The Peace Offering 

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Meditation on the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

Types of the Precious Blood

(3) The Peace-Offering 

The Peace Offering was one of the chief sacrifices of the Old Law. It was an offering of gratitude for blessings received or of petition for blessings desired. So Jesus offered Himself upon the Cross, not only to obtain for us the blessings of eternal life, but also to render thanks to God for His mercy to man and make to Him the only possible return worthy of His Divine Majesty.

The blood of the heifer sacrificed was shed as a necessary part of the sacrifice. “The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall pour the blood round about the altar” (Lev. i, II). There is no mark of our gratitude to God like willingness to suffer for Him. The blood is, as it were, the life, and the shedding of it corresponds, in the body, to the sacrifice of our will in the soul, which is the noblest sacrifice that man can make to God. Do I sacrifice my will to God’s or is self-will still strong within me?

Yhe blood was shed, moreover, as a means of obtaining fresh favors. Those who are anxious to gain great things from God, must make some sacrifice for His sake, and those who are most powerful with Him are those who give up their will to His. Christ in His Sacred Humanity is all-powerful with God, because in the head of the book it is written of Him, that He should fulfil the will of God and He was content to do it. Do I deserve such influence with Him?

The Blood of the Paschal Lamb 

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Mediation on the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

Types of the Precious Blood

(2) The Blood of the Paschal Lamb 

On the night when God delivered His people from Egypt a lamb was slain, prefiguring the Lamb of God. It was to be a lamb without blemish, no bone of it was to be broken; it was to be wholly consumed by those in whose dwelling it was slain, and its blood was to be shed to the last drop. Apply these conditions of the Paschal Lamb to the Lamb of God, and see how perfectly they were fulfilled in the Sacrifice of the Cross.

The blood of the Paschal Lamb was to be sprinkled on the doorposts of the Israelites; and thereby they were to be rendered safe from the judgment that fell upon the Egyptians. So the Precious Blood sprinkled upon our hearts saves us from the punishment we have justly deserved. It appeases the anger of God and marks us as belonging to Him, and as travellers to the Heavenly Jerusalem, longing to be freed from the bondage of earthly things.

How is the Precious Blood sprinkled on our souls? In all the sacraments of the Church, in every act of contrition, in every deed of supernatural charity, in every prayer offered humbly and with confidence, it falls upon us, renders us safe from the avenging Angel, and secures us safe from the anger of God that our sins have justly merited. Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo et mundabor– “Sprinkle me, O Lord, and I shall be rendered clean in Thy sight.”

The Blood of Abel 

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Meditation on the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

Types of the Precious Blood

(1) The Blood of Abel 

Abel was slain by his cruel brother Cain because God accepted Abel’s sacrifice but did not accept that of Cain. Cain, filled with rage at the acceptance of his brother’s offering, deliberately shed his innocent blood. The Jews, filled with rage at the exceeding holiness of Jesus’ life, at the sweet attractiveness of His words, and the Divine beauty of His works of mercy, shed His Precious Blood. So the wicked are ever enraged against the good, and grudge them their favor with God.

The blood of Abel cried out to God for vengeance on his murderer. The Blood of Jesus, which speaketh better things than that of Abel, cries out to God for mercy on those who had outraged Him and put Him to death. Even while He hung on the Cross He prayed His Father to forgive them, and ever since, as long as the world shall last. His Blood still cries: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” O Jesus, may Thy Blood thus cry out for me!

Yet, at the same time, it cries for vengeance on those who deliberately and wilfully reject Him. Long, indeed. He bears with them; long and patiently. Yet if in the end they spurn His Precious Blood, His very mercy will bring upon them a vengeance in proportion to His offer of love. O Jesus! may I never reject Thee or refuse Thy love and mercy!

St. Peter of Luxemburgh

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St. Peter of Luxemburgh, Cardinal, Bishop of Metz, Confessor

A.D. 1387.

