Double of the I Class (1955 Calendar): July 1
Today, according to the Traditional Catholic Calendars of 1962 and previous, is the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This Feast, like so many others, has fallen victim to the post-Vatican II Church's novelties.
After Vatican II, this Feast was combined with Corpus Christi. In the USA, this Feast is known as the "Body and Blood of Christ". The term "Body and Blood of Christ" is strictly an American usage. The official
name in England is now "The Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of
Holy Communion," another awful mouthful. The official name of the feast in Latin remains Corpus Christi, and not "Corpus et Sanguis Christi." The change in title in the U.S. came about in the early 1990's.
The feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord, formerly on 1 July,
was suppressed in the New Calendar when the new calendar was promulgated in 1969, and not
twenty-plus years later, when Corpus Christi was renamed in the USA. The
reason for its suppression was indeed the promotion of the
understanding of Corpus Christi in terns of both Sacred Species.
However, this was unfortunate because the feast of the Precious Blood
(still observed at all Masses said according to the Liturgical Books of 1962 or previously) was not,
strictly speaking, eucharistic in nature, but theological/devotional,
and referred more to the Sacred Wounds of Our Lord and the hypostatic
union of Our Lord's divine and human natures.
Traditional Catholics of course still celebrate this Feast. Today we remember His blood spilt not only on the Cross but also in the Circumcision, Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Scourging at the Pillar of Flagellation, and the Crowning with Thorns.
+ The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ +
Today we celebrate the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This feast was instituted in 1849 by Pope Pius IX and was raised to the rank of a double of the first class by Pius XI on the occasion of the nineteenth centenary of our Savior's death.
We are reminded of the scene of Calvary and of the blow from the lance which pierced our Savior's side. The liturgy today is at pains to emphasize the meaning and tremendous significance of this fact in relation with our salvation. The Gospel and the Epistle are concerned with our Redemption, effected by the Blood and the love of our Savior.
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. The Son's love was so great that He gave His very life. No greater love is there than to give one's very life for the ones that he loves.
Not only did our Lord sacrifice His very life, but He so arranged that this sacrifice would continue to the end of time. He daily offers Himself up in an un-bloody manner in the Sacrifice of the Mass.
Here upon the holy altar Our Lord makes Himself present under the appearances of bread and wine through the miracle of transubstantiation. Here too the sacrifice is complete. Christ is made present and then destroyed for our salvation.
St. Paul to the Corinthians says: "The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?"
We were not present to witness the awesome bloody sacrifice of God in atonement for our sins. We did not stand beneath the cross to receive the last drops of His precious blood upon our souls. Yet, we are still able to receive these same graces. We are able to follow our Lord spiritually to Calvary every time we assist at Mass.
It took great courage, conviction, and even more so, love to follow our Lord to Calvary. There were not many who had this love, conviction or courage. The majority of the Apostles were found wanting in this area. They had much to fear from a worldly point of view. They did not wish to receive the same fate as their Master. We have a much easier path to follow. Our Lord remains hidden, but is present nonetheless. He invites us to participate in this sacrifice, and we now have nothing to fear from the world. Perhaps the worst that we will receive today from the world is mockery, ridicule and scorn; but even this is rare in the worldly indifference of today.
Not only is our path easier to follow because we do not have to fear the physical persecution of the world, but it is also much more intimate. In the Sacrifice of the Mass we are able to unite our sacrifices with Christ's and we are able to receive Him into our own bodies and souls.
He comes to us the living Christ (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity). He comes to us in a manner that will not frighten or shock us, hidden under the appearance of bread and wine. He makes Himself very docile to us and allows us not only to approach Him, but even to consume Him. In this manner we are able to unite ourselves with Him, and He with us.
This is the most precious time -- the time of Communion. The all powerful and all merciful God becomes the guest of our very bodies and souls. Here is the point where Heaven and earth meet, and all that is in disorder is easily righted.
Christ is truly our guest, but we are the beneficiaries of His benevolence. He wishes for us to receive Him so that He may give to us. The words of St. Francis ring most truly in Holy Communion: "It is in giving that we receive."
May we truly realize the words from today's Post-communion: "We have been admitted, Lord to the Holy Table, and we have drawn water with joy from the fountains of the Savior; may His Blood be for us, we pray, a fountain of water springing up to eternal life. Who being God lives and reigns."
Almighty and everlasting God, Who didst appoint Thine only-begotten Son to be Redeemer of the world, and dist vouchsafe to be appeased by His Blood: grant, we beseech Thee, that (by our solemn service), we may so venerate the Price of our redemption, and by its power be so defended from the evils of this present life on earth, that we may enjoy its fruit for evermore in heaven. Through the same our Lord.
Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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