– July 1 –
The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ
The Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ was a feast included in the General Roman Calendar from 1849 to 1969.
The feast, celebrated in Spain in the 16th century, was later introduced to Italy by Saint Gaspar del Bufalo. For many dioceses there were two days to which the Office of the Precious Blood was assigned, the office being in both cases the same. The reason was this: the office was at first granted to the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood only. Later, as one of the offices of the Fridays of Lent, it was assigned to the Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent in some dioceses, including, by decision of the Fourth Provincial Council of Baltimore (1840), those in the United States.
When Pope Pius IX went into exile at Gaeta in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1849), he had as his companion Father Giovanni Merlini, third superior general of the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood. After they had arrived at Gaeta, Don Merlini suggested that His Holiness make a vow to extend the feast of the Precious Blood to the entire Church, if he would again recover possession of the Papal States. The Pope took the matter under consideration, but a few days later, on 30 June 1849, the day the French army conquered Rome and the insurgents of the Roman Republic capitulated, he sent his domestic prelate Joseph Stella to Father Merlini with the message: “The pope does not deem it expedient to bind himself by a vow; instead His Holiness is pleased to extend the feast immediately to all Christendom.” On 10 August of the same year, he officially included the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the General Roman Calendar for celebration on the first Sunday in July, the first Sunday after 30 June, the anniversary of the liberation of the city of Rome from the insurgents. In reducing the number of feasts fixed for Sundays, Pope Pius X assigned the date of 1 July to this feast. In 1933, Pope Pius XI raised the feast to the rank of Double of the 1st Class to mark the 1900th anniversary of Jesus’ death. In Pope John XXIII’s 1960 revision of the General Roman Calendar, the feast was classified as of the first class.
Dumped by Vatican II
The feast was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969, “because the Most Precious Blood of Christ the Redeemer is already venerated in the solemnities of the Passion, of Corpus Christi and of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and in the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. But the Mass of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ is placed among the votive Masses”.
The Liturgical Year by Dom Guéranger
John the Baptist has pointed out the Lamb, Peter has firmly fixed His throne, Paul has prepared the Bride; this their joint work, admirable in its unity, at once suggests the reason for their feasts occurring almost simultaneously on the cycle. The alliance being now secured, all three fall into shade; whilst the Bride herself, raised up by them to such lofty heights, appears alone before us, holding in her hands the sacred cup of the nuptial-feast. This gives the key of today’s solemnity; revealing how it’s illumining the heavens of the holy Liturgy, at this particular season, is replete with mystery. The Church, it is true, has already made known to the sons of the New Covenant, and in a much more solemn manner, the price of the Blood that redeemed them, its nutritive strength, and the adoring homage which is its due. Yes; on Good Friday, earth and heaven beheld all sin drowned in the saving stream, whose eternal flood-gates at last gave way, beneath the combined effort of man’s violence and of the love of the divine Heart. The festival of Corpus Christi witnessed our prostrate worship before the altars whereon is perpetuated the Sacrifice of Calvary, and where the outpouring of the Precious Blood affords drink to the humblest little ones, as well as to the mightiest potentates of earth, lowly bowed in adoration before it. How is it, then, that Holy Church is now inviting all Christians to hail, in a particular manner, the stream of life ever gushing from the sacred fount? What else can this mean, but that the preceding solemnities have by no means exhausted the mystery? The peace which the Blood has made to reign in the high places as well as in the low; the impetus of its wave bearing back the sons of Adam from the yawning gulf, purified, renewed, and dazzling white in the radiance of their heavenly apparel; the Sacred Table out spread before them, on the waters’ brink, and the Chalice brimful of inebriation; all this preparation and display would be object less, all these splendors would be incomprehensible, if man were not brought to see therein the wooings of a love that could never endure its advances to be outdone by the pretensions of any other. Therefore, the Blood of Jesus is set before our eyes, at this moment, as the Blood of the Testament; the pledge of the alliance proposed to us by God; the dower stipulated upon by Eternal Wisdom for this divine union to which he is inviting all men, and whereof the consummation in our soul is being urged forward with such vehemence by the Holy Ghost. This is why the present festival, fixed as it is upon a day that must necessarily be one of the Sundays after Pentecost, does not interrupt, in any way, the teaching which these Sundays are particularly meant to convey, but tends rather to confirm it. Having therefore, Brethren, a confidence in the entering into the Holies by the Blood of Christ, says the Apostle, a new and living way which he hath dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh, let us draw near with a pure heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with clean water, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he is faithful that hath promised. Let us consider one another to provoke unto charity and to good works. And ” may the God of peace who brought again from the dead the great pastor of the sheep, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Blood of the everlasting Testament, fit you in all goodness, that you may do his will: doing in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom is glory for ever and ever. Amen!
