Recently in Articles and Writings Category

Eucharistic Devotion


Before we reflect on Eucharistic devotion, let us reflect for a moment on what it is we as Catholics believe about the Eucharist. Put simply, we believe that it is the source and summit of the Christian life. In it we have present the very reality of Jesus, the Christ, in his flesh and blood. God, who wishes us to companion us, and to be with us as friend, (1) is present to us under the forms of bread and wine. The creator of the universe, God who is, in whom all time and history find their meaning, desires to be with us, in this time and place. He seeks to enter our life and our world.

For us who are devoted to the Precious Blood, Eucharistic devotion should be a specific and generous feature of our life and prayer. "The spirituality of Saint Gaspar ... is truly at the heart of the Christian life: the Most Precious Blood of our Lord has always been the object of a special attention on the part of all the saints: it is the school of sanctity, of justice, of love... Never delve deeply into this mystery of justice and love: diffuse it into the whole world." (2) Adoration was to be a regular feature of the missionary's life according to instructions left by St. Gaspar.(3)

If all this is true, if we indeed believe that this is true, that God is truly present to us, for us to see and to taste, what is it that prevents us from spending hours with this divine guest? To be in relationship with someone, one needs to spend time in their presence, to listen to them speak and to engage them in conversation. If one is to be intimate with another, meals and times for sharing are the center of this experience. This is precisely what the Lord wishes for us and from us. He desires that we respond to his invitations to friendship and intimacy.

The perfect means to enter into the grace of this relationship is Eucharistic Devotion, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Flowing from the Celebration of the Eucharist, this gives us an opportunity to relish the words that we shared there and to cherish the presence of one who loves us beyond our imagination. (4) The liturgical reforms of Vatican II were meant to restore a balance in Celebration of the Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration. The Celebration of the Eucharist leads us to Adoration, and Adoration prepares our hearts and leads us to a fuller celebration of the Eucharist.

Here at St. Edward Catholic Church there is Eucharistic Adoration every morning at 5:30am, and every afternoon at 4:15pm. Eucharistic Adoration is from the 9:00am Mass to 5:30pm every first Friday. Once a year we have an over-night period of adoration in reparation for the abuse of the dignity of life. Eucharistic adoration can take place at other times during the day even though the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle. When the Blessed Sacrament is exposed we are more attentive, but when he is reserved in the tabernacle, the door does not impede his presence or attention to your heart.

Times of silence in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament are a rich opportunity for God's people. We are bombarded each day with a variety of media, radio and television and newspaper. We listen to all sorts of voices from idle conversation, to news and opinion from the world and the neighborhood. Silence in the presence of the living Word of God helps us to recognize the one voice calling to us above all the others to the fullness of life. We are his people and how we respond to his voice indicates how we belong to his flock, to his people. "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (5)

Occasionally people would be anxious if Sunday liturgy is more than an hour. If we truly believed what we do as Catholics, we would have a desire to spend at least an hour each day in the presence of the one who loves us. Indeed God is present to us in many ways; in his people and in his word, yet here we have the true presence of God par excellence.

(1) I no longer call you servants, but friends. (John 15:15)
(2) John Paul II to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, 1986, and repeated in 1989
(3) Letter from St. Gaspar, March 1831, to Pope Gregory XVI: "The sacred functions of each day have been described above. The weekly functions are the following: On Thursdays, the adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament in memory of the institution of that divine mystery. Each Missionary, in turn, is asked to direct this tender exercise"
(4) See also the 1967 Instruction on the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery, "Eucharisticum Mysterium," 50. "When the faithful adore Christ present in the sacrament, they should
remember that this presence derives from the sacrifice and has as its
purpose both sacramental and spiritual communion."
(5) John 10:27

Bookmark and Share

It can be found here.

Bookmark and Share

Statio, Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, Comtemplatio

Stop, read, reflect, pray, live differently.

Here are some helps for the nine days beginning Friday.

