Precious Blood Readings (Days 1-10)
July 01, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

A Month of Readings on the Precious Blood (Year C)

The month of the precious Blood should be preached daily in our churches and we should not be looking for needless excuses…. (Ven. Giovanni Merlini)  


I suspect that Merlini’s admonition to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood might have something to do with wondering where they would get enough material for a month’s worth of sermons. With this contribution, appearing many years after its long-unavailable predecessor, I hope to assist those committed to the spirituality of the Precious Blood to deepen their acquaintance with the richness of reflection on a topic dear to them from a variety of authors. I hope too that observance of the month traditionally dedicated to the mystery of Christ’s Blood might likewise be enhanced by this volume’s encouragement to do so prayerfully after the model of the Office of Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours. To that end it follows the familiar pattern of invitatory-hymn-psalmody-readings-responsory-collect.  The readings from Scripture follow a one-year cursus while those taken from other sources follow a three-year cycle according to the Sunday Lectionary patterns of  Years A, B and C.  Among these latter writings, I have tried to include voices that are familiar as well as some that, hopefully, will be new to readers.

Day 1

A reading from the Book of Leviticus (17:10-14)

If anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens who reside among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut that person off from the people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you for making atonement for your lives on the altar; for, as life, it is the blood that makes atonement. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel: No person among you shall eat blood, nor shall any alien who resides among you eat blood. And anyone of the people of Israel, or of the aliens who reside among them, who hunts down an animal or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. For the life of every creature—its blood is its life; therefore I have said to the people of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.

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

Blood was important because it is the source of life. Definitely do the Scriptures teach that the "life is in the blood." The expression is more than a human convention, more than a metaphorical form of speech. On this point all the teaching of our science of biology and medicine agree with the plain word of the Scriptures.... Equally significant are the Old Testament types, especially if they are studied in the light of New Testament exposition and fulfillment. The relation between blood and life is especially marked in the case of the Paschal Lamb, for its blood saved the Jews from the sword of God's avenging angel which brought death to the Egyptians. The blood-sprinkling marked the First Covenant between the Chosen People and Jahweh. The parallel between this blood-sprinkling and the words of Christ at the Last Supper has been repeatedly pointed out. In all of these instances the connection between blood and life, between blood and forgiveness, is quite plain, so that St. Paul could say: "with blood almost everything is cleansed according to the Law, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebr. 9:22). It is likewise plain that the significance of the Old Testament blood shedding lies in its relation to that bleeding unto death by which the God-man brought life to the world. The New Testament explains and perfects the Old. The texts are too numerous to quote in entirety.... The constant reference to the blood, as the price of our redemption, as the source of our justification and sanctification, as the foundation of our hope, all make clear the point that we are redeemed by blood. And the reason for the shedding of blood is plain from the references to the Old Testament and from the parallel use of the term "death" for blood. The divine-human life of the Savior lay in His blood; shedding this blood meant the loss of life which was offered to God for our sins.


Of old it was decreed by the Lord: Make sure that you do not partake of the blood -- for blood is life.

Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. -- for blood is life.

Day 2

A reading from the Book of Exodus (12:1-13)

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbour in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

From a sermon by St. Aphraates of Persia (+345)