The Octave Day of St. John the Baptist
The Church unites on June the 24th in one same glad celebration, the memory both of the Birth of the Precursor and of his Circumcision, surrounded as it was by prodigies, related in the Gospel of the feast itself. But, properly speaking, this is the day where on these wonders were operated, according to the words of the Gospel: It came to pass that on the Eighth Day the child was circumcised. By placing on the morrow of this Eighth Day the celebration of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, the Church seems to insinuate, besides, that Our Lady, who had been staying in Zachary’s house during the last three months, prolonged her stay and her tender care of the infant and his mother up to this date. The babe that three months ago, at her first arrival, had leaped as though fain to force the prison of the maternal womb, seemed at the moment of his birth to spring towards her; she received him into her arms, and pressed him to her breast wherein the Son of God still lay reposing. She gave herself entirely to him during these eight days; for she knew they would be the only ones in which the Friend of the Bridegroom would taste here below, although without seeing him, the intimate presence of him unto whom his whole heart turned. Save the solemn moment of his Baptism, the sublime majesty of which would hold in subjection every sentiment in the soul of the Precursor but that of self-annihilation and of adoration, John is never to behold (excepting once or twice at a distance) the Well-Beloved he has come to announce.
Profound mystery this of plan divine! John is never to know the Bridegroom, never to enjoy our Jesus, save in Mary. Nevertheless, even tomorrow must the farewell be; even tomorrow the desert is to open before him; a desert of the soul, more terrific a thousand times than that which affects the outward senses. His flight from the world to the desert of Judea, far from being a trial to John, will be rather a solace to this infant soul for whom earth was already too narrow.
In the wilderness, at least, the air is pure, heaven seems ready to open, and God gives answer to the soul that calls upon him. Let us then not be astonished that scarcely is John born than he searches for solitude, and passes almost at once from his mother’s breast to the desert wilds. There was no childhood for the man who three months previous to his birth had attained, at one bound, to the plenitude of the age of Christ; no need of human master had he whom heaven had undertaken to instruct, who knew both the past and the future, in God, and whose own plenitude of knowledge, transmitted by him to his parents, had turned them also into prophets. Better far than Elizabeth had he entered into the meaning of Our Lady in her Magnificat; even on this day he quite comprehends Zachary hailing him as Prophet of the Highest, in the Benedictus: and from whom, save from the Word Himself, could the Voice of the Word have received the science of language ? Gifted with the full use of his will, what progress, on the other side, must he not have made, in love, during these three months ! The Mother of divine grace neglected nothing in the formation of this natural disposition so singularly favored, where no obstacle opposed the full development of the divine germs. St. Ambrose, whose exquisite delicacy has so wonderfully penetrated into these mysteries, shows us John under Mary’s influence, exercising himself in the several virtues, anointing his limbs like a valiant athlete, and essaying, even from his mother’s womb, the combats which await him. The eight days which have just elapsed for him in the arms of Our Lady have completed the work. His sweet Mistress, whom he is to see no more, may even now be speak their meeting again, in heaven, he at the left of her Son’s throne, she at the right, according to the tradition of which Christian Art has made itself the faithful interpreter up to our own time. Whilst awaiting for another six months the birth of the Virgin’s Son, earth is meanwhile in possession of him who is the greatest amongst all that are born of women. No human ken in its highest soarings may touch the summits whereon this child of but eight days holds fixed the gaze of his intelligence; no sanctity may stretch to further limits than his, the heroism of love. Fully enlightened on all the bearings of the approaching farewell, he will not shrink at seeing the Son and the Mother depart on the morrow. Like the divine Spouse himself, he, the Friend of the Bridegroom, is strong enough to have no other food than the accomplishment of the Will of the Father who has sent them both. His soul, filled henceforth with the memory of these days wherein his heart has been throbbing to the pulsations of that of Jesus, whilst Mary has been clasping him to her breast, will, by its fidelity, despite the distant parting, ever keep up between his own and these two Hearts the sublime concert wherein, during these happy hours, the Eternal Trinity has been listening for the first time to an echo, in the flesh, of Its own harmony. Like to the sun-flower, friend of the day-star, which, without quitting earth where on it is placed, keeps ever turning towards him its wistful corolla, John, from the desert’s midst, will follow in heart and thought every step of Jesus; but yet will he keep restraint upon his soul. With that eagle-glance of his which heretofore espied him in Our Lady’s womb, he will behold him despite all intermediaries, now a child, now grown up to man hood, passing by not far from his solitude; yet never once will the impetuosity of his love carry him away to climb the few hills then separating him from Jesus, and to throw himself at his sacred Feet; never once will the zeal which devours him, the Voice, the Witness of the Word, urge him to anticipate by one moment the hour that Heaven has fixed for him to cry out to the ignorant crowd : Behold your God, the Lamb that is to save you, the expected Messias! And when at last, in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, he manifests the Bridegroom at the divine command, he, the great Baptist, is not the one to come nigh to Jesus, saying: Master, where dwellest thou? nor is he the one that receives the answer: Come and see! To others, yea, even to all others, the happy lot to follow Jesus, to abide with Jesus: but as to John, he thrills indeed at his blissful meeting; yet for his part, he keeps afar off, he disappears even until that day, now fast approaching, when the prison of the adulterous Herod is to become his grave. O God! cries out the gentle St. Francis de Sales, such an example as this overwhelms my mind with its grandeur. Oh! what divine abstinence, exclaims the Eagle of Meaux, in his turn, Oh! abstinence more admirable far than all those other abstinences related of St. John the Baptist! Let us, too, share with the Church in her admiring glad- someness, while during these days she makes echo to Gabriel’s voice proclaiming at once the dignity both of the Son of Zachary and of our Savior him self. Let us enter into the enthusiasm wherewith so many fathers and doctors (hailing first of all Mary blessed above all) are loud in their applause of the eulogium given to John by the Word Himself.
