The Incarnation of One of the Three Divine Persons was part of the original idea of Creation. It expresses in God the Same mysterious and adorable yearning which was manifested in His creating Angels and men in a state of grace. If there had been no sin, still the Second Person of the Holy Trinity would have been Man. Jesus Christ was eternally predestinated to be King of Angels and of men, the sovereign of all creation in right of His created nature, even if there had been no fall, and no redemption. I am repeating what I have said before; but I must do so in order to be clear. As God in His Divine Nature was the Sovereign Lord of all creation, so Jesus in His Created Nature was to be the King of kings and Lord of lords. He would have come and lived among us. He would have been born of the same blessed and most dear Mother. But His Bethlehem and His Nazareth and His Jerusalem would have been very different. He would have had no Egypt and no Calvary. He might perchance have dwelt longer with us than Three-and-Thirty years. But all the while, wherever He was, He would have been radiant as on the summit of Mount Thabor, the beauty and the glory streaming out from Him incessantly. He would have had no Passion, no Resurrection; and perhaps He would not have ascended till the Day of Doom. He would have had the same Sacred Heart, the same Precious Blood. His Blood would have been a living joy to Him, a beauty and a joy to all creation. Perhaps His Blood would still have been the wine of immortality to His elect. It might have been still the Blood of the Eucharist. There might have been the Sacrament without the Sacrifice. It might have been the chalice of His espousals with the soul. As some theologians say there might have been Communion before the Incarnation for the Saints of the old covenant, if God had so willed, much more might it have been so with the impassible and glorious Incarnation, had there been no sin. The Precious Blood might still have been the sacramental fountain of eternal life. But it would not have had the office of ransoming the world from sin. Sin came; and by its coming it did to the Sacred Humanity of the Incarnate Word what it also did to the uncreated Majesty of God. It deprived it of its kingdom. It laid waste its empire. It miserably uncrowned it. It left Him only the unfallen tribes of Angels to rule over. It threatened to frustrate the Incarnation, and to take the chiefest jewel out of His Mother's diadem, the jewel of her sinlessness. As sin had dared to impede Divine love in the matter of Creation, so did it dare to hinder Divine love in the matter of the Incarnation. In one case it tried to infringe the eternal dominion of God; in the other case it strove to destroy the kingship of His created nature. As with Creation, so with the Incarnation, it was the Precious Blood which saved the kingdom. A change, as we are obliged to call it, came over its destinies. It should be created passible, and not impassible. It should be endowed with a suffering life. It should flow out of a suffering Heart, and should sustain a suffering Body. It should be selected by the Holy Trinity, for reasons inscrutable to us, inscrutable perhaps because we know so little about life, to be the solitary ransom for sin. If we knew the secret of life, we might perhaps know many new things about the Precious Blood. The wisdom of God beheld innumerable fitnesses in this mysterious choice. We can adore them, even though we do not know them. Thus the Precious Blood was to conquer back His kingdom for Jesus, and to secure the jewel of sinlessness for His Mother's diadem. Thus Jesus owed to His Precious Blood His kingdom and His Mother. Yet this Blood, what is it but the Own life of Jesus? Thus was sin frustrated without the creature's liberty being forfeited. Thus did darkness war against light; and what came of it was, that, through the Precious Blood, the original idea of Creation was even beautified, without any change in the Unchangeable. These are the relations of the Precious Blood to Creation and the Incarnation. These are its titles to royalty - that it reinstated the dominion of God, and that it restored the kingdom of Jesus.
Let us pause for a moment to make an act of loving reparation to the immutability of God. We have had to speak of Him with the infirmity of human words, as if His plans had failed, or His counsels had been altered. But we must not let any such idea rest on our minds. How it is that He did not change we cannot see: but we know that He did not; and we adore His blissful immutability. God changes His works without changing His counsels, says St. Augustine. But the change is in creatures, not in Him. Time cannot change Him, because He is eternal; nor place, because He is immense. He cannot change within Himself, because He is perfect. He cannot be changed by any thing outside Him, because He is almighty. His life is absolute repose, beatitude, simplicity: and in all this there can be no change. The very necessity, which compels us to speak of God as if He changed, only brings home to us more forcibly the perfection of His tranquility. Let us then boldly offer to His love these ignorant words; and, while they enable us to understand somewhat of the peculiar office and grandeur of the Precious Blood, let us lovingly adore that unchangeableness of God, which has lain for all eternity more unwrinkled than a summer sea, and will lie to all eternity, with almost infinite worlds round about it, and yet have neither current, stream, or pulse, or tide, or wave, with no abyss to hold it and with no shore to bound it, with no shadow from without, and no throbbing from within.
