The month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood. The feast of the Precious Blood of our Lord was instituted in 1849 by Pius IX, but the devotion is as old as Christianity. The early Fathers say that the Church was born from the pierced side of Christ, and that the sacraments were brought forth through His Blood.
The Old Fulfilled in the New Covenant
Sacrifice is the highest form of religious worship which man offers to God as an act of praise, thanksgiving, petition or atonement. The most singular and pre-eminent sacrifice of the Old Law was the immolation of the Paschal Lamb which celebrated the sparing of Israel’s firstborn from the fatal sword of the Angel of Death in Egypt at the time of Moses and Pharaoh.
The imagery of sacrificial blood from slain animals is made more vivid and meaningful if we recall Moses’ words from the Book of Exodus, “And he took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people, and he said: This is the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you concerning all these words.” (Exodus 24:8)
This old sacrifice took a new form in the New Testament when the Immaculate Lamb of God offered Himself on the altar of the Cross to redeem mankind from sin and the slavery of Satan. And during the Last Supper, Our Lord offered Himself in an unbloody yet real sacrifice when He uttered the following words, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.” (Matthew 26: 28) Truly, this “shedding of blood’ or “pouring out of blood” took place and forms one of the glorious mysteries of our Faith. (www.tfp.org)
Cain and Abel are making an offering. Abel’s sacrifice is pleasing to God, Cain’s is not. This gives rise to the sin of hatred, and fratricide is its resolution. The thirsting earth soaks up Abel’s blood as it shouts to heaven for vengeance. This shouting prefigured the scene on Calvary, where Christ’s Blood cried to heaven for the redemption of mankind.
Millenia pass, and now we see Israel oppressed by Egypt. God commands the people to kill a lamb and to sprinkle the doorposts with its blood; houses thus besprinkled are spared by the messenger of death. But where the doors are not reddened with the blood of the lamb, all male firstborn from king to slave die. This blood on the doorposts was a type of the Blood of Christ. Can the blood of a lamb save a man? No, but as a figure of the Redeemer’s Blood it certainly does. For when the Destroyer sees the thresholds of a human heart marked with Christ’s sacred Blood, he must pass by. And another soul is saved.
In a vision the prophet Isaias saw a man treading out grapes (in the Orient, trampling upon grapes in the wine-press was the usual means of extracting the juice). The prophet asked the man: “Why are your garments so red? “The wine-press I have trodden alone,” he answers, “because from the nations there is no one with me.” The trodder of the wine-press is Christ, His garments crimsoned by the Blood of redemption. (www.catholicculture.org)
Lord Jesus, You became Man in order by your Passion and Death and the draining of your Blood on the Cross, might prove to us how much You, our God, love us. Protect us, dear Jesus, from ever running away from the sight of blood.
Strengthen our weak human wills so that we will not only not run away from the cross, but welcome every opportunity to shed our blood in spirit in union with your Precious Blood, so that, dying to ourselves in time we might live with You in Eternity.