Bookmark and Share

"The traditional image of the Madonna of the Rosary depicts Mary holding the child Jesus in her arm and giving the rosary to St. Dominic. This significant iconography shows that the rosary is a means given by the Virgin for contemplating Jesus and, meditating on his life, for loving and following him always more faithfully." Benedict XVI

The Rosary as a Prayer of Communion

The Rosary is a familiar form of prayer for many Catholics, but it is also a greatly misunderstood prayer as well. Many Non-Catholics believe it is an exercise in mindless repetition or idolatry of Mary. Many Catholics believe that rosary will gain us extra favors or that it can be used as jewelry. Our community has what it refers to as the Precious Blood Rosary as well as what is understood as the more traditional Marian rosary.

The heart of the Rosary is a living relationship with the Lord Jesus and a desire to spend time in his company immersing oneself in the mysteries of his life, death and resurrection. Meditating on these mysteries enables us to remember and to live the heart of the gospel. Knowing these 15 stories, not only with our minds, but with our hearts enables us to walk with Jesus, to pray with him, and to do his will.

The Rosary is essentially a prayer, contemplative prayer. All the emotions of wonder, awe and reverence go with this prayer. All the aims of the ancient practice of Lectio Divina are relevant here. Meditating on the mysteries enables one to “read” the life of Jesus each day. More than reading, meditating on the mysteries in this manner enables one to “chew” the words, to taste them in much the same way as Ezekiel took the scroll on which the Word of God was written and ate it.(1) The use of imagination helps us to enter the story, to hear the voices and to feel the emotions. As the Angel greets Mary in the Annunciation we feel her wonder and doubt. Imagine, the creator of the world being given to you to hold and to care for. Imagine yourself saying “be it done to me according to your word.” Immersing ourselves in the mystery of the Visitation allows us to join in the chorus of “blessed is the fruit of your womb” and to celebrate that “nothing will be impossible for God.”(2)

The praying of the rosary is not about the repetition of many prayers, but a time piece to mark the moment of prayer. Spending time with one another is exactly how a relationship grows and we are drawn into a communion with one another. The prayers we use to mark this prayer experience are fundamentally conversations with the Word of God drawn from the Scripture. The first part of the “Hail Mary” is two passages from the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel. The second part of the “Hail Mary” is the prayer of the church in response. So too, in the rosary we add our own voice, listening to the Word of God and responding from our heart.

The Rosary is an incarnational prayer. The Word was made flesh. In this prayer we use not just mind and heart, but voice and hands as well. In the rosary we are impelled to offer our “bodies as a living sacrifice.”(3) Many of us carry the rosary in our pockets or purses as a reminder, as a tool to carry the prayer with us throughout the day. In this way we follow the command to “pray without ceasing.”(4)

It is through Mary that the Word was made flesh and so in this prayer we also honor the mother of God. She is the one who believed.(5) She is the one who pondered all these things in her heart.(6) She is the one who stood faithfully at the foot of the cross.(7) She is the one given to us to take into our home.(8) For Precious Blood people who remember Gaspars’ devotion to Mary, the Rosary is an important prayer. It is a tool by which we imitate Gaspar who accomplished everything by prayer, we pray with Mary to whom he was so devoted, and we accompany one another in the bond of communion which he so wonderfully preached. Without the correct understanding of Jesus and Mary, without the knowledge of the scripture and the mysteries of the Life of Jesus, the Rosary would be incomprehensible. But with all these things, the Rosary enables us to enter more completely into that intimate communion Jesus established in his own blood.

(1)Ezek 3:3
(2)Luke 1:37
(3)Rom 12:1
(4)1 Thess 5:17, see also Luke 18:1
(5)Luke 1:45
(6)Luke 2:51
(7)John 19:25
(8)John 19:27

Bookmark and Share

Vistors from Don Marco's Blog are invited to find more on this topic here.

Bookmark and Share

Lectio Divina


Tonight's Adult Faith Formation class is on Prayer and Lectio Divina.

