Precious blood of Christ calls us to new life

rachel    In the tradition of the Latin rite, the month of July was dedicated to the precious blood of Jesus. Christian churches often sing about the power of Christ’s blood. We sing hymns that ring to the tune of “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
    Although we acknowledge the power of Christ’s blood regularly, we must question whether we truly understand its significance. We must ask ourselves, “Do I actually enter into its power?”
    Certainly, the blood of Jesus Christ is the most precious gift our heavenly Father has given to his church. Yet, most of us do not comprehend its value in our own lives or give it our proper devotion.
A remedy for sin
    To truly appreciate the significance of the precious blood, we must first grasp the gravity of sin. Sin must be the most terrible thing in the whole universe. Why? It cost the living God in human form the shedding of his blood.
    Devotion to the precious blood for us, then, should seem more like a spiritual obligation than a spiritual option. We are living in an age where sin has become rather fashionable. This devotion could surely be a remedy to the symptoms of a troubling growth of secularism in our modern society.
A guaranteed victory
    Perhaps this is a bold statement to make, but I do not believe that most of us live as though we have been saved by the blood of Christ. If we really did understand the total victory that it guarantees us, we wouldn’t walk around feeling so unworthy and restless.
    In the midst of our struggles, we tend to feel overwhelmed and defeated rather than redeemed. When we think about the cross, it is easier to picture Christ dying out of love for everyone else and not for us.
    What peace we would find if only we would believe with all of our hearts that we are infinitely loved by the God of the universe! If only we had the confident faith to say in our hearts when we receive his blood from the chalice, “I am forgiven! I am saved! I am healed!” To trust in the power of the precious blood is to bring our souls and our consciences into rest.
A love beyond compare
    The Son’s love for us was so great that he gave his very life. He himself said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  Yet, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). His love is the greatest there is – and he has arranged for us to enter into this powerful, sacrificial love every time we celebrate the Mass.
    As young adults, we know that people our age are frequenting the Mass less and less. Christ’s body and blood are seldom venerated by our peers. For the most part, Jesus’ body was not reverenced on Calvary either. His blood was washed away, absorbed into the ground or ignored.
    The sight of blood has never been easy to receive. Blood depicts suffering. Most of us want it to be quickly washed away because we do not want to be reminded of pain.
    In Jesus’ case, however, blood was more than a mere reminder. The sight of Christ’s blood confirmed the loss of a king and the hope for a nation’s future. For the Jewish people, it was the supposed loss of the fulfillment of an Old Testament longing. It was a lot to take in.
    Today, when we dwell upon the blood that Christ shed for us on the cross, the image is still not received without difficulty. However, we have a new understanding of it in light of the resurrection. We know with certainty that the life Christ gives us on the cross – which we now receive in Communion – is something fundamentally vital for our souls.
An intimate union
    Jesus comes to us body, blood, soul and divinity. He comes to us humbly, hidden by the appearance of bread and wine. Gentle and meek, he allows us not only to approach him but also to consume him. In this manner, we are able to unite ourselves with him, and he with us.
    When the wine transformed into blood is consumed, we can feel its traveling warmth. We should look forward to that feeling, for it announces Jesus’ entrance into our bodies. Truly, this is an extraordinary act. We should return to our pews in awe. How do we so often overlook a moment this infinitely intimate and sacred?
A gift worth accepting
    St. Therese of Lisieux noted how frequently the blood of Christ is ignored and expressed her desire to be able to stand under the cross in order to catch the drops of blood that fell from Christ’s body. Perhaps, in a similar way, we should picture ourselves toting a large beggar’s bowl to the foot of the cross as we receive Communion, pleading for Christ’s precious blood.
    This blood, when worthily received, drives away demons and puts them at a distance from us. It breaks down the walls in our hearts and makes us holy. It redeems us from sin and the power of darkness. This very blood, poured out in abundance, has washed the whole world clean. How fortunate are we to have this divine blood so near to us!
    Rachel Varisco can be reached at rvarisco@clarionherald.org.

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