Eucharistic Readings for the Month of the Precious Blood (Days 6-10)
July 06, 2023
(N.B. Any of the responsories may be replaced by those given in the three sereis  for Matins together with their antiphons and psalmody)
Day 6
Wisdom has built her house,
she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine,
she has also set her table.
She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls
from the highest places in the town,
“You that are simple, turn in here!”
To those without sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Lay aside immaturity, and live,
and walk in the way of insight.” (Proverbs 9:1-6)
From a sermon to the newly-baptized by St. Augustine of Hippo (+430)

What you see here on the Lord’s table, my dear brethren, is bread and wine.  But once the word is pronounced over them, this bread and this wine become the body and the blood of the divine word.  He is the very Lord who “in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” (John 1:1)  Owing to his mercy, the Lord did not disdain the nature created by him in his own image, but, as you know, “the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”  (John 1:14)  The same word assumed human nature; in other words, he took a human soul and body, became man, yet ever remained God.  And since the word suffered on our behalf, he left us his body and blood in this sacrament, in which he also included us.  For we, too, have been incorporated into his body, and through his mercy we are the very thing that we receive.

Bear in mind what this creature, wheat, was formerly when it still grew in the field; how the Earth caused it to germinate, how the rains nurtured it, how it ripened in kernels; and how afterward the laborers carried it to the threshing floor, treaded it, winnowed it, stored it in the granary, brought it out again to be milled, then added water to it and baked it, until at last it emerged as bread….  

Now ponder on what you have received.  And as it dawns on you what unity there is in the sacrament which has been instituted, be impressed with the unity that ought to prevail among yourselves, causing you to love one another, to remain steadfast in one faith, in one hope, and in mutual charity….  So, too, the wine made from many grapes is now one liquid, one sweet liquid in the chalice after being crushed in the wine press.  In Christ’s name you also, as it were, have come to be present in the chalice of the Lord, through your fasts and good works, through your humility and contrition.  There you are on the altar, there you are in the chalice.  In this sacrament you are united with us — we are joined together, we drink together, because we share life together.…

As soon as the word is spoken, the elements become the body and blood of Christ. For take away the word, and there is simply bread and wine.  But add the word, and it is altogether something else.  What else is it?  The body of Christ and the blood of Christ.  Take away the word, and it is only bread and wine.  Add the word, and it becomes a sacrament.  Thereupon you say Amen.  To say Amen is to subscribe to what has taken place.  Amen in Latin signifies, “So be it.”


Wisdom has built herself a house,
she has set up seven pillars;
— she has prepared her wine and spread her table.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood,
lives in me and I in him, says the Lord.
— She has prepared her wine and spread her table.
Eternal God,
we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us.
Grant that we may go into the world
in the strength of your Spirit,
to give ourselves for others
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (Presbyterian Book of Common Worship)
Day 7
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine, 
   your anointing oils are fragrant,
your name is perfume poured out;
   therefore the maidens love you. 
 Draw me after you, let us make haste.
   The king has brought me into his chambers.
We will exult and rejoice in you;
   we will extol your love more than wine;

   rightly do they love you. 

I come to my garden, my sister, my bride;
   I gather my myrrh with my spice,
   I eat my honeycomb with my honey,
   I drink my wine with my milk. 
Eat, friends, drink,
   and be drunk with love.  
(Song of Songs 1:1-4; 5:1)

From the Dialogues of St. Catherine of Siena (+1380)

Oh, how sweet and pleasant to that soul and to Me is holy prayer, made in the house of knowledge of self and of Me, opening the eye of the intellect to the light of faith, and the affections to the abundance of My charity, which was made visible to you, through My visible only-begotten Son, who showed it to you with His blood! Which Blood inebriates the soul and clothes her with the fire of divine charity, giving her the food of the Sacrament [which is placed in the tavern of the mystical body of the Holy Church] that is to say, the food of the Body and Blood of My Son, wholly God and wholly man, administered to you by the hand of My vicar, who holds the key of the Blood. This is that tavern, which I mentioned to you, standing on the Bridge, to provide food and comfort for the travelers and the pilgrims, who pass by the way of the doctrine of My Truth, lest they should faint through weakness. This food strengthens little or much, according to the desire of the recipient, whether he receives sacramentally or virtually. He receives sacramentally when he actually communicates with the Blessed Sacrament. He receives virtually when he communicates, both by desire of communion, and by contemplation of the Blood of Christ crucified, communicating, as it were, sacramentally, with the affection of love, which is to be tasted in the Blood which, as the soul sees, was shed through love. On seeing this the soul becomes inebriated, and blazes with holy desire and satisfies herself, becoming full of love for Me and for her neighbor. 


