THE SPOUSE OF BLOOD
When every commandment of the law had been read by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats with water, and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying: This is the blood of the testament, which God hath enjoined unto you. The tabernacle also and all the vessels of the ministry, in like manner, he sprinkled with blood. And almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood: and without shedding of blood there is no remission But the blood of animals had the power only of purifying from legal defilement, as a type of baptism and penance. If sins were forgiven by the sprinkling of blood, it was only because it disposed sinners for true repentance, through the merits of the Precious Blood of Jesus, The Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. Hence, on Good Friday, when Jesus Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, shed His Blood for us on the Cross, the Old Testament with all its sacrifices came to an end. Even though lambs were still sacrificed the following year and thereafter, they had no value as sacrifices and no symbolic meaning. This is expressed in the words of St. Paul: Sacrifices and oblation thou wouldest not… Then said I: Behold I come, that I should do thy will, O God: he taketh away the first that he may establish that which followeth. It was the Blood of the Savior that taketh away the first and established that which followeth. (Heb. X, 5-9). This is the chalice, the New Testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.
We confess, says the Council of Vienne, that the Divine Word in His assumed nature, did not only want to be nailed to the cross for our salvation and to die thereon, but also that, after giving up His spirit, He wanted His side pierced with a lance, in order to form from the water and blood flowing from this wound, the only and immaculate and virginal mother, the Church, the bride of Christ, even as from the side of the first man cast into a deep sleep, Eve, his wife, was formed. Speaking on these words of Genesis, Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam, Mgr. Adalbert Huhn has this beautiful exposition on the Church and the Precious Blood.
Divine Savior on the Cross, he exclaims, we understand Thee! Then the moment had come when God cast also upon Thee a deep sleep; and during this sleep Thy side was opened and from it was taken Thy bride, the Church. Taken from Thy substance and therefore Thine own and the product of Thy Heart and the outcome of Thy Love, that is the Church of Christ: founded in the Cross, taken from the Heart s Blood of the Savior. And only in this conception is it possible to understand the whole importance and the entire greatness of the Church of Christ. His Blood forms the substance of the Church and hence the remarkable inference: Christ and the Church are one, even as Adam and Eve were of one substance, as man and wife are one in marriage, or, if we may reach higher, as Father and Son are consubstantial, so also Christ and the Church. In this sense only can we understand the Divine Savior’s words to His Apostles: He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me.
Oh, what a terrible error it is in these eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to differentiate in a spirit that is certainly not of heaven, between Christ and the Church, to presume to acknowledge the authority of Christ without acknowledging the authority of the Church. New and Eternal Testament, made between bridegroom and bride, between the second Adam and the second Eve! Whosoever abandons the one must renounce the other;
because both are one. Her life element is His, her graces are no other than His, her truths are identical with His.
The Church does not exist without Christ, because the bridegroom is true to His bride taken from His side in the hour when He was cast into the sleep of love.
From these thoughts let us draw a second conclusion, not less important or less beautiful than the first. The marriage of Adam and Eve produced a numerous offspring; and from the union of the second Adam formed with His bride from His own Heart s blood also many children are born for heaven. But they must all spring from this marriage, otherwise they cannot be His own. The bridegroom has no other children than those engendered with His bride, with His holy Church; and the children who would honor Him as Father must be received as the fruit of this union, in which there is question, not of flesh and blood, but of spirit and life. Therefore it is impossible to be a child of the Son of God without being a child of His holy Church, and hence whosoever wants to become His child must go to His bride and must seek her in the bond that exists between Him and her. This Divine Blood issuing from the Saviour s sacred wounds on Calvary was destined to over flow the entire earth for all times to come through the Church which our Redeemer established in His Blood. God the Father sent a deluge of water to destroy all living creatures, but God the Son deluged the world with His Blood to save all living creatures.
More beautiful than the rivers of Paradise, this life-giving stream flows through the channels of the Mass and the Sacraments into millions of hearts, purifying, sanctifying, and glorifying souls. Every good thought and every holy desire that takes root in the heart and blossoms into fruit thrives so luxuriously because the soil is fructified by the Precious Blood.
Let us, then, love the Church, the greatest gift of the Precious Blood, as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered himself up for it.