Monday, July 02, 2018

The Most Precious Blood of Jesus

From the Divine Office  
Matins for July 1 - The Most Precious Blood
A homily of St. Augustine, Bishop
Treatise 120 on John

The Evangelist uses a carefully chosen word. He does not say that the soldier “struck” Christ’s side or “wounded” it or anything else of the kind, but that he “opened” it. This wording gives us a picture of the door of life opening to let the sacraments of the Church flow out, those sacraments without which no one can enter into life which is true life. The outpoured Blood was poured out for the remission of sins. The water is an ingredient of the cup of salvation : it serves both for washing and for drinking. All this was foreshadowed when Noe was commanded to make a door in the side of the ark. This door was to admit the living creatures who were not to perish in the flood: they prefigured the Church. To foreshadow the same mystery, the first woman was made from the side of the man as he slept, and she was called Life and Mother of the Living. Thus a great good was prefigured before the great evil of sin. Here the second Adam, bowing His head, slept on the cross, that a wife might be formed for Him out of the water and Blood that flowed from His side as He slept. O death, by which the dead return to life! What is more cleansing than this Blood? What is more health-giving than this wound?


All hail, wounds of Christ, pledges of a measureless love; from you flow endlessly the red streams of His blood.
You surpass the stars in brilliance, roses and balsam in fragrance, jewels from India in worth and honeycombs in sweetness.
Through you there lies open for our souls entrance to a welcome refuge, and no angry foe can ever pursue us there with his menaces.
How many the stripes Jesus received, all naked in Pilate’s hall; how many the drops of blood that His torn skin lets fall all round Him.
And now a crown of thorns pierces His noble brow, and nails with blunted points bore their way through His hands and feet.

And after He had breathed His last, all love and sacrifice to the end, His side is pierced by a soldier’s lance, and there gushed forth the two fold stream of water and blood.
To pay our ransom in full, Jesus is crushed completely in the wine-press and, forgetful only of Himself, is drained of His blood to the very last drop.
All that are corrupted by sin’s deadly infection, come to these healing streams; for if a man bathe himself at this atoning spring, purity of soul will be his.
Thanks are due to Him who sits at the Father’s right hand, for He has redeemed us by His blood and strengthens us by the Holy Spirit. Amen.