Readings on the Precious Blood (Day 21-31)
July 04, 2020
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Day 21

 A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them. We have an altar from which those who officiate in the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:7-16)

From his homilies on the Letter to the Hebrews by St. John Chrysostom (+407)

Here the author makes it plain too that Christ suffered voluntarily, showing that those things were not accidental, but even the Divine arrangement itself was of a suffering "without." He suffered without, but His Blood was borne up into Heaven. You see then that we partake of Blood which has been carried into the Holy Place, the True Holy Place; of the Sacrifice of which the Priest alone had the privilege. We therefore partake of the Reality. If then we partake not of "reproach" only but of sanctification, the "reproach" is the cause of the sanctification. For as He was reproached, so also are we. If we go forth "without" therefore, we have fellowship with Him.

The life of the Christian must be full of blood-sheddings; I say not in shedding that of others, but in readiness to shed one's own. Let us then pour out oar own blood, when it is for Christ's sake, with as great readiness as one would pour out water (for the blood which flows about the body is water), and let us put off our flesh with as much good temper, as one even would a garment. And this shall we do, if we be not bound to riches, if not to houses, if not to affections, if we be detached from all things. For if they who live this life of earthly soldiers bid farewell to all things, and whithersoever war calls them there present themselves, and make journeys, and endure all things with ready mind; much more ought we, the soldiers of Christ, so to have prepared ourselves, and to set ourselves firm against the war of the passions.


That he might sanctify the people with his own blood, Jesus suffered without the gate. -- Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 

You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. -- Let us go forth therefore unto him without the gate, bearing his reproach.

Day 22

A reading from the First Letter of St. Peter

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood: May grace and peace be yours in abundance. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:1-9)

From the “Commentary on the First Letter of Peter” by St. Bede (+735)

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood. This compliment was addressed through Moses in time gone by to God’s ancient people, and now the Apostle Peter rightly addresses it to the Gentiles. For they have come to believe in Christ, who as the cornerstone has associated the Gentiles with the salvation which belonged to Israel.

He calls them a ‘chosen race’ on account of their faith, to distinguish them from those who rejected the living rock and themselves have been rejected.

He calls them a ‘royal priesthood’ because they are members of the body of the supreme King and true Priest. As king he grants to his people a kingdom; as High Priest he washes away their sins by the sacrifice of his own blood. He names them a ‘royal priesthood’ as a reminder to hope for an eternal kingdom, and to offer to God without ceasing the sacrifice of a sinless life.

They are called also ‘a holy nation and God’s own people’, in accordance with the Apostle Paul’s explanation of the teaching of the Prophet: “My righteous one lives by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls. And in the Acts of the Apostles St Paul says: The Holy Spirit has made you guardians to rule the Church of the Lord which he obtained with his own blood.

We have become ‘God’s own people’ through the blood of our Redeemer; for in time gone by the people of Israel was redeemed from Egypt by the blood of the lamb.

Accordingly in the following verse he once more recalls the mystical sense of this event in the Old Testament, and explains that it is to be fulfilled again spiritually by the new people of God in these words: That you may declare his wonderful deeds. The people who were freed by Moses from slavery in Egypt, after the crossing of the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaoh’s army, sang a hymn of triumph to the Lord; so too, since we have received pardon for our sins in Baptism, we should express due thanks for the heavenly graces we have received.

For the Egyptians, who oppressed God’s people, and who stand for darkness and suffering, are an apt symbol for the sins which harass us, but which have been destroyed in Baptism.

The liberation of the children of Israel, and the journey by which they were led to the homeland they had long ago been promised, correspond to the mystery of our redemption through which we make our way to the brightness of our heavenly home, with the grace of Christ as our light and our guide. The light of grace is symbolized by the pillar of cloud and fire which throughout their journey protected them from the darkness of the night, and led them along their secret path to their home in the promised land.


The price of your redemption was not something of fleeting value like gold or silver, but the costly shedding of the blood of Christ, the lamb without blemish. – Through him, in the one Spirit, we can approach the Father.

The blood of Jesus Christ washes away all our sins. – Through him, in the one Spirit, we can approach the Father.