The Liturgical Year – Dom Gueranger, O.SB.
FEAST OF THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD
OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
Double of the First Class – Red Vestments
Missa ‘Redemisti nos’
TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS PROPERS
INTROITUS – Apocalypse 5: 9-10
Redemisti nos, Dómine, in sanguine tuo, ex omni tribu, et lingua, et pópulo, et natióne: et fecísti nos Deo nostro regnum. Ps. 88.2. Misericórdias Dómini in ætérnum cantábo: in generatiónem et generatiónem annuntiábo veritátem tuam in ore meo. Gloria Patri.
Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy Blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made us to our God a kingdom. Ps. The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever: I will show forth Thy truth with my mouth to generation and generation. Glory be to the Father.
OmnÍpotens sempitérne Deus, qui unigénitum Fílium tuum mundi Redemptórem constituísti ac ejus Sanguine placári voluísti: concéde, quǽsumus, salútis nostræ prétium (solémni cultu) ita venerári, atque a præséntis vitæ malis ejus virtúte deféndi in terris; ut fructu perpétuo lætémur in cælis. Per eúmdem Dóminum.
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst appoint Thine only-begotten Son to be the Redeemer of the world, and hast willed to be appeased by His Blood; grant unto us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate (with solemn worship) the price of our redemption, and by its power be so defended against the evils of this life, that we may enjoy the fruit thereof for evermore in heaven. Through the same our Lord.
SECOND COLLECT – OCTAVE DAY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
Deus, qui præséntem diem honorábilem nobis in beáti Joánnis nativitáte fecísti: da pópulis tuis spirituálium grátiam gaudiórum; et ómnium fidélium mentes dírige in viam salútis ætérnæ. Per Dóminum.
O God, Who hast made this day honorable to us on account of the birth of blessed John, grant Thy people the grace of spiritual joys, and direct the minds of all the faithful in the way of eternal salvation. Through our Lord.
EPISTOLA – Hebrews 9: 11-15
Fratres: Christus assístens póntifex futurórum bonórum, per ámplius et perféctius tabernáculum non manufáctum, id est, non hujus creatiónis: neque per sánguinem hircórum aut vitulórum, sed per próprium sánguinem introívit semel in Sancta, ætérna redemptióne invénta. Si enim sanguis hircórum et taurórum, et cinis vítulæ aspérsus, inquinátos sanctíficat ad emundatiónem carnis; quanto magis Sanguis Christi, qui per Spiritum Sanctum semetípsum óbtulit immaculátum Deo, emundábit consciéntiam nostram ab opéribus mórtuis, ad serviéndum Deo vivénti? Et ídeo novi testaménti mediátor est: ut morte intercedénte, in redemptiónem eárum prævaricatiónum, quæ erant sub prióri testaménto, repromissiónem accípiant, qui vocáti sunt ætérnæ hereditátis, in Christo Jesu Dómino nostro.
Brethren: Christ being come, a High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation: neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by His own Blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen and the ashes of a heifer, being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh: how much more shall the Blood of Christ, who, by the Holy Ghost, offered Himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? And therefore He is the Mediator of the new testament: that by means of His death, for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
GRADUALE – I John 5: 6-9
Hic est qui venit per aquam et sánguinem, Jesus Christus: non in aqua solum, sed in aqua et sánguine. V. Tres sunt qui testimónium dant in cælo: Pater, Verbum, et Spíritus Sanctus: et hi tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimónium dant in terra: Spíritus, aqua, et sanguis: et hi tres unum sunt.
This is He that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. V. There are three who give testimony in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three are one.
