The Mystery of the Precious Blood

From Precious Blood, or, The Price of our Salvation by Rev. Frederick William Faber (1860)

What strikes us at the first thought of the Precious Blood? It is that we have to worship it with the highest worship. It is not a relic at which we should look with wonder and love, and which we should kiss with reverence, as having once been a temple of the Holy Ghost, and an instrument chosen by God for the working of miracles, or as flesh and bone penetrated with that celestial virtue of the Blessed Sacrament, which will raise it up at the last day in a glorious resurrection. It is something unspeakably more than this.

The Human Body and Soul of Jesus are there, and are its light and glory, the surpassing sun of that heavenly Jerusalem. Mary, His Mother, is throned there like a lovely moon in the mid-glory of the sunset, beautified rather than extinguished by the effulgence round her. Millions of lordly angels are abasing their vast grandeur before the ecstatic terror of that unclothed Vision of the Eternal. Thrills of entrancing fear run through the crowds of glorified saints who throng the spaces of that marvellous shrine. Mary herself upon her throne is shaken by an ecstasy of fear before the mightiness of God, even as a reed is shaken by the wind. The Sacred Heart of Jesus beats with rapturous awe, and is glorified by the very blessedness of its abjection, before the immensity of those Divine Fires, burning visibly in their overwhelming splendours.

If we saw one drop of the Precious Blood, hanging like the least pearl of dew upon a blade of grass on Calvary, or as a dull disfigured splash in the dust of the gateway of Jerusalem, we should have to adore it with the selfsame adoration as the uncovered splendours of the Eternal... But we need not go to Jerusalem, we need not have lived eighteen hundred years ago, to find the Precious Blood and worship it. Here is part of that awfulness of our holy faith, which makes us so thrill with love, that it is sometimes as if we could not bear the fire which is burning in our hearts. We actually worship it every day in the chalice at Mass.

When the beams of the morning sun come in at the windows of the church, and fall for a moment into the uncovered chalice, and glance there as if among precious stones with a restless timid gleaming, and the priest sees it, and the light seems to vibrate into his own heart, quickening his faith and love, it is the Blood of God which is there, the very living Blood whose first fountains were in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

It was no necessity which drove God to the redemption of the world by the Precious Blood. He might have redeemed it in unnumbered other ways. There is no limit to His power, no exhaustion of His wisdom. He might have reconciled the forgiveness of sin with His stainless sanctity by many inventions, of which neither we nor the angels can so much as dream. There are vastnesses in Him who is incomprehensible, of the existence of which we have no suspicion. He could have saved us without Jesus, according to the absoluteness of His power. All salvation must be dear: yet who can dream of a salvation which should seem at once so worthy of God, and so endearing to man, as our present salvation through Jesus Christ? Even then our dearest Lord need not have shed His Blood. There was no compulsion in the Bloodshedding. One tear of His, one momentary sigh, one uplifted look to His Father’s throne, would have been sufficient, if the Three Divine Persons had so pleased. The shedding of His Blood was part of the freedom of His love. It was, in some mysterious reality, the way of redemption most worthy of His blessed majesty, and also the way most likely to provoke the love of men.

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