Day 23

A reading from the First Letter of St. Peter

If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God. (1 Peter 1:17-21)

From “The Showings” of Julian of Norwich (+1416)

And after this as I watched, I saw the body bleeding copiously in representation of the scourging, and it was thus. The fair skin was deeply broken into the tender flesh through the vicious blows delivered all over the lovely body. The hot blood ran out so plentifully it that neither skin nor wounds could be seen, but everything seemed to be blood. And as it flowed down to where it should have fallen, it disappeared. Nonetheless, the bleeding continued for a time until it could be plainly seen. And I saw it so plentiful that it seemed to me that if it had in fact and in substance been happening there, the bed and everything all around it would have been soaked in blood.

Then it came into my mind that God has created bountiful waters on the earth for our use and our bodily comfort, out of the tender love he has for us. But it is more pleasing to him that we accept for our total cure his blessed blood to wash us of our sins, for there is no drink that is made which pleases him so well to give us. For it is the most plentiful, as it is most precious, and that through the power of the blessed divinity. And it is of our own nature, and blessedly flows over us by the power of his precious love.

The precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, as truly as it is most precious, so truly is it most plentiful. Behold and see the power of this precious plenty of his precious blood. It descended into hell and broke its bonds, and delivered all who were there and who belong to the court of heaven. The precious plenty of his precious blood overflows all the earth, and it is ready to wash from their sins all creatures who are, have been and will be of good will.  The precious plenty of his precious blood ascended into heaven in the blessed body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is flowing there in him, praying to the Father for us, and this is and will be so long as we have need. And furthermore, it flows in all heaven, rejoicing in the salvation of all mankind which is and will be there, and the filling up the number which is lacking.


The price of your redemption was not something of fleeting value like gold or silver, but the costly shedding of the blood of Christ -- the lamb without blemish.  

The blood of Jesus Christ washes away all our sins – the lamb without blemish.

Day 24

A reading from the First Letter of St. John

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10)

From the “Commentary on the Psalms” by Saint John Fisher (+1535)

Our high priest is Christ Jesus, our sacrifice is his precious body which he immolated on the altar of the cross for the salvation of all people. The blood that was poured out for our redemption was not that of goats and calves (as in the old law) but that of the most innocent lamb, Christ Jesus our Savior. The temple in which our high priest offered sacrifice was not one made by hands but built by the power of God alone. For he shed his blood in the sight of the world, a temple fashioned by the hand of God alone. This temple, however, has two parts. The first is the earth, which we now inhabit. The second is as yet unknown to us mortals.

Christ offered sacrifice here on earth, when he underwent his most bitter death. Then, clothed in the new garment of immortality, with his own blood he entered into the holy of holies, that is, into heaven. There he also displayed before the throne of the heavenly Father that blood of immeasurable price which he had poured out seven times on behalf of all people subject to sin. This sacrifice is so pleasing and acceptable to God that as soon as he has seen it he must immediately have pity on us and extend clemency to all who are truly repentant. Moreover, it is eternal. It is offered not only each year (as with the Jews) but also each day for our consolation, and indeed at every hour and moment as well, so that we may have the strongest reason for comfort. That is why the Apostle adds: He has secured an eternal redemption.

All who have embarked on true contrition and penance for the sins they have committed, and are firmly resolved not to commit sins again for the future but to persevere constantly in that pursuit of virtues which they have now begun, all these become sharers in this holy and eternal sacrifice. Saint John sets this before us in these words: My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for those of the whole world.


God is light and in him there is no darkness at all -- and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another -- and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Day 25

A reading from the First Letter of St. John

This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth. There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree. If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:6-12)

From the “Tome” of Pope St. Leo the Great (+461)

If any accept the Christian faith and does not turn a deaf ear to the preaching of the gospel, let them consider what nature it was that hung, pierced with nails, on the wood of the cross. With the side of the crucified one laid open by the soldier’s spear, let them identify the source from which blood and water flowed, to bathe the church of God with both font and cup.

Let them heed what the blessed apostle Peter preaches, that sanctification by the Spirit is effected by the sprinkling of Christ’s blood; and let them not skip over the same apostle’s words, knowing that you have been redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your fathers, not with corruptible gold and silver but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, as of a lamb without stain or spot. Nor should they withstand the testimony of blessed John the apostle: and the blood of Jesus, the Son of God, purifies us from every sin; and again, This is the victory which conquers the world, our faith. Who is there who conquers the world save one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God ? It is he, Jesus Christ who has come through water and blood, not in water only, but in water and blood. And because the Spirit is truth, it is the Spirit who testifies. For there are three who give testimony—Spirit and water and blood. And the three are one. In other words, the Spirit of sanctification and the blood of redemption and the water of baptism. These three are one and remain indivisible. None of them is separable from its link with the others.


