Precious Blood Readings (Days 15-20)
July 15, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Day 15

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians.

[Christ Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

From “On the Passion of Jesus Christ” by St. Alphonsus Ligouri (+1787)

Does Jesus Christ, perhaps, claim too much in wishing us to give ourselves wholly to him, after he has given to us all his blood and his life, in dying for us upon the cross? The charity of Christ presseth us. Let us hear what St. Francis de Sales says upon these words: "To know that Jesus has loved us unto death, and that the death of the cross, is not this to feel our hearts con- strained by a violence which is the stronger in proportion to its loveliness?" And then he adds, "My Jesus gives himself all to me, and I give myself all to him. On his bosom will I live and die. Neither death nor life shall ever separate me from him."

It was for this end, says St. Paul, that Jesus Christ died, that each of us should no longer live to the world nor to himself, but to Him alone who has given himself wholly to us. And Christ died for all, that they who live may not now live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them. He who lives to the world seeks to please the world; he who lives to himself seeks to please himself; but he who lives to Jesus Christ seeks only to please Jesus Christ, and fears only to displease him. His only joy is to see him loved; his only sorrow, to see him despised. This is to live to Jesus Christ; and this is what he claims from each one of us. I repeat, does he claim too much from us, after having given us his blood and his life? 

Wherefore, then, O my God! do we employ our affections in loving creatures, relatives, friends, the great ones of the world, who have never suffered for us scourges, thorns, or nails, nor shed one drop of blood for us; and not in loving a God, who for love of us came down from heaven and was made man, and has shed all his blood for us in the midst of torments, and finally died of grief upon a cross, in order to win to himself our hearts! Moreover, in order to unite himself more closely to us, he has left himself, after his death, upon our altars, where he makes himself one with us, that we might understand how burning is the love wherewith he loves us? "He has mingled himself with us," exclaims St. John Chrysostom, "that we may be one and the same thing; for this is the desire of those who ardently love." And St. Francis de Sales, speaking of the Holy Communion, adds: "There is no action in which we can think of our Savior as more tender or more loving than this, in which he, as it were, annihilates himself, and reduces himself to food, in order to unite himself to the hearts of his faithful." 

But how comes it, O Lord! that I, after having been loved by Thee to such an excess, have had the heart to despise you? According to your just reproach, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have despised me. I have dared to turn my back upon you, in order to gratify my senses. You have cast me behind your back. I have dared to drive you from my soul, The wicked have said to God, Depart from us. I have dared to afflict your heart which has loved me so much. And what, then, am I now to do? Ought I to be distrustful of your mercy? I curse the days wherein I have dishonored you. Oh, would that I had died a thousand times, O my Savior, rather than that I had ever offended Thee! O Lamb of God! You have bled to death upon the cross to wash away our sins in your blood. O sinners! What would you not pay on the day of judgment for one drop of the blood of this Lamb? O my Jesus! have pity on me, and pardon me; but you know my weakness; take, then, my will, that it may never more rebel against you. Expel from me all love that is not for you. I choose you alone for my treasure and my only good. You are sufficient for me; and I desire no other good apart from you. The God of my heart, and God is my portion forever.


God was pleased to reconcile all things in Christ
– making peace through the blood of his cross.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell

– making peace through the blood of his cross. 

Day 16

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

When Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. Where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Hence not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been told to all the people by Moses in accordance with the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the scroll itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that God has ordained for you.’ And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:11-22)

From the encyclical letter “Dominum et vivificantem” (On the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World) by Pope St. John Paul II (+2005)

The redemptive value of Christ’s sacrifice is expressed in very significant words by the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, who after recalling the sacrifices of the Old Covenant in which “the blood of goats and bulls...” purifies in “the flesh,” adds: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Though we are aware of other possible interpretations, our considerations on the presence of the Holy Spirit in the whole of Christ’s life lead us to see this text as an invitation to reflect on the presence of the same Spirit also in the redemptive sacrifice of the Incarnate Word. 

The words of the Letter to the Hebrews now explain to us how Christ “offered himself without blemish to God,” and how he did this “with an eternal Spirit.” According to the Letter to the Hebrews, on the way to his “departure” through Gethsemani and Golgotha, the same Christ Jesus in his own humanity opened himself totally to this action of the Spirit-Paraclete, who from suffering enables eternal salvific love to spring forth. Therefore he “was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” In this way this Letter shows how humanity, subjected to sin, in the descendants of the first Adam, in Jesus Christ became perfectly subjected to God and united to him, and at the same time full of compassion towards men. Thus there is a new humanity, which in Jesus Christ through the suffering of the Cross has returned to the love which was betrayed by Adam through sin. This new humanity is discovered precisely in the divine source of the original outpouring of gifts: in the Spirit, who “searches...the depths of God” and is himself love and gift. 

