July Devotion – The Most Precious Blood
July is the month dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus. Among devotions to the humanity of Christ (e.g., Divine Infancy, Sacred Heart) the Precious Blood of Jesus has the most biblical precedent since it is mentioned so frequently in the New Testament (over 75 times). Saint Peter, our first Pope, specifically refers to the blood of Christ as “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled” (1 Peter 1:19, D-R). In fact, it might even be said that the entire Old Testament is a lesson in “blood sacrifice” as an anticipation of Christ’s obedient and merciful sacrifice on the wood of the life-giving cross.
St. Paul could rightfully be called the “Theologian of the Precious Blood.” The Apostle even tell us to place our “faith in His blood”:
“Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to the shewing of his justice, for the remission of former sins” (Romans 3:25 D-R).
This reveals that the Precious Blood of Jesus is not an abstraction, but a true devotion to the Divine Person of Christ.
In Ephesians, the Apostle teaches us that our redemption was purchased “through His blood” (Eph 1:7), and in Hebrews, he teaches that the entire New Covenant is rooted in the Precious Blood of Jesus.
Saint John the Apostle stresses the love of God and the Precious Blood when he writes: “he hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev 1:5, D-R). Elsewhere, Saint John explains that the Blood of Jesus continues to be applied to us: “But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another: And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7).
In recent times the devotion has been encouraged by Blessed Gaspar Buffalo, founder of the Congregation of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. When Pope Pius IX was in exile from Rome in 1849, he had as his companion Don Giovanni Merlini, the third general of that Congregation. This saintly priest suggested to the pope that he make a vow to give the feast of the Precious Blood to the entire church, if he should regain the papal territory. Without binding himself by the vow, the pope immediately extended the feast to the whole Church to be celebrated on 1 July each year.