This is the one who came in water and blood, Jesus Christ – not in water only, but in water and blood.

 It is the Spirit who gives testimony, because the Spirit is truth – not in water only, but in water and blood.

Day 26

A reading from the Book of Revelation

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Look! He is coming with the clouds;
   every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
   and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:1-8)

From “Theology of the Precious Blood” by Edwin Kaiser (+1984)

The theology of the Precious Blood cannot rest satisfied with the mere exposition of the teaching that Christ gave His life through blood, because "life is in the blood". The Blood of Christ and the Death of Christ must mean far more to us than a sacrificial giving of life. We know that the divine motive was loving mercy. For this reason the Father sent His Son into the world: "In this has the love of God been shown in our case, that God has sent his only-begotten Son into the world that we may live through him. In this is the love, not that we have loved God, but that he has first loved us, and sent his Son a propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10-11) . Because of His loving mercy God sent His Son to redeem us by His blood. The best gift of God to humanity is this same Blood, for it is the source of our salvation, of all the life of grace given to man since Adam's fall.

The bond which unites humanity to God also unites all men and women as a new and purified race. The solidarity of mankind disrupted by the sin of Adam is restored by the Precious Blood. In the Church, which is the Bride of Christ and His mystic Body, are gathered all those who are redeemed. At least potentially all humankind is included, because the Blood was shed for all, and all are obliged to belong to her. In the fullest sense, however, only those belong who are united with her both internally and externally. The bond of union is the source of all grace and supernatural favor, the Precious Blood. Wherefore the Church has been spoken of as the Kingdom of Christ's Blood. "You . . . are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people; that you may proclaim the perfections of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. You who in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God." Such is the thought of St. Peter (1 Peter 2:9-10). Even more striking are the words of St. John as found in the Apocalypse: "To him who has loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and made us to be a kingdom, and priests to God his Father — to him belong glory and dominion forever" (Apoc. 1:6).


Christ loved us, and poured out his blood to free us from our sins. - He has made of us a kingdom of priests.
Live then in love, even as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. - He has made of us a kingdom of priests.

Day 27

A reading from the Book of Revelation

Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sing a new song:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll
   and to open its seals,
for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God
   saints from every tribe and language and people and nation;
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God,
   and they will reign on earth.’ (Revelation 5:6-10)

From “The Hidden Life” by St. Edith Stein (Theresa Benedicta of the Cross) (+1942)

“And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (Rev 5:6). When the seer of Patmos had this vision, the unforgettable day on the Jordan when John the Baptist showed him the “Lamb of God” who “takes away the sins of the world” (Jn 1:29) was still fresh in his memory. At that time, he had understood the word and now he understood the image. He who had once walked along the Jordan and who now appeared to him in white raiment with flaming eyes and with a judge’s sword, the “first and the last” (Rev 1:17) he had in truth accomplished what the rites of the Old Covenant had suggested symbolically. When on the most momentous and holiest day of the year the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, into the supremely holy place of God’s presence, he had previously taken two goats from the people: one on which to lay the people’s sins, which were then carried out into the wilderness; the other to sprinkle its blood on the tent and ark of the covenant (Lev 16). This was the sin offering for the people. In addition, he had to provide a young bullock for himself and his house as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering. He also had to sprinkle the throne of grace with the blood of the bullock. When he had prayed, unseen by human eyes, for himself and his house and for all the people of Israel, he came out to the waiting people, and sprinkled the outer altar to cleanse it from his sins and those of the people. Then he sent the living goat into the wilderness, brought forward his own burnt offering and that of the people, and had the rest of the sin offering burned before the camp (and later before the gates). The Day of Atonement was a monumental and holy day. People remained in the holy place praying and fasting. And in the evening when everything had been accomplished, there was peace and joy in their hearts because God had taken away the burden of sin and given grace.

