Then a change comes over our Procession. The Blood goes alone. It is no longer in the Sacred Heart as in its living tabernacle. It is no longer mantling in the Mary-like Face. It is apart and uncompanioned now, and by itself is absolutely adorable. The souls of men have got the Soul of Jesus to themselves beneath the earth, where it is brightening the caverns with the Beatific Vision. The love and piety of men have tended the Body, embalmed it, and laid it in the tomb. To whom shall the Blood belong? Even to those for whom only it was not shed in expiation, to those for whom only it was not a ransom, to the multitudes of the delighted Angels! Who can tell their jubilee in that brief but sole possession of the ransom of mankind? They are sentinels over it, where it lay. On the hard stones of the street and on the stained plants of Calvary, on the accoutrements of the soldiers and on the garments of the great Mother, in the dry dust of Olivet and on all the instruments of the Passion, they kept watch and ward, and adored the Precious Blood. Mary saw them, blessed them in their deed. Through the Friday night, and Saturday, and till the Sunday dawned, they sang their voice-songs in those low-lying crevices of earth, finding their Heaven amid the dust of men's feet. Then they raised each drop with a touch of reverent fear and tremulous abasement, and set it up as a grand thing of beauty and of worship, and went in unimaginable procession to the sepulchre. Who can tell how they hailed that pomp upon the earth, nor how like it was to that simultaneous order of the Incarnation, of which theology teaches marvelous things, nor how like it was to the Chalice which Jesus Himself had consecrated, as it were an external Sacred Sacred Heart, on the Thursday night, nor how like it is now to the daily ration of the Blood in the Chalice of the Mass? Alongside of the Soul returned from limbus, and enjoying the same Divine Union as the Soul, the Precious Blood re-entered the Sacred Hearrt, filled with the sounds of life its silent halls, and poured glorified beauty of an immortal human life over every sacred limb, effacing all vestige of the Passion, save where it gathered itself up and burst forth into five roseate suns in the Hands and and Heart, suns whose exuberant radiance is causing unsetting day this hour in the farthest extremities of Heaven. But separate procession, that exclusive keeping of the Precious Blood, is a glory and a pride of the angelic kingdom, which their songs will tell of to all eternity.

Green Nazareth was not a closer hiding-place than the risen glory of the Forty Days. As of old, the Precious Blood clung round the sinless Mother. Like a stream that will not leave its parent chain of mountains, but laves them incessantly with many an obstinate meandering, so did the Blood of Jesus, shed for all hearts of men, haunt the single heart of Mary. Fifteen times, or more in those Forty Days, it came out from under the shadow of Mary's gladness and gleamed forth in beautiful apparitions. Each of them is a history in itself, and a mystery, and a revelation. Never did the Sacred Heart say or do such ravishing things as those Forty Days of its Risen Life. The Precious Blood had almost grown more human from having been three days in the keeping of the Angels. But, as it had mounted Calvary on Good Friday, so now it mounts Olivet on Ascension Thursday, and disappears into Heaven amidst the whiteness of the silver clouds. It had been but a decree in Heaven before, a Divine idea, an eternal compassion, an inexplicable complacency of the life of God. It returns thither a Human Life, and is throned at the Right Hand of the Father forever in right of its inalienable union with the Person of the Word. There is no change in the Unchangeable. But in Heaven there had never been change like this before, nor ever will be again. The changes of the Great Doom can be nothing compared to the exaltation of the Sacred Humanity of the Eternal Word. The very worship of the glorious spirits was changed, so changed that the Angels themselves cannot say how it is that no change has passed on God. Somehow the look of change has enhanced the magnificence of the Divine immutability, and has given a new gladness to their adoration of its unspeakable tranquility.

