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The Fusion of Three Christological Devotions

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Sacred-Heart-Dohle-webBelieve it or not, the Catholic Church and her faithful are devoted to Jesus Christ. With all our hyperdulia and dulia (devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints), we can often lose sight of the Church’s Christological devotion. Most clearly, the Church’s faithful are dedicated to the Eucharist—to receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist and adoring Him, whether reserved in a tabernacle or exposed on the altar in a monstrance. Besides devotion to the Eucharist, the Church has three popular Christological devotions: Divine Mercy, Sacred Heart, and the Precious Blood, all of which have been the highlight of special devotion in recent months. The Sunday after Easter was Divine Mercy Sunday which many people observed by praying a nine day novena in honor of the Divine Mercy. June was the Month of the Sacred Heart and July is dedicated to the Precious Blood.

One of the temptations of the devotional world is to see devotions in competition with one another, as if they detract from one another or are diametrically opposed. This was made quite clear to me a number of years ago when I was discerning with a religious community that promoted the Divine Mercy message. One of my friends expressed his concern and hesitancy toward the Divine Mercy devotion because he believed it took away from and was replacing devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Rather than seeing these devotions as competitive, we should instead see them as complementing and to a certain extent fused to one another.   Common to all three devotions is the blood of Christ, His love, and mercy for the entire human race.

The Sacred Heart and the Precious Blood

If one pauses for a moment and thinks about the Divine Mercy and Precious Blood devotions, one quickly would discover that Christ’s Sacred Heat is foundational for both devotions.   Within the body, it is the heart that pumps the blood through the circulatory system. If one of the valves or arteries becomes clogged, it is necessary to do surgery—either to place a stent in order to open the valve or to do open heart bypass surgery. The heart is crucial in order for maintaining life because if blood cannot be pumped serious complications can result, including death. Jesus’ Sacred Heart was responsible for pumping His blood. When He was whipped, tortured, scourged, and crucified, Jesus’ heart continued to pump the blood that was shed for our sins, for the sake of mercy.

divinemercy03_webThe Divine Mercy and the Precious Blood

Jesus taught St. Faustina many different prayers; the most popular being the Divine Mercy Chaplet. In the chaplet, the devotee prays, “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly Beloved Son, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. “  Another popular prayer of the devotion is, “O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus, as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in You.”  The blood of Christ is central to the Divine Mercy devotion because the faithful offer their prayers in atonement for sins and confess their trust in Christ’s saving blood. As the Responsorial Psalm for the Feast of the Precious Blood proclaims, “Your Blood O Lord is the Source of Life.”[1]  Through St. Faustina, Jesus has relayed to the world that the Blood of Christ is indeed the source of life—the source of mercy.

Conclusion

The Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy, and Precious Blood devotions are intimately linked and fused. While they are indeed three separate devotions, nevertheless, a crossover exists within the devotions themselves. It is important for us to realize that the devotions we hold dear, do not compete with one another but are three different expressions of how we tell the Lord we love Him and receive His love and mercy. During the remaining days of this month of July, let us allow the blood of Christ to wash over us, the blood that pumps through His Sacred Heart and radiates the world with mercy. Let us turn toward Jesus, whose heart was pierced for our offenses and has become a fount of mercy and source of saving blood.


[1] The Feast of the Precious Blood is observed by some communities on July 1 (e.g. Missionaries of the Precious Blood). The liturgical feast of the Precious Blood has been joined to the celebration of Corpus Christi in the Ordinary Form.

- See more at: http://www.ignitumtoday.com/2013/07/21/the-fusion-of-three-chirstological-devotions/#sthash.Mo6YAdD1.dpuf

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