But what had effected the reconciliation? Not the blood of the slaughtered animals and not the high priest of Aaron’s descent St Paul made this so compellingly clear in his letter to the Hebrews but rather the real sacrifice of reconciliation which was anticipated in all these legally prescribed sacrifices, and the high priest after the order of Melchizedek, who was represented by the priests of Aaron’s line. He was also the true Passover Lamb for whose sake the angel of death passed over the houses of the Hebrews when he slew the Egyptians. The Lord himself made the disciples understand this when he ate the lamb of sacrifice with them for the last time and then gave himself to them as food.

But why did he choose the lamb as the preferred symbol? Why did he continue to reveal himself in this form on the eternal throne of glory? Because he was innocent as a lamb and meek as a lamb; and because he came in order to allow himself to be led as a lamb to the slaughter (Is 53:7). This, too, John had witnessed when the Lord permitted himself to be bound at the Mount of Olives and nailed to the cross at Golgotha. There on Golgotha the true sacrifice of reconciliation was accomplished. Thereby the old sacrifices lost their efficacy; and soon they ceased entirely, as did also the old priesthood when the temple was destroyed. John had witnessed all of this. Therefore, he was not surprised at the Lamb on the throne. And because he was a faithful witness to the Lamb, the Bride of the Lamb was also shown to him.

He saw “the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:2 and 9ff.). As Christ himself descended to earth from heaven, so too his Bride, the holy church, originated in heaven. She is born of the grace of God, indeed descended with the Son of God himself; she is inextricably bound to him. She is built of living stones; her cornerstone was laid when the Word of God assumed our human nature in the womb of the Virgin. At that time there was woven between the soul of the divine Child and the soul of the Virgin Mother the bond of the most intimate unity which we call betrothal.

Hidden from the entire world, the heavenly Jerusalem had descended to earth. From this first joining in betrothal, there had to be born all the living building blocks to be used for the mighty structure: each individual soul awakened to life through grace. The Bridal Mother was to become the mother of all the redeemed. Like a spore from which new cells stream continually, she was to build up the living city of God. This hidden mystery was revealed to St John as he stood beneath the cross with the Virgin Mother and was given over to her as her son. It was then that the church came into existence visibly; her hour had come, but not yet her perfection. She lives, she is wedded to the Lamb, but the hour of the solemn marriage supper will only arrive when the dragon has been completely conquered and the last of the redeemed have fought their battle to the end.

Just as the Lamb had to be killed to be raised upon the throne of glory, so the path to glory leads through suffering and the cross for everyone chosen to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb. All who want to be married to the Lamb must allow themselves to be fastened to the cross with him. Everyone marked by the blood of the Lamb is called to this, and that means all the baptized. But not everyone understands the call and follows it. There is a call to following more closely that resounds more urgently in the soul and demands a clear answer.

The fountain from the heart of the Lamb has not dried up. We can wash our robes clean in it even today as the thief on Golgotha once did. Trusting in the atoning power of this holy fountain, we prostrate ourselves before the throne of the Lamb and answer his question: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). Let us draw from the springs of salvation for ourselves and for the entire parched world. Give us the grace to speak the bride’s words with a pure heart: Come! Come, Lord Jesus. Come soon!


They sang a new canticle, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals.” -- For you were slain, and have redeemed us for God with your blood. 

And you made them for our God a kingdom and priests, and they shall reign over the earth. -- For you were slain, and have redeemed us for God with your blood.

Day 28

A reading from the Book of Revelation

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, singing with full voice,
‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honour and glory and blessing!’
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,
‘To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honour and glory and might
for ever and ever!’
And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the elders fell down and worshipped. (Revelation 5:11-14)

From the “Treatise on the Love of God” by St. Francis de Sales (+1622)

Nothing so much wounds a loving heart as to perceive another wounded with the love of it. The pelican builds her nest upon the ground, wherefore serpents often sting her young ones. Now when  this happens, the pelican, as an excellent physician, with the point of her beak wounds these poor chicks all over, to cause the poison which the serpents’ sting had spread through all the parts of their bodies to flow out with the blood; and to get out all the poison she lets out all the blood, and thus consequently, permits this little pelican-brood to perish. But seeing them dead she wounds herself, and spreading her blood over them she vivifies them with a new and purer life. Her love wounded them, and forthwith by the same love she wounds herself. Never do we wound a heart with the wound of love but we ourselves are wounded with the same. When the soul sees her God wounded by love for her sake, she immediately receives from it a reciprocal wound. Thou hast wounded my heart,  said the heavenly lover to the Sulamitess, and the Sulamitess cries out: Tell my beloved that I languish with love. Bees never wound without being themselves wounded to death. And we, seeing the Saviour of our souls wounded to death by love of us, even to the death of the cross,—how can we but be wounded for him, but wounded with a wound as much more dolorously amorous as his was amorously dolorous, and a wound as great as is our inability to love him as much as his love and death require?....