The Passover of the Jews is celebrated on the fourteenth day during the night and on the following day. Our Passover is celebrated on the day of the passion, the Great Friday, on the fifth day, with its night and daytime. At Passover, the Jews escaped from slavery to the Pharaoh; on the day of the crucifixion we were delivered from captivity to Satan. They slaughtered a lamb from the flock and by means of its blood were kept safe from the destroyer; by the blood of the well-beloved Son we have been rescued from the corrupt works we used to do. They had Moses as their leader; we have Jesus as leader and Saviour. For their sake, Moses parted the sea and brought them across; our Saviour opened up the lower world and broke down its gates when he made his way into the depths of the abyss, opened its approaches and cleared a way for those who believed in him. To the Jews manna was given; to us the Saviour has given his body to eat. For them water gushed from a rock; for us the Saviour causes floods of living water to gush from his bosom. To them the land of Canaan was promised as an inheritance; to us the Lord has promised to give the land of Life. For the sake of the Jews Moses set up the bronze serpent in order to heal from serpents’ bites those who gazed on it; for our sake, Jesus nailed himself to the Cross in order that looking at it we might be saved from the wound of the serpent, that is, Satan. For them Moses set up the tent of covenant, in order that by offering sacrifices and oblations there they might be cleansed of their sins; Jesus, for his part, by rising from the dead raised up the fallen tent of David. He had told the Jews: When you have destroyed this temple which you see, I will raise it up in three days. The disciples understood him to be speaking of his body: when the Jews would destroy it, he would raise it up in three days. In this Tent he promised us Life, for in it our sins have been expiated. He called the tent of the Jews a ‘temporary tent’, since it was useful only for a short time; ours he called a temple of the Holy Spirit, and an everlasting one. As for the Passover lamb, listen to the Most Holy One ordering that it be eaten in a single house and not in several. This single house is the Church of God. In it, we eat the Passover lamb in haste, with fear and trembling, while remaining standing, for we are hastening to eat the Life given by the Spirit we have received. According to the prophecy of Jeremiah the people would be given a new covenant: I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah. It will not be like the covenant which I made with their ancestors on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; it was they who broke that covenant of mine, therefore I rejected them! The God who promised to give a new covenant is the same God who called Abraham and gave this promise and blessing: Instead of being called Abram, as you have been until now, your name henceforward will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of a great number of people. Then he added: In your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.


By faith Moses celebrated the Passover and the sprinkling of blood. -- God had something better in view for us.

You know that you were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ as a Lamb without blemish and without spot. -- God had something better in view for us.

Day 3

A reading from the Book of Exodus (24:3-8)

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, ‘All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.’ And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt-offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.’ Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, ‘See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.’

From Ego and Archetype by Edward Edinger (1998)

An important corollary image associated with the symbolism of Christ is the image of the blood of Christ. My attention was first directed to this theme when I encountered several dreams referring to the blood of Christ. Such dreams indicate that the blood of Christ is a living symbol which still functions in the modem psyche. Since primitive times blood has carried numinous implications. The blood was considered to be the seat of life or soul. Since life ebbed away as one bled to death, the equation of blood and life was natural and inevitable. Since it carried these meanings, blood was the most appropriate gift to God, which accounts for the wide-spread practice of blood sacrifice. Thus, understood psychologically, blood represents the life of the soul, of transpersonal origin, exceedingly precious and potent. It is to be reverenced as divine and any effort of the ego to manipulate, appropriate or destroy it for personal purposes provokes vengeance or retribution. Blood spilled requires more blood to pay the debt. The books must be balanced. Such thinking illustrates the law of the conservation of psychic energy. There is so much psychic life to be lived. If it is denied fulfillment in one area, it must be made up elsewhere. There must be blood for blood. Repression, which is internal murder, will out. It is a crime against life for which payment will be extracted. Another feature of ancient blood symbolism is the notion that blood