WITH DYED GARMENTS
Most Prominent Devotions of the Church
DEVOTION TO THE PASSION
To think of Jesus in His sufferings is to behold Him in His Blood. From Gethsemane to Calvary He is covered with the dyed garments from Bosra. We should never have realized the intense agony of His Sacred Heart in the Garden, if Scripture did not tell us that his sweat became as blood issuing from every pore of His body. The principal Bloodsheddings of our Savior are the chief stations of His Passion. The Precious Blood has set forever in rubrics the love Jesus showed us in His sufferings. Our Lord Himself does not utter a complaint, but the voice of His Blood bespeaks the indescribable tortures of His body and the bitter anguish of His soul. In making the Way of the Cross let us represent our Redeemer to our mind in the livery of His Passion, all covered with Blood, and this thought will inflame our heart with greater love and devotion. The bruises and lacerations of the flesh, the inflame our ignominy and disfigurement of the Passion, are no longer visible in the glorified body of the Savior, neither can He suffer after the Resurrection; but all this is commemorated at the holy sacrifice of the Mass, especially by the separate consecration of the chalice, at which mention of His death is made. It is, however, the same Blood of the agony, of the scourging, of the crowning of thorns, of the crucifixion, although now in a glorified state, that is mystically shed on the altar. In this Eucharistic Blood we find the riches of his grace and therefore also the fruits of our Lord’s Sacred Passion. The Precious Blood in the Sacrament is then a memorial of our Lord’s Passion. This chalice is the New Testament in my blood; this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord until he come.
DEVOTION TO THE HOLY CROSS
The unbeliever looks upon the Cross as a sign of contradiction, as a symbol of senseless sorrow and suffering. To him it is merely a gibbet, an object of shame and scorn devoid of all religious sentiment. But to a Christian, the Cross becomes the emblem of faith, the test of fellowship with Christ, the banner of victory. This apparently lifeless tree shorn of branches and foliage is saturated with divine Blood and endowed with divine power, and is therefore worthy of the deepest veneration. Darkness and despondency depart from it as it stands in the glory of the Resurrection. The Crucifix is the image of Him Who overcame the powers of darkness and opened to us the gates of heaven by redeeming us in His Blood. It is a tree of life eternal. The Cross was the altar, the holy of holies, on which Christ poured out His Precious Blood and obtained for us eternal redemption. Hence the Cross occupies the most prominent place on every altar, where the same sacrifice of Calvary is renewed and the fruits of the Cross are daily dispensed in every Catholic Church throughout the world. How beautiful the chalice appears at elevation containing the vintage of the Cross! I thirst! exclaimed Christ on the Cross. It was a thirst of love for souls. Thousands now kneel daily at the foot of the Cross, where they drink eternal love that is stronger than death from the living fountains of the Savior. At the hour of death, while holding the Crucifix in our hand, let us try to remember that, as the priest anoints us with holy oil in the form of a cross, it is the Blood of Calvary that is wiping away the sins of our senses, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven.
DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
The Precious Blood was the life of Jesus here on earth. It was the life of His infancy at Bethlehem and of His childhood in Egypt and Nazareth. It was His life during the three years of His public ministry. It was the life which He poured out in His Passion. It was the life of His Resurrection and Ascension and it is the life of His eternal glory in Heaven. So it is also His Eucharistic life in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. The Precious Blood is the human life of the Word. Beatitude is the natural life of God; and so joy is the natural life of the Precious Blood. In truth, is not joy the nearest definition of life that we can have; for is it not God s first intention in the gift of life? In heaven and in the Blessed Sacrament the Precious Blood dwells, incomparably glorified in the veins of Jesus. Its beauty there is wonderful to see, wonderful to think of. The sight of it in our Lord s translucent Body is an immense gladness to the Blessed. Earth has no beauty to which we can compare it; yet earth is not therefore poorer than heaven; for it has this very beauty in the adorable Sacrament. But it is not only a joy to others. Its own life is an unbroken jubilee. As it goes and returns to and from the Sacred Heart it is filled with pulses of the most abounding gladness. It thrills with the exquisite delight of created life carried to its utmost ecstatic possibility. But over and above this, there is the undefinable, unimaginable ecstasy of the Hypostatic Union, which is felt in every particle of that Precious Blood. It throbs with such pacific tumult of immortal love, as no created life could bear without some miraculous union with the God-head. The life of the flesh is in the blood and it is the blood that gives testimony, that is, bears witness to the sacred humanity of Christ. How often has it not happened in the Church that God made use of blood on the host or corporal, to convince the doubting of the Real Presence. By representing to ourselves the Blood of Jesus as pulsating in His arteries, we realize more vividly that it is not a phantom body, nor the body of Jesus as it was in the sepulcher, but the living Jesus as He appeared to His Apostles after the Resurrection that is present in the Eucharist. An appeal to the Prisoner of Love, reminding Him of the love with which He shed His Blood for us, cannot but touch the Sacred Heart and bear abundant fruit.