V/. Word of the eternal Father, true salvation and only hope of the world.  Lord Jesus Christ, do not exclude those redeemed by your blood from the eternal wedding feast. 
R/. Therefore preserve your humble servants, who minister to your praise and whom you have redeemed.     —  Lord Jesus Christ…
Lord Jesus Christ,
in this most wonderful sacrament
you have left us the memorial of your passion;
deepen our reverence for the mystery of your body and blood,
that we may experience within us the fruit of your redemption.
You live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen. (ICEL 1998; Body and Blood of Christ)

Day 8


Let me sing for my beloved
   my love-song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
   on a very fertile hill.
 He dug it and cleared it of stones,
   and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watch-tower in the midst of it,
   and hewed out a wine vat in it;
he expected it to yield grapes,
   but it yielded wild grapes.
 And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
   and people of Judah,
judge between me
   and my vineyard.
 What more was there to do for my vineyard
   that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to yield grapes,
   why did it yield wild grapes?
 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
   is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
   are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
   but saw bloodshed;
   but heard a cry! (Isaiah 5:1-4, 7)


From the poem Barnfloor and Winepress by Gerard Manley Hopkins (+1889)
And he said, If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?  2 Kings VI: 27
Thou that on sin’s wages starvest,
Behold we have the joy in harvest:
For us was gather’d the first fruits,
For us was lifted from the roots,
Sheaved in cruel bands, bruised sore,
Scourged upon the threshing—floor;
Where the upper mill—stone roof’d His head,
At morn we found the heavenly Bread,
And, on a thousand altars laid,
Christ our Sacrifice is made!
Thou whose dry plot for moisture gapes,
We shout with them that tread the grapes:
For us the Vine was fenced with thorn,
Five ways the precious branches torn;
Terrible fruit was on the tree
In the acre of Gethsemane;
For us by Calvary’s distress
The wine was racked from the press;
Now in our altar—vessels stored
Is the sweet Vintage of our Lord.
In Joseph’s garden they threw by
The riv’n Vine, leafless, lifeless, dry:
On Easter morn the Tree was forth,
In forty days reach’d heaven from earth;
Soon the whole world is overspread;
Ye weary, come into the shade.
The field where He has planted us
Shall shake her fruit as Libanus,
When He has sheaved us in His sheaf,
When He has made us bear his leaf. —
We scarcely call that banquet food,
But even our Saviour’s and our blood,
We are so grafted on His wood.
Live in me as I live in you.
— Just as a branch cannot bear fruit of itself apart from the vine, so you cannot bear fruit unless you live on in me, alleluia.
I chose you to go out and bear fruit, a fruit that will last.
— Just as a branch cannot bear fruit of itself apart from the vine, so you cannot bear fruit unless you live on in me, alleluia.
All praise to you, our God and Father,
for you have fed us with the bread of heaven
and quenched our thirst from the true vine:
hear our prayer that, being grafted into Christ,
we may grow together in unity
and feast with him in his kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (Church of England)
Day 9
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
   a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
   of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear. 
 And he will destroy on this mountain
   the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
   the sheet that is spread over all nations; 
 he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
   and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
   for the Lord has spoken. 
 It will be said on that day,
   Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
   This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
   let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. 
 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain. (Isaiah 25:1-10)
From the Circular Letters of St. Gaspar del Bufalo ( + 1837)
The king has taken me to his banquet hall, and the banner he raises over me is love. (Song 2:4)
Let us retire into the Sacred Heart of Jesus which is the Center of peace, the Furnace of love, the Ark of safety, and the mystical banquet hall.
It is the peace-loving and meek King, Christ Jesus, who brings us into that banquet hall to accomplish in us wonderful and surprising things. He assumes the title of king to signify the magnificence of his gifts, the extent of his infinite power and, at the same time, wishes to show us his most tender love by which he leads us into this asylum of peace. He will make us rich in merit and virtue, it we only respond to his graces. 