establishes a bond or covenant between the divine or demonic powers and man. The blood here serves as a kind of glue or binding agent. Half of it is thrown on Yahweh, represented by his altar, and half is thrown on the people. The people are thus united with God “in one blood.” God and people have participated in a joint baptism or solutio, which unites them in a communion. The idea of the “blood of the covenant” is picked up again in the New Testament and applied to the blood of Christ. Just as the blood of the sacrificial animals poured out by Moses cemented the old bond between God and Israel, so Christ’ s blood, willingly poured out by himself, cements the new bond between God and man. This parallel is made explicit in the Ninth Chapter of Hebrews (15-26). This passage demonstrates how Hebrew myth and ritual merges with Platonic thought in evolving the Christian symbolism of the blood of Christ. The Hebrew “blood of the covenant” is considered a “copy” of the genuine article and it is sprinkled on the tabernacle of Yahweh which is a copy of the eternal heaven. This idea, together with the statement that Christ’s blood is only once for all time, implies psychologically that a transformation has occurred in the archetypal level of the collective psyche. God himself has undergone a change so that the cementing and redeeming fluid which unites man with God, i.e. the ego with the Self, is now continually available through the initiative of the Self as Christ. In the new dispensation the “blood of the covenant” becomes the blood of the communion meal. This connection is made in the account of the last supper where it is said: “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’’’ (Matt. 26:27-28RSV.See also Mark 14:23-24 and 1 Cor. 11:25). Thus the Old Testament injunction to eat no blood has been superseded, at least for symbolic and ritual purposes. Drinking the blood of Christ becomes a means of cementing the connection between God and man. Understood psychologically, it is joint libido investment which generates brotherhood. People engaged in a mutual enterprise, sharing the same goals, the same ordeals and the same value-commitments are those who experience themselves as brothers of one blood. Likewise, in the inner life of the individual, it is from occasions of intense affect faced consciously that the ego discovers the existence of the Self and becomes bound to it. Libido intensity symbolized by blood is necessary to forge the connection between man and man and between man and God. With these observations in mind, the drinking of Christ’s blood in the ritual of the Roman Catholic Mass can be seen symbolically to represent a two-fold cementing process. First, the individual communicant cements his personal relation to God. Secondly, he becomes psychologically identified with all the other communicants as part of the mystical body of Christ. Christ’s action of offering his blood as a nourishing drink (like the pelican) is an expression of the positive mother archetype, or rather, that component of the Self. The same meaning must be attached to the cup or chalice symbolism which has gathered round the blood of Christ. The Son is the cup, i.e. the human incarnation in personal, temporal life is the vessel which contains and transmits the archetypal life energy. For this life-fluid to be realized in its essential nature the cup, its particular personal container, must be emptied. In other words, archetypal life meaning which connects the individual with his transpersonal source must be extracted from the particular incarnations in which it expresses itself in one’s personal, concrete life. The symbol of the blood of Christ is active in the modern psyche as evidenced by dreams of patients in psychotherapy. As previously indicated this symbol belongs to the phenomenology of the Self and its presence indicates that the transpersonal center of individual identity is activated and is pouring an influx of energy and meaning into the conscious personality. In summary, the blood of Christ represents the primal power of life itself as manifested on the psychic plane, with profound potentiality for good or ill. As a symbol of the fluid essence of Selfhood and totality it contains and reconciles all opposites. If it comes as a fiery influx of undifferentiated energy it can destroy the petrified or undeveloped ego. On the other hand it is the nourishing, supporting, binding, life-promoting energy which flows from the transpersonal center of the psyche and which maintains, validates and justifies the continuing existence of the personal center of the psyche, the ego. As a combination of water and fire, it is both comforting, calming, protecting and also inspiring, agitating and invigorating. It is the essence beyond time which carries and renders meaningful personal temporal existence. It is the eternal column on which the present moment of conscious existence rests. Whenever a sterile, stagnant, or depressing state of consciousness is released by an influx of meaningful images, feelings or motivational energies it can be said that an archetypal dynamism represented by the blood of Christ has begun to operate. Such experiences confirm the reality of the “power for redemption” which is the essential quality of the blood of Christ.


Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, -- -- “See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you.”

We have come to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. -- “See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you.”

Day 4

A reading from the Book of Leviticus (16:11-19)

Aaron shall present the bull as a sin-offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house; he shall slaughter the bull as a sin-offering for himself. He shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of crushed sweet incense, and he shall bring it inside the curtain and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, so that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat that is upon the covenant, or he will die. He shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat he shall sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times.  He shall slaughter the goat of the sin-offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the curtain, and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it upon the mercy-seat and before the mercy-seat. Thus he shall make atonement for the sanctuary, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel, and because of their transgressions, all their sins; and so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which remains with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. No one shall be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the sanctuary until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement on its behalf, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat, and put it on each of the horns of the altar. He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel.

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

Once a year on the greatest and most holy day of the year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest stepped into the Holy of Holies before the face of the Lord “to pray for himself and his household and the whole congregation of Israel.” He sprinkled the throne of grace with the blood of a young bull and a goat, which he had previously to slaughter, and in this way absolved himself and his house “of the impurities of the sons of Israel and of their transgressions and of all their sins.” No person was to be in the tent (i.e., in the holy place that lay in front of the Holy of Holies) when the high priest stepped into God’s presence in this awesomely sacred place, this place where no one but he entered and he himself only at this hour. And even now he had to burn incense “so that a cloud of smoke...would veil the judgment throne...and he not die.” This solitary dialogue took place in deepest mystery. The Day of Atonement is the Old Testament antecedent of Good Friday. The ram that is slaughtered for the sins of the people represents the spotless Lamb of God (so did, no doubt, that other chosen by lot and burdened with the sins of the people that was driven into the wilderness). And the high priest descended from Aaron foreshadows the eternal high priest. Just as Christ anticipated his sacrificial death during the last supper, so he also anticipated the high priestly prayer. He did not have to bring for himself an offering for sin because he was without sin. He did not have to await the hour prescribed by the Law and nor to seek out the Holy of Holies in the temple. He stands, always and everywhere, before the face of God; his own soul is the Holy of Holies. It is not only God’s dwelling, but is also essentially and indissolubly united to God. He does not have to conceal himself from God by a protective cloud of incense. He gazes upon the uncovered face of the Eternal One and has nothing to fear. Looking at the Father will not kill him. And he unlocks the mystery of the high priest’s realm. All who belong to him may hear how, in the Holy of Holies of his heart, he speaks to his Father; they are to experience what is going on and are to learn to speak to the Father in their own hearts. However, the way to the interior life as well as to the choirs of blessed spirits who sing the eternal Sanctus is Christ. His blood is the curtain through which we enter into the Holiest of Holies, the Divine Life. In baptism and in the sacrament of reconciliation, his blood cleanses us of our sins, opens our eyes to eternal light, our ears to hearing God’s word. It opens our lips to sing his praise, to pray in expiation, in petition, in thanksgiving, all of which are but varying forms of adoration, i.e., of the creature’s homage to the Almighty and All-benevolent One. In the sacrament of confirmation, Christ’s blood marks and strengthens the soldiers of Christ so that they candidly profess their allegiance. However, above all, we are made members of the Body of Christ by virtue of the sacrament in which Christ himself is present. When we partake of the sacrifice and receive Holy Communion and are nourished by the flesh and blood of Jesus, we ourselves become his flesh and his blood. And only if and insofar as we are members of his Body, can his spirit quicken and govern us. “It is the Spirit that quickens, for the Spirit gives life to the members. But it only quickens members of its own body.... The Christian must fear nothing as much as being separated from the Body of Christ. For when separated from Christ’s Body, the Christian is no longer his member, is no longer quickened by his Spirit....” However, we become members of the Body of Christ “not only through love..., but in all reality, through becoming one with his flesh: For this is effected through the food that he has given us in order to show us his longing for us. This is why he has submerged himself in us and allowed his body to take form in us. We, then, are one, just as the body is joined to the head.....” As members of his Body, animated by his Spirit, we bring ourselves “through him, with him, and in him” as a sacrifice and join in the eternal hymn of thanksgiving. Therefore, after receiving the holy meal, the church permits us to say: “Satisfied by such great gifts, grant, we beseech you, Lord, that these gifts we have received be for our salvation and that we never cease praising you.”


Today the Lord is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you, and provided you keep all his commandments. Then Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying -- “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you.

In like manner Jesus took also the cup after the supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which shall be shed for you.” -- “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you.

Day 5

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (22:14-20)

When the hour came, [Jesus] took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

From an Easter sermon for the newly-baptized by St. Augustine (+430)