For a moment nothing on earth is visible. The white light of the Ascension has dazzled our eyes. We see a confused splendor, and nothing more. It is but for a moment; and then, more wonderful than ever, the Procession lies outstretched before the vision of our minds. It is no longer single. It is not even double, as it was on Calvary. It is treble now. Girdled with amazing refulgence, it fills all Heaven. Upon earth, breaking away beyond the confines of Palestine, it is visible in all nations of the globe, and crossing the broadest seas. Everywhere it is traversing the plains, scaling the mountains, and penetrating the sanctuaries of the wilderness. The Procession in repose above is like the Procession Blood. The Procession below is the omnipresence of its power, of the Thirty-Three Years. It is the actual life of the Precious the outstreaming of grace from its treasuries, faith's veritable application of the Precious Blood to the souls of men. This last is like the Procession of the four thousand years before the Incarnation, only that it has now sacramental realities of its own, and looks backward to the past. not, as that other Procession, forward to a future. The third Procession is not one, but manifold, and multiplied incessantly. Swifter than the sunbeam, from out the opened heavens the Precious Blood is flowing upon the altars of the Church. It is filling innumerable chalices at the same moment in the most distant places. The Sacred Heart, which is its natural tabernacle, is halting in countless tabernacles of human artifice, or is being borne about the fields and streets to the dying by the anointed servants of our Lord. This last Procession is not less actual than the one which is in Heaven. It lives the same glorified life. It is but one life, and the same life. This is the threefold vision of the Precious Blood, which we see when the radiance of the Ascension has passed away. The One in Heaven ministers in unknown mysteries to the Majesty of the Father. The One that moves over the earth is the minister of the Holy Spirit, Who guides and rules the Church. The mingled activity and rest of the Blessed Sacrament is the human life of the Eternal Son Himself, haunting the earth which He loved so dearly as to redeem it with His Blood. So the glory of the Holy Trinity satiates itself upon the Precious Blood.

The Upper Room of Pentecost is another Bethlehem. It is the birthplace of the Church. There is the same Mother as in the midnight cave. But, instead of Joseph, there are apostles. Instead of Angels' songs in the quiet midnight, there is the rushing wind of the Eternal Spirit; and his fiery tongues, instead of the wintry brightness of the stars. From that Upper Room the Procession seems to start again. Not that the Precious Blood had left the earth, even at the Ascension. The whole of those ten days it lay, in real sacramental presence unconsumed, on Mary's Immaculate Heart as on a reposoir. But it is not our present purpose to dwell upon the analogies between Bethlehem and the Room of Pentecost. We must still follow our Procession. From the day of Pentecost we can see its course onward for ages. The scenery of history is more varied than even that of geography. It has its bleak mountains and its cultivated lands, its valleys and its plains, its forests and even its deserts, its cities and its solitudes, its beautiful maritime borders and its gray expanses of melancholy wold. 

Across all this various scenery the Procession of the Precious Blood moves on, sometimes in single pomp, sometimes multiplied into many pomps, then again reuniting in one, or again sending forth a branch which shines for many a league and then disappears gradually or at once, as if the earth had drunk it up, as the sands drink the rivers of the desert. Still its course is plainly onward, from the east to the west; and its metropolis is changed, from Jerusalem to Rome. Its pageantry is more magnificent than ever. The choirs of Angels still attend it; but its sacred vessels are borne by a resplendent human hierarchy, which is a copy of the hierarchies of Heaven, and an emanation of the eternal priesthood of Jesus. At its head moves the never-dying Peter, the prince of the Apostles and the vicar of His Lord, while by his side moves evermore the glorious St. Michael, the captain of the hosts of God and the famous zealot of His honor. So multiplied are the symbols and the blazonries of Mary, that we might sometimes take it for a procession of our Lady. But then again, from its more solemn pomp, and more austere observance, we perceive that it is in truth a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament. Above it all, in a glory of sweetest light, hovers the Eternal Dove, who has come to be to the Church what Jesus was to His disciples during the Three-and-Thirty Years. Beautiful Spirit! He has clothed the Procession with His beauty. He has shed over it the whiteness of His holiness. He, who fashioned the Sacred Humanity after His Own model of Mary's loveliness, has imprinted the thousandfold expression of the likeness of Jesus upon the Church. So the Procession moves on, bearing on high the strange Heaven-invented vessels of the Sacraments, and attended with this amazing equipage. It fits all times. It harmonizes with all scenery. Its bravery does not flaunt the twilight of the catacombs, while it is in equal keeping with imperial courts. It illuminates ages which else were dark, and the eye rests reposefully upon its placid glories when false glitter all around at once deludes and fatigues the sight. With appropriate magnificence it adorns institutions venerable for their long antiquity, while with equal fitness it inaugurates the unprecedented novelties of daring epochs, as calmly as if it had been used to them for centuries. In the desert of the Thebais and amidst the temples of Athens, in the white squares of Iconium and by the thousand runlets of Damascus, amidst the swamps of Bulgaria and the mosques of Granada, in the oak sanctuaries of Scandinavia or the colleges of Paris, in the market-places of the Flemish towns or by the missionary rivers of La Plata, it is at once the light of the supernatural ennobling nature, and at the same time a beauty which seems as natural as the gray ruin which an aged wood so well knows how to incorporate with its quiet self. We have seen all this; for the light of history falls clearly upon it. But we trace the Procession far onward, toiling over the unborn ages, where the starry indistinctness of prophecy reveals it to our eyes. There are times to come, which shall be very different both from the times that have been, and from the times that are. The later ages of the Church will be portentous epochs. The times of Antichrist will never have been paralleled, although they may have been foreshadowed chiefly by the primeval centuries of Scripture history. But even amid those monstrous novelties the Procession of the Precious Blood, with its miraculously-preserved Sacraments, will move on with the same ready gracefulness, the same instinctive pliability, the same tranquil consciousness of its mission, which have distinguished it since Pentecost. Oh, happy we, who shall  see that marvelous future in peaceful admiration from out the Bosom of our heavenly Father, and may have to help it with our prayers!

