By Christopher Wells
“Since the beginning of Christianity, the mystery of love of the Blood of Christ has fascinated many people,” Pope Francis said on Saturday, as he addressed the spiritual family – religious men and women, and associated groups of lay faithful – of the Most Precious Blood of Christ.
The Holy Father noted that the audience comes on “the vigil of the month of July, when Christian piety turns in a special way to the Blood of Christ.”
Precious Blood: Fount of salvation for the world
The founders of these organizations, he continued, have also cultivated this devotion “because they have understood in the light of faith that the Blood of Christ is the fount of salvation for the world.” Pope Francis said God chose “the sign of blood because no other sign can express so eloquently the supreme love of a life given for others.” This gift of the Blood of Christ is renewed at every celebration of the Eucharist when “together with the Body of Christ, His Precious Blood” is made really present at the words of consecration.
Meditation on “the sacrifice of Christ,” the Pope said, “leads us to accomplish works of mercy, giving our lives unsparingly for God and our brothers and sisters.” With this in mind, the Holy Father suggested to the members of the Precious Blood Family three traits that could assist them in their work and witness: the courage of the truth; attention to all, especially those who are most distant; and the ability to captivate and to communicate.
Pope Francis said: “It is important to be courageous people, building courageous communities that are not afraid to take sides” to affirm the truth. Christians, moreover, have a mission to go out to all those in need, but especially those who are furthest away, putting the Gospel in terms that can be understood by everyone. Finally, Christians should allow “the Gospel and the Holy Spirit” to inspire their words and actions in order help others “open themselves to God and their neighbour.” He called on them to imitate “the style of Jesus,” saying, “I believe we are living in a time in which it is necessary to carry out the revolution of tenderness.”
True strength comes from the Gospel
But while these suggestions can be helpful in the mission of the Precious Blood Family, Pope Francis said we must never forget “that the true strength of Christian witness comes from the Gospel itself.” This means relying “above all on the ‘superabundance of love’ expressed in the Blood of the Lord,” which has been brought to light throughout history by the Saints, especially Saint Gaspar del Bufalo, the founder of the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood.”
Finally, Pope Francis reminded those present that it is in Christ “that we find the sure principle of our existence. He is our fundamental and definitive hope.”