How to celebrate this Catholic tradition in your life right now.
For Catholics, July is the month of the Precious Blood, a devotion spread through the work of Blessed Fr. Gaspar de Bufalo, founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.
Falling right between June’s devotion to the Sacred Heart and August’s devotion to the Immaculate Heart, July is an ideal time to grow in deeper gratitude for the bond Jesus and Mary share, as well as to heighten our devotion to the blood of the Lamb of God. As summer brings the re-opening of churches and longer, lighter days following a dark, challenging winter, the devotion to the Precious Blood is perfect for us to cling to: for blessings, encouragement, and protection!
July 1 is the traditional feast day of the Precious Blood, but we can and should honor it all month long. Here are 12 ways you can more closely align your life to the Precious Blood, especially as we celebrate the re-opening of churches and look to regain our strength and gather graces. If you must still self-quarantine, there’ are ideas here for how you can participate, too!
1Start the morning strong
Get the morning off to a powerful start that will set the tone for the rest of the day! Celebrate the Precious Blood’s association with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary by praying the Fatima Morning Offering daily, as it offers up the Blood of Christ joined to our own prayerful devotion, and ends with these timely words, invoking the Precious Blood along with the Twin Hearts:
Precious Blood of Jesus, save us!Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!Amen.
2Spend some time in Eucharistic Adoration if it's offered in your area
“You who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)
We surely have felt far off during the past few months of trials. But now many of us may draw near to our Eucharistic Lord at church once more. This month, we’re called to focus on the reality of the presence of the blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Adoration provides us with the opportunity to do our humble part to console the tears of blood Christ shed in Gethsemane and throughout His Passion.
“Truly, truly I say to you: unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you cannot have life within you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:23)
The Precious Blood is a Eucharistic devotion. Receiving the Eucharist, which is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ is also receiving the Precious Blood held within the Host … so as we thank God for our joyful return to the Eucharist, we may specifically give thanks for the Precious Blood. If your church is not offering the chalice at communion, remember that you may receive the Precious Blood within the host!
Consider going to daily Mass more often this month, since when we devoutly receive communion, we bring Christ into our hearts and He becomes our lifeblood. We’ve been separated from being allowed to receive Communion for very difficult months, so let us vow to be more hungry than ever for the gift of the Eucharist, more humble and awe-filled as we receive, and more grateful than ever for the Real Presence.
4Make the Precious Blood offering frequently throughout the day
We can make this amazing offering many times a day, and we should! We can use either of these and trust in its power:
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, in satisfaction for my sins, in supplication for the holy souls in Purgatory and for the needs of Holy Church [especially for the soul of (Name)]. — The Raccolta, 188
In order to obtain special graces through the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to offer It in our stead. This advice is given us by many servants of God, in particular by St. John Vianney [the Cure of Ars] who says that this is the best method of prayer. He furthermore adds, “My children, mark this well: whenever I obtained some grace, it was obtained in this manner, which I never found to fail.”
5Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet regularly this month
“But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.” (John 19:33–34)
Here’s how to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which is especially good to pray on Fridays.
6Invoke the intercession of St. Longinus
“When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39)
St. Longinus is the centurion who pierced the side of Our Lordwhile He was hanging on the Cross. It’s said that St. Longinus, nearly blind, was healed when some of the blood and water from Jesusfell into his eyes. He was killed for his faith and his lance is contained in one of the pillars in the Basilicaof St Peter’s in Rome. What a faith, what a savior have we, that even a man who wounded the side of God may become a saint! So, what is our excuse not to work hard to try to become saints, too? Here’s a novena to St. Longinus.
7Decorate the house in honor of this month's devotion
Place a vase of red flowers and/or a red tablecloth/runner on your table or mantel. Place an image of the face of Jesus in a prominent place where you gather as a family, such as a kitchen island or dining table. Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus goes all the way back to the Veil of Veronica and the Shroud of Turin, with the unforgettable image of the Holy Face covered with blood. You might also want to put a Divine Mercy image in a prominent place of honor.
8Lead your family in a prayer to the Precious Blood at meal times and bed time
Consider including this as part of your Grace before Meals, or consider praying the Nine Day Novena of the Holy Face of Jesus. It may be said any time, but why not begin it on a Tuesday, the day of the week devoted to the Holy Face? Or each evening in July try reciting the Litany of the Precious Blood or consecrate yourself to the Precious Blood.
9Listen to music celebrating the gift of the Precious Blood
You’ll never take the Precious Blood for granted again after listening to these songs: “This Blood” by Rita Springer; “Jesus My Lord, My God, My All” (a great one for kids), or “The Precious Blood” by Sovereign Grace Music.
10Give the gift of the Chaplet of the Precious Blood of Jesus
This chaplet could be a great gift for a friend going through a hard time this month.
11Perform a deed of sacrificial love or an act of mercy
Seeking to emulate Jesus, do something that is an outpouring. If you’re healthy, perhaps donate blood, and as you do so, pray for the health (body and soul) of the one who’ll receive it. Give your time, talent, or treasure to those in need this month, even when it isn’t easy, and offer it up. Give an outpouring of love even (and especially!) when you’re tired, hungry, or busy. Encourage your kids to do so, too.
12Seal the doorposts
Though we thank God for the sweet reprieves we are given and the moments of pure joy, this is the “valley of tears” as the Hail Holy Queen prayer reminds us, and hard times are clearly not behind us. The news is still filled with stories of coronavirus cases, sorrow, and unrest. We suffer daily. Just as the Israelites sealed their doorposts with the Blood of the Lamb in dark times, let us seal ours with the Blood of the Paschal Lamb. It is an outward sign of protection and an act of open-hearted trust in our Savior. The Marian Fathers teach that we can “seal our doorposts,” all year round, by placing a Divine Mercy Image on our doors. Hear all about it here.