The month of July according to an old Catholic tradition is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the past, the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Christ was celebrated on the first Sunday of July as mentioned by Pope Benedict XVI on July 5th, 2009, in his post-Angelus discourse.
Sacrifice is viewed as the highest form of religious worship which the faithful offer to God as an act of praise, thanksgiving, petition or atonement. This was best manifested in the New Testament when the Immaculate Lamb of God offered Himself on the altar of the Cross to redeem mankind from sin. During the Last Supper, Our Lord established the Holy Eucharist when He stated the following words, “For this is my blood of the new covenant, which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matt.26:28) Truly, this “shedding of blood” or “pouring out of blood” took place on Good Friday and forms one of the glorious mysteries of our Faith.
This devotion to the Precious Blood is one of the most ancient of pious Church practices, which makes us appreciate even more Christ’s redemption of mankind, through His Passion. Sadly, however, the feast was removed from the church calendar in 1969, but it is still praiseworthy to see the month of July as dedicated to the Most Precious Blood, as was the intention of Blessed Pope Pius IX.
We live in a world where innocent human blood is shed almost every day in our urban centres, such as that which occurred recently in our own city of Toronto. The tragic loss of life of people to terrible acts of senseless violence, invites us to reflect even deeper on the sanctity of human life as God’s first gift to us, and how we are called to nurture and protect it at all stages, from conception to its natural conclusion with death. As believers in Christ who shed his Most Precious Blood on the cross in sacrifice for our sins, may the Lord grant us the graces we need to confront the hardships and realities of this world with faith and courage.