I was not aware of this, but July is dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus. It appears that there was a Feast of the Precious Blood prior to the 1969 calendar. At one time it was the first Sunday in July, at another time it was July 1. In 1969, the feast was combined with Corpus Christi, which now commemorates both the body and blood of the Lord.
Catholic Culture has a good article on this with some excellent links on the topic. The links include:
The Chaplet of the Most Precious Blood - I had not come across this chaplet before, but I think that this would be a very good devotion that I would like to take up. We have such wonderful devotions in the Church (such as the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, and the Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross) which allow us to contemplate significant moments in the life of Christ and how we can enter into those moments.
Litany of the Blood of Christ - In the past I did not much care for litanies; they seemed monotonous and mindless. It was not until I really began praying the Rosary in earnest, in understanding how sound and rhythm can initiate and enhance contemplation, did I begin to see the value of litanies. We used this litany at our parish's Corpus Christi procession.
Pope John XXIII's Document Promoting Devotion to the Precious Blood - There the Holy Father notes how when he was growing up, his family would recite the Litany of the Precious Blood every day in July. He makes a moving exhortation on the role of devotions in our faith life:
"Now among the cares of our pastoral office, venerable brethren, we are convinced that, second only to vigilance over sound doctrine, preference belongs to the proper surveillance and development of piety, in both its liturgical and private expressions."
That is a sobering and hopeful contrast to the World's usually contemptuous use of such terms as "pious devotion," intended to indicate either hypocrisy or naivete.
Pope John Paul II's Message to Those Devoted to the Precious Blood - There the Holy Father said: "How could we ever fail to recognize the value of every human being, when Christ shed his blood for each one without distinction?" This is an important reminder, in light of Pope Benedict XVI's Caritas in Veritate, that Christ's Precious Blood makes all human life precious, which speaks to how Catholics and all people should act as regards life issues such as abortion, contraception, in vitro fertilization, and embryonic stem cell research, as well as social justice issues such as hunger, economic opportunity, human labor, and poverty.
Here are some other interesting related entries at various sites:
Saint Louis Catholic (Latin version of the Litany of the Precious Blood)
Vultus Christi (Pope Benedict's comments on the Feast of the Precious Blood)
Vultus Christi (A beautiful prayer based on the Feast of the Precious Blood by Father Mark)
Maria Stein Center and Shrine of the Holy Relics (The Sisters of the Precious Blood have a retreat center and shrine with many relics in western Ohio)
Wandering in the Galaxy for Forty Years
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