You have all just now been born again of water and the Spirit, and can see that food and drink upon this table of the Lord’s in a new light, and receive it with a fresh love and piety. So I am obliged by the duty I have of giving you a sermon, and by the anxious care with which I have given you birth, that Christ might be formed in you, to remind you infants of what the meaning is of such a great and divine sacrament, such a splendid and noble medicine, such a pure and simple sacrifice, which is not offered now just in the one earthly city of Jerusalem, nor in that tabernacle which was constructed by Moses, nor in the temple built by Solomon. These were just shadows of things to come (Col 2:17; Heb 10:1). But from the rising of the sun to its setting (Mal 1:11; Ps 113:3) it is offered as the prophets foretold, and as a sacrifice of praise to God, according to the grace of the New Testament. No longer is a victim sought from the flocks for a blood sacrifice, nor is a sheep or a goat any more led to the divine altars, but now the sacrifice of our time is the body and blood of the priest himself. About him, indeed, it was foretold so long ago in the psalms, You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4). While that Melchizedek, priest of God Most High, offered bread and wine when he blessed our father Abraham, we gather from reading about it in the book of Genesis. So Christ our Lord, who offered by suffering for us what by being born he had received from us, has become our high priest forever, and has given us the order of sacrifice which you can see, of his body that is to say, and his blood. When his body, remember, was pierced by the lance, it poured forth the water and the blood by which he cancelled our sins. Be mindful of this grace as you work out your salvation, since it is God who is at work in you, and approach with fear and trembling to partake of this altar. Recognize in the bread what hung on the cross, and in the cup what flowed from his side. You see, those old sacrifices of the people of God also represented in a variety of ways this single one that was to come. Christ himself, I mean, was both a sheep, because of his innocence and simplicity of soul, and a goat because of the likeness of the flesh of sin (Rom 8:3). And whatever else was foretold in many and diverse ways (Heb 1:1) in the sacrifices of the old covenant refers to this single one which has been revealed in the new covenant. And therefore receive and eat the body of Christ, yes, you that have become members of Christ in the body of Christ; receive and drink the blood of Christ. In order not to be scattered and separated, eat what binds you together; in order not to seem cheap in your own estimation, drink the price that was paid for you. Just as this turns into you when you eat and drink it, so you for your part turn into the body of Christ when you live devout and obedient lives. He himself, you see, as his passion drew near, while he was keeping the passover with his disciples, took bread and blessed it, and said, This is my body which will be handed over for you (1 Cor 11:24). Likewise he gave them the cup he had blessed and said, This is my blood of the new covenant, which will be shed for many for the forgiveness of sins (Mt 26:28). You were able to read or to hear this in the gospel before, but you were unaware that this eucharist is the Son. But now, your hearts sprinkled with a pure conscience, and your bodies washed with pure water, approach him and be enlightened, and your faces will not blush for shame (Ps 34:5). Because if you receive this worthily, which means belonging to the new covenant by which you hope for an eternal inheritance, and if you keep the new commandment to love one another, then you have life in yourselves. You are then, after all, receiving that flesh about which Life itself says, The bread which I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world; and Unless people eat my flesh and drink my blood, they will not have life in themselves (Jn 6:51. 53). So then, having life in him, you will be in one flesh with him. This sacrament, after all, doesn’t present you with the body of Christ in such a way as to divide you from it. This, as the apostle reminds us, was foretold in holy scripture: They shall be two in one flesh (Gen 2:24). This, he says, is a great sacrament; but I mean in Christ and in the Church (Eph 5:31-32). And in another place he says about this eucharist itself, We, though many, are one loaf, one body (1 Cor 10:17). So you are beginning to receive what you have also begun to be, provided you do not receive unworthily; else you would be eating and drinking judgment upon yourselves. That, you see, is what he says: Any who eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But people should examine themselves, and in this way eat of the bread and drink of the cup; for those who eat and drink unworthily are eating and drinking judgment upon themselves (1 Cor 11:27-29). You receive worthily, however, if you avoid the yeast of bad doctrine, in order to be unleavened loaves of sincerity and truth (1 Cor 5:8); or if you keep hold of that yeast of charity, which the woman hid in three measures of flour until the whole of it was leavened. This woman, you see, is the Wisdom of God, who came through the virgin in mortal flesh, and who, having repaired the wide world after the flood through the three sons of Noah, disseminated her gospel throughout it, as in three measures until the whole should be leavened. This “whole” is what is called holon in Greek where, if you keep the bond of peace you will be “in accord with the whole,” which in Greek is catholon, from which the Church is called “Catholic.”


Know that in this bread is the body of Christ which hung upon the cross, and in this cup, the blood of Christ which flowed from his side. Take, therefore, and eat his body; take and drink his blood, -- and you will become members of his body.

Eat this sacred food, so that your bond of unity with Christ may never be broken. Drink this sacred blood, the price he paid for you, so that you may never lose heart because of your sinfulness. – and you will become members of his body.

Day 6

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (6:53-58)

[Jesus said,] ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’

From the Hymn of the Universe Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (+1955)

