1 July 2022

The Precious Blood

 Here is a Retreat Address by Canon Arthur Couratin for Maundy Thursday, as noted by a member of S Stephen's House who took part in the House Holy Week Retreat in 1957.

First Prelude. Picture Lamb of God lifted up on the the altar of the Cross, the full, perfect and sufficient Sacrifice, Oblation, and Satisfaction for the sins of the whole World.

Second Prelude. Want a desire for holiness without which no man shall see God.

First Consideration. Think of Sin (not only as an everlasting power, nor as misleading ignorance, nor as an insult to God, nor as the cause of all human misery) but as a nauseating corruption which defiles and rots our inmost being. Think how it renders us utterly unworthy to approach God in whose sight the vey stars are impure.

Second Consideration. Think of Jesus Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant. See how by His self-sacrifice He sets free his cleansing and life-giving Blood which cleanses us from all sin when it is applied to our hearts in Baptism and in Penance.

Third Consideration. Think of the new status He has given us. We are a kingdom and priests. We have an Altar. We have been made worthy to stand before God and to minister to Him. We possess a new and living way into the heavenly places because we have washed our robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.

Colloquy. With Jesus the Lamb of God hanging upon the Cross. Praise Him with the song of the Angels: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing! Praise Him for His Precious Blood that has cleansed us, pray that He may present us a living sacrifice to His Father.

Hymn: English Hymnal 99, translated by Fr Caswall.

Glory be to Jesus,/Who, in bitter pains,/ Poured for us the life-blood/ From his sacred veins.

Grace and life eternal/ In that Blood I find;/ Blest be his compassion/ Infinitely kind.

Blest through endless ages/ Be the precious stream,/ Which from endless torment/ Doth the world redeem.

Abel's blood for vengeance/ Pleaded to the skies;/ But the Blood of Jesus/ For our pardon cries.

Oft as it is sprinkled/ On our guilty hearts,/ Satan in confusion/ Terror-struck departs.

Oft as earth exulting/ Wafts its praise on high;/ Hell with terror trembles,/Heaven is filled with joy.

Lift ye then your voices;/ Swell the mighty flood;/ Louder still and louder/ Praise the precious Blood. 

Reading: Revelation 5. 

Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open the seals, for thou wast slain and by thy Blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.


Joshua said...

After the hymn's first three verses, two less-commonly-used verses are sometimes found:

There the fainting spirit
Drinks of life her fill;
There as in a fountain
Laves herself at will.

O, the Blood of Christ! it
Soothes the Father’s ire;
Opes the gate of Heaven;
Quells eternal fire.

coradcorloquitur said...

What catechetical treasures the traditional hymns are! As Dr. David Moyer (former Anglican rector and member of the Continuing Anglican movement before his conversion, and that of much of his congregation, to Catholicism) once told me, in profound simplicity, regarding the great hymns: "They say it all, don't they?" That is the reason that I am unable to understand the complete indifference of many Catholics (in some cases, downright hatred) of hymn singing. I think the Church traditionally neglected in many countries the musical piety and education of the laity and the clergy---at the parish level---but a great deal of that irrational animosity comes from the Gregorian chant "purists," who think that because hymns are in fact not a formal part of the liturgy they should not be included: as if the lovely poetry and often great music of the hymns could not coexist peacefully with the chant of the liturgical texts and enhance the beauty and majesty of our worship. There is also in that misguided sentiment a good dosage of clericalism: chant is for the experts as it takes practice and special musical knowledge and was originally done by the various orders of the clergy. In short, these purists would have parishes become monasteries, with the result that Catholic congregations just remain silent observers. The traditional Anglicans did have this right, the happy combination of specialized music by the trained choirs or scholas and the congregational singing of hymns. I seem to recall that Holy Writ tells us that at the Last Supper, Christ and his companions "sang a hymn" of thanksgiving.