On the Precious Blood of Christ.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Precious Blood of Christ.
Fix your eyes upon Jesus as He hangs upon the cross. A preternatural and awful darkness overspreads the earth; fear and dread seize upon both the Crucified and His crucifiers; profound silence prevails. No sound breaks the stillness save the moans of the Divine Victim whose precious blood trickles down the stem of the cross and falls in large drops to the ground. O precious fount of grace, flowing from the cross! Keep this solemn scene before your mind during your meditation.
1st. Consider that for our Lord Himself this sacred blood is most precious. At the cost of intense suffering this source of grace was opened to us by the Redeemer. This fount of grace, the precious blood of Christ, was unlocked to mankind on the Mount of Olives, by nothing less than a fearful agony, the agony of death, when amid terrible sufferings the healing stream, the blood of Jesus, was forced out of the pores of His sacred body. More copiously, but at the cost of still greater agony, did this life-giving stream flow forth during the cruel scourging and crowning with thorns; on the cross it poured out of the wounds torn by the iron nails that transfixed His hands and feet, and to wind up all, the last few drops were drained out of the lifeless body by the lance wherewith the Roman soldier pierced His side. Amid no scant measure of pain, of tears, of suffering, does this fount of grace take its rise. We speak of the blood of Christ as precious; precious it truly is, for what did it not cost the Saviour till that last drop was shed, what sorrow and suffering, what apprehension and anguish! Nay, it cost Him His life. See what it cost Jesus to save you, and ask yourself at what expense do you put yourself to prove your gratitude for the salvation He purchased for you at so high a price?
2d. Consider that this blood is also precious for the world; how abundant and how great are the graces the world receives through the blood of Christ! That precious fount of grace, springing forth from the cross, does not dry up at the foot of the cross, it continues to flow, it will not cease to flow while time lasts. At the Last Supper, on the day preceding His crucifixion, our Lord created, so to speak, a store house wherein the blood that flowed from the cross should be received, and whence it should stream forth upon individual souls. In the adorable Sacrament of the Altar the blood of Jesus is ever poured out afresh; that sacrament is a living, an unfailing spring, a source of grace from which all mankind may at all times draw. From it the unhappy sinner may draw forgiveness, the afflicted consolation, the weak strength; in it the sick may find a cure, the just the graces they need, devout souls their purest joy. That blood cries day and night to Heaven, not for vengeance as did the blood of Abel, but for pardon. That blood, as a deluge, overspreads the earth, but the waters of this flood, unlike that of Noe’s day, bring life, not destruction to the world. That blood is a red sea, into which thousands plunge, not to be swallowed up as the Egyptians were, but to pass over with the Israelites in safety to the land of promise. Meditate, my soul, on the virtues of this stream, this source of grace, fathom its depths, and let your heart overflow with wonder and admiration, with gratitude and compunction.
3d. Consider how precious the blood of Christ is for you, how highly you ought to prize it. What do you not owe to this fount of grace? In it you were born again in baptism to a new life, by it you have been cleansed again and again in the Sacrament of Penance. How often you have drunk from this fountain in Holy Communion; daily, in celebrating holy Mass, if you are a Priest. This precious blood is indeed precious for you beyond all price; it is your greatest treasure, your chief riches. Who can compute the number of graces you owe to it? For it is to be hoped that you can make your own these words from the Imitation of Christ: “Who, approaching humbly to the fountain of sweetness, does not carry away thence some little sweetness? Or who standing near a great fire, does not receive from it some little heat? And Thou art a fountain always full and overflowing; a fire always burning and never failing.” If the blood of Christ is in very deed so invaluable for your welfare, it ought to be precious to you; that is to say, it ought to be dear and sacred to you above all else, there ought to be nothing in the whole world which you compare with it, you ought to value it more than all that earth can offer. Is this so? If it were so, should you ever tread it under foot by your own sins, should you in your capacity of Priest, of Superior, of Confessor, allow others to trample upon it through your negligence, through your thoughtlessness? Alas! this fount of grace was not created by Jesus without bitter sufferings, and do you imagine that while it flows continually in the sacraments, it costs Him no less suffering on account of the ingratitude, the malice, the wickedness of mankind? Are you acquainted with some one who thus grieves His loving Heart?
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
– Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ
(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)
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