He uses the image of a banquet hall to remind us of the conduct that we should observe so that we might receive and cherish his heavenly favors by means of a most intimate recollection in prayer. So, ultimately, let us be guided in our approach in order that in his banquet hall the most loving Lord may serve us with substantial food and drink. His nourishment will renew our hearts and fortify our souls unto salutary works for life eternal.
The first thing that is needed is some of that mystical wine of repentance which takes away that lethargy and invigorates our souls anew. Potassti nos vino compunctionis. (Cf. You have allowed your people to suffer, to drink a wine that makes us reel; Ps 60:5).  As a result, in
accordance with our need, once we are repentant and contrite of conscience, we find ourselves again on the road that leads to Paradise, and how too does it spur us with hope! There is also the urgent need that we feel for the heavenly bread and mystical wine of your holy and divine love. It offsets the defection into which we could so easily fall were it not for you, O Lord, who propitiously supply us with nourishment. It is that very same nourishment that produces cheerfulness and gives rise to courage to follow the road to the mountain of perfection. Therefore, the Psalmist said: Panis cor hominis confirmet ... et vinum laetificet cor hominis. (Cf. Wine to make them cheerful, oil to make them happy and bread to make them strong; Ps 104:15). Yet the nearer we get to our beloved home, heaven, the more necessary it is to grow strong in merit and rich in works before God. It is on this account that the dear Lord preserves for us special drinks of the choicest wines, such as those mentioned in the Canticle. Botrus Cypri Dilectus meus. (Cf. My beloved is a cluster of henna flowers among the vines of Engedi; Song 1:15). Intemperance in drink is forbidden, but in the spiritual order, blessed is he who is inebriated with the celestial and holy love, symbolized by the choicest wines of the vineyards of Engedi.
These wines, however, require the soul to cultivate the mystical vineyard of the heart and, moreover, to cultivate only such vines therein which will yield them. The divine Husbandman is Jesus. It is left to us to allow him to nourish us, while we cooperate with the designs of divine
Providence. Then, indeed, will there be verified in each and every one of us, the words: Vineae florentes dederunt odorem. (Cf. The blossoming vines give out their fragrance; Song 2:13)  Attracted by this fragrance, the people shall come to receive suitable nourishment. For this reason, it is also necessary to keep the protective hedge well-trimmed so that, while helping others, our mystical vineyard is not trampled under foot and its produce destroyed.
The wine cellar is fitted with a wine press to squeeze out the juice of the grapes in order to obtain from them those precious wines which we have been speaking of until now. Indeed, using the wine cellar as a type, was not the Heart of Jesus put under the wine press of a most cruel suffering? And, does not all the profit which comes from his sufferings - to make an application from our comparison - flow from that source into our souls? Torcular calcari solus, et de gentibus non est vir mecum. (Cf. I have trodden the winepress alone. Of the men of my people not one was with me; Is 63:3)
My beloved in Jesus Christ, it is time for us to submit the vineyard of our souls to cultivation, to toil willingly under the pressure of present trials. The love of Jesus, represented by the wine, will take away our lethargy, will provide against our dejection, and will give us strength and comfort for the journey to our dear home in heaven, where we shall rejoice triumphantly without end. Let these sentiments be impressed upon the minds and hearts of each one of us. Let the image of the wine cellar remind us to fulfill our obligations by corresponding to a God most lavish with his gifts. With our thoughts concentrated on a most accurate examination of ourselves, may he animate us toward the cure of our spiritual maladies. May he help us aim at the sublimest degrees of sanctity. Since the King of Glory has brought us into this banquet hall, let us establish here our own peaceful abode in time. Also, let us re-enforce the foundations of the holy city of God with the bonds of charity. Let us remember that the nuptial bed of the peace-loving King is the Cross, and, that our souls upon this nuptial bed yearn for the most tender embraces of affection toward Jesus. He has redeemed us through love, has shed all his Blood in love, and through him we have a mystical dwelling in his heart. Introduxit me Rex in cellam vinariam, ordinavit in me charitatem. (Cf. The king has taken me to his banquet hall, and the banner he raises over me is love; Song 2:4).
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. 
Eternal God,
You have graciously accepted us 
as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, 
and you feed us with spiritual food 
in the Sacrament of his body and blood. 
Send us into the world in peace, 
and grant us strength and courage 
to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (Presbyterian Book of Common Worship)

