By l'Abbé Bérenger Saunière, priest of Rennes-le-Château 1885-1909
Sic nos amantem, quis non redamaret.
Today we celebrate, as I have just said, the festival of the Precious Blood; not the blood of a man, not the blood of a mere mortal, not the blood of a famous person in history; not even the blood of a Saint. The Church never fails however to each day celebrate and honour the relics of the Saints, the flesh, the bones, the blood, St. Januarius [a saint associated with a liquefying blood miracle], etc. It is however not one of the servants of God about whom we wish to speak today.
No, we are celebrating the festival of the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Very precious blood indeed, since it is no less than the blood of God made man for us, who died on the cross to save us, to deliver us from enslavement to the Devil.
You know, my brethren, ever since the Fall of our first parents in the terrestrial Paradise, ever since their disobedience, as the sons and descendants of Adam and Eve we have been condemned to eternal death without remission, and also without the chance to retrace our steps, a finite creature with no way of calming or mollifying an infinite God or obtaining forgiveness by the most rigorous penitence for the offence committed against Him.
There was only one God who could save us and redeem us, and this God came to us, He was born among us, He lived amidst us, He worked, He suffered, He died. Just one drop of His blood was enough to reconcile men to God, but out of His love for us He poured it out to the very last drop.
It is therefore the festival of this blood which He poured out for us, in the various circumstances of His life, which we are celebrating today. He first poured out His blood for us just eight days after His birth when, obedient to the law of Moses, He was subjected to the painful ceremony of Circumcision. - The second occasion was the sweat of His blood on the evening that preceded His Passion, in the Garden of Olives. - Finally, the blood that He shed during the cruel scourging and the crowning with a crown of thorns; the blood that He shed while going to His Martyrdom, burdened with a heavy cross, which flowed from His hands, feet and side pierced by the soldier's lance.
It is all of this blood and especially that of the Blood of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we celebrate in the festival today.
There are two festivals in honour of the Precious Blood Our Lord Jesus Christ: the first is celebrated on the Friday of the fourth week of Lent, the second on the first Sunday of July, and it is the latter that we are celebrating today. The first goes back to the Apostles; the second was established by Pope Pius IX of blessed memory, who wanted the whole of July to be devoted to honouring the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, just as the month of January honours the Childhood of Jesus February honours His hidden life March honours St Joseph. - April honours his public life. - May honours Mary - June honours the Sacred Heart - August honours Our Lady of the Sacred Heart - September honours Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows - October honours the Holy Angels - November honours the Souls in Purgatory and December honours the Immaculate Conception. - In the same way July is devoted to the Precious Blood.
The entire history of the Church is actually the history of the Precious Blood because it is the history of the preaching of the Gospel, of the administration of the Sacraments and the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
To find out the origin of the devotion to the Precious Blood we need to go back to St Paul, who speaks about it unceasingly in his epistles and who feels the need to return often to the subject.
After him the Holy Fathers, in particular St Jean Chrysostom and St Augustine, provide striking examples of a special devotion to the Precious Blood.
Among the Saints male and female that the Church honours with a special worship and who were characterized by a devotion to and a burning love for the Precious Blood let us name Saint Catherine of Siena, Blessed Osanna Andreasi of Mantua, who fell into ecstasies every time she saw blood, St. Maria Magdalena de Pazzi , the Venerable Mary Frances of the Five Wounds of Jesus and the Venerable Anne of Jesus, the companion of Saint Theresa who, one day, as a communicant, had her mouth filled with a delicious blood which flowed from the Host, and so many others.
As children of the Saints we must try to be like them, etc
Let us not say, like the Deicides the Jews do: "May His blood fall upon us and upon our children": Sanguis ejus ["His blood"]. Or if it falls upon us, whether it be to wash us, to purify us - etc - to save us -
The first fruit that we will enjoy as a result of devotion to the Precious Blood is a great faith in God, because how can we have any doubts when we see Christ pouring out His blood to the utmost drop out of His love for us? The second fruit of this devotion is a violent hatred for sin. - 3rd fruit: a great love for the Sacraments.
The more love we have for the Sacraments the more we will hate sin, and the more we hate sin the more we will love the Sacraments, etc
Let us strive therefore to increasingly revive and develop this devotion in our hearts, etc.
(Have a word with the parents about their children's absences from Catechism).