Wednesday, 8 April 2020 – “Do Not Let a Single Drop of Blood Be Wasted: At the Cross with Mary” Part III, “From the Trinity to the Eucharist”
Fr. Ignatius John Schweitzer, O.P.
We are gathered at the foot of the Cross with Mary.
We come as we are, in our weakness and emptiness, and we receive in trust the drops of Love poured out for us in the Blood of Jesus. The Blood atones for sins, makes right what was wrong, implants new life where there was death, repairs the damage done by sin, and refashions the world as a new creation. The Love poured out for us enables us to pour out ourselves for others. To do this we must drink deeply of the Blood from the chalice, deep in the wine cellar. The Blood is not just a thing of the past. The Blood shed for us is still moist today! It still contains the life of the Savior and brings about its saving effects even now. The Blood is still moist primarily in two ways, in the Triune life communicated to us and in the Holy Eucharist.
There’s a link between Jesus’ Blood and the Holy Spirit. The Blood is alive with the Spirit. For, the life is in the Blood. We saw in the first reflection that two Catherines speak as if the Blood is on fire, on fire with love. St. Catherine of Siena says, “He gave you not only his blood but fire as well, for it was through the fire of love that he gave you his blood” (Dialogue #127). St. Catherine of Genoa says a similar thing: “God deeply impressed upon her the fountains of Christ with their fiery bloody drops of love for man” (Spiritual Dialogue, p 119). And already the New Testament links Jesus’ Blood with the Holy Spirit by extolling it above the Old Testament sacrifices because Jesus’ Blood is suffused with the Spirit, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:14) It’s the living God we serve and His Blood is alive with the eternal Spirit even now as Jesus gives us life through it.
A. brings the conversation deeper and explores the Trinitarian context of the Blood poured out, linking it with the Holy Spirit. St. Thomas Aquinas spoke of the Son and Spirit as the “Word breathing forth Love” (Verbum spirans Amorem) still sent to us today by the Father (ST I q 43, a 5). A. builds on this, noting, “The Word breathing forth Love seems to me very much related to collecting the Blood falling from Jesus on the Cross. Couldn’t we rightly see the Blood from Christ’s side as the Word bringing forth Love? A Trinitarian picture of the Passion.”
B. responds with enthusiasm, “Right on! Thanks for the connection: the Word breathing forth Love becomes visible in the Word Incarnate pouring forth Blood! That’s what I see in the extravagant flow of Blood: the lavish and prodigal love of the Trinity. I dare call it even the ‘wasteful love of God’ since Jesus has won for us graces that we are sometimes unwilling to receive. Do not let a single drop be wasted! Yet He showers us so lavishly with the flood of His life-giving Blood.
“I like what you say, ‘a Trinitarian picture of the Passion’…and vice-versa a Passion picture of the Trinity. The Father too can be seen in the Word Incarnate pouring forth drops of Blood: in the newness of the drops of Blood pouring forth afresh, love anew. For, the Father is the fontal Source. He is the One who sends Son and Spirit anew each time they are sent to our souls in a new way. The Blood remains moist as the Father continues to send the Word breathing forth and pouring out Love anew.
“By the way, do you know the contemporary Christian song ‘Reckless Love’ by Cory Asbury? It’s worth checking out. It has some lines like, ‘…I don’t deserve it, I couldn’t earn it, yet You give Yourself away…O the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God…’ This reckless love of God ended up getting Jesus crucified!
Yet it’s a reckless love suffused with the wisdom of the Cross. Well, listen to the song while watching the drops of Blood fall. Gaze upon the Word breathing forth Love made visible in the Word Incarnate pouring forth Love—all initiated by the Father, as springing forth from a fresh Fountain, Beauty ever-ancient, ever-new.”
As we lovingly contemplate the Crucified One and come under the influence of His love poured out, we will in turn pour ourselves out more totally for others. I asked C. how we might preach and teach the message of the falling drops of Blood, but she brings us to a much deeper level. “One thing coming to me about how to preach on this reparation is this. I believe as we immerse ourselves at the foot of the Cross in holy prayer and drink in His crucifixion in meditation and as He leads us into deeper contemplation of His sufferings, and we let ourselves get imprinted by this holy vision, then preaching this will come out as the blood drops of Jesus’ sweat in the Agony in the Garden (cf. Lk 22:44). It will just come out of every pore of our being, and every message will be the message of reparation whatever the topic is.”
B. picks up on this theme, “I suppose too when the Word breathing forth Love enters our souls more profoundly, our words not only breathe forth love but also blood. Our words will be anointed with love and the power of the Blood. Our preaching-witnessing-living—in short, every pore of our being—will pour forth these blood-drops of love.”
