We are freed through His Most Precious Blood - the Elixir of ecstasy!
As we celebrate our final Independence Day of the 20th Century, it gives cause to stop and think what independence means and to realize that for Catholics, July should not be remembered so much for fireworks, hot dogs, picnics, soda and beer but for another libation that is our life-blood...rather His Blood. We are, of course, talking about the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. Though many receive under both species at every Mass, we are required to believe that Christ is present Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in either the Host or the wine. Holy Mother Church has always preferred that we receive the Host, holding aside the Most Precious Blood for very special occasions. With the new liturgical rubrics so relaxed many now regularly receive His Most Precious Blood along with the Body of Christ at every Holy Mass. It is so precious, however, that when we receive Holy Communion we, as a family, are very careful to only receive under both species on special feast days so as to remind ourselves how special and precious is the Cup of the Lord and so that we don't take this precious and sublime Gift for granted. Too often all of us fall into the habitual ritual of traipsing up to the front and receiving in rote style this very, very precious gift that should consume our every thought day and night. But being the human creatures we are, these sublime thoughts often are crowded out by things of the world, whether it's material matters or everyday concerns like paying bills on time, getting the kids to school, rehashing our perceptions of what someone might have said and what they meant. In a word, daydreaming during Mass. We all have done it. God realizes this. He created us that way. That is not to condone allowing our minds to wander, but rather to recognize this failing and then resolve to try harder to curb our imaginations. That is another reason the Church has always placed such a high priority on meditation and contemplation for it takes us closer to the realm of spirituality. But there's always those other voices, those subconscious demons who try to interrupt our concentration of higher things with worldly thoughts.
So what are we to do when our mind wanders?
A wise and holy priest once told us it is very simple. When temptations arise, when impure thoughts, ideas of hate or resentment, jealousy, envy, etc. come into our minds - and there's not one person on this earth who hasn't experienced these distractions - there is a very simple, logical way to dismiss them without missing a beat and offering a sublime prayer at the same time, thus gaining greater graces. Just ask Jesus to take these thoughts, these feelings and wash them in His Most Precious Blood purifying them into bouquets for Heavenly purposes. You'd be amazed how easy this is and how well it works. It defuses satan for rather than saying "don't think about it" - which can virtually be impossible when you consciously try - it neutralizes the temptation for when we are tempted we often experience feelings of guilt and, like Adam and Eve want to hide from God. By acknowledging our faults and giving them back to the Almighty, we have conquered 85% of the battle. When we get into the habit of doing this we can literally feel like we have just gotten out of the shower. In other words, we are clean all over for we have bathed ourselves in the Precious Blood of Jesus. That is what Jesus means when He says He wants to wash us in His Font of Divine Mercy for His Most Precious Blood, spilled on Calvary, has become the flowing stream of Mercy that He pours over the world.
Now, on the brink of a new millennium, His Most Precious Blood is overflowing. The cup of chastisement is at hand! What it will be only God knows for sure, but we do know it is inevitable - for we must walk the way of Calvary and die with Jesus in order to rise with Him forever. As the sands of time sift to the final grains, satan is more active than ever, more vehement and vicious than ever, unleashing every weapon he has in his vast arsenal of hell. His days are numbered and he knows it and he is throwing everything he has in total desperation for souls. That is why temptations and trials will increase in the coming days, even more reason to understand how we can be soothed amidst all the turmoil by immersing ourselves in His Most Precious Blood and allow It to run free, cleansing our souls through the inclusion of the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist in order to remain totally clean and dressed in the victorious garment of sanctifying grace. That is what we should savor this weekend and realize that is what Independence Day should mean to all faithful Catholics. It should be truly a celebration of independence; not just in remembering what happened 223 years ago but what occurred nearly two millenniums ago on Good Friday and Easter morning. Because of these wondrous events nearly 2000 years ago we can claim our dependence on God, which translates into a state of everlasting independence for we are freed through His Most Precious Blood - the Elixir of ecstasy!