ALLELUIA – I John 5: 9
Allelúia, allelúia. V. Si testimónium hóminum accípimus, testimónium Dei majus est. Allelúia.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. Alleluia.
EVANGELIUM – John 19: 30-35
In illo témpore: Cum accepísset Jesus acétum, dixit: Consummátum est. Et inclináto cápite trádidit spíritum. Judǽi ergo (quóniam Parascéve erat) ut non remanérent in cruce córpora sábbato (erat enim magnus dies ille sábbati), rogavérunt Pilátum ut frangeréntur eórum crura et tolleréntur. Venérunt ergo mílites: et primi quidem fregérunt crura et altérius qui crucifíxus est cum eo. Ad Jesum autem cum veníssent, ut vidérunt eum jam mórtuum, non fregérunt ejus crura, sed unus mílitum láncea latus ejus apéruit, et contínuo exívit sanguis et aqua. Et qui vidit testimónium perhíbuit: et verum est testimónium ejus.
At that time, Jesus, when He had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing His head, He gave up the ghost. Then the Jews (because it was the Parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the sabbath-day (for that was a great sabbath-day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers, therefore, came: and they broke the legs of the first and of the other that was crucified with Him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs
But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony, and his testimony is true.
OFFERTORIUM – I Corinthians 10: 16
Calix benedictiónis, cui benedícimus, nonne communicátio Sánguinis Christi est? et panis, quem frángimus, nonne participátio Córporis Dómini est?
The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the communion of the Blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the Body of the Lord?
Per hæc divína mystéria, ad novi, quǽsumus, testaménti mediatórem Jesum accedámus: et super altária tua, Dómine virtútum, aspersiónem sánguinis, mélius loquéntem quam Abel, innovémus. Per eúmdem Dóminum.
We pray that through these divine mysteries, we may draw near to Jesus, the mediator of the new Testament: and upon Thine altars, O Lord of Hosts, may we renew the sprinkling of that Blood which pleadeth better than that of Abel. Through the same our Lord.
Virgin and Child Enthroned between St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist – Sandro Botticelli
SECOND SECRET – OCTAVE DAY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
Tua, Dómine, munéribus altária cumulámus: illíus nativitátem honóre débito celebrántes qui Salvatórem mundi et cécinit adfutúrum, et adésse monstrávit, Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat.
We heap Thine altars with gifts, O Lord, celebrating with fitting honour the nativity of him who heralded the coming of the Saviour, and pointed Him out when He had come, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son: Who liveth and reigneth.
PREFACE OF THE HOLY CROSS
Vere dignum et justum est, ǽquum et salutáre, nos tibi semper, et ubíque grátias ágere: Dómine sancte, Pater omnípotens, ætérne Deus: Qui salútem humáni géneris in ligno Crucis constituísti: ut unde mors oriebátur, inde vita resúgeret: et qui in ligno vincébat, in ligno quoque vincerétur: per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Per quem majestátem tuam laudant Angeli, adórant Dominatiónes, tremunt Potestátes. Cæli, cælorúmque Virtútes ac beáta Séraphim, sócia exsultatióne concélebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admítti júbeas, deprecámur, súpplici confessióne dicéntes:
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty and everlasting God. Who didst set the salvation of mankind upon the tree of the Cross, so that whence came death, thence also life might rise again, and that he who overcame by the tree might also be overcome on the tree through Christ our Lord. Through whom the angels praise Thy majesty, the dominions worship it, and the powers stand in awe. The heavens and the heavenly hosts, and the blessed seraphim join together in celebrating their joy. With these we pray Thee join our voices also, while we say with lowly praise:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.
COMMUNIO – Hebrews 9: 28
Christus semel oblátus est ad multórum exhauriénda peccáta: secúndo sine peccáto apparébit exspectántibus se in salútem.
Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many; the second time He shall appear without sin to them that expect Him, unto salvation.
Ad sacram, Dómine, mensam admíssi, háusimus aquas in gáudio de fóntibus Salvatóris: sanguis ejus fiat nobis, quǽsumus, fons aquæ in vi- tam ætérnam saliéntis: Qui tecum vivit et regnat.
We, who have been admitted to the holy Table, O Lord, have drawn waters with joy from the fountains of the Saviour; may His Blood, we beseech Thee, be within us as a fountain of water springing up unto eternal life: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth.
SECOND POSTCOMMUNION – OCTAVE DAY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
Sumat Ecclésia tua, Deus, beáti Joánnis Baptístæ generatióne lætitiam: per quem suæ regeneratiónis cognóvit auctórem, Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fiiium tuum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat.
May Thy Church, O God, be joyful at the birth of blessed John the Baptist: through whom she knew the Author of her regeneration, our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son: Who with Thee livest and reignest.