1 July – Feast of the Most Precious Blood and July Devotion
In his book, The Precious Blood, Father Frederick William Faber, D.D., calls St. Paul the Doctor of the Precious Blood owing to his evident fondness to preach on It in his epistles (Romans 3:25; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12).
He recounts that the lives of Saints are replete with devotion to the Precious Blood making special mention of St. John Chrysostom, St. Austin, St. Gertrude and St. Catherine of Sienna whom he considered the Prophetess of the Precious Blood for putting emphasis on It as the solution to the ills of her times.
Father Faber also remarks that the Precious Blood makes us appreciate more, Christ’s redemption of mankind, His sacrifice and Passion.
It also makes us comprehend the beautiful doctrine and the august realities of the Blessed Sacrament as we kneel in front of the Tabernacle in humble adoration.
Over time the Church gave Her blessing to the devotion by approving societies like the Missionaries of the Precious Blood; enriching confraternities like that of St. Nicholas in Carcere, in Rome and that of the London Oratory; attaching indulgences to prayers and scapulars in honour of the Precious Blood; and instituting commemorative feasts of the Precious Blood, Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent and, since Pius IX, the first Sunday of July.
St Pope Pius X assigned the date of 1 July to this feast.
Salvete Christi vulnera
Hail, holy Wounds of Jesus, hail
Hail, holy Wounds of Jesus, hail,
Sweet pledges of the saving Rood,
Whence flow the streams that never fail,
The purple streams of His dear Blood.
Brighter than brightest stars ye show,
Than sweetest rose your scent more rare,
No Indian gem may match Your glow,
No honeys taste with Yours compare.
Portals ye are to that dear home
Wherein our wearied souls may hide,
Whereto no angry foe can come,
The Heart of Jesus crucified.
What countless stripes our Jesus bore,
All naked left in Pilates hall!
From His torn flesh flow red a shower
Did round His sacred person fall!
His beauteous brow, oh, shame and grief,
By the sharp thorny crown is riven;
Through hands and feet, without relief,
The cruel nails are rudely driven.
But when for our poor sakes He died,
A willing Priest by love subdued,
The soldiers lance transfixed His side,
Forth flowed the Water and the Blood.
In full atonement of our guilt,
Careless of self, the Saviour trod
Een till His Hearts best Blood was spilt
The wine-press of the wrath of God.
Come, bathe you in the healing flood,
All ye who mourn, by sin opprest;
Your only hope is Jesus Blood,
His Sacred Heart your only rest.
All praise to Him, the Eternal Son,
At Gods right hand enthroned above,
Whose Blood our full redemption won,
Whose Spirit seals the gift of love.