The month of July is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord. It is a time to meditate upon and come to a greater love of the Blood Our Lord shed for us during His earthly life and the Precious Blood that is given to us as true drink at every Mass we attend. The great love Our Lord has for us, is as such, that He shed every ounce of it for us. Not only has He left us the gift of His love in the chalice consecrated by the priest, He has given us a weapon to aid us in the spiritual battles we must wage in this life in order to attain our Crown of Glory.
Shortly after my husband and I were married, he developed debilitating and bizarre migraines that looked like a cross between a stroke and a pulmonary embolism. One morning after having a glass of sangria—which contains red wine—I found my husband unconscious and unresponsive on our bathroom floor. I had to call an ambulance and he was rushed to the hospital. When he came to, he spent 18 hours blind due to the worst migraine he ever experienced. After that incident, we decided it was best for him to refrain from taking the chalice at Mass and I would do the same in sign of unity with him. The body and blood of Our Lord are present in both species.
I refrained from the chalice for a few years, until shortly after my consecration to Mary. Not long after my consecration, my spiritual life grew in unprecedented intensity and I started experiencing forms of spiritual warfare previously unknown to me. I started researching spiritual warfare and stumbled upon helpful videos by FSSP priest and exorcist Fr. Chad Ripperger. It was then I learned that the Precious Blood is one of the most effective spiritual weapons at our disposal.
St. John Chrysostom said of the Blood of Christ:
Let us, then, come back from that table like lions breathing out fire, thus becoming terrifying to the Devil, and remaining mindful of our Head and of the love he has shown for us. . . This Blood, when worthily received, drives away demons and puts them at a distance from us, and even summons to us angels and the Lord of angels. . . This Blood, poured out in abundance, has washed the whole world clean. . . This is the price of the world; by it Christ purchased the Church… This thought will check in us unruly passions. How long, in truth, shall we be attached to present things? How long shall we remain asleep? How long shall we not take thought for our own salvation? Let us remember what privileges God has bestowed on us, let us give thanks, let us glorify him, not only by faith, but also by our very works.
The Precious Blood fortifies us in our battles against the world, the devil, and ourselves. We should walk away from the chalice, with the Blood of the Lamb upon our lips, enkindled with love and prepared for the battle that lies ahead, for the spiritual life is a battle. The shedding of every ounce of His blood for our sakes should have a profound impact on each one of us every time we approach the chalice in order to consume His Precious Blood. We should look upon the chalice with tender devotion and arduous love knowing the gift we have been given. We are unworthy, but nonetheless, He has given His Blood to each one of us to strengthen us and so we may grow in deeper intimacy with Him. He has given His priests the grace to bring forth His Precious Blood in their weak and vulnerable hands because of His even greater love for them.
It is in His Blood that we have been washed clean and it is through His Blood—and His Body—that we are united body and soul to Christ and to one another. Do we consider the gift we receive when we approach the Precious Blood at each Mass? St. John XXIII issued an apostolic exhortation on the Precious Blood, Sanguis Christi, in which he states:
“As we now approach the feast and month devoted to honouring Christ’s Blood — the price of our redemption, the pledge of salvation and life eternal — may Christians meditate on it more fervently, may they savour its fruits more frequently in sacramental communion. Let their meditations on the boundless power of the Blood be bathed in the light of sound biblical teaching and the doctrine of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. How truly precious is this Blood is voiced in the song which the Church sings with the Angelic Doctor (sentiments wisely seconded by our predecessor Clement VI):
Blood that but one drop of has the world to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin. [Adoro te Devote, St. Thomas Aquinas]
Unlimited is the effectiveness of the God-Man’s Blood — just as unlimited as the love that impelled him to pour it out for us, first at his circumcision eight days after birth, and more profusely later on in his agony in the garden, in his scourging and crowning with thorns, in his climb to Calvary and crucifixion, and finally from out that great wide wound in his side which symbolizes the divine Blood cascading down into all the Church’s sacraments. Such sure passing love suggests, nay demands, that everyone reborn in the torrents of that Blood adore it with grateful love.”
This month of July is meant to be a time of greater devotion to the Precious Blood of Our Lord, but this month of devotion should extend to every time we place the sacred chalice to our lips. In our sinfulness, weakness, brokenness, and spiritual battles, the Precious Blood reminds us of how much we need Christ. Devotion to the Precious Blood leads us to surrender ourselves more fully to Him and to rely on Him in every moment of our day. We cannot make a single step forward on the path to holiness without Him. It is why if we are going to cling to something in this life, we should cling to the chalice of Our Lord’s Precious Blood, so that He can continue to wash us anew each time we receive; that we may become white as snow.
Prayer for Calling on the Precious Blood of Our Lord
Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Thy Son I pray: May the Precious Blood of Jesus, wash over me and through me. Let it heal any and every wound and scar, so that the devil may find no purchase in me. Cause it to saturate and fill up my whole being; my heart, soul, mind, and body; my memory, and my imagination; my past and my present; every fiber of my being, every molecule, every atom. Let there remain no part of me untouched by His Precious Blood. Make it flow over and around the altar of my heart on every side.
Fill and heal especially the wounds and scars of/caused by __________.
These things I ask of You, Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus.
Jesus, likewise grant that the light of Your Holy Cross shine in all these same parts of me and my life, that no darkness remain where the devil may hide or have any influence.
Mary, Refuge of Sinners, pray for me to receive these graces I ask. Amen.
image: Detail of a carved panel from the Dominican church of St Dominic in San Francisco by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).