Our Saviour has bred us up from our tender youth, yea he formed us and received us as a loving nurse into the arms of his divine Providence, even from the instant of our conception. Not being yet, thy holy hand did make me; Scarce born, into thy arms thy love did take me. He made us his own by Baptism, and tenderly nourishes both our soul and our body with an incomprehensible love; to purchase us life he suffered death, he has fed us with his own flesh and blood. Ah! what remains then, my dear Theotimus, what conclusion are we to draw from this except that those who live should live no more to themselves but to him that died for them: that is to say, that we should consecrate all the moments of our life to the divine love of our Saviour’s death, bringing home to his glory all our prey, all our conquests, all our actions, all our thoughts, and all our affections. Let us behold him, Theotimus, this heavenly Redeemer, extended upon the cross as upon a funeral pile of honour, where he dies of love for us, yea of a love more dolorous than death itself, or a death more amorous than love itself. Ah! why do we not spiritually cast ourselves upon him to die upon the cross with him, who has truly willed to die for love of us? I will hold him, should we say, if we had the eagle’s generosity, and will never depart from him. I  will die with him and burn in the flames of his love, one and the same fire shall consume this divine Creator and his poor creature. My Jesus is wholly mine, and I am wholly his: I will live and die upon his breast, nor life nor death shall ever separate me from him. Thus then is made the holy ecstasy of true love, when, we live not according to human reason and inclinations, but above them, following the inspirations and instincts of the divine Saviour of our souls.


 “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!” -– for ever and ever.

 “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might -- for ever and ever!’

Day 29

A reading from the Book of Revelation.

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying,
‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’
And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, singing,
‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honour
and power and might
be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’

 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
For this reason they are before the throne of God,
   and worship him day and night within his temple,
   and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
   the sun will not strike them,
   nor any scorching heat;
for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd,
   and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ (Revelation 7:9-17)

From a letter to Bl. Raymond of Capua by St. Catherine of Siena (+1380)

I Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, write to you in His precious Blood: with desire to see you a faithful servant and bridegroom of truth, and of sweet Mary, that we may never look back for any reason in the world, nor for any tribulations which God might send you: but with firm hope, with the light of most holy faith, pass through this stormy sea in all truthfulness; and let us rejoice in endurance, not seeking our own glory, but the glory of God and the salvation of souls, as the glorious martyrs did, who for the sake of truth made them ready for death and for all torments, so that with their blood, shed for love of the Blood, they built the walls of Holy Church. Ah, sweet Blood, that raises the dead! You give life, you dissolve the shadows that darken the minds of reasonable creatures, and gives us light! Sweet Blood, unites those who strive, you clothe the naked, you feed the hungry and give to drink to those who thirst for you, and with the milk of your sweetness you nourish the little ones who have made themselves small by true humility, and innocent by true purity. Oh, holy Blood, who shall receive you amiss? The lovers of themselves, because they do not perceive your fragrance.

So, dearest and sweetest father, let us divest us and clothe us in truth, so we shall be faithful lovers. I tell you that today I will to begin again, in order that my sins may not hold me back from such a good as it is to give one’s life for Christ crucified. For I see that in the past, through my faults, this has been denied me. I had desired very much, with a new intensity, increased in me beyond all custom, to endure without fault for the honour of God and the salvation of souls and the reformation and good of Holy Church, so that my heart was melting from the love and desire I had to lay down my life.

So I have reason to weep, because the multitude of my iniquities was so great that I did not deserve that my blood should give life, or illumine darkened minds, or reconcile the sons with the father, or cement a stone in the mystical body of Holy Church. Nay, it seemed that the hands of him who wanted to kill me were bound. My words, “I am she. Take me, and let this family be,” were a sword that pierced straight through his heart. O Babbo mine, feel a wonderful joy in yourself, for I never experienced in myself such mysteries, with so great joy! There was the sweetness of truth in it, the gladness of a clean and pure conscience; there was the fragrance of the sweet providence of God; there was the savour of the times of new martyrs, foretold as you know by the Eternal Truth. Tongue would not suffice to tell how great the good is that my soul feels. I seem to be so bound to my Creator that if I gave my body to be burned I could not satisfy the great mercy which I and my cherished sons and daughters have received.

