J.M.J. June, whose focus is the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, quickly turns into July, during which we pay special attention to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
It is often said that the communications media--radio, television, print and Internet--tend to report primarily "bad news." The morning headlines and the evening news programs have at least one thing in common: gore. The more blood that is ruthlessly spilled, the more ink that is used to describe in chilling detail the gruesome facts.
To rational people, this continuous bloodletting seems insane. The murders, suicides and maimings pile up with no relief in sight. From such violence comes the inevitable fallout: society at large becomes bitter and unforgiving, desensitized to the horrendous reality of such brutality. Shedding blood, whether one's own or another's, seems nowadays to be no big deal.
The Church has traditionally dedicated July to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. The Faithful everywhere recall, as the Consecration of the Mass states, "the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins."
While countless gallons of blood in our contemporary era are senselessly wasted in vain, the Blood of Christ was shed for the noble purpose of reuniting fallen humanity to its Creator. The warm, soothing Blood of the Redeemer served as a healing salve for a world grown cold. As Jesus, soaked in His own Blood, hung on the cross for the world's salvation, the human race witnessed proof that God would spare nothing in His desire to reestablish sanctifying grace in His sons and daughters.
Although Christ poured out His Blood on Calvary nearly two millennia ago, the merits of that generous act extend to today. Those who have been baptized "are washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb." The Precious Blood of Jesus urges the followers of the Lord to imitate the remarkable charity of Christ by selflessly serving God and neighbor.
The World Apostolate of Fatima has long used this Morning Offering which captures the essence of the redemptive power of Christ's Blood and the subsequent invitation given by Jesus to all believers: "O my God, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ from all the altars of the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word and action of this day."
The Blood of Christ has been shed. But the transforming force of the Precious Blood will be realized only in the hearts of those who are receptive. To resist the stirrings of the Holy Spirit is to render the subjective efficacy of Christ's Blood ineffective. As with all of God's gifts, the Precious Blood must be yielded to if It is to have the result for the individual that Christ intends.
Often it appears that our world thirsts for violence. We are inundated by crime waves, wars and ugly domestic quarrels. The Blood of Christ reminds us of a different way to pour out blood: a generous, unforced sacrifice on behalf of others. Instead of responding to hatred with more of the same, we hold aloft the cleansing Blood of Jesus that knew no limits in demonstrating love for a misguided race.
Mary, Mother of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, pray for us.
(Slightly edited article that appeared in the July 7, 1991 issue [page four] of the National Catholic Register. Used with permission.)