But this Procession is not to be always a splendor of the earth. Its eternal sanctuary is Heaven. It will pass from earth to Heaven through the dark portal of the Valley of Josaphat, the Valley of Universal Doom. That will be the day of His earthly triumph, the crown of that other day of shame and outpouring upon Calvary. The lone trumpet of the Archangel, which shall wake the dead, is part of the pageantry of the Precious Blood. The union of the souls and bodies of the just is its work. The transfiguring of all glorified bodies into the likeness of the Body of Jesus is due also to the energy of its merits. Out of the Human Life, which is in that Blood, all judgment will proceed. The Blood itself will be the measure of justice, and the immeasurableness of mercy. All that will be magnificent in the vindictive sanctity of God that day will be a glory of the Precious Blood. In all that will be sweet, and gentle, and compassionate, it will seem as if the Precious Blood led the very love of God captive through its own greater capacities of love. Then too will all its difficult secrets be told, and its honor gloriously restored. Its mysteries of election, its seeming inequalities of grace, the irregularities of its patience, its varying prodigality, the apparent caprices of its impetuosity, its predilection for particular races and climates, its choice of favorite epochs, its look of waywardness with each individual soul, the amazing revelations of the saving grandeur of the Seven Sacraments - all these things will then be made plain, all will magnify its justice and its lovingness, all will illustrate the God. like equality of its beneficence, and all will redound to its eternal praise. The Universal Doom will be nothing else than a grand Feast of the Precious Blood, a Feast solemnized by the most marvelous functions, ushered in by the Archangel's trumpet at the dead of night. The rendering of their dead by land and sea, the jubilee of countless resurrections, the leading in chains of Satan and the rebel populace of Hell, the superb gathering of the Angels, the radiant Advent of the Judge and His Mother from Heaven, the silent pomp of the all-holy judgment, the ascent at eventide back to the palaces of Heaven with very worlds of material beauty won to God by the resurrection of the just - these are the sacred pageants of that supreme Feast of the Precious Blood.

After this, what shall we dream of the history of the Precious Blood in Heaven? Will it still be like a Procession, though gathered round the High Altar of creation? Will it still have new works to do, new glories to contribute to the Uncreated Majesty? What means that mysterious laying down of the kingdom by the Sacred Humanity, of which the Apostle speaks to the Corinthians? What side are we to take in that thrilling controversy of theologians about the eternity of the priesthood of our Lord? Will not the repose of Heaven be more energetic than the activity of the earth, and be more energetic because its peace is so profound? At least and figure are more palpable. Hence we gain in clearness. But the outside is never more than a partial manifestation. Besides this, it is liable to erroneous impressions which can only be corrected by some knowledge of what is within. Having asked you, then, to look at the history of the Precious Blood as a Procession, I must now, at the risk of some repetition, ask you to look at it as a Life, or as a series of lives. We shall thus complete our study of this marvelous history, and do our best to guard against any such misapprehensions as might interfere with our devotion.


--------------CHRIST THE KING