All this I tell you that you may not conceive bitterness; but may feel an unspeakable delight, with softest gladness; and that you and I may begin to sorrow over my imperfection, because so great a good was hindered by my sin. How blessed my soul would have been had I given my blood for the sweet Bride, and for love of the Blood and the salvation of souls! Now let us rejoice and be faithful lovers.


The redeemed cried out in a loud voice: -- Salvation comes from our God and from the Lamb.

To our God be blessing, glory and wisdom. -- Salvation comes from our God and from the Lamb.

Day 30

A reading from the Book of Revelation.

And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,
‘Now have come the salvation and the power
   and the kingdom of our God
   and the authority of his Messiah,
for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
   who accuses them day and night before our God.
But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
   and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.
Rejoice then, you heavens
   and those who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
   for the devil has come down to you
with great wrath,
   because he knows that his time is short!’ (Revelation 12:7-12)

From a homily by Pope Benedict XVI

The visitor to Westminster, London Cathedral cannot fail to be struck by the great crucifix dominating the nave, which portrays Christ’s body, crushed by suffering, overwhelmed by sorrow, the innocent victim whose death has reconciled us with the Father and given us a share in the very life of God. The Lord’s outstretched arms seem to embrace this entire church, lifting up to the Father all the ranks of the faithful who gather around the altar of the Eucharistic sacrifice and share in its fruits. The crucified Lord stands above and before us as the source of our life and salvation, “the high priest of the good things to come”, as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews calls him in today’s first reading (Heb9:11).

It is in the shadow, so to speak, of this striking image, that I would like to consider the word of God which has been proclaimed in our midst and reflect on the mystery of the Precious Blood. For that mystery leads us to see the unity between Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, the Eucharistic sacrifice which he has given to his Church, and his eternal priesthood, whereby, seated at the right hand of the Father, he makes unceasing intercession for us, the members of his mystical body.

Let us begin with the sacrifice of the Cross. The outpouring of Christ’s blood is the source of the Church’s life. Saint John, as we know, sees in the water and blood which flowed from our Lord’s body the wellspring of that divine life which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit and communicated to us in the sacraments (Jn 19:34; cf. 1 Jn 1:7; 5:6-7). The Letter to the Hebrews draws out, we might say, the liturgical implications of this mystery. Jesus, by his suffering and death, his self-oblation in the eternal Spirit, has become our high priest and “the mediator of a new covenant” (Heb 9:15). These words echo our Lord’s own words at the Last Supper, when he instituted the Eucharist as the sacrament of his body, given up for us, and his blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant shed for the forgiveness of sins (cf. Mk 14:24; Mt 26:28; Lk 22:20).

Faithful to Christ’s command to “do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19), the Church in every time and place celebrates the Eucharist until the Lord returns in glory, rejoicing in his sacramental presence and drawing upon the power of his saving sacrifice for the redemption of the world. The reality of the Eucharistic sacrifice has always been at the heart of Catholic faith; called into question in the sixteenth century, it was solemnly reaffirmed at the Council of Trent against the backdrop of our justification in Christ….

The Eucharistic sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ embraces in turn the mystery of our Lord’s continuing passion in the members of his Mystical Body, the Church in every age. Here the great crucifix which towers above us serves as a reminder that Christ, our eternal high priest, daily unites our own sacrifices, our own sufferings, our own needs, hopes and aspirations, to the infinite merits of his sacrifice. Through him, with him, and in him, we lift up our own bodies as a sacrifice holy and acceptable to God (cf. Rom 12:1). In this sense we are caught up in his eternal oblation, completing, as Saint Paul says, in our flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, the Church (cf. Col1:24). In the life of the Church, in her trials and tribulations, Christ continues, in the stark phrase of Pascal, to be in agony until the end of the world (Pensées, 553).