Day 10

Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:1-7)

From The Eucharist — The Mystery of Our Christ by Karl Rahner (+1984)

It would be pitiful if we were to reconcile ourselves forever to the inadequate and perhaps half-magical misconceptions of this sacrament which we drag along with us from early religious instruction and from the practices of our childhood.  We should learn to understand what we do when we participate in the celebration of the mass, when we accept the sacrament.  This act should be more than the act performed out of a vague need to insure ourselves against God and to fulfill some legalistically interpreted demands of religion only by a dimly understood religious practice.  Here is the mystery of the absolute nearness of God, the mystery of his Christ, the sacrament of his death, the sacrifice of his church, the power of life, the bond of unity and love, the forgiveness of daily sinfulness, the promise of eternal life, the precelebration of eternity, and new and eternal covenant between God and his creation, the event of the tender meeting of the heart with the God of hearts, the acceptance of death and of life.  All this reality, to be sure, always encompasses our life and, perhaps, penetrates to the very middle of its most everyday misery as our eternity in our being, in our heart: in an hour of unconditional fidelity, in the darkness of death, in the blissfulness of love (who is able to say when God victoriously surmounts the walls of our disbelief?).  But precisely this mystery of our being appears in this sacrament as that which it is, whereas we overlook or misinterpret it in other forms.

And that is why the Christian cannot say that the communion of life with God does not need the communion with God under the sacramental sign, about which exactly the same must be said as pertains to the mystery of our life.  It will take us a long time before we really and genuinely will have understood what is so easily said concerning this sacrament.  We should entreat God for the grace to understand what we celebrate in faith, illuminated in spirit and heart to accept what we receive with the mouth.  And God who offered us the gift will also give us the understanding of the gift without which the gift itself will not bear fruit.

If we find it difficult to find the right approach to the inner understanding of this sacrament, we have to search our own souls.  Let us pose to ourselves the mystery of our own life from which we flee in the hustle and bustle of our everyday life and through the narcotics of our pleasures!  Let the infinite longing take power in us!  Hearken to the indwelling death in us!  Let us be horrified over the cruel loneliness of the human being locked up in us!  Let us seriously ask if the insensibility to God which we have tried to assess as an accusation against him, or as half-admitted proof against his existence, is not really that with which we have allied ourselves deep down in our hearts, so that we do not have to become men of infinite love, men of eternity who blissfully let God make exorbitant demands on them.  If in this or similar ways (there are innumerable more) we undeviatingly resist our own true selves, we will suddenly receive an understanding of this sacrament.  For what we hear from him in faith will suddenly sound as the answer to the question which came up in us, which is our selves.  Do we suffer from the distance from God?  Here is the voice of him who spoke in the utter darkness of death: Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.  Here he is with his death!  Do we suffer from the pain of being unable to love?  Here is the one who in the night when he was betrayed (he was betrayed by us all) loved his disciples up to the end.  Would we like to be loyal to the Earth and no longer see the works of this Earth perish?  Here is the transfigured world in the transfigured flesh of the resurrected, here is the beginning of the glorious validity of this Earth!  Take and eat the pledge of the salvation and glorification of all flesh!  Are we tormented by the ambiguity, the fragility and hollowness of our own being, its guilt, its failure, its horrendous wretchedness?  Here is the one who has suffered for us, as he was without guilt, through all the abysses of our guilt, since he became a curse for us, who, knowing us to our abysses, accepted us, loved us, healed us!  Are we tormented by the fear of meaningless decay and destruction?  Here is the one who has anticipated all meaningless decay and destruction, who has redeemed them and who gives us power in pure powerlessness to accept them.  Here is everything: the meaning, the pain, and the bliss of our existence.  Hidden, however, and open only to faith.  But truly and really.  O holy banquet, thus will we pray with the church, in which Christ is received, in which his suffering in commemorating celebration is made present, and in which is give the pledge of our approaching glory.


Jesus stood up, and cried out:
— if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
Streams of living water will flow from the heart of whoever believes in me.
— If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
Merciful Father,
who gave Jesus Christ to be for us the bread of life,
that those who come to him should never hunger:
draw us to the Lord in faith and love,
that we may eat and drink with him
at his table in the kingdom,
where he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.  Amen. (Church of England)