Our beautiful Church has many different devotions: so many in fact that it can be hard to know where to start. Fortunately, every month of the year has a special devotion for which the month is dedicated. This provides a perfect jumping off point for anyone who wants to learn more about different Catholic devotions.
The month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood. Devotion to the Precious Blood is a relatively unknown devotion, but it has been around for centuries, though it wasn’t until 1849 that a formal celebration was put into place by Pope Pius IX. The official feast was set for July 1st. After Vatican II, however, the feast day was removed from the calendar and the entire month of July was instead dedicated to the Precious Blood.
“Precious Blood, ocean of divine mercy: Flow upon us! Precious Blood, most pure offering: Procure us every grace! Precious Blood, hope and refuge of sinners: Atone for us! Precious Blood, Delight of holy souls: Draw us!”St. Catherine of Siena
Want to deepen your devotion to the Precious Blood this July (or discover it for the first time)? Here are seven ways to do just that.
1. Pick up a copy of this Precious Blood devotional
Many churches have this Devotion to the Precious Blood booklet sitting around in the foyer or narthex, but if you haven’t seen one (or don’t have access to a church at the moment) they can also be purchased online. The booklet is full of beautiful insights into the devotion, as well as prayers and stories from the lives of various Saints.
2. Pray the Litany of the Precious Blood
The Litany of the Most Precious Blood is a beautiful prayer full of powerful imagery that asks for God’s mercy and invokes the cleansing power of Christ’s blood.
“Blood of Christ, that spilled to the ground, be our salvation
Blood of Christ, that flowed at the scourging, be our salvation
Blood of Christ, dripping from the thorns, be our salvation”Litany of the Precious Blood
You can find the full prayer on the USCCB website.
3. Attend a Votive Mass (or watch online)
Although the July 1st feast day was removed from the calendar, there is still a special votive Mass that can be celebrated on that date (or any day) in honor of the Precious Blood.
If you are unable to attend Mass right now, there are votive Masses online that you can watch. Alternatively, you can pray the opening prayer for the votive Mass on your own:
“O God, who by the Precious Blood of your Only Begotten Son have redeemed the whole world,
preserve in us the work of your mercy,
so that, ever honoring the mystery of our salvation,
we may merit to obtain its fruits.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the holy spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Amen.”Votive Mass, Opening prayer
4. Pray the Chaplet of the Precious Blood
There are a couple of different versions of the Chaplet of the Precious Blood. The first one contains seven mysteries in which you meditate on the seven times that Jesus shed his blood during his life: his circumcision, at Gethsemane, at the scourging, the crowning of thorns, the carrying of the cross, the crucifixion, and the piercing of Jesus’s side. You can find it here.
The second version meditates on each of the wounds Jesus receives during his Passion: the wound on his right hand, the wound on his left hand, the wounds of both feet, respectively, and the wound in his side. You can find this chaplet at this site.
Both versions of this prayer are perfect ways to spend some time alone with the Lord, considering his Passion and the pouring out of his blood for our sins. While the first version of this chaplet does require a special chaplet, the second can be prayed on any normal rosary.
5. Decorate your house
Consider decorating your house in honor of the Precious Blood this July. Red is the liturgical color often used for Good Friday and Palm Sunday as its hue evokes the color of blood. It is equally suitable for providing subtle reminders in your home of Jesus’s sacrifice. Use a red table cloth or fill a vase with red roses—even a red throw blanket or pillows would do. Other ideas include placing a new crucifix in your home, or perhaps an image of the Passion.
6. Receive Holy Communion
The greatest way, of course, to honor the Most Precious Blood is to receive it during Mass. This may not be possible for everyone right now, but if you are able to receive Communion, try to do so as often as you can this month. Remember, the wine you receive is the Precious Blood of Christ. As you receive, hold that thought in your heart.
If you aren’t able to attend Mass right now, make a spiritual communion and spend some time meditating on the gift of the Eucharist instead.
7. Begin the Twelve Year Prayers of St. Bridget
If you are feeling up to it and want to take on something new, check out the 12-year prayers of St. Bridget. This short collection of prayers come from an approved revelation and carry with them some serious promises. The prayers must be prayed every day for twelve years for the promises to be granted, but even if you don’t make it, there is still a lot of spiritual growth that can be gained from praying them. Like the Chaplet of the Most Precious Blood, the prayers of St. Bridget also meditate on the seven times that Christ’s blood was shed.
Featured Image: Pixabay. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.