Bookmark and Share

Blood, Sacred Blood


Blessings to all on the Solemnity of the Most Precious Blood.(July 1st) In a world where little is precious or sacred, maybe it is time to reflect on the true freedom given to us in the Most Precious Blood. The following is an old article of mine, basically my homage to St. Gaspar's letter 57. I post it here to move it from my old blog and to make it available for any new readers.

Bookmark and Share


| | Comments (2)

A few years ago I found this wonderful little article about Advent on the EWTN website. It had a vague familiar ring to it, and then I saw that I had written it. The address and phone number they have for me is not correct and the whole Sonnino Mission House ideal was given up long ago.

Bookmark and Share

This is an article written previously for Precious Blood Family

The spirituality of the Precious Blood was not new with St. Gaspar in the early Nineteenth Century. He himself was the one who told us that this "devotion of ours is so antique" (1) it goes back to the very beginning. He was to assert that this devotion is "the basis, the sustenance, the essence"(2) of all other devotions. Thus we consider other saints as part of the Precious Blood Family.

This month we consider the life and witness of St. Ignatius of Antioch. He was a Syrian, a convert from paganism, and was the third bishop of Antioch. He was one of those who came to believe through the powerful preaching and example of the Christian community in Antioch, an important community in the spread of the gospel outside of Palestine. It was in Antioch that the believers were first called “Christians." Antioch was one of the first communities to integrate people who had no acquaintance with Judaism. Antioch, as a young church, knew that part of the call was to send out missionaries. They are the ones who commissioned Barnabas and Paul as missionaries. One source indicates Ignatius may have taken over the Church in Antioch around the year 69.(3) Another source states it was during the reign of Emperor Trajan (AD 98-117) that Ignatius was condemned as a Christian and sent to Rome under chains to face martyrdom.(4) Our modern ears may think that he unnaturally desired this martyrdom, yet if we spend time with his letters and breathe the air he breathes, we shall see that his death is a marvelous testament to life.

Little is known of his life in Antioch. What we know of him is from his arrest and deportation to Rome to become a feast for lions in the Roman amphitheater. On his journey to Rome under guard, representatives visited him from various churches and cities along the route. His seven letters were written to the communities of those who visited him, or to the cities he had previously visited on this journey. There is much in his writings that finds resonance in the life of our own St. Gaspar.

Greetings in the Blood of Jesus

One of the trials of Ignatius was to hear of those Christians who had denied the reality of Christ's sufferings. In effect, they denied the reality of his Body and his Blood. For them, God had visited his people, but he had not become human. This is an ancient heresy known as Docetism. For Ignatius, to deny Jesus' humanity was to deny our salvation. "I want you to be unshakably convinced of the birth, the passion, and the resurrection which were true and indisputable experiences of Jesus Christ, our Hope."(5)

Blood then became for Ignatius, the symbol of the stark reality of Jesus humanity and his sufferings. His letters, with salutations like "greetings in the Blood of Jesus,"(6) were filled with references to the "divine Blood."(7) "For let nobody be under any delusion; there is judgement in store even for the hosts of heaven, the very angels in glory, the visible and invisible powers themselves, if they have no faith in the Blood of Christ."(8) For Ignatius, the pouring out of Jesus Blood was the essence, the real experience of Jesus' love. Love is the very blood of the Christian life, the "energy coursing through its veins and arteries."(9)

Gasparian Echoes

One of the central ideas in Ignatius' letters is the focus on humility that would be echoed centuries later in the writings of St. Gaspar. In Ignatius this humility was the key to his hope for martyrdom. Accounting the suffering as joy was a way of acknowledging eternal life, and that death was not the end. To focus on preserving his life would be, for him, the same as saying that Jesus' gift of life had no meaning. Humility was the key to victory. "I have great need of that humility which is the prince of this world's undoing,"(10) he wrote. Not only could he not focus solely on his present life, but also he enjoined his correspondents to do nothing to save him, ensuring that he belonged entirely to Jesus alone. (11) Very much related to this was his focus on silence. The creative stillness, the silence of God brought about a great redemption in silence in what he referred to as trumpet-tongued secrets: Mary's virginity, her childbearing, and the death of the Lord. All of these were done in the silence and humility of lowly flesh, yet overturned the power of death. (12)