This bread, our toil, is of itself, I know, but an immense fragmentation; this wine, our pain, is no more, I know, than a draught that dissolves. Yet in the very depths of this formless mass you have implanted — and this I am sure of, for I sense it — a desire, irresistible, hallowing, which makes us cry out, believer and unbeliever alike: ‘Lord, make us one.’ Do you now therefore, speaking through my lips, pronounce over this earthly travail your twofold efficacious word: the word without which all that our wisdom and our experience have built up must totter and crumble — the word through which all our most far-reaching speculations and our encounter with the universe are come together into a unity. Over every living thing which is to spring up, to grow, to flower, to ripen during this day say again the words: This is my Body. And over every death-force which waits in readiness to corrode, to wither, to cut down, speak again your commanding words which express the supreme mystery of faith: This is my Blood. That is why, pouring into my chalice the bitterness of all separations, of all limitations, and of all sterile failings away, you then hold it out to me. ‘Drink ye all of this.’ How could I refuse this chalice, Lord, now that through the bread you have given me there has crept into the marrow of my being an inextinguishable longing to be united with you beyond life; through death? …. The sacramental bread is made out of grains of wheat which have been pressed out and ground in the mill; and the dough has been slowly kneaded. Your hands, Lord Jesus, have broken the bread before they hallow it . . . Who shall describe, Lord, the violence suffered by the universe from the moment it falls under your sway? Christ is the goad that urges creatures along the road of effort, of elevation, of development. He is the sword that mercilessly cuts away such of the body’s members as are unworthy or decayed. He is that mightier life which inexorably brings death to our base egoism so as to draw into itself all our capacities for loving. That Christ may enter deeply into us we need alternatively the work that dilates the heart and the sorrow that brings death to it, the life that enlarges a man in order that he may be sanctifiable and the death that diminishes him in order that he may be sanctified. The universe splits in two, it suffers a painful cleavage at the heart of each of its monads, as the flesh of Christ is born and grows. Like the work of creation which it redeems and surpasses, the Incarnation, so desired of man, is an awe-inspiring work: it is achieved through blood. May the blood of the Lord Jesus — the blood which is infused into creatures and the blood which is shed and spread out over all, the blood of endeavour and the blood of renouncement — mingle with the pain of the world. Hic est calix sanguinis mei . . . This is the chalice of my blood…


And while they were at supper, Jesus, taking a cup, gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, “All of you drink of this.” -- “For this is my blood of the new covenant.”

Which is being shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. – “For this is my blood of the new covenant.”

Day 7

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (19:31-37)

Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘None of his bones shall be broken.’ And again another passage of scripture says, ‘They will look on the one whom they have pierced.’

From The Holy Grail and Eucharist Sergei Bulgakov (+1944)

The blood and water that flowed into the world abide in the world. They sanctify this world as the pledge of its future transfiguration. Through the precious streams of Christ’s blood and water that flowed out of his side, all creation was sanctified—heaven and earth, our earthly world, and all the stellar worlds. The image of the Holy Grail, in which the holy blood of Christ is kept, expresses precisely the idea that, even though the Lord ascended in His honourable flesh to heaven, the world received His holy relic in the blood and water that flowed out of His side; and the chalice of the Grail is the ciborium and repository of this relic. And the whole world is the chalice of the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail is inaccessible to veneration; in its holiness it is hidden in the world from the world. However, it exists in the world as an invisible power, and it becomes visible, appears to pure hearts who are worthy of its appearance. [It] is not offered for communion but abides in the world as the mysterious holiness of the world, as the power of life, as the fire in which the world will be transfigured into a new heaven and new earth. The whole world is the Holy Grail, for it has received into itself and contains Christ’s precious blood and water. The whole world is the chalice of Christ’s blood and water. The whole world partook of them in communion at the hour of Christ’s death. And the whole world hides the blood and water within itself. A drop of Christ’s blood dripped upon Adam’s head redeemed Adam, but also all the blood and water of Christ that flowed forth into the world sanctified the world. [A]ll the blood and water of Christ that flowed forth into the world sanctified the world. This blood and water made the world a place of the presence of Christ’s power, prepared the world for its future transfiguration, for the meeting with Christ in glory. The world has become Christ, for it is the holy chalice, the Holy Grail. The world has become indestructible and incorruptible, for in Christ’s blood and water it has received the power of incorruption, which will be manifested in its transfiguration. . The world was not deprived of Christ’s presence (‘I will not leave you comfortless’ [John 14:18]). Christ is not alien to the world; the world lives by Christ’s power. The world is already paradise, for it has produced ‘the tri-blessed tree on which Christ was crucified.’


When the soldiers came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers opened his side with a lance, -- and immediately there came out blood and water.

For these things came to pass that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of him shall you break.” -- and immediately there came out blood and water.

Day 8

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (20:25-28).

[Paul said,] ‘And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. 