The Son of God Jesus Christ, as man, in the ardent prayer of his Passion, enabled the Holy Spirit, who had already penetrated the inmost depths of his humanity, to transform that humanity into a perfect sacrifice through the act of his death as the victim of love on the Cross. He made this offering by himself. As the one priest, “he offered himself without blemish to God”: In his humanity he was worthy to become this sacrifice, for he alone was “without blemish.” But he offered it “through the eternal Spirit,” which means that the Holy Spirit acted in a special way in this absolute self-giving of the Son of Man, in order to transform this suffering into redemptive love. 

Thus the conversion of the human heart, which is an indispensable condition for the forgiveness of sins, is brought about by the influence of the Counselor. Without a true conversion, which implies inner contrition, and without a sincere and firm purpose of amendment, sins remain “unforgiven,” in the words of Jesus, and with him in the Tradition of the Old and New Covenants. For the first words uttered by Jesus at the beginning of his ministry, according to the Gospel of Mark, are these: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel. “A confirmation of this exhortation is the “convincing concerning sin” that the Holy Spirit undertakes in a new way by virtue of the Redemption accomplished by the Blood of the Son of Man. Hence the Letter to the Hebrews says that this “blood purifies the conscience.” It therefore, so to speak, opens to the Holy Spirit the door into the inmost being of men and women, namely into the sanctuary of human consciences. 

Precisely with regard to these “unfathomable depths” of the human conscience, the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit is accomplished. The Holy Spirit “comes” by virtue of Christ’s “departure” in the Paschal Mystery: he comes in each concrete case of conversion-forgiveness, by virtue of the sacrifice of the Cross. For in this sacrifice “the blood of Christ...purifies your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Thus there are continuously fulfilled the words about the Holy Spirit as “another Counselor,” the words spoken in the Upper Room to the Apostles and indirectly spoken to everyone: “You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” 

If we reject the “convincing concerning sin” which comes from the Holy Spirit and which has the power to save, we also reject the “coming” of the Counselor- that “coming” which was accomplished in the Paschal Mystery, in union with the redemptive power of Christ’s Blood: the Blood which “purifies the conscience from dead works.” 

We know that the result of such a purification is the forgiveness of sins. Therefore, whoever rejects the Spirit and the Blood remains in “dead works,” in sin. 

Those who are converted, therefore, are led by the Holy Spirit out of the range of the “judgment,” and introduced into that righteousness which is in Christ Jesus, and is in him precisely because he receives it from the Father, as a reflection of the holiness of the Trinity. This is the righteousness of the Gospel and of the Redemption, the righteousness of the Sermon on the Mount and of the Cross, which effects the purifying of the conscience through the Blood of the Lamb. It is the righteousness which the Father gives to the Son and to all those united with him in truth and in love. 


If the blood of goats and bulls sanctified those who were defiled

-- how much more will the blood of Christ. purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God.

Not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood

-- how much more will the blood of Christ purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God.

Day 17

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

It was necessary for the sketches of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves need better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgement, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:23-28)

From “Christ in His Mysteries” by Bl. Columba Marmion (+1923)

On the day of his ascension Christ, the supreme high priest of the human race, having conferred on us a legal title, bears us up with him in hope to heaven. We must never forget that it is only through him that we can gain entrance there. No human being can penetrate the Holy of Holies except with him; no creature can enjoy eternal happiness except in the wake of Jesus; it is his precious merits that win us infinite bliss. For all eternity we shall say to him, ‘Because of you, Jesus Christ, because of the blood you shed for us, we stand before God’s face. It is your sacrifice, your immolation, that wins our every moment of glory and happiness. To you, the Lamb that was slain, be all honour and praise and thanksgiving!’ 

In this interval of time until Christ comes to fetch us as he promised, he is preparing a place for us, and above all he is supporting us by his prayer. Indeed, what is our High Priest doing in heaven? The Letter to the Hebrews gives the answer: he has entered heaven in order to stand now in God’s presence our behalf. His priesthood is eternal, and therefore eternal too is his work as mediator. How infinitely powerful is his influence! There he stands before his Father, unceasingly offering him that sacrifice recalled by the marks of the wounds he has voluntarily retained; there he stands, alive for ever, ever interceding for us. 

As high priest he is unfailingly heard, and for our sake he speaks again the priestly prayer of the last supper: Father it is for them that I pray. They are in the world. Guard those whom you have given me. I pray for them, that they may have in themselves the fullness of joy. Father, I will that they may be with me where I am. 

How could these sublime truths of our faith fail to inspire us with unwavering confidence? People of scanty faith though we are, what have we to fear? And what may we not hope? Jesus is praying for us, and praying always. Let us then trust absolutely in the sacrifice, the merits, and the prayer of our High Priest. He is the beloved Son in whom the Father delights; how could he be refused a hearing, after showing his Father such love? 

Father, look upon your Son. Through him and in him grant us to be one day where he is, so that through him and with him we may also render to you all honour and glory. 


Christ came as the high priest of the good things which are to be.
Not with the blood of goats or calves,
but with his own blood
– he entered the holy place once for all, and won our eternal salvation.

He did not enter a holy place fashioned by man,
he entered heaven itself.
– he entered the holy place once for all, and won our eternal salvation.

