Although it is not as well known as the Sacred Heart in June, the month of July has been dedicated to the Most Precious Blood Of Christ since 1849 and the First Italian War for Independence. During wartime, thoughts often turn to the sacrifice of spilling bloodd, Certainly the thoughts of two men involved in this war did.
The war forced Pope Pius IX into exile, and he left Rome for the relative safety of Gaeta. Traveling with him was Don Giovanni Merlini, of the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood. It was Merlini who suggested to Pope Pius IX that formally creating a universal feast invoking the intercession of the Precious Blood of Christ might aid in ending the war and restoring peace. The Pope agreed and made a statement that he would proclaim this feast on his return to Rome. It was not too much longer before the war ended, and the Pope kept his word. He instituted July 1 as the fixed date for this celebration.
Although this particular devotion was removed form the Liturgical Calendar after Vatican II, it is still tradionally observed not just on one day, but for the entire month. We are encouraged to meditate on the sacrifice of Jesus, who voluntarily shed his blood for us.
This devotion is naturally connected to the Divine Mercy, in which Jesus appeared with two rays, one red and one white, streaming forth from his heart. These rays symbolize the blood and water that flowed out from his heart when he was pierced on the cross. If you can, pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy this month. For Americans, we can also make the connection to our own celebration of freedom, which we mark on July 4th. Many, many men and women through the ages have likewise shed their blood to ensure our freedom, and we can offer up our own prayers of thanks and gratitude on their behalf, remembering their sacrifice.
During the month of July, pay special attention to receiving the blood of Christ at Mass, and meditate on how Jesus spilled his blood for the salvation of humanity. He offers this gift - the gift of true freedom, freedom from sin and death, to all those who partake with a faithful and grateful heart.
This blog is written by the Baskets & Blessings team, to inspire, encourage and elevate!