s redemption of mankind, His sacrifice and Passion.

It also makes us comprehend the beautiful doctrine and the august realities of the Blessed Sacrament as we kneel in front of the tabernacle in humble adoration.

Over time the Church gave Her blessing to the devotion by approving societies like the Missionaries of the Precious Blood; enriching confraternities like that of St. Nicholas in Carcere, in Rome, and that of the London Oratory; attaching indulgences to prayers and scapulars in honor of the Precious Blood; and instituting commemorative feasts of the Precious Blood, Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent and, since Pius IX, the first Sunday of July.[7]

NOTES:

[1] Zenit News, ZE09070502 - 2009-07-05
[2] Papal Encyclicals Online, “On Promoting Devotion to the Most precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” http://www.papalencyclicals.net/John23/j23pb.htm last visited: June 15, 2010
[3] Moorman, George J., The Latin Mass Explained, Rocfor, Illinois: TAN Books an Publishers, Inc., 2007, p. 6
[4] Moorman, George J.,Ibid, p. 22.
[5] Ott, Ludwig, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, (St. Louis, Missouri: B. Herder Book Company, 1960), pp. 151-152
[6] The City of God by Mary of Agreda, Incarnation, Chapter XIV, Washington, New Jersey: Ave Maria Institute, 1971, Chapter XIV, pp. 446- 454
[7] New advent Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12372c.htm.