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The Month of the Most Precious Blood
 

The month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood. The feast of the Precious Blood of our Lord was instituted in 1849 by Pius IX, 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 Precious Blood which we worship is the Blood which the Savior shed for us on Calvary and reassumed at His glorious Resurrection; it is the Blood which courses through the veins of His risen, glorified, living body at the right hand of God the Father in heaven; it is the Blood made present on our altars by the words of Consecration; it is the Blood which merited sanctifying grace for us and through it washes and beautifies our soul and inaugurates the beginning of eternal life in it."

The Old Testament

Cain and Abel are making an offering. Abel's sacrifice is pleasing to God, Cain's is not. This gives rise to the sin of hatred, and fratricide is its resolution. The thirsting earth soaks up Abel's blood as it shouts to heaven for vengeance. This shouting prefigured the scene on Calvary, where Christ's Blood cried to heaven for the redemption of mankind. 

Millenia pass, and now we see Israel oppressed by Egypt. God commands the people to kill a lamb and to sprinkle the doorposts with its blood; houses thus besprinkled are spared by the messenger of death. But where the doors are not reddened with the blood of the lamb, all male firstborn from king to slave die. This blood on the doorposts was a type of the Blood of Christ. Can the blood of a lamb save a man? No, but as a figure of the Redeemer's Blood it certainly does. For when the Destroyer sees the thresholds of a human heart marked with Christ's sacred Blood, he must pass by. And another soul is saved. 

In a vision the prophet Isaias saw a man treading out grapes (in the Orient, trampling upon grapes in the wine-press was the usual means of extracting the juice). The prophet asked the man: "Why are your garments so red? "The wine-press I have trodden alone," he answers, "because from the nations there is no one with me." The trodder of the wine-press is Christ, His garments crimsoned by the Blood of redemption. 

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch 

The New Testament

The Church reminds us of the first drops of blood that flowed for our redemption on the day when Jesus was circumcised. 

It is night on Mount Olivet, and the moon is shining. We see the holy face crimsoned with blood during the agony in the garden.

 

Unhappy, despairing Judas casts the blood-money down in the temple. "I have betrayed innocent blood!"

 In the scourging chamber we see the Lord in deepest humiliation; under raw strokes the divine Blood spurts out over the floor. Christ is led before Pilate. Pilate shows the blood-covered Body to the crowds: Ecce homo! We go through Jerusalem's streets following the bloody footsteps to Golgotha. Down the beams of the Cross-blood trickles. A soldier opens the sacred side. Water and Blood.

 

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch