The Necessity of the Precious Blood. – continued (pt. 2)
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.
What would the world be without Jesus? We may perhaps have sometimes made pictures to ourselves of the day of judgment. We may have imagined the storms above and the earthquakes underneath, the sun and the moon darkened, and the stars falling from heaven, the fire raging over the face of the earth, men crying to the mountains and rocks to fall upon them and hide them, and in the masses of the eastern clouds Jesus coming to judge the world. We think it appropriate to add to the picture every feature of physical tumult and desolation, every wildest unchaining of the elements, although doubtless the catastrophe of that day of horrors will follow the grand uniformity of a natural law, even amidst the impetuosity of its convulsions. Yet the misery and confusion of earth at that day will have less of real horror in it than the earth without Jesus would have, even though the sun were shining, and the flowers blooming, and the birds singing. An earth without hope or happiness, without love or peace, the past a burden, the present a weariness, the future a shapeless terror,—such would the earth be, if by impossibility there were no Jesus. Indeed, it is only in such a general way that we can conceive what the world would be without Him. We can make no picture to ourselves of the real horror. His Five Wounds are pleading forever at the Right Hand of the Father. They are holding back the divine indignation. They are satisfying the divine justice. They are moving the divine compassion. Even temporal blessings come from them. They are bridling the earthquake and the storm, the pestilence and the famine, and a thousand other temporal consequences of sin, which we do not know of, or so much as suspect. Besides this, Jesus is bound up with our innermost lives. He is more to us than the blood in our veins. We know that He is indispensable to us; but we do not dream how indispensable He is.
There is not a circumstance of life, in which we could do without Jesus. When sorrow comes upon us, how should we bear it without Him? What feature of consolation is there about the commonest human grief, which is not ministered by faith, or hope, or love? We cannot exaggerate the utter moral destitution of a fallen world without redeeming grace. With the apostate angels that destitution is simply an eternal hell. Let the child of a few weeks lie like a gathered lily, white, cold, faded, dead, before the eyes of the fond mother who bore it but a while ago; and how blank is the woe in her heart, if the waters of baptism have not passed upon it! Yet what are those waters, but the Blood of Jesus? Now she can sit and think, and be thankful even while she is weeping, and there can be smiles through her tears, which, like the rainbows, are signs of God’s covenant with His people; for she has volumes of sweet things to think, and bright visions in her mind, and the sounds of angelic music in her soul’s ear; and these things are not fancies, but faiths, knowledges, infallible assurances. Even if her child were unbaptized, dismal as the thought is that it can never see God, its eternal destiny is for the sake of Jesus shorn of all the sensible pains and horrors which else would have befallen it. It owes the natural blessedness, which it will one day enjoy, to the merits of our dearest Lord. It is better even for the babes that are not His, that He Himself was once the Babe of Bethlehem.
Sorrow without Christ is not to be endured. Such a lot would be worse than that of the beasts of the field, because the possession of reason would be an additional unhappiness. The same is true of sickness and of pain. What is the meaning of pain, except the purification of our soul? Who could bear it for years, if there were no significance in it, no future for it, no real work which it was actually occupied in doing? Here also the possession of reason would act to our disadvantage; for it would render the patience of beasts impossible to us. The long, pining, languishing sick-bed, with its interminable nights and days, its wakeful memories, its keen susceptibilities, its crowded and protracted inward biography, its burdensome epochs of monotony,—what would this be, if we knew not the Son of God, if Jesus never had been man, if His grace of endurance had not actually gone out of His Heart into ours that we might love even while we murmured, and believe most in mercy when it was showing itself least merciful?
In poverty and hardship, in the accesses of temptation, in the intemperate ardors of youth or the cynical fatigue of age, in the successive failures of our plans, in the disappointments of our affections, in every crisis and revolution of life, Jesus seems so necessary to us that it appears as if He grew more necessary every year, and were more wanted to-day than He was yesterday, and would be still more urgently wanted on the morrow. But, if He is thus indispensable in life, how much more will He be indispensable in death! Who could dare to die without Him? What would death be, if He had not so strangely and so graciously died Himself? Yet what is death compared with judgment? Surely most of all He will be wanted then. Wanted! Oh? it is something more than a want, when so unspeakable a ruin is inevitably before us! Want is a poor word to use, when the alternative is everlasting woe. Dearest Lord! the light of the sun and the air of heaven are not so needful to us as Thou art; and our happiness, not merely our greatest, but our only, happiness, is in this dear necessity!
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.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world gives it (John xiv. 27). What kindly sweetness, what touching love are in these words of Jesus Christ, and at the same time what deep instruction! All men desire peace, but there are two kinds of peace, the peace of Jesus Christ, and the peace of the world. The world says to the ambitious man: the desire for greatness troubles thee and agitates thee – mount, raise thyself. It says to the miser: covetousness devours thee, amass, amass riches without ever resting. It says to the worldling tortured by his desires: inebriate thyself with every pleasure. It says in short to each passion: enjoy thyself and thou shalt have peace. Deceptive promise! cares, sadness, inquietude, disgust, remorse; these constitute the peace of the world. Jesus says: triumph over yourself, fight against your desires, conquer your covetousness, bridle your passions: and the soul, obedient to His commands, reposes in an ineffable calm. The pains of life – sufferings, injustices, persecutions, do not take away anything from His peace; and that heavenly peace, which surpasseth all understanding (Philipp. iv. 7), accompanies him on his last journey and follows him even to heaven where his happiness is consummated.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XI reflection.
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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