In the 2004 movie The Passion of the Christ, there is a poignant scene after the brutal scourging at the pillar. Jesus’ bloody Body is dragged away from the pillar, and the ground is covered with His Blood. The Blessed Mother enters the courtyard with Saints John and Mary Magdalene, she kneels down, and with maternal love and devotion, she carefully begins cleaning up His Blood from the ground.
This scene depicts the type of reverence all of us should have for the Precious Blood of Jesus, which was poured out for our redemption.
One way to cultivate such devotion is by taking part in July’s dedication to the Precious Blood of Jesus.
The Catholic Church assigns dedications to each month of the calendar year. These dedications give us opportunities to learn more about our Faith and to cultivate greater devotion in our life.
History of Devotion
For more than one hundred years, July 1 marked the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This feast was instituted by Pope Pius IX in 1849, as a protection against the dangers threatening society. However, devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus goes back even farther. Some say that the Church has always had devotion to the Precious Blood, since She has always been devoted to the Passion and Death of Christ.
While this feast day was dropped from the liturgical calendar after Vatican II, moving devotion to the Precious Blood to the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ which is also known as Corpus Christi, the traditional monthly dedication remains. Consequently, it is worth discovering ways to deepen devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus in our lives.
We can cultivate devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus in three ways: through the Sacraments, Sacred Scripture, and the Saints.
The first way we can grow in devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus is through the Sacraments, particularly the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
According to Tradition, Jesus shed His Blood for us seven times throughout His life:
- Agony in the garden
- Scourging at the pillar
- Crowning of thorns
- Carrying of the Cross
- Piercing of His side
The Precious Blood that was shed at each one of these events in Christ’s life is fully present in the chalice after the Consecration. And we are invited to contemplate, adore, and receive this reality at each Mass.
According to the Catechism of Saint Pius X:
Both under the species of the bread and under the species of the wine the living Jesus Christ is all present, with His Body, His Blood, His Soul and His Divinity. Both in the Host and in the chalice Jesus Christ is whole and entire, because He is living and immortal in the Eucharist as He is in Heaven; hence where His Body is, there also are His Blood, His Soul, and His Divinity; and where His Blood is, there also are His Body, His Soul and His Divinity, all these being inseparable in Jesus Christ.
Therefore, whether we attend Mass that offers Holy Communion under both species (in the appearance of bread and of wine) or only offers the Host, we receive the Precious Blood of Jesus every time we receive Holy Communion. In fact, “the Host is broken over the chalice, to indicate that the Blood contained in the chalice proceeds from the broken Body of Christ” (Roman Catholic Daily Missal).
Yes, as one priest puts it, “When we receive communion, when the host is placed on our tongue and then rests inside us, we possess, with the body of Jesus, all His blood, His living blood, His divine blood” (From Trinity Sunday to the Assumption).
He says further, “All of the sacraments draw their value from the blood of Jesus: they have been called the vases of the blood of Jesus Christ. We were baptized in the blood of Jesus and it is this same blood which purifies our souls at each one of our confessions. But the most striking contact with the precious blood is at Mass.”
Sacred Scripture //
The Blood of Jesus is mentioned many times throughout Sacred Scripture. Below are just a few verses to pray with in order to deepen our devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ.
“[T]his is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” // Matthew 26:28
“[W]e are now justified by His blood.” // Romans 5:9
“In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace.” // Ephesians 1:7-8
“For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross.” // Colossians 1:19-20
“[Y]ou were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb.” // 1 Peter 1:18-19
“But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” // 1 John 1:7
“These are they who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” // Revelation 7:14
Throughout history, the Saints have had great reverence and devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus. Below is a small sample of their thoughts, which can inspire our own devotion.
“Precious Blood, ocean of divine mercy: Flow upon us! Precious Blood, most pure offering: Procure us every grace! Precious Blood, hope and refuge of sinners: Atone for us! Precious Blood, delight of holy souls: Draw us! Amen.” // Saint Catherine of Siena
“This Blood that but one drop of has the power to win all the world forgiveness of its world of sin.” // Saint Thomas Aquinas
“Blood of Christ, inebriate me.” // Saint Ignatius of Loyola
“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.” // Saint John Chrysostom
“O adorable Blood of Jesus, wash our stains, save us from the anger of the avenging angel. Irrigate the Church; make her fruitful with Apostles and miracle-workers, enrich her with souls that are holy, pure and radiant with divine beauty.” // Saint Albert the Great
“To preserve me from hell and purchase Heaven for me, Jesus Christ gave all the blood of His body, down to the last drop—and how could I not love Him!” // Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Prayers of Devotion
Lastly, to round out our cultivation of devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus, the Church has given us some beautiful prayers to incorporate into our spiritual life:
- Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
- Chaplet of the Most Precious Blood
- Prayer to Our Lady of the Precious Blood
Do you have a devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus? What has helped it to grow and flourish in your life?