With Dyed Garments
DEVOTION TO THE MOTHER OF GOD
The Precious Blood of Jesus, says St. Bonaventure, derives its origin from His most holy Mother. Jesus and Mary have prepared for my soul the sweetest and most refreshing potion. St. Athanasius writes in a similar strain: Jesus was nourished at the breast of His Mother that from His own side might flow the Blood of the divine testament, the drink of salvation. When the child Jesus was forty days old, Mary offered the Divine Victim in the temple to His Heavenly Father. With five shekels, according to the law, she then redeemed Him Who afterwards redeemed the world with His Five Wounds. O good Jesus, exclaims St. Thomas of Villanova, Thou belongest to us by a two-fold right; Thou wast given to us by the Father and purchased for us by the Mother. But it was beneath the Cross that our blessed Mother made the offering of her Son in the most heroic manner. Mary, is then, the rightful dispenser of the Blood of Jesus. Hence St. Anthony gives us these consoling words: Certain access to God is assured us when the Mother stands before the Son and the Son before the Father. Thus a powerful petition, written with the Blood of His well-beloved Son, can be presented every morning to the Father in the holy sacrifice of the Mass through the hands of the Blessed Virgin. The Precious Blood flows, as it were, from the heart of Mary to the heart of Jesus through all the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. As we meditate on the life of Christ, each bead, each Ave, is imbued with the Blood of the Redemption that circulated in His sacred Body from the time of the Annunciation until His glorious Ascension. In the joyful mysteries, we adore the Precious Blood in the tabernacle of Mary s sacred body, in the crib of Bethlehem and in the temple of Jerusalem. In the sorrowful mysteries, we contemplate and adore the Blood of Jesus in the garden, in the praetorium, in the streets of Jerusalem and on the hill of Calvary. In the glorious mysteries, we worship this same Precious Blood in the glorious body of our Saviour in heaven and on our altars. The first token that God gave our first parents as a sign of reconciliation and the assurance of His protection, was a garment. Rebecca obtained the blessing that belonged to the first-born for her favorite son by means of a garment. The same Jacob gave his favorite son Joseph a coat of many colors, because he loved him more than the rest. Mary made for her Son Jesus a seam less garment that is venerated to this day. Jesus impressed the image of His bloody countenance on the veil of Veronica, and this piece of garment is an object of great devotion. And now, my dearest Mother Mary, I beseech Thee with confidence, obtain for me, although thy unworthy child, the blessing of God the Father by covering me with the merits of thy Son Jesus, that I may regain my eternal birthright in heaven. Clothe me every evening, Sweet Lady of Mt. Carmel, but especially on the eve of my life, with the Dyed Garments of the Precious Blood.
THE SPOUSE OF BLOOD
Upon the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept, when we remembered Sion. On the willows in the midst thereof, we hung up our instruments. For there they that led us into captivity required of us the words of songs. And they that carried us away said: sing ye to us a hymn of the songs of Sion. How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten. Let my tongue cleave to my jaws, if I do not remember thee: if I make not Jerusalem the beginning of my joy (Ps. 136). In these words, an exile returning from the Babylonian captivity expressed the intense grief of the children of Israel over their banishment from the Holy City. How great must have been their love of the divine worship in the temple, if they sat and wept when they remembered Sion! How ardent must have been their enthusiasm in speaking of the solemnity of the daily sacrifices offered at Jerusalem, since they were requested by those who had carried them away to sing a hymn of the songs of Sion! What fealty and attachment to their faith, if they would rather lose their right hand and have their tongue cleave to their jaw than be a traitor to their holy religion! The magnificent temple, the hundreds of priests and Levites, the solemn rites, the beautiful songs, the thousands of victims, all this was in spiring, indeed. But what must have made the deepest impression on the faithful Israelites was, to see the priest who had charge of the temple service accept and slay the offering, carefully gather its blood, sprinkle with it him who offered the victim and then pour out the rest around the altar. This was a daily custom and lasted from the time of Aaron to the coming of Christ, excepting the time the Jews were in captivity. What a grand spectacle, for instance, is presented to our vision by a description of the ceremonies of the Passover, the greatest feast of the Hebrews, by which they celebrated their escape from the angel of the Passover and their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. In commemoration of these miraculous events, Moses commanded that at Eastertide a lamb was to be slain by every family and with its blood the doorpost to be sprinkled three times. In the days of Christ it was customary for every Jew to eat this paschal lamb at Jerusalem. The city itself was not large enough to contain the immense number of guests, who therefore put up tents beyond the city limits. Josephus tell us that just before the destruction of Jerusalem 250,000 lambs were slain at one time for the feast of Easter; since no fewer than ten persons were required for every lamb, we can estimate the number of persons who took part in this grand act of sacrifice. When we recall the manner in which these sacrificial lambs were immolated, the scene becomes still more spectacular. At three o clock on the Thursday before Easter the temple priests blew great blasts on their silver trumpets, to tell the waiting multitude that they were ready for the sacrifice of the paschal lamb. Now could be seen hundreds of thousands of lambs carried hither and thither from the temple on the shoulders of the leader of each little band of pilgrims. Each lamb was then suspended on two sticks forming a cross. The longer stick was driven through the body and in the tendons of the hind legs; the shorter one caused the front feet to be extended. These supports were to be of wood. In this manner the lamb was roasted and placed upon the table. What a true image of our Lord upon the Cross! It was God who ordained that blood should form the covenant between Himself and His chosen people.