Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies

(Missale Romanum 1970)

For today’s meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, as July is the Month devoted to the Precious Blood, we consider the Collect for the Votive Mass of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Missale Romanum 1970. Although the new calendar folded the Feast of the Precious Blood into the Feast of Corpus Christi, the MR’70 nevertheless contains a beautiful Votive Mass for the Precious Blood. The following is the official ICEL English translation of the Collect of this Mass:

“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, etc. Amen.”

This Collect skillfully articulates the Church’s teaching on human salvation as a movement of redemption, justification, and sanctification. It claims simultaneously that Christ has redeemed the world by His Precious Blood (the ascription clause), and at the same time, that those who have accepted this redemption must continue to cooperate with God’s grace (“preserve in us the work of Your mercy”).  

The motive clause and the result clause flowing out of the petition further demonstrate that salvation is not “once-and-done” in this life. Rather, they indicate that our salvation hinges upon our continued worship of Christ in the Mass (“ever honoring the mystery of our salvation”), as well as in doing good works as an outgrowth of the baptismal grace of charity (“so that we may merit heaven”). And, of course, all of this rests upon our initial conversion and Baptism (a gift which no one can merit).

The Church explains all of this doctrine so clearly and convincingly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1987-2016, which I strongly encourage you all to read (you may even read just the summary of these paragraphs in the “in brief” section- nos. 2017-2029 in order to get clarity on these doctrines). Our baptismal regeneration both equips us and calls us to know exactly what we believe, and consequently, to be able to articulate and defend it. No Catholic should ever be in doubt about the central truths that concern his or her eternal salvation (especially when digital and hard copies of the Catechism are easily obtained). A good prayer life, and indeed, a good Catholic life in general, depend in large part upon nourishing our minds and hearts with the truths of the faith each day. We have the charge from Scripture to do so (cf. Phil. 4:8-9). A mind attuned to divine things does transform the way we think and live for the better, as the saints show us most beautifully (cf. Rom. 12:1-2).

At this point, let us consider again the Collect’s petition: “preserve in us the work of Your mercy.” Essentially, it is a restatement of one of the petitions in the Litany of the Precious Blood, “Blood of Christ, which in the Eucharist nourishes and cleanses our souls, save us.” After initial justification in Baptism and through faith, we continue to stand in need of purification and sanctification from God in this life and in Purgatory. The height of such purification, both for the Church Militant (those on earth) and for the Church Suffering (those in Purgatory), is reached in the Liturgy, and for the Church Militant, also in a worthy reception of Holy Communion.

One good method of preparation for Holy Communion, or for one’s thanksgiving afterwards, is to pray the Litany of the Precious Blood, and to reflect especially on these five petitions: “Blood of Christ...which in His agony ran down upon the ground...which welled up under the scourging...which flowed from beneath the crown of thorns...which was poured out upon the cross...which paid for our salvation...save us.” 

(David Allen)

Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.


About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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