The Most Precious Blood
THE Devotion peculiar to July,
indicated by the above title, suggests the intimacy, creative character and costliness of Christ's relationship to us as members of the Mystical Body. Let us take them in that order!
By reason of the Blood of Christ, the Body in which it flows constitutes a New Race. But a racial heritage is capable of colouring the whole personality. It lies at so deep a level that it may affect us even when we are not conscious of it or deliberately willing to act in accordance with it. To have Christ's Blood In our veins implies regeneration. And this is necessary, seeing that the evil in us is rooted in our Adamic ancestry. If that ancestry is to be overcome, it can be only by a correspondingly deep and intimate infusion. By the use a the term "blood " in this connection, is suggested something far more compelling than the influence of Jesus as an historic character; it suggests a new nature, that of Christ Himself working within us.
2. But the Blood of Christ coursing through the Mystical Body builds up the New Man, reproducing His likeness in the members of His Body. By this means we are more and more closely incorporated with Him and made co-operative with our fellow members. Between this process and the acquisition of our legal status as practising Catholics there is a fundamental distinction. The first is fixed. In one sense it is true to say that we cannot be " more or less Catholic " ; there is no " more or less" about it either we are Catholics or we are nonCatholics; there is no mid-way position. On the other hand, however, the process of incorporation is capable of bringing about limitless developments so that increasingly we are drawn into and participate in the central life of the Church, which is that of Christ Himself.
3. To be satisfied with the first, that is, with a merely static and legal position. h to show a serious failure to realise that the Blood whereby the members of the Body arc nourished is sacrificial Blood shed by Incarnate God for no other purpose than that it might be the source of life and health for His Mystical Body. To neglect an opportunity provided for us at such infinite cost is surely the basest ingratitude. Moreover, the costliness of this Gift is an index as to the imperative need in which human nature stands of
such regeneration. God would not spend all He is and all He has on a matter of secondary importance. And, finally, the heritage of sacrificial Blood involves the obligation to obey the sacrificial instinct which it carries with it, STANLEY B. JAMES.