This transformation comes about powerfully in the Eucharist, as Christ’s true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity is made present on the altar and the Blood is as moist as ever. A. notes, as our conversation developed over the past few months, “The Mass emphatically is Christ’s redemptive/salvific/reparative Act and our participation in that Act happens pre-eminently at Mass. I am considering this in all of our discussion: how can I live this particular aspect of the prayer of the Mass more intentionally and extensively in my life; how can I make the Mass fruitful in other people’s lives through my living it out; how can I allow God to magnify the graces of Christ’s Act through me in creation for more redemption/salvation? How can I let not a single drop be wasted?”
B. builds on these words about the Mass, with some words about Eucharistic Adoration: “Here’s a thought I had in church this afternoon during Eucharistic Adoration. The round Host exposed on the altar is kind of like one of the round drops of Blood that could be wasted if we weren’t there. Throughout the world there are so many of these drops of Love, these round exposed Hosts, and only a relatively few number of people are there to catch these drops, with their adoration and love, receiving the Lord’s Eucharistic Love, and requiting His Love. These drops of Eucharistic Love are nearly wasted like the drops of Blood falling to the ground.”
With respect to the Eucharist, and the Body handed over and Blood poured out for us, one way that these drops of the Lord’s Love can be wasted is through receiving Holy Communion unworthily or indifferently. The Body and Blood are like wasted drops of love falling to the ground unless we receive them with lively faith, hope, and love. “Do not let a single drop be wasted” also means: Receive our Lord with loving devotion in Holy Communion, returning love for love. C. points us to the messages of Fatima again, where the angel says to the three little shepherds, “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes, and console your God.”
In the awful situation now with the coronavirus and the suspension of public Masses, I hope and pray that this imposed Eucharistic fast will increase the hunger and devotion of many people for the Eucharist. A couple months ago, A. wrote, “At Mass this morning I recalled Jesus’ ‘I thirst’ and I thought, well, if I too actually suffer a small bit of thirst, His lament has more significance to my heart and I have a deeper appreciation for the quenching power of the Drops for the thirsting souls.” B. responded by saying, “Yes, thirst. We must be very thirsty to drink deeply from the Chalice of the Blood—thirsting for souls, thirsting to be quenched by the Blood, thirsting for the Fountain pouring out His Love-Blood for us, thirsting for the One who thirsts for us.”
These words are all the more striking in our current situation. Much benefit, grace, and consolation come through making spiritual communions yet we still long ardently for the Eucharist. How will things be different in our souls and dispositions when we are able to return to Mass with all gathered together? Hopefully more and more of the lay faithful are experiencing a growing hunger and love for the Eucharist. Hopefully, too, priests abiding by the altar and offering Masses without their congregation, are discovering a new love for the lay faithful, in an absence that makes the heart grow fonder. Surely all of us—priest, religious, and laity alike—are experiencing a new longing because of this temporary separation in the Body of Christ. Longing and desire, though painful, are so important in the spiritual life because they stir into fire our love.
Our Church needs to be more and more a praying Church. C., reflecting on years of indifference among many in the world, feels a surge in her heart, desiring that more people would be devoted to prayer and loving intimacy with the Lord. She says, “I have read most of the In Sinu Jesu prayer diary by the anonymous Benedictine priest. I was struck many times in that book of the consistent urging from the Lord for His desire to have people in front of Him adoring Him just because He is worthy of that offering. Raising up Adoration chapels and prayer rooms, that is the vision: Just because He is worthy of night and day adoration, and it is a terrible lack that this is not happening everywhere, in everyplace by all people. One day, it will! But the pain resides in my heart that this is not happening as it should be…I am so sorry Jesus…Oh, terribly neglected One!” We see how Our Lady of Fatima’s messages have shaped her soul with the prayer of reparation that sounds forth from her heart, in a desire to have love returned for Love.
In conclusion, I contacted my friends last night, and C. said, “I believe maybe one thing God might be doing during this time of ‘Eucharistic fast’ is producing a hunger in His people that is so strong it pulls on Heaven in the place of prayer.” B. thinks, “The drops of Blood are the ultimate medicine that society needs, along with medicine for the body. And maybe the coronavirus is helping make us more receptive to the medicine of the Blood.” A. notes, “I am experiencing a heightened awareness of Eucharistic reparation and the power of the Blood in intercession, applying the Blood in making reparation. This is a time of ‘empowered intercession’ through the power of the Body and Blood.”
It has been a joy conversing (and praying) with my friends on the Blood of Jesus. The call continues to resound in the heart of Mary and our own, “Do not let a single Drop be wasted!” It’s a mission so needed in our world today and we can enter into it more deeply especially in our poverty. It’s about reaching out to the Lord with empty hands in faith, hope, and charity and giving our Marian fiat to His plan for our lives. A. concludes, “I’m desiring to never again allow for the wasting of even the smallest part of the tiniest Drop.” In the end, B. surrenders trustingly, “While we’re catching drops of Blood, may the Sea of Love also catch us!” And C. leaves us with these words: “As at the Wedding Feast of Cana (Jn 2), all the Lord needs are some empty vessels. May we be those vessels. The hour is urgent.”