The Mystery of the Precious Blood (Part III)

Part III of a series of meditations on the Precious Blood of Jesus by Fr. Frederick Faber:

Sin came. With sin came many fearful consequences. This beautiful earth was completely wrecked. It went on through space in the sunshine as before; but in God’s sight, and in the destiny of its inhabitants, it was all changed. Jesus could no longer come in a glorious and unsuffering incarnation. Mary would have to die; and, though she was sinless, she would need to be redeemed with a single and peculiar redemption, a redemption of prevention, not of rescue. She also, the Immaculate Mother and Queen of creation, must be bought by the Precious Blood. Had it not been for Jesus, the case of earth would have been hopeless, now that sin had come. God would have let it go, as He let the Angels go. It would have been all hateful and dark in His sight, as the home of the fallen spirits is. But it was not so. Earth was dimmed, but it was not darkened, disfigured, but not blackened. God saw it through the Precious Blood, as through a haze; and there it lay with a dusky glory over it, like a red sunset, up to the day of Christ. No sooner had man sinned, than the influence of the Precious Blood began to be felt. There was no adorable abruptness on the part of God, as with the Angels. His very upbraiding of Adam was full of paternal gentleness. With His punishment He mingled promises. He spoke of Mary, Eve’s descendant, and illumined the penance of our first parents by the prophecy of Jesus. As the poor offending earth lay then before the sight of God, so does it lie now; only that the haze is more resplendent, since the Sacrifice on Calvary was offered. The Precious Blood covers it all over, like a sea or like an atmosphere. It lies in a beautiful crimson light forever, a light softening the very shades, beautifying the very gloom. God does not see us as we see ourselves, but in a brighter, softer light. We are fairer in his sight than we are in our own, notwithstanding his exceeding sanctity, because he sees us in the Blood of His dear Son. This is a consolation, the balm of which is not easily exhausted. We learn a lesson from it also. Our view of creation should be like God’s view. We should see it, with all its countless souls, through the illuminated mist of the Precious Blood. Its spiritual scenery should be before us, every thing, everywhere, goldenly red.

This is the shape, then, which our Father’s love takes to us His creatures. It is an invitation of all of us to the worship and the freedom of the Precious Blood. It is through this Blood that He communicates to us His perfections. It is in this Blood that He has laid up His blessings for us, as in a storehouse. This is true, not only of spiritual blessings, but of all blessings whatsoever. That the elements still wait upon us sinners, that things around us are so bright and beautiful, that pain has so many balms, that sorrow has so many alleviations, that the common course of daily providence is so kindly and so patient, that the weight, the frequency, and the bitterness of evils are so much lightened – is allowing to the Precious Blood. It is by this Blood that He has created over again His frustrated creation. It is out of this Blood that all graces come, whether those of Mary, or those of the Angels, or those of men. It is this Blood which merits all good things for every one. The unhappy would be more unhappy, were it not for this Blood. The wicked would before wicked, were it not for this Blood. The flames of Hell would burn many times more furiously, if the shedding of this Blood had not allayed their fury. There is not a corner of God’s creation, which is not more or less under the benignant control of the Precious Blood.

Our Heavenly Father, then, may well call His creatures to gather round these marvelous fountains, and adore His wisdom and His love. Who could have dreamed of such an invention, an invention which grows more astonishing the more we penetrate its mystery? The Angels wonder more than men, because they better understand it. Their superior intelligence ministers more abundant matter to their love. From the very first He invited the Angels to adore it. He made their adoration a double exercise of humility – of humility toward Himself, and of humility toward us their inferior fellow-creatures. It was the test to which He put their loyalty. He showed them His beloved Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, in His Sacred Humanity, united to a lower nature than their own, and in that lower nature crowned their King and Head, to be worshipped by them with absolute and unconditional adoration. The Son of a human mother was to be their Head, and that daughter of Eve to be herself their queen. He showed them in that Blood the source of all their graces. Each Angel perhaps had thousands of beautiful graces. To many of them we on earth could give no name, if we beheld them. But they were all wonderful, all instinct with supernatural holiness and spiritual magnificence. Yet there was not a single grace in any Angel which was not merited for him by the Blood of Jesus, and which had not also its type and counterpart in that Precious Blood. The Precious Blood – Man’s Blood – was as the dew of the whole kingdom of the Angels. It would have redeemed them, had they needed to be redeemed or were allowed to be redeemed. But, as it was not so, it merited for them, and was the source of, all their grace. Well then may the Angels claim to sing the song of the Lamb, to Whose outpoured Human Life they also owed so much, though not because it was outpoured.

Nevertheless the Precious Blood belongs in an especial manner to men. Much more, therefore, does God invite them to come to its heavenly baths, and receive therein, not only the cleansing of their souls, but the power of a new and amazing life. Every doctrine in theology is a call to the Precious Blood. Every ceremony in the Church tells of it. Every sermon that is preached is an exhortation to the use of it. Every Sacrament is a communication of it. Every supernatural act is a growth of it. Every thing that is holy on the earth is either leaf, bud, blossom, or fruit of the Blood of Jesus. To its fountains, God calls the sinner, that he may be lightened of his burdens. There is no remission for him in anything else. Only there is his lost sonship to be found. But the Saints are no less called by God to these invigorating streams. It is out of the Precious Blood that men draw martyrdoms, vocations, celibacies, austerities, heroic charities, and all the magnificent graces of high sanctity. The secret nourishment of prayer is from those fountains. They purge the eye for sublime contemplations. They kindle the inward fires of self-sacrificing love. They bear a man safely, and even impetuously, over the seeming impossibilities of perseverance. It is by the Blood of Jesus that the soul becomes ever more and more radiant. It is the secret source of all mystical transformations of the soul into the likeness of its Crucified Spouse. It is the wine which “inebriates” the virgins of God. Out of it come raptures, and ecstasies; and by it the strength of faith grows even to the gift of miracles. It fills the mind with heavenly visions, and peoples the air with Divine voices. All the new nature of the man, who is “renewed in Christ Jesus,” comes from this Blood, whether it be his love of suffering, his delight in shame, his grace of prayer, his unworldly tastes, his strange humility, his shy concealment, his zeal for souls, his venturous audacity, or his obstinate perseverance. Sinner, Saint, and common Christian, all in their own ways, require the Precious Blood each moment of their lives; and, as the manna in the mouths of the Israelites had the savor which each man wished it to have, so is it with the sweetness, the variety, and the fitness of the graces of the Precious Blood.

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