Day 18

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach. Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshippers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
   but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt-offerings and sin-offerings
   you have taken no pleasure.

Then I said, “See, God, I have come to do your will, O God”
   (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).’

When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sin-offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), then he added, ‘See, I have come to do your will.’ He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:1-10)

From the “Longer Meditations on the Passion” by â€‹Richard Rolle (+1345)

Sweet Jesus, in my imagination I will prostrate myself on the soil, and lower still if I can manage, because I am the perpetrator and the criminal in all your painful death. I want to embrace the foot of the cross, prostrate on the ground... Like this I will lie here to catch some of your blood, sweet Jesu; I will not stir from here until I am marked with your precious blood as one of your own flock, and my soul is softened in that pleasant bath; and in this way it may come about, sweet Jesu, that it may open my hard heart, which now is as hard as stone, to make it soft, to make what was dead in sin spring to life for your sake through the special influence of your blood. Sweet Jesus, your precious passion raised up dead men out of their graves, it opened heaven, shattered the gates of hell, the earth trembled at it, and the sun lost its light... Come then, sweet Jesu, as it's your wish, and set alight a tiny spark of love within my soul, as you best know how, a touch of compassion for your suffering, from which my heart can be set ablaze and I can be brought to life through it, until I would be aflame with your love above everything else; and lave me in your blood so that I may forget all the prosperity of the world, and all physical attractions.


It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said

-- but a body you have prepared for me. 

‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt-offerings and sin-offerings’ – 

-- but a body you have prepared for me.

Day 19

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy ‘on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by those who have spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know the one who said, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:19-31)

From a meditation on the feast of the Precious Blood by St. John Henry Newman (+1890)

There are people who think that God is so great that He disdains to look down upon us, our doings and our fortunes. But He who did not find it beneath His Majesty to make us, does not think it beneath Him to observe and to visit us. He says Himself in the Gospel: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God. Yea, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows”. He determined from all eternity that He would create us. He settled our whole fortune – and, if He did not absolutely decree to bring us to heaven, it is because we have free will, and by the very constitution of our nature He has put it in part out of His own power, for we must do our part, if to heaven we attain. But He has done everything short of this. He died for us all upon the Cross, that, if it were possible to save us, we might be saved. And He calls upon us lovingly, begging us to accept the benefit of His meritorious and most Precious Blood. And those who trust Him He takes under His special protection. He marks out their whole life for them; He appoints all that happens to them; He guides them in such way as to secure their salvation; He gives them just so much of health, of wealth, of friends, as is best for them; He afflicts them only when it is for their good; He is never angry with them. He measures out just that number of years which is good for them; and He appoints the hour of their death in such a way as to secure their perseverance up to it.


We have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,

-- by the new and living way that he opened for us.

We have a great priest over the house of God.  Let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience

 -- by the new and living way that he opened for us.

Day 20

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. (For they could not endure the order that was given, ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.’ Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I tremble with fear.’) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18-24)

From a sermon “On the Subjects of the Day” by St. John Henry Newman (+1890)

Elijah thought himself solitary, though he was not so; the world invisible was hid from him. Though ministered to by angels, though sustained miraculously by almighty God, yet, like Saint John Baptist when he sent to ask Christ, Art thou he that should come, he seemed to himself one against many. But Elisha had the privilege of knowing that he was one of a great host who were fighting the Lord’s battles, though he might be solitary on earth. 

To him was revealed in its measure the comfortable Christian doctrine of the communion of saints. His eyes were purged to see sights which the world could not see; and that so clearly, that he could even comfort his attendant, who felt that fear which had overtaken Elijah when he fled from Jezebel. Hear Elijah’s words – I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life to take it away. On the other hand, when Elisha’s servant, on finding the host of the Syrians round about them, said to the prophet, Alas! my master, how shall we do? Elisha answered, Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And then he besought almighty God to give to his servant for an instant a glimpse of that glorious vision which he in faith, or by inspiration, enjoyed continually. He prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. 

How well does this vision correspond to that blessed privilege which, as the Apostle assures us, is conferred upon us Christians! You are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel! 

An innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of the just - we dwell under their shadow; we are baptized into their fellowship; we are allotted their guardianship; we are remembered, as we trust, in their prayers. We dwell in the very presence and court of God himself, and of his eternal Son, our Saviour, who died for us, and rose again, and now intercedes for us before the throne. We have privileges surely far greater than Elisha’s; but of the same kind. Angels are among us, and are powerful to do anything. And they do wonders for the believing, which the world knows nothing about. According to our faith, so it is done unto us. Only believe, all things are ours. We shall have clear and deeply-seated convictions in our minds of the reality of the invisible world, though we cannot communicate them to others, or explain how we come to have them. 


O Lord, the blood of your Son, our brother, cries out to you from the earth. 

– Blessed the earth that drank in the blood of the Redeemer. 

The blood he shed is more eloquent than the blood of Abel. 

– Blessed the earth that drank in the blood of the Redeemer.