Month of the Precious Blood
July is the month dedicated to the Precious Blood of our Lord JESUS Christ. Devotion to the Precious Blood doesn’t only refer to the Blood which JESUS shed for us on the Cross. It also has a Eucharistic meaning. At Mass, when the priest says the words of Consecration over the chalice, “This is the Chalice of My Blood poured out for you and for many” the Blood of Christ becomes substantially present under the appearance of wine. The Church also teaches that the whole Christ is present here because Christ is risen, and so His Blood which is in Heaven is not separated from His Body or His Divinity. Hence the chalice is not only the Blood of Our Lord, but also the Body, Soul and Divinity. So we can say, God is present in the chalice. The wine itself is changed into Christ, the whole Christ. The Church uses the term Transubstantiation to describe this miracle.
Until recent times the Church did not distribute the Precious Blood to the faithful partly due to the danger of spillage, but also because many Protestants insisted that one did not receive the whole Christ unless you received from the chalice as well. This is false. So during the present COVID-19 pandemic, the Bishops have sensibly forbidden Holy Communion from the chalice for the people due to fear of contamination. Communion under the species of bread is sufficient because when a person receives the Body of Christ, he also receives the Blood of Christ at the same time. Sometimes people feel they are being short-changed if they are not able to receive from the chalice. This is mistaken because the whole Christ is received under the species of bread alone and the whole Christ is received under the species of wine alone. The fruitfulness of Holy Communion does not depend on whether or not it is received under both species, but on how ardent the faith of the communicant is, whether they are in a state of grace and how well prepared they are. Our Lord Who said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” also said, “if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever.”
Finally, it is the Blood of Christ which saves us and atones for our sins. In the Old Testament God was going to punish the cruelty of the Egyptians and rescue Israel by the Ten Plagues. The final plague was the worst of all when He sent the ‘Angel of Death’ to strike down the first born of the Egyptians. But before that happened, God commanded Moses to make every Israelite family take a spotless male lamb and sacrifice it and consume it. And they were to put the blood of the lamb on the wooden doorposts, so that when the Angel of Death passed over, he would not dare to enter any house where the blood of the lamb had been smeared. Those who had smeared the blood of the lamb on their doorposts were saved, but for the Egyptians who had not, it was a night of grief and wailing. The blood of the lamb had the power to save the Israelites only because it was a sign, a figure, a foreshadowing of the Precious Blood of Christ, the true Lamb of God spoken of by the prophets which would be poured out on the Cross. Precious Blood of JESUS, price of our salvation, save us!
Fr Paul Gillham, IC