Most Prominent Devotions of the Church
DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART
But the closest alliance of the devotion to the Precious Blood is with the devotion to the Sacred Heart. The Precious Blood is the wealth of the Sacred Heart. The Sacred Heart is the symbol of the Precious Blood; yet not its symbol only, but its palace, its home, its fountain. It is to the Sacred Heart that it owes the joy of its restlessness and the glory of its impetuosity. The Sacred Heart is the Heart of the Redeemer: yet it was not the Sacred Heart which redeemed us. It was precisely the Precious Blood, and nothing but the Precious Blood, which was the chosen instrument of our redemption. It is this singular reality, this unmated office, this unshared privilege, in which the grandeur of the Precious Blood resides, a grandeur which is also communicated to the devotion.
In our days there is a passion for excitement pervading all hearts that is leading away from God and is disturbing the peace and happiness of society. This morbid craving to quaff from the muddy streams of worldly pleasures is poisoning the springs of true and lasting joy within us. We must drink more from the fountains of eternal bliss in Holy Communion. You shall draw water with joy out of the Saviour s fountains. Good Samaritan, Thou Thyself didst once say, if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint in the way. See, Lord, how my soul is languishing for Thy love; oh, let the oil and wine of Thy consoling Blood flow into my aching heart and allay the tempest of my soul. Reclining on Thy bosom in daily Holy Communion, dearest Master, I shall imbibe from the open wound in Thy side the heavenly wine of salvation that will set my heart at rest and give it a foretaste of that happiness which the world cannot give. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Fill my heart with divine love. Instill into it a love of suffering and a spirit of sacrifice. Inspire me with enthusiasm for Thy honor and glory, with the apostolic spirit. My blood is drink indeed. Yes, Divine Saviour, from the well of Thy Sacred Heart give me to drink. In the hour of death when my memory is tortured by my past sins, when my phantasy is haunted by the enormity of my guilt and the just judgments of God, let Thy expiatory Blood, O Jesus, fill my mind with Thy infinite mercies. When my limbs turn cold and my body lies help less in agony, then O Sacred Heart of Jesus, send a stream of Thy Divine and vivifying Blood into my dying heart to animate it with hope and confidence, so that inebriated with Thy holy love, I may enter heaven as a victim of Thy Precious Blood and join in the triumphal hymn of the elect Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy Blood and made us a kingdom to our God.
DEVOTION TO THE FIVE WOUNDS
The Five Wounds which the risen Lord retained are conclusive evidences that the body which He showed to His apostles after the Resurrection was the same in which He bore the ignominy and tortures of the Passion. Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. These Wounds, which but previously were the marks of suffering and the sure indications of death, have now become the visible signs of victory. They are the glorious proofs of our redemption that will shine like radiant suns for all eternity, while as a mighty prayer they plead incessantly for us at the throne of God. Offering one sacrifice for sins, forever sitteth on the right hand of God On the Day of Judgment these Wounds will be a source of joy to the elect, but a terrible reminder to the lost. They shall look on him whom they pierced. A deluge of mercy poured forth from these reservoirs of salvation on Calvary. In that day there shall be a fountain open to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for the washing of the sinner. Thousands of chalices are now being filled daily on our altars with the same Precious Blood that flowed from these Wounds. A wound was received and a remedy was given us in return says St. Ambrose so beautifully. One day, it was during the feast of the Tabernacles, when the priest brought water in a golden vessel from the Pool of Siloam and poured it mixed with wine into a silver bowl on the altar amid great rejoicing by the people, Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst let him come to me, and drink. As Jesus saw this ceremony in the temple and observed the joy of the people, was He perhaps thinking of the time when from our altars He would send forth unto all the world a similar cry that would be heeded with joy by millions of souls? How sweet and consoling those words of our Savior sound now that we remember Him with His glorious Five Wounds. Behold, I have graven thee in my hands. Ah, yes, dearest Jesus, I see the handwriting in the flaming color of Thy Precious Blood; those seals of Thy love and mercy shall be a blaze of glory for all eternity. In these Wounds I fain would hide where thousands of saints have hidden for nineteen centuries. Thou Thyself didst love to hide from the world. O Jesus, I fear my evil inclinations, I fear the wicked world, I fear the temptations of the devil. Within Thy Wounds hide me and permit me not to be separated from Thee.