The Octave Day of St John the Baptist

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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 whereon 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. Continue reading

The Feast of the Precious Blood

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The Feast of the Precious Blood

“Converse in fear during the time of your sojourning here; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled.”
— Pet. 1: 18.

On this day, the Church celebrates the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. This feast, which had been celebrated in some dioceses since the fifteenth century, on Monday after Trinity Sunday, was extended by Pope Pius IX. over the whole Christian world, and its celebration prescribed for the first Sunday of July. The time of persecution and suffering had already begun for the Sovereign Pontiff. Compelled by a revolution to leave Rome, he repaired to Gaeta, in the kingdom of Naples, where he lived in exile for seventeen months, till April, 1850. Here it was that on the tenth day of August, 1849, he instituted the feast of the Precious Blood. That most sacred blood is the price of our Redemption, and is poured out daily in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, whence it flows into the channels of the seven Sacraments, as an atonement for our sins and for our sanctification. For, as in Egypt, God was propitiated by the blood of the paschal lamb, the type and figure of the true Lamb of God, so He is propitiated by the blood of his Son, the true Paschal Lamb, which speaketh better than Abel’s. Herein is the strongest evidence of the infinite love of Jesus Christ, who not only once, but seven times, shed his precious blood amidst the most cruel sufferings for our salvation. Let this seven-fold shedding of the precious blood be the subject of our present meditation. 
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