We see this aspect of the mystery of Christ’s precious blood represented, most eloquently, by the martyrs of every age, who drank from the cup which Christ himself drank, and whose own blood, shed in union with his sacrifice, gives new life to the Church. It is also reflected in our brothers and sisters throughout the world who even now are suffering discrimination and persecution for their Christian faith. Yet it is also present, often hidden in the suffering of all those individual Christians who daily unite their sacrifices to those of the Lord for the sanctification of the Church and the redemption of the world. My thoughts go in a special way to all those who are spiritually united with this Eucharistic celebration, and in particular the sick, the elderly, the handicapped and those who suffer mentally and spiritually.

Here too I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers. Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ’s grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives. I also acknowledge, with you, the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins; and I invite you to offer it to the Lord with trust that this chastisement will contribute to the healing of the victims, the purification of the Church and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people. I express my gratitude for the efforts being made to address this problem responsibly, and I ask all of you to show your concern for the victims and solidarity with your priests.

Dear friends, let us return to the contemplation of the great crucifix which rises above us. Our Lord’s hands, extended on the Cross, also invite us to contemplate our participation in his eternal priesthood and thus our responsibility, as members of his body, to bring the reconciling power of his sacrifice to the world in which we live. The Second Vatican Council spoke eloquently of the indispensable role of the laity in carrying forward the Church’s mission through their efforts to serve as a leaven of the Gospel in society and to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom in the world (cf. Lumen Gentium, 31; Apostolicam Actuositatem, 7). The Council’s appeal to the lay faithful to take up their baptismal sharing in Christ’s mission echoed the insights and teachings of John Henry Newman. May the profound ideas of this great Englishman continue to inspire all Christ’s followers in this land to conform their every thought, word and action to Christ, and to work strenuously to defend those unchanging moral truths which, taken up, illuminated and confirmed by the Gospel, stand at the foundation of a truly humane, just and free society.

How much contemporary society needs this witness! How much we need, in the Church and in society, witnesses of the beauty of holiness, witnesses of the splendour of truth, witnesses of the joy and freedom born of a living relationship with Christ! One of the greatest challenges facing us today is how to speak convincingly of the wisdom and liberating power of God’s word to a world which all too often sees the Gospel as a constriction of human freedom, instead of the truth which liberates our minds and enlightens our efforts to live wisely and well, both as individuals and as members of society….

Dear friends, in this Cathedral of the Most Precious Blood, I invite you once more to look to Christ, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection (cf. Heb 12:2). I ask you to unite yourselves ever more fully to the Lord, sharing in his sacrifice on the Cross and offering him that “spiritual worship” (Rom 12:1) which embraces every aspect of our lives and finds expression in our efforts to contribute to the coming of his Kingdom.


Alleluia! for the Lord, our God Almighty, now reigns! -- for the marriage of the Lamb has come. 

His spouse has prepared herself in fine linen, the just deeds of the saints. -- for the marriage of the Lamb has come. 

Day 31

A reading from the Book of Revelation.

Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’. (Revelation 19:11-16)

From the “Flowing Light of the Godhead” by St. Mechtild of Magdeburg (+1282)

On the last day, Christ Jesus shall hold aloft a glorious scale before his Father.  Upon it will lie his holy toil and his innocent suffering, and in it and next to it all the blameless torment, humiliation, and interior pain that was ever suffered by human beings for the love of Christ. Indeed, when the right side of the scale sinks, those rejoice the most who have much upon it. The blood of virgins by its nature, the blood of martyrs shed for their Christian faith, and other blood spilled through killing but shed in innocence during justified self-defense: this is what the holy Son of God shall weigh together with his blood, because it was poured out in true innocence.

Our Lord, the heavenly Father, in his divine wisdom has stored away many ineffable gifts with which he intends to adorn his chosen children after the last day. Especially for his only begotten Son, Jesus our Redeemer, has the heavenly Father prepared and fashioned a crown with such rich and exquisite workmanship that all the craftsmen who ever existed, are now, and ever shall be could not fully capture the splendor and rich delights of this crown.

At the time of the Antichrist the crown shall be crenelated with many a glorious image, such as that of Elias and Enoch, and many holy martyrs shall be there before them wearing the flowers of the holiness of their life and enhanced by their precious blood.

The crown shall also be dyed in the blood of the Lamb, and shall shine forth and be gilded with the powerful love that broke the sweet heart of Jesus in two. 


He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood, -- and his name is called the Word of God. 

 On his garment and on his thigh a name written: King of kings and Lord of lords -- and his name is called the Word of God.