THE MOST illustrious houses of the Dukes and Counts of Luxemburg and St. Pol, not only have held for several centuries the first rank among the nobility of the Low Countries, but vie with most royal families in Europe; the former having given five emperors to the Germans, several kings to Hungary and Bohemia, a queen to France, and innumerable renowned heroes, whose great actions are famous in the histories of Europe and the East. But none of their exploits have reflected so great a lustre on these families as the humility of our St. Peter. He was son to Guy of Luxemburgh, Count of Ligny, and to Maud, countess of St. Pol; and was born at Ligny, a small town in Lorrain, in the Diocess of Toul, in 1369. He was nearly related to the Emperor Wenceslas, Sigismund, king of Hungary, and Charles VI. king of France. He lost his pious father at three years of age, and his most virtuous mother a year after; but his devout aunt, the Countess of Orgieres and Countess Dowager of St. Pol, 1 took care of his education, and made a prudent choice of most virtuous persons whom she placed about him. By the excellent example and precepts of his masters, and the strong impressions of an early grace, he seemed formed by nature to perfect virtue. In his tender age the least sallies of the passions seemed rather prevented than subdued; and his ardour in the pursuit of virtue so far surpassed the ordinary capacity of children of his tender age, that it was a matter of astonishment to all who knew him. His assiduity and fervour in prayer, his secret self-denials, great abstemiousness, and, above all, his love of humility in an age when others are usually governed only by the senses, seemed a miracle of divine grace. He made a private vow of perpetual chastity before he was seven years of age, and he contrived by a hundred little artifices that no poor person should ever be dismissed wherever he was without an alms. At ten years of age he was sent to Paris, where he studied Latin, philosophy, and the canon law. In the mean time his eldest brother Valeran, Count of St. Pol, was taken prisoner by the English in a battle in which they defeated the French and Flemings in Flanders. Upon the news that his brother was made prisoner and sent to Calais, Peter, in 1381, interrupted his studies, went over to London, and delivered himself up a hostage for his brother till his ransom should be paid. The English were charmed with his extraordinary virtue, and after he had stayed a year in London, generously gave him his liberty, saying his word was a sufficient pledge and security for the ransom stipulated. King Richard II. invited him to his court; but Peter excused himself, and hastened back to Paris to his studies. His watchings and fasts were very austere, and he made no visits but such as were indispensable, or to persons of extraordinary virtue, from whose conversation and example he might draw great spiritual advantage for the benefit of his own soul. With this view he often resorted to Philip of Maisiers, a person eminently endowed with the double spirit of penance and prayer, who having been formerly chancellor of the kingdoms of Jerusalem and Cyprus, led for twenty-five years a retired life in the convent of the Celestines in Paris, without taking any vows, or professing that Order. From this devout servant of God our saint received important instructions and advice, which gave him great light in the exercises of prayer, and in the paths of interior spiritual perfection. 1 Continue reading

Saint Anthony Maria Zaccaria

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Saint Anthony Maria Zaccaria

Founder
(1502-1539)

Saint Anthony Maria Zaccaria was born at Cremona, Italy, in 1502, of noble parents. His father died when very young, and his eighteen-year-old mother was left to bring up her only son in the love of God and tenderness for the poor. As a child he gave his coat to a poor beggar who was shivering with cold. He studied philosophy and medicine at the Universities of Pavia and Padua and became a licensed physician in 1524, but was striving more earnestly to care for souls than to heal their material envelope. Sometimes when he was traveling as a doctor and found abandoned children, he assembled them to teach them their Christian duties. He desired a more perfect life and wider possibilities for the apostolate of a Christian. He therefore studied theology, and was twenty-six years old when ordained in 1528.

Those present at the first Mass of Saint Anthony Maria saw him surrounded with an extraordinary light and a crown of Angels. He himself seemed to be an Angel on earth. By his preaching and example, Cremona was renewed, and then the young apostle went to Milan. To remedy disorders of every kind resulting from the war, he founded there the Order of Regular Clerics of Saint Paul, since called Barnabites because they were entrusted with the church of Saint Barnabas. He had a great devotion to Saint Paul and desired that his religious imitate the glorious Apostle. He also established a community of Sisters, called the Angelicals, and a confraternity for fathers of families. He animated all of his followers with his great love for God.

Despite opposition of various kinds, in 1532 the Constitutions of his two communities were approved by Pope Clement VII. Their founder defended his religious with persevering gentleness in all the difficulties they encountered, and recommended to them to spend their free moments in conversation with Jesus crucified. God favored him with exceptional gifts; he read in hearts and saw the future. He died when only 36 years old, in 1539, and was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1897.

Le Calendrier catholique, by Calvet and Martin