Devotion to the Precious Blood is very important to true children of Mary, especially today. Faithful Catholics must learn to take full advantage of this beautiful and inspiring devotion.
The Mother of Jesus standing beneath the Cross is the one to enkindle this devotion in the hearts of men. She is the Mother of the Precious Blood and knows well the great love that made her Divine Son shed His Precious Blood for our salvation. It is through Mary that men will learn to glorify and honor the Precious Blood of Jesus.
There are special relations between Mary and the Precious Blood of our Divine Savior. By taking a close look at these relations, one can understand both the great value of that Blood which flowed from the wounds of Our Savior, as well as the wonderful glory that Our Lady receives from this Blood.
Mary made it possible for the second Person of the Holy Trinity to become man. In her pure body, He took the Flesh and Blood that one day He would offer on Calvary for the redemption of mankind. On the day of the Annunciation, St. Gabriel the Archangel announced to her: "And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a Son." (Luke 1:31) And almost the same words are spoken to St. Joseph: "Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take to thee Mary, thy spouse, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Ghost." (Matt. 1:21) Mary then gave birth to the Savior in Bethlehem, as was announced to the shepherds: "For there is born to you this day, in the city of David, a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)
Since Mary is really the Mother of Jesus, she gave Him everything that a mother gives to her child. She gave Him His human life; to her, Jesus owes His Precious Blood, since it was formed in her body through the power of the Holy Ghost. And Mary, in turn, owes all her holiness and privileges to the Divine Blood of her Son.
Mary is the most beautiful of all creatures. In her, God realized His greatest work. She is so beautiful precisely because she is the Mother of God. For this high office she was raised to the greatest glory and dignity. Next to God, she deserves the highest praise. That is why the Church always calls the faithful to honor and praise her.
Because of her Divine motherhood, she received the greatest gifts possible. God gave her all the graces that she was able to receive. Her beauty and glory are so great that no angel, no man, no creature, can ever be compared to her: "To what shall I compare thee, or to whom shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem." (Lam. 2:13) Mary never had original sin, and that is why the angel could greet her as "full of grace." She received all those gifts because she was to become the Mother of God, because from her the Redeemer was to receive His Precious Blood.
All beauty and grandeur that men admire in Mary come from the merits of the Precious Blood. Since Our Lady was more closely united to this Blood than anyone else, she enjoyed the most advantages from it. All the splendors of her beauty, all the glories of her graces, all the honor of her motherhood come from the Divine Blood. She, too, was saved by the Precious Blood, but in a very special way. For others, the Precious Blood was shed to take away sin; for Mary, it was shed to protect and defend her from harm. She was not freed from sin, rather, she was ever preserved from its least contagion. She received this privilege in view of the future merits of the Divine Blood. Her Immaculate Conception is the first and greatest grace of Jesus' victory.
Mary united herself closely to her Divine Son's sacrifice. She was always near Him. Certainly her cooperation in man's salvation was not absolutely necessary. But God chose that His Son should suffer and shed His Blood to the last drop to save the world. It was His plan that Mary should join in this work of love. Her consent was needed for the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity to become man, so that He could suffer and die for the redemption of the human race.
Jesus was the Savior not only on Calvary, but all throughout His life. His death on the Cross completed His sacrifice. He began His work of saving souls at the moment of His Incarnation; He began it in union with Mary. And He also ended it in union with her. As Mary was the handmaid of God at the Annunciation, so was she still that handmaid on Calvary. The Gospel says: "Now there was standing by the Cross of Jesus His Mother." (John 19:25) Mary's presence at this great moment is significant. It shows that she suffered with Jesus for the Redemption of mankind.
The benefits of the Precious Blood are very many. It gave to men the "power to be made sons of God," freeing them from the chains of sin. It promises eternal life to those who renounce sin through the power obtained for them through the Precious Blood. Thereby it brings peace between God and men; It draws souls to the Heart of Jesus, our Savior.
But, the Church teaches that all graces of the Precious Blood come through Mary. No grace is given without her intercession. Saint Bernard, the great Marian theologian, says: "God wants us to receive all things through Mary; no grace comes from Heaven to earth without passing through her hands." This same thought was expressed often throughout the ages: "Mother of God, no one is freed from his sins, no one receives a gift, except through thee."
Already in the lifetime of Jesus, He granted graces and blessings at the request of His Mother. The first miracles that He worked were carried out in union with Mary. She brought Jesus, Who was not yet born, to her cousin's house to sanctify John the Baptist in the womb of his mother, St. Elizabeth; later, at Cana, she asked her Son to work a miracle to help the young couple in their temporal need.
It is natural that Mary should share in granting the graces of the Precious Blood, since she cooperated so much in gaining them. It is also right for her to have a part in giving graces, because she is the Mother given to us by Jesus from the Cross. As Mother, she has the duty of helping her children and protecting them.
Mary receives her greatness from the Precious Blood. All her excellence and beauty come from this Blood. She has many claims for honor, but the most beautiful gem in her crown of glory is her relation to the Divine Blood of her Son. It recalls her Divine Maternity; it reminds men of the offering that she made of that Blood at the foot of the Cross; it recalls that Mary was protected and made beautiful through that same Blood.
Oh let us, through our devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus, give Mary, our Mother, a new glory; for this devotion makes Mary exalt Jesus, and Jesus exalt Mary!
SHORT OFFERING IN UNION WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS
O my God, I offer Thee this and every action of my life in union with the Precious Blood in all the true Masses now being offered throughout the world, to Thine own everlasting praise and glory, to Thine infinite rejoicing and delight, to the glory of the Sacred Heart, to the honor of Holy Mary, St. Joseph, my Guardian Angel, and Patron Saint, for the conversion of sinners, for the dying, and for the relief of the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Jesus in atonement for my sins, and in supplication for the needs of Holy Mother Church.
Our Lady's words at Fatima, "Certain styles and fashions are being introduced which gravely offend My Divine Son," certainly represent no innovation in the teachings of her Divine Son, Who said Himself, "Anyone who so much as looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matt. 5:28) All throughout the centuries the true followers of Christ have recognized the critical need, not only of penance and self-denial, in order to preserve chastity of mind and body, but also of avoiding all occasions of sin, especially immodest fashions on the part of women, who through their vanity become horrible occasions of sin for men, just as Our Lord warned. Indeed, if woman's vanity has been a prolific source of temptation down throughout the centuries, what is to be said of our own age, in which the styles and fashions are deliberately calculated to lead men into sin. Let us be reminded of the unchanging doctrine of the Church in this regard, and diligently avoid, without fear of human respect, that terrible immodesty in dress which is the cause of so many sins and offenses against the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Sacred Heart of Her Divine Son! Considering this tragic reality, reflect carefully upon this warning to women by a great and holy Doctor of the Church:
St. John Chrysostom (4th Century)
Considering the Number of the Lost