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!”