All of us run into some kind of dilemma in our lives when we are faced with acts of generosity from another which really cannot be repaid anywhere close to the measure it was given.
“Thank you” hardly does the job, and although we extend a heartfelt word of gratitude out of charity, we feel silly about it and express some wish that there was something more of substance that could be done. But at the same time though, in such circumstances there often is a level of inequality between the person who gives and the person who receives.
Like in the case of parents, because certain things cannot be given to another without long years of preparation and sacrifice, the expectation of return does not include an exact or equal repayment because such would be impossible and impractical. Rather, the best and most satisfying response of gratitude involves learning how to give in a way similar to which the original benefit or gift was given.
Obviously though, the more perfect the gift, the greater we sense an obligation to this kind of response of gratitude, which really amounts to a more generous giving of self.
What then is to be said about the Blood of Jesus Christ? Can there be any more perfect gift from God?
Unfortunately, man does not usually realize that because we do not want salvation enough.
Like in all things, there had to be a donation of one life for the sake of the life of another, and so when we are confronted with the reality that, in God’s Providence, the shedding of Christ’s Blood – the very life of His Body – was required for our sins to be forgiven, we find ourselves at a loss about what to say.
What do we say when confronted with the infinite depths of Christ’s love as depicted on the crucifix? Only with a supernatural spirit of humility are we able to make any response.
True, it is impossible to repay Christ as He deserves, but He is not looking for that.
Instead, our Lord gives us the answer: If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
That is what He wants in return for His Blood, words which He said to the Apostles at the Last Supper, an instruction given to His Church of which we are members of through Baptism, and words which carry the reward of God’s grace in our souls. Strive to live uprightly, to live morally, to be challenged by the crucifix so as to know ourselves as God knows us: the Blood of Jesus Christ was powerful enough to save man from sin an infinite times over, and so it greatly pleases our Lord, who shed His Blood freely, when we have confidence in this saving power and call upon Him with confidence for the conversion of our souls.
If the crucifix makes us feel a bit guilty initially, well, it should, but only continues to do so if we play games with God.
That is when we avoid it, when we prefer to not think about Christ and His Blood. A miserable state indeed since it is not supposed to stop there. Our Lord wants this keeping of the Commandments to be motivated by charity, not fear: Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of Heart and you will find rest for your souls.
There is no true rest if we live in fear, if we coddle a sin our Lord’s Blood can easily clean if we are only a little more generous with our admission of it and our purpose of amendment. Rest is quite real if we are in love, because in all we do and say we seek to possess and strengthen our relationship with God. But this only happens courtesy of the Blood of Christ, and so this response to our Lord’s Blood is a continual process, only possible by the daily dying to self in the hundreds of little ways that come up in our day – the effort, first and foremost to avoid mortal sin, and, after that, using prayer and the Sacraments regularly to know ourselves so to avoid deliberate venial sin.
To the degree we believe that our happiness is with God, that man stood and continues to stand in need of salvation, that God had been offended by sin and amends had to be made, and that we are powerless by ourselves, is the degree we believe that God has put in place means for this to be accomplished through the shedding of the Blood of His only Son, and it is something we will gladly spend our life making known to those who know it not.
What benefit they will have if given the grace to believe in the Blood that saved them! How we stand as beneficiaries of God’s generosity – life given so life can be received – and how it all comes back around if we are generous in our gratitude we owe to God.
Blood that but one drop of has the power to win, all the world forgiveness of its world of sin.
Blood of Christ, strength of confessors, save us!
July 1, 2021