July Devotion = The Most Precious Blood
The most precious blood of Jesus Christ! July is the month of Precious Blood and the first day is its feast day, but what is it? By this, I mean to say what does it mean to us as Catholics?
The short answer is, that it's the blood that Christ shed to save us from sin and redeem our souls. Then why was such drastic a measure taken? Well, let's put it like this ... Frederick William Faber in his Mystery of the Precious Blood says this about sin.
Thou shalt call His Name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins. Who else but Jesus can do this, and what else even from Him do we require but this; for in this lie all things which we can desire? Of all miseries, the bondage of sin is the most miserable. It is worse than sorrow, worse than pain. It is such a ruin that no other ruin is like unto it. It troubles all the peace of life. It turns sunshine into darkness. It embitters all pleasant fountains and poisons the very blessing of God which should have been for our healing. It doubles the burdens of life, which are heavy enough already. It makes death a terror and a torture, and the eternity beyond the grave an infinite and intolerable blackness. (Faber)
Wow! That really paints a picture, doesn't it? Our Lord, God the Father loves us so much that he gave us his only son Jesus, who loves us so much that he allowed himself to be tortured, humiliated, and crucified so that his blood would be shed and could wash away that bondage, that darkness, that poison! 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.
1 Peter Ch.1 v.18- 21 says "For you know that the price of your ransom from the futile way of life handed down from your ancestors was paid, not in anything perishable like silver or gold, but in precious blood as of a blameless and spotless lamb, Christ. He was marked out before the world was made, and was revealed at the final point of time for your sake. Through him, you now have faith in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory for this very purpose -- that your faith and hope should be in God."
So what is required of us to receive such an unfathomable gift? Faith, Hope, and Love. It's that simple, faith in God, hope in Heaven, love of Jesus, faith in ourselves, hope in humanity, and love of the knowledge that we can be redeemed if we follow him. In verse 22, Peter goes on to say, "Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a [pure] heart". Amazing and so precious!