Now that we have endeavored to show the place, which the Precious Blood holds in the counsels of God, with reference both to Creation and the Incarnation, let us, before we advance any further, see how the Holy Scriptures speak of it, and how completely their language is in harmony with our theology. We will content ourselves with putting the texts together, as we find from experience that many persons, when a special devotion to the Precious Blood is urged upon them, were not at all aware of the stress which the inspired writings lay upon it, but have rather regarded it as merely a convenient figurative expression to sum up and represent the mysteries of redemption.
Then Jesus said to them: Amen, Amen, I say unto you: Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of man, and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise Him up in the last day. For My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him. In Him, says St. Paul, it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, making peace through the Blood of His Cross, both as to the things on earth, and the things that are in Heaven. Christ, being come an high-priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hand, neither by the blood of goats, or of calves, but by His Own Blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For, if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the Blood of Christ, Who by the Holy Ghost offered Himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? Neither was the first testament dedicated without blood; and almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood; and without shedding of blood there is no remission. It is necessary therefore that the patterns of heavenly things should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. We have, therefore, brethren, a confidence in the entering into the Holies by the Blood of Christ, a new and living way which He hath dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, His Flesh. We are come to the sprinkling of Blood, which speaketh better than that of Abel. The bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the Holies by the high-priest for sin, are burned without the camp: wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people by His Own Blood, suffered without the gate. St. Peter speaks of us as elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, unto the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ. St. John says, The Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. This is He that came by water and Blood: not by water only, but by water and Blood: and it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth; and there are Three who give testimony in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these Three are One; and there are three that give testimony on earth, the spirit, and the water, and the Blood; and these three are one. The Ancients in the Apocalypse sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God in Thy Blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people and nation, and hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth. And one of the Ancients answered and said to me: These that are clothed in white robes, who are they? and whence came they? And I said to him, My lord, thou knowest. And He said to me, These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God; and the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall rule them. And I heard a loud voice in Heaven, saying: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ; because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night; and they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb. And I saw Heaven opened, and behold! a white horse: and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True; and with justice cloth He judge and fight; and His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many diadems; and He had a name written, which no man knoweth but Himself; and He was clothed with a garment sprinkled with Blood; and His name is called The Word of God: and the armies that are in Heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen white and clean; and He shall rule: and He hath on His garment and on His thigh written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Again St. Paul says, The Chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the Blood of Christ? Now in Christ Jesus, you, who sometime were afar off, are made nigh by the Blood of Christ. St. Peter says, We know that we were redeemed with the Precious Blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled, foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but manifested in the last times. St. Paul also speaks of the God of peace, Who brought again from the dead the great pastor of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Blood of the everlasting testament. To the clergy of Ephesus St. Paul speaks of the bishops who rule the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His Own Blood. To the Romans he speaks of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in His Blood, to the showing of His justice, for the remission of former sins, through the forbearance of God. Christ died for us: much more therefore, being now justified by His Blood, shall we be saved from wrath through Him. He speaks to the Ephesians of our being predestinated unto the praise of the glory of God's grace, in which He hath graced us in His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption through His Blood, the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Similarly to the Colossians he speaks of the Father having delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in Whom we have redemption through His Blood, ... that in all things He may hold the primacy. St. John in the preface of the Apocalypse delivers his message as from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness, the first-begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth, Who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in His Own Blood, and hath made us a kingdom, and priests to God and His Father, to Him be glory and empire for ever and ever! Amen. 1
He who desires to attain to a deep and fervent devotion to the Precious Blood cannot do so more readily than by taking the foregoing texts of the Holy Scriptures for the subjects of his meditations. They will carry him, and very gently, far down into the mind of God. They will infuse into him a more tender and a more ardent love of the Person of the Eternal Word, while they will also increase his reverence for the Sacred Humanity. They, like all Scripture words, will bring forth fruit a thousandfold in his heart. Meanwhile, with reference to our present train of thought, the reader will observe how frequently and in what a striking way the mention of the Precious Blood is coupled by the Holy Ghost with the idea of kingdom, empire, and primacy, how carefully the eternal determination and foreknowledge of the Precious Blood is kept in sight, how it is put forward as the making of an offering, the restoring of his creatures, to God, and, finally, how it is to St. Peter, our Lord's Vicar upon earth, that we owe the title of Precious as applied to his Master's Blood. I cannot but believe that many men will feel their devotion to the Precious Blood increased as a special devotion when they see the wonderful teaching of the Bible on the subject brought into one view.
1. St. John vi. 54, 56. Col. i. 20. Heb. ii. 14; ix. 7; x. 19; xii. 24; xiii. 11. 1 Pet. i. 2. 1 John i. 7; v. 6, 8. Apoc. v. 9; vii. 14; xii. II; xix. 15. I Cor. x. 16. Eph.
ii. 15. 1 Pet. i. 19. Heb. xiii. 20. Acts xx. 28. Rom. iii. 25; v. 9. Eph. i. 7. Col. i. 14. Apoc. i. 5.
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