The Necessity of the Precious Blood.
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.
It is very difficult to feel as we ought to do about eternal things. We are surrounded by the sights and sounds of this short earthly life. We judge of things, if not by appearances, at least by their earthly importance. We cannot disentangle ourselves from the impressions which earth makes upon us. We are forced to measure things by a standard which we know to be untrue, but which we are so accustomed to that we cannot even think by any other standard. Eternity is simply a word to us; and it is exceedingly hard to make it more than a word. Thus, when we try to bring home to ourselves or to others the immense importance of eternal things, and the extreme triviality of all temporal things which are not simply made to minister to eternal things, we find ourselves in a difficulty. If we speak of them in common words, we convey false ideas. If we use high-sounding language and deal in superlatives, a sense of unreality comes upon ourselves, and still more upon our hearers; and we seem to be exaggerating, even when what we say is far below the mark. Time alone enables us in some degree to realize the importance of eternal things. A striking expression may rouse our attention. But eternal things, in order to be fruitful and practical, must grow into us by frequent prayer and long familiarity. Even then we fall far short of the mark. Even then we get false ideas, and, becoming used to them, are unable to substitute true ones in their place. It is almost impossible for us truly to realize the fact that lifelong pain or exuberant health, ample riches or bitter poverty, unintermitting success or incessant failure, are matters of perfect unimportance and of absolute indifference, except so far as they concern the salvation of our souls. We recognise the impossibility by seeing how men who talk and believe rightly fall far short both of their faith and their words, even when they are acting up to the highest standard in their power. We are placed in the same difficulty now, when we want to realize truly the necessity of the Precious Blood. It is more necessary than we can say or think. What would come of being without it is inconceivable by us. When we have said that, we have said all we can say. So, as time alone will make it familiar to us, we must say it in many different ways, and look at it from many different points of view, and repeat it to ourselves as if we were learning a lesson. This will enable us to gain time, and will answer better than big words or unusual metaphors.
The most recollected saint and the most thoughtful theologian, do what they will, live in the world all day without being able to realize how much, and in what ways, they are indebted to God, receiving from Him, living upon Him, using Him, and immersed in Him, nor how indispensable He is to us. So is it in the spiritual world with Jesus. It is a wonder that He ever came among us. Yet He is simply indispensable to us. We could in no wise do without Him. We want Him at every turn, at every moment. It is the wisdom of life, as well as its joy, to be always feeling this great need of Jesus. A true Christian feels that he could no more live for an hour without Jesus, than he could live for an hour without air or under the water. There is something delightful in this sense of utter dependence upon Jesus. It is our only rest, our only liberty in the world. It is the bondage of our imperfection that we cannot be directly and actually thinking of Jesus all day and night. Yet it is astonishing how near we may come to this. Our very sleep at last becomes subject to the thought of Jesus, and saturated with it. It is part of the gladness of growing older, not only that we are thereby drawing nearer to our first sight of Him, but that we feel our dependence upon Him more and more. We have learned more about Him. We have had a longer and more varied experience of Him. Our love of Him has become more of a passion, which, by a little effort, promises at some not very distant day to be dominant and supreme. The love of Jesus never can be an ungrowing love. It must grow, if it does not die out. In our physical life, as we grow older, we become more sensible to cold and wind, to changes of place and to alterations of the weather. So, as we grow older in our spiritual life, we become more sensitive to the presence of Jesus, to the necessity of Him, and to His indispensable sweetness. A constantly increasing sensible love of our dearest Lord is the safest mark of our growth in holiness, and the most tranquillizing prophecy of our final perseverance.
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.
Of acquiring Peace and Zeal in spiritual progress.
V. If every year we rooted out one vice, we should soon become perfect men.
But now we often find it quite otherwise: that we were better and more pure in the beginning of our conversion, than after
many years of our profession.
Our fervour and progress ought to be every day greater: but now it is esteemed a great matter if a man can retain some part of his first fervour.
If we would use but a little violence upon ourselves in the beginning, we might afterwards do all things with ease and joy.
It is hard to leave off our old customs and harder to go against our own will.
But if thou dost not overcome things that are small and light, when wilt thou overcome greater difficulties?
Resist thy inclination in the beginning, and break off the evil habit; lest perhaps by little and little the difficulty increase upon thee.
Oh! if thou wert sensible how much peace thou shouldst procure to thyself, and joy to others, by behaving thyself well, thou wouldst be more solicitous for thy spiritual progress.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XI pt V.
July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus
Virtues to practice: Simplicity, faith, liberty of spirit, cheerfulness
Prayers in honor of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls! I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony, and who are to die this day. Amen.
Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.
100 days indul.—Pius IX., Feb. 1850.
“May Thy Blood, shed for us, O Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the remission of all my sins, my negligences, my ignorance; may It strengthen, increase and preserve within me, Faith, Hope, Charity, Grace, and every virtue, may It bring me to everlasting life; may It deliver the souls of my parents and of all those for whom I am bound to pray.”
—St. Catharine of Sienna.
O blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my soul to purify it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my heart to inflame it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my mind to enlighten it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my thoughts to elevate them! O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my every action to sanctify them; in every power and faculty of my being, that all within me may exalt Thy might, proclaim Thy benefits and publish Thy mercies!
Praises to the Precious Blood.
Glory be to Jesus!
Who in bitter pains,
Poured for me the life Blood,
From His sacred veins.
Grace and life eternal
In that Blood I find;
Blessed be His compassion,
Blessed through endless ages
Be the precious stream,
Which from endless torment
Doth the world redeem.
There the fainting spirit
Drinks of life her fill;
There, as in a fountain
Laves herself at will.
O the Blood of Christ!
It soothes the Father’s ire,
Opes the gates of heaven,
Quells eternal fire.
Abel’s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the Blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.
Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion,
Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Hell with terror trembles.
Heaven is filled with joy.
Lift ye then your voices,
Swell the mighty flood
Louder still and louder,
Praise the Precious Blood!
(100 days indulgence once a day.— Pius VII. , Oct. 1815.)
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