The Precious Blood of Christ |
Non-Catholics do not understand the vital, life-saving and infinite meaning of the "laver of redemption" which is the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord and Savior, the ultimate sacrifice of the New Testament which surpasses all other sacrifices in the Old Testament and is only perpetuated by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Immemorial Sacrifice for All Ages.
Father James F. Wathen
"The devotion to the most Precious Blood, Whose Feast we celebrated on July 1, is the adoration of the Blood that wrought our redemption on the wood of the cross, and the Blood that is offered by the Ascended Christ before the divine throne of the Father in the uninterrupted liturgy of Heaven. Many of the Scriptural excerpts in the Mass and in the Office of the Feast are taken from the Letter to the Hebrews. This Epistle has as its main purpose to demonstrate the superiority of the New Testament over the Old. In the Epistle Reading of the Mass, the sacred writer emphasizes the inadequacy of the temple sacrifices, and reiterates that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross was alone satisfactory and effectual for the appeasement of God and the redemption of men."
Father James Wathen
One of the tragedies of the world is the prejudice against the Catholic Faith which prevails among nonbelievers. There are four main sources of prejudice, the Jews, the atheists, the Protestants, and Conciliar Catholics. Some of these last hate the "old Faith" with a greater passion than the others and are less likely to be converted. The Protestant Establishment, which is hopelessly divided over every issue of belief and practice, is united in its resentment and envy of the Church, and exerts great energy in warning everyone under its influence. The result is that its adherents, for the most part, on the one hand, live their belief very indifferently, and on the other, oppose and despise the true Religion with a blind contempt and cynical irreverence.
We mention this great sorrow in consideration of the inexhaustible beauty and blessedness of our Church, its indestructible nature, its holy teachings, its life-giving liturgy, its consoling devotions, and its illustrious saints. Because the millions outside are taught to despise and avoid what they do not know, they pass their lives and enter eternity in ignorance of the great and sublime thing that the God Man established in the world, their lost heritage and their only hope. In their blindness, they ridicule and mock a figment of diabolic bias, which is our true home and eternal salvation.
The devotion to the most Precious Blood, Whose Feast we celebrated on July 1, is the adoration of the Blood that wrought our redemption on the wood of the cross, and the Blood that is offered by the Ascended Christ before the divine throne of the Father in the uninterrupted liturgy of Heaven. Many of the Scriptural excerpts in the Mass and in the Office of the Feast are taken from the Letter to the Hebrews. This Epistle has as its main purpose to demonstrate the superiority of the New Testament over the Old. In the Epistle Reading of the Mass, the sacred writer emphasizes the inadequacy of the temple sacrifices, and reiterates that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross was alone satisfactory and effectual for the appeasement of God and the redemption of men. This is the Epistle reading:
Hebrews 9:11. But Christ, being come an high Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hand, that is, not of this creation:
Christ both in His incarnate form, as well as by His act of self-immolation is the Supreme High Priest and Pontifex. Being both God and Man, He unites in His Person God to man; He reconciles man to God by possessing both the divine and human natures. "The more perfect tabernacle" is Heaven where the ultimate liturgy of praise is offered.
Faith instructs us that Christ’s death was most certainly a sacrifice, of which the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were a type. From the beginning, God taught man that He must be appeased only by sacrifice; prayers by themselves are insufficient. Before Moses, the patriarchs offered sacrifices; those of Abel, Abraham, and Melchisedech are mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. All these ancient sacrifices were the antitype of the liturgical sacrifices which were prescribed by Moses.
9:12. Neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by His Own blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption.
As the note in the Douay-Rheims Bible says, "By that one sacrifice of His blood, once offered on the cross, Christ our Lord paid and exhibited, once for all, the general price and ransom of all mankind: which no other priest could do."
9:13. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer, being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh:
9:14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?
Throughout His life and especially in His passion and death, the Lord Jesus was guided and empowered by the Third Person. As the sacrificial Victim, the Lamb of God, offered Himself for the whole race in perfect submission to the will of the Father. His act was the reparation and atonement for the sin of Adam, which estranged the race from God. "For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners: so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just" (Romans 5:19).
9:15. And therefore he is the mediator of the new testament: that by means of his death for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
"They that are called" are all who God has known from eternity will respond to His grace. It is difficult for many to accept the fact that the vast majority of mankind do not and will not accept the grace of redemption and salvation. We are very ready to make excuses for them, because we find it difficult to conceive that their unresponsiveness merits hellfire. We must understand that all of Adam’s offspring are "vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction" (Romans 9:22)., unless and until they accept the grace of God, and "work out" their salvation.
Dom Gueranger writes: "This Epistle is the confirmation of the special character of this festival. It was by His Own Blood that the Son of God entered into Heaven; this divine Blood continues to be the means whereby we also may be introduced into the eternal alliance. Thus, the old Covenant, founded on the observance of the precepts of Sinai, had likewise by blood consecrated the people and the law, the tabernacle and the vessels it was to contain; but the whole was but a figure. ‘Now,’ says St. Ambrose, ‘it behooves us to tend to truth. Here below, there is the shadow; here below, there is the image; above, there is the truth. In the law was but the shadow; the image is to be found in the Gospel; the truth is in Heaven. Formerly the lamb was immolated; now Christ is sacrificed, but only under the signs of the mysteries, whereas in Heaven it is without veil. There alone, consequently, is full perfection unto which our thoughts should cleave, because all perfection is in truth without image and without shadow.’ There alone is rest: thither, even in this world, do the sons of God tend; without indeed attaining fully thereunto they reach nearer and nearer day by day; for there alone is to be found that peace which forms saints." (The Liturgical Year, Vol. XIII, Bk. III, P. 373.
Our Epistle delineates the gradations of mystic reality: the figure of the Old Testament, the shadow of the New, and the consummate reality of Heaven. St. Paul teaches that our faith reveals the truth of the redemptive mystery to us, but only vaguely: "We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face" (I Corinthians 13:12).
The animals of the temple sacrifices were slain by the severing of the jugular artery and the draining of their blood. So Christ’s death was not by a knife wound or decapitation or hanging. It was decreed that He should die by the painful shedding of His Precious Blood, all His Blood. For this reason, He was most savagely scourged, then nailed, then, finally, His Sacred Heart was pierced, that from His wounds His divine life might flow down upon us, the "laver of redemption." "And almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood: and without shedding of blood there is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22). These truths we believe and worship; in Heaven, what we have believed, we shall not only know but live, for we shall be with Christ in God, and live by the power of His love and His Blood.
I wish to thank again everyone who has continued to pray for me. I attribute my present hopeful condition to the confident prayers of very many kind people, many of whom I do not know. I thank also all those people who have encouraged me to patience and confidence with messages and cards; also those who have helped in my support with gifts of money. I wish I could reciprocate with an equally worthy charity. I send everyone my priestly blessing, praying that he may be strengthened in the most Precious Blood of our Lord.
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