From the encyclical letter Mediator Dei of Ven. Pope Pius XII (+1958)

It is easy to understand why the holy Council of Trent lays down that by means of the Eucharistic sacrifice the saving virtue of the cross is imparted to us for the remission of the sins we daily commit. Now the Apostle of the Gentiles proclaims the copious plenitude and the perfection of the sacrifice of the cross, when he says that Christ by one oblation has perfected forever them that are sanctified. For the merits of this sacrifice, since they are altogether boundless and immeasurable, know no limits; for they are meant for all people of every time and place. This follows from the fact that in this sacrifice the God-man is the priest and victim; that His immolation was entirely perfect, as was His obedience to the will of His eternal Father; and also that He suffered death as the head of the human race: See how we were bought: Christ hangs upon the cross, see at what a price He makes His purchase. . . . He sheds His blood, He buys with His Blood, He buys with the Blood of the Spotless Lamb, He buys with the Blood of God’s only Son. He who buys is Christ; the price is His Blood; the possession bought is the world. This purchase, however, does not immediately have its full effect; since Christ, after redeeming the world at the lavish cost of His own Blood, still must come into complete possession of human souls. Wherefore, that the redemption and salvation of each person and of future generations unto the end of time may be effectively accomplished, and be acceptable to God, it is necessary that people should individually come into vital contact with the sacrifice of the cross, so that the merits, which flow from it, should be imparted to them. In a certain sense it can be said that on Calvary Christ built a font of purification and salvation which He filled with the Blood He shed; but if people do not bathe in it and there wash away the stains of their iniquities, they can never be purified and saved. The cooperation of the faithful is required so that sinners may be individually purified in the Blood of the Lamb. For though, speaking generally, Christ reconciled by His painful death the whole human race with the Father, He wished that all should approach and be drawn to His cross, especially by means of the sacraments and the Eucharistic sacrifice, to obtain the salutary fruits produced by Him upon it. Through this active and individual participation, the members of the Mystical Body not only become daily more like to their divine Head, but the life flowing from the Head is imparted to the members, so that we can each repeat the words of St. Paul, “With Christ I am nailed to the cross: I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me.” We have already explained sufficiently and of set purpose on another occasion, that Jesus Christ “when dying on the cross, bestowed upon His Church, as a completely gratuitous gift, the immense treasure of the redemption. But when it is a question of distributing this treasure, He not only commits the work of sanctification to His Immaculate Spouse, but also wishes that, to a certain extent, sanctity should derive from her activity.


Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? -- You were bought with a great price.

Therefore glorify God in your body. -- You were bought with a great price.

Day 9

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (3:21-26)

But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus. 

From The Explanation of the Psalms by St. Ambrose of Milan (+397)

In reconciling the world to God, Christ stood in no need of reconciliation for himself. What sin of his was there to atone for, sinless as he was? When he was asked for the temple-tax, a sin-offering imposed by the law, he said to Peter: Simon, from whom do the kings of the earth receive tribute or tax? From their own sons or from strangers? Peter replied: From strangers. The Lord said to him: Then the sons are free. But so as not to give scandal to them, cast a hook and take the first fish that comes; open its mouth, and you will find a shekel. Take it and give it to them for me and for you.

Christ shows that he does not need to atone for sin on his own behalf: he is no slave of sin but, as Son of God, is free from all sin. The Son sets free, a slave remains in his sin. Christ is therefore free of all sin, and does not pay the price of his own redemption. His blood could pay the ransom for all the sins of the whole world. The one who has no debt to pay for himself is the right person to set others free.

It is not only that Christ has no ransom to pay or atonement to make for his own sins; if we apply his words to every individual person they can be taken to mean that individuals do not need to make atonement for themselves, for Christ is the atonement for all, the redemption for all.

Is anyone’s blood fit to redeem him or her, seeing that it was Christ who shed his blood for the redemption of all? Is anyone’s blood comparable to Christ’s? Is anyone great enough to make atonement for himself over and above the atonement which Christ has offered in himself, Christ who alone has reconciled the world to God by his blood? What greater victim, what more excellent sacrifice, what better advocate can there be than he who became the propitiation for the sins of all, and gave his life for us as our redemption?

We do not need, then, to look for an atonement or redemption made by each individual, because the price paid for all is the blood of Christ, that blood by which the Lord Jesus has redeemed us, he who alone has reconciled us to the Father. He has labored even to the end, shouldering our burdens himself. Come to me, he says, all you that labor, and I will refresh you.


