Devotion to the Precious Blood

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Devotion to the Precious Blood
St. Gaspar del Bufalo

As devotion to the Precious Blood was the dynamo energizing all his apostolic endeavors, so was it the heartbeat of his spiritual life. He saw all the mysteries of Christianity in some way or other tinged with the crimson of the Blood of Christ. In one of his manuscripts, he penned the following words:

All the mysteries are focused on the infinite Price of our Redemption like the radii of a circle converging in the center. In this devotion, all the truths of faith are summed up. For this reason, we say in the consecration of our chalice: the “Mystery of Faith.”

In a letter to Pope Leo XII he wrote:

The other devotions are all aids to Catholic piety, but this devotion is its foundation, support, and essence.
Devotion to Mary, in particular, took on a special hue as he beheld it irradiated by the Precious Blood. He considered the Precious Blood the source of Mary’s singular privileges: her Immaculate Conception, her Divine Motherhood, her Assumption, her Queenship; while, on the other hand, he looked upon Mary as the fount of the Price of Redemption as well as the dispenser of its infinite merits.

Not only the mysteries of the Church but also its glories bore a special affinity to the Precious Blood. They flowed forth from it as a torrent of water from a spring. “Oh fount of every mercy, grant that my tongue, purpled with His Blood in the daily celebration of the Mass, may bless you now and forever!” “The Divine Blood is the Price of our Redemption, healing balm for our souls, tender consolation in our labors; … it is the source of all the good we possess. Let us be bold and let us place our confidence in the merits of the Precious Blood.”

Along the “Ways”

In his favorite devotion, Gaspar found a unifying theme for the story of all mankind. Promised in the Garden of Eden, prefigured throughout the Old Testament, consummated in the New Testament, the Precious Blood runs like a unifying golden thread through the tapestry of mankind’s relations with God. “Other devotions,” said the Saint, “which are products of various times have holy and praiseworthy beginnings, but they go back only so far; this devotion is so ancient that it goes back to the moment when Adam sinned, for which reason Jesus was called, ‘the Lamb who has been slain from the foundation of the world.’”

Since adoration of the Precious Blood was the bloodstream of Gaspar’s own personal spiritual life, he quite naturally considered it a sure and attractive way of salvation for others also. In a treatise entitled The Most Precious Blood, Fount of All Spiritual Riches, he describes how the devotion is able to lead a soul from the foothills of the purgative way to the mountain heights of the unitive way. While in the purgative way, the soul, through meditation on the Price of Redemption, is led to abjure its past sins, to do penance for them, and to begin in earnest the practice of virtue. As the soul grows in the knowledge and love of the Divine Blood and advances to the illuminative way, it yearns to imitate the virtues manifested in the bloodsheddings of Christ: obedience, humility, resignation to God’s will, abiding love for God and neighbor. Progressing still further under the sanctifying influence of the Eucharistic Drink, the soul gradually attains to that sacrificial love for God characteristic of a Theresa: Aut pati, aut mori. It is led to cry out in the words of Gaspar, “Jesus has given us His Blood even to the last drop. What is there left to do? Jesus is a victim. Behold I am ready, O my God, to be a victim of love!”

The Magnificat

The Magnificat has occupied an important place in the Liturgy of the Church since around the fourth century. The canticle is taken from the Gospel of Luke (1:46-55) where the events of the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth are recorded. Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist at the time, greeted Mary with the well known phrase “Blessed art thou amongst women, blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus”. Mary responded with the canticle. Today the Magnificat is used during Vespers every evening. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it.
MAGNIFICAT * anima mea Dominum,
et exultavit spiritus meus * in Deo salvatore meo,
quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae. *
Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes,
MY soul doth magnify * the Lord,
and my spirit hath rejoiced * in God my Savior.
For He hath regarded the humility of His handmaiden.*
For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call
me blessed.
quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est,*
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericordia eius in progenies et progenies *
timentibus eum.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me, *
and holy is His Name.
And His Mercy is from generation unto generations *
upon them that fear Him.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo, *
dispersit superbos mente cordi sui;
deposuit potentes de sede *
et exaltavit humiles;
esurientes implevit bonis *
et divites dimisit inanes.
He hath shewed might in His arm, *
He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, *
and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich He hath sent empty away.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum, *
recordatus misericordiae,
sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, *
Abraham et semini eius in saecula.
He hath received Israel, His servant, *
being mindful of His mercy.
As He spoke to our Fathers, *
Abraham and his seed forever.

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Archangel Gabriel, while announcing to the Blessed Virgin Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, informed her also of the fact that her cousin Elizabeth, who, advanced in years, had long been barren, was about to be blessed with a son. Mary rejoiced greatly at this news, and having given thanks to the Almighty for the priceless grace of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, she hastened to visit her cousin. This, however, was not done, as some heretics maintain, because she doubted the words of the Angel; for, Elizabeth herself, when already filled with the Holy Ghost, proved the contrary by the words with which she received the Virgin: “Blessed art thou that hast believed.” Quite different were the reasons which led Mary to make this visit. I shall here give two of them, taken from the holy Fathers of the Church. The first is from St. Chrysostom, who says: “The Son of God, who came into the world to save mankind, desired, immediately on His entering the world, to prove His love for man, and fulfil the divine office of Redeemer. Hence He moved the heart of His holy mother, in whose virginal womb He was concealed, to visit her cousin Elizabeth, in order that by His presence He might cleanse His fore-runner, John, whom his mother still carried in her bosom, from original sin. He could have done this while absent, but He intended to give us a glorious example of humility, in visiting one who was so infinitely below Him. “The greater,” says St Ambrose, “went to the lesser: Jesus to John.” Continue reading