Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies
COLLECTS OF THE ROMAN MISSAL - PRECIOUS BLOOD
Missale Romanum 1970 (MR '70)
For today’s meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we will consider the Collect for the Votive Mass of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the MR’70 (the Precious Blood is the traditional object of Catholic devotion in July). Although the reformed calendar folded the old Feast of the Precious Blood (July 1) 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 two-fold reality of redemption and ongoing sanctification. Christ has redeemed the world by His Precious Blood (the ascription clause). At the same time, those who have accepted this redemption must continue to cooperate with God’s grace. Thus, the petition, “preserve in us the work of Your mercy,” the motive clause, “ever honoring the mystery of our salvation,” and the hoped -for outcome clause, “we may merit to obtain its fruits” - these are all things we are called to do by God’s grace.
Our life in Christ is about receiving unmerited grace from His Death, and subsequently remaining in communion with Him, meriting further graces within this union. This is certainly what St. Paul teaches us in the letter to the Hebrews: “For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14, RSV). As one of the study notes for Heb. 10 in the Navarre Bible succinctly states, “the sacrifice of Calvary is the source of man’s holiness.” In other words, the ongoing sanctification of Christian life rests upon a vital and living connection to Christ, in accord with His own words at the Last Supper: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5, RSV).
The Church explains all of this so clearly and convincingly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 1074, 1129, 1325, and 1987-2016. I strongly encourage you all to read these paragraphs. 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, thanks be to God).
Let us consider again the Collect’s petition: “preserve in us the work of Your mercy.” God answers this petition in the offering of the Mass with all its consequent graces. Indeed, this petition echoes 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, 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 Sacred Liturgy, wherein Christ’s Sacrifice is re-presented, and its fruits are applied to the living and the dead (cf Catechism nos. 1366-1371- another rich section I heartily commend to you for spiritual reading).
One good method of entering more deeply into the Mass and of preparing for Holy Communion (or to be used in one’s thanksgiving afterwards), is to pray the aforementioned Litany of the Precious Blood, which is sometimes included in certain hand Missals and prayer books, and can be found online at EWTN.com. Such devotion helps to bring about what we pray for in our Collect. God’s work of mercy will indeed be preserved in us the better we honor the saving mystery of Christ’s Blood on the altar during the Sacred Liturgy.(David Allen)
|Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.