Once you were estranged from God, at enmity with him in heart and mind, and your deeds were evil. But now, by Christ’s death in his mortal body, – God has reconciled you to himself.

God made Christ’s sacrificial death the means of expiating the sins of all believers. – God has reconciled you to himself.

Day 10

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (5:6-11)

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. 

From the Spiritual Writings of St. Gaspar del Bufalo (+1837)

“You have been bought at a great price” [1 Cor 6: 20]. My faithful people, the adoration of the inestimable price of our redemption is the most tender subject that we can propose for our consideration. Through it we receive the treasures of Wisdom and Sanctification. Through it we are freed from the pains of hell in proportion to our love of Jesus. Through it we take possession of the holy glory of heaven, in virtue of the Divine Blood! “You have been bought at a great price; glorify God in your body” [1 Cor 6: 20] Now who would believe it? Instead of observing sentiments of tender response in Souls, one sees ingratitude, an inexpressible lack of awareness in the sons and daughters who have been redeemed! “What profit is there in my Blood?” [Ps 30: 10]. The Lord has already lamented this with His Prophet. It is just, therefore, O faithful ones, that to compensate for the ingratitude of humankind, we consecrate the present month to Adoration of the Divine Blood and by it soften our Hearts. By means of the application of this inestimable price by which we are redeemed, may the sinful soul find the sacred and religious motivation to hope for mercy and pardon; may the penitent find in this [price] inspiration to grow in the Virtues and in Holiness; and finally, may the just person find a most ardent zeal to save Souls for the Lord. If sin was always the cause of the inner sorrows of the Savior, then today, in the universal crisis of the people, it has caused indescribable harm to the interests of faith. And what does the demon not do (in order that souls not profit from the divine Blood)? Ah, when people recall such an important devotion it prods them to rise from the fatal sleep of spiritual death, which oppresses them. “I will take up the chalice of salvation, and I will call on the name of the Lord” [Ps116: 13] . . . “my chalice which inebriates me, how goodly is it!” [Ps 23: 5]. Now, I mean that in the Old Testament the Lord was pleased with the Blood of the Victims, inasmuch as this prefigured the Blood of the Lamb shed in the fullness of time on the altar of the Cross. “For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of a heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh: How much more shall the Blood of Christ, who by the Holy Spirit offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works?” [Heb 9: 13–14]. From this devotion, besides, comes the revival of that goodness which the Divine Blood has created in us through the regeneration of Holy Baptism. From this devotion comes a special respect for the other Sacraments and especially for the Sacrament of Penance, where one finds fulfilled the passage: “justified in Blood, we will be saved by him from the wrath” [Rom 5: 9]. Oh, that we might turn the gaze of our faith to the Table of love, to the Sacrifice of the Altar; oh, how religion calls us to the most tender mysteries of redemption! Jesus, dearest people, is therefore our beloved, white and ruddy. He is white, because he is pure at the core of his being. He is ruddy, because of his Divine Blood. “My beloved is white and ruddy” [Song 5: 10]. Everywhere I fixed my attention, I did not remember nor did I see that Blood . . . the wounds of the feet, of the hands . . . the Head crowned with thorns . . . the open Divine Heart stirs us to love all things in return . . . let us even use the words of the Church in the Hymn of the Passion of Jesus Christ, “stand at the cross mourning; anoint the sacred feet . . . wash them with your tears, dry them with your hair, and kiss them with your mouth.” Oh my Jesus, I pray that you accept the supplications of this holy month, in compensation for so many iniquities of humankind; and while the enemy of good seeks to keep the sons of Adam from remembering your love, may the devotion to the Divine Blood bring our souls closer to your Divine Heart: “you have been brought near in the Blood” [Eph 2: 13]. May our minds, therefore, always be occupied with pondering the mysteries of your love and may our hearts be occupied with love for its application. May our bodily sentiments be occupied with showing the triumphs of that love for our sanctification and that of others. Thus may this inestimable price by which we have been redeemed be indelible in our memory: “For you have been bought at a great price. Glorify God in your body” [1 Cor 6: 20].


Justified by the blood of Christ, --we shall be saved by him from God’s wrath.

He gave himself as an offering to God, a gift of pleasing fragrance
– we shall be saved by him from God’s wrath.