The Blood That Was Shed For Me

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The devotion to the Precious Blood of   our Lord Jesus Christ has been practised in the  Church  from early  centuries. In the Epistles we find many references to the Precious Blood indicating the importance the Church attaches to  the Holy Blood of  our Savior. Apostles had no  doubt in praising the redeeming power of the blood of the  blemishless lamb.

‘You know that  you were ransomed from the futile  ways  inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19).  We have been  justified by His blood (Rom. 5:9). Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify  the people by his own  blood (Heb. 13:12). And the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7)’.

St Pope John XIII summarises the  reasons for  giving such a  great honor  to the  Precious  Blood of  Jesus  in these words. “The infinite love of the Savior is announced in His Name, is symbolized in His heart, and is made eloquent in His Blood.”  On another occasion he said;  “The world can still set itself right and always will be able to, because the voice and Blood of Christ cry out for pity and mercy… Devotion to the Precious Blood is the devotion of our time…It is devotion for all souls, for the whole world.”

According to St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi,  whenever we  offer the precious blood of  Jesus Christ that  became our ransom, to the  Eternal Father, we are  giving Him  a gift that is unparalleled and   is of  infinite value.  St John Maria Vianney testifies that offering the  holy blood of   Jesus through the  Blessed Virgin Mary  to God the Father is    most  efficacious. It is recorded that when St Dominic was  celebrating  Holy Mass in the presence of around  three hundred  persons that  included the  king  and queen,  the Blessed Virgin was seen  positioned  above the  Chalice and  sprinkling the holy blood upon each and every person present in the church.   What Jesus once revealed to  St Mechtilde (1241- 1298) is worth  noting here, for it  demonstrates the  true value of  the  Precious Blood of  our Savior. “I  show my bleeding  wounds to my  Father to  appease His  wrath. When he sees the  blood, He pardons  your sins.”

We should not have  any doubt in the  above statement as  we  know that  Jesus  procured all  those graces necessary for the  salvation of  humankind   by shedding  his  Precious Blood in the Cross. What we are to do is to  simply  grasp these graces and apply them for the benefit of ourselves and others. Approach it with the  firm  conviction that  the Precious Blood of Jesus is a perennial source  of spiritual gifts.

We are familiar with  the  prayer of St Gertrude, beseeching God’s mercy upon the souls in  purgatory and  also upon  all  sinners.

‘Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen’.

St. Catherine of Siena had a special  devotion to the  Precious Blood. She once said: “Take caution to see priests only as the dispensers of the Blood of the humble, Immaculate Lamb and overlook the faults you may see in them”. Devotion to the  Precious  Blood is  specially recommended for those  who are in their last agony. A powerful prayer for the mercy of the  Lord to be showered upon the  dying  person is given below:

‘O Most Merciful Jesus, Lover of souls, I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, cleanse in Thine Own Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony and who are to die this day. Amen. 

Heart of Jesus, once in agony, have pity on the dying’.

Precious Blood of  Jesus Christ is our  refuge  not only at the  hour of our death. It is our  refuge and shield all through our life.  Everyday we should consecrate ourselves to  the Precious Blood in the  hope that  at the hour of  death   it will procure us the necessary  graces to  withstand our last temptations. A special prayer  invoking the Precious Blood through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin is   given below. In this prayer, we are  commending  the last three hours of  our life to the maternal heart of the  Blessed Virgin with a supplication to   offer our final hours on this earth to the Eternal Father  in union with the  agony of our Lord. 

‘O Mother of Sorrows, by the anguish and love with which you  did  stand beside the Cross of Jesus, stand by me in my last agony. To your maternal heart I commend the three last hours of my life. Offer these hours to the Eternal Father in union with the agony of our dearest Lord. Offer frequently to the Eternal Father, in atonement for my sins, the Precious Blood of Jesus, mingled with your tears on Calvary, to obtain for me the grace to receive Holy Communion with most perfect love and contrition before my death, and to breathe forth my soul in the actual presence of Jesus. Dearest Mother, when the moment of my death has come, present me as your child to Jesus; say to Him on my behalf: “Son, forgive him, for he knew not what he did. Receive him this day into your kingdom.’

Though the devotion to the Precious Blood  has been practised in the Church  through centuries,  it received  an added momentum with the messages   Jesus  gave to Barnabas Nwoye. It was in  July 1995,  that  our  Lord called him for the first time. Then he was  only   a 17-year-old  student and  was attending a school class in his hometown  Olo in  Enugu province of  Nigeria. Our Lord appealed to Barnabas to adore the Precious Blood and console Him for all the outrages committed against it.  Further messages were given to him  during the   next few years and with the  spread of these messages, the  devotion to the Precious Blood became more and more popular.  It  contains the  Chaplet of  the Precious Blood to be said after the Rosary, followed by  the prayers of  Consolation, Adoration, Reparation, Intercession and Gethsemane Hour.  

Chaplet of the Precious Blood consists of five mysteries relating to the five wounds of Christ. Jesus told Barnabas that the  chaplet should be recited immediately after  Rosary.

The second component  of the devotion (Consolation) is a group  of   prayers  specifically addressed to  the Father and Son, seeking to appease them for the  ingratitude, blasphemies and neglects against  the Precious Blood that take place in the church, in our lives and in the  world at large.  The  Adoration part consists of   seven prayers that adore, glorify and make petitions to the Precious Blood. 

Reparation is the  fourth part of this devotion.  In seven anguished appeals Jesus describes the sins, which have kept Him crucified mystically for the last 2000 years. These sins include offences against Holy Mass, neglect of the Sacraments, immodesty, greed, avarice, lust, etc all leading  millions  of souls into  hell. At the end of  every  anguished appeal Jesus calls on us to lead a life  of reparation.

The fifth part of the devotion consists of  special intercessory prayers called the ‘Mystical Prayers’. Our Lord revealed these prayers to Barnabas as being the very same prayers uttered by Him during His passion and final breath for humanity.  Intercessory prayers include  prayers for the defeat of the Antichrist, endurance during the chastisement, protection from the sin of the flesh and sustenance of faith. Perhaps this is one area that we should pay  more attention in these days.

The final part  called ‘Gethsemane Hour’ is a special prayer – though  a bit lengthy- to be  said  between Thursday 11pm to Friday 3am (or at least one hour between this period) every week. During this time  all five components of the devotion mentioned here are to be observed. The intention of Gethsemane Hour is to  prepare the  faithful  to obtain graces that will enable them to endure the Great Chastisement and  remain steadfast in faith.  A theological commission appointed by the local  bishop  has approved these  prayers. We  recommend this  powerful weapon  given  to us  from heaven  to equip us in the fierce  spiritual  battle that each one of us  has to face.

The month of July  has been traditionally associated with the  devotion to the Precious Blood.  As we know, the Precious Blood of  Lord Jesus Christ is the ransom he paid for  our   souls. We should not let it  go unutilised.   We should  heed the  teachings of saints and mystics who  have  practised the  devotion  to the  Precious Blood with great fervor.   Let us also  pray trusting that  the Precious Blood of  our Savior is our  refuge  at the time of our  final battle. 

‘Precious Blood, Ocean of Divine Mercy, flow upon us

Precious Blood, Most Pure offering, procure us every grace!

Precious Blood, Hope and refuge of sinners, atone for us!

Precious Blood, Delight of the Holy Souls, draw us! Amen.’

(St Catherine of  Sienna)

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