Another focus in Ignatius that finds an echo in Gaspar is the emphasis on the unity of the church and the respect paid to the leaders of the Church. Ignatius' letters are the earliest writing we have on church order that includes the three orders of bishop, presbyter and deacon. Gaspar’s devotion to Pope Pius VII would have made St. Ignatius very happy. Ignatius demanded "complete unity, in the flesh as well as in the spirit."(13) He proclaimed Christ in the flesh so completely, that he taught that obedience to the bishop was the same as obedience to Christ. We can have no life apart from Jesus in the flesh, and the only way this could be accomplished in the flesh was by submission of mind and heart to the bishop.(14)

For Ignatius, blood was life itself. But more than that it was Jesus very real life giving life and salvation to us. Both Ignatius and Gaspar remarked how this life was being denied in the world in which they lived. For us in this day, this life is most precious. We celebrate St. Ignatius Feast on October 17 each year, four days before the feast of St. Gaspar. As this saint is such a strong witness of the importance of Jesus' Precious Blood his letters and story should be an important part of our preparation for our founder’s feast. As we take the cup at each Eucharist, we remind ourselves of the joy Ignatius took in his impending suffering. Suffering is not a sign that God abandons us, rather it is precisely the place the Lord comes to accompany us, not just in spirit, but in his own flesh. Everything we do now in the flesh, joys and sufferings, are now done in his body, with his blood, in his love.


(1).Gaspar del Bufalo, letter to Pope Leo XII, July 29, 1825
(3)Butler's Lives of the Saints, Concise Edition, Michael Walsh, ed., HarperSan Francisco, 1991, pg. 341.
(4)Early Christian Writings, Penguin Classics, Maxwell Staniforth, trans. pg 55
(5)St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians, 11; all quotes from the Letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch are taken from Early Christian Writings except where indicated.
(6)St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Philippians, 1
(7)St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Ephesians, 1
(8)St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to The Symrnaeans, 6
(9)St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Trallians, 8, see footnote in text referring to Lightfoot translation.
(10)St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Trallians, 4
(11)St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans
(12)St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Ephesians, 19
(13)St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians, 13
(14)St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to Polycarp

Bookmark and Share
Bookmark and Share

St. Bernard

| | Comments (1)
Bookmark and Share

This was article for Precious Blood Family Magazine and a repost from late 2003. It is basically my homage to St. Gaspar's letter 57

Blood is not pleasant to think about sometimes. Some become squeamish. At the same time, blood has a central place in some of our violent movies and other entertainment. There we do not pay attention to it. It is not real in the movies. Still, spend a few moments thinking about blood, your blood. Stop. Take your pulse. Blood is central. It is powerful. Its action, its force, what it carries, gives us life. It moves faster, we move faster. It fails, we fail. It is the silent, ever present essence of the power of life.

Our ancestors had a vastly simpler, maybe primitive approach to blood. It was simply where life met death and death met life. Fresh, warm, crimson blood was an offering, a sacrifice, a gift back to God, taking the substance of the life God had given and, giving it back, offering it all. We flinch when the priest passes among us on Easter morning scattering the water of the newly blessed font over the people. Can you imagine what it was like in the desert when inaugurating the covenant Moses took half of the blood of the bulls and splashed it on the people? This was before dry cleaning was even imagined. You were stained. It didn’t come out. It was an enduring mark of life. Life branded you, stained you, claimed you as belonging to a covenant with life itself. It was remarkably more than the privileges of membership, and you can’t leave home without it. This primitive approach developed through time to an elaborate ritual in the holy of holies where the blood of sacrifice was placed in the temple’s inner heart on the mercy seat. Blood was a way to communicate with God, to approach the very limits of life and death and receive in return his life and forgiveness.

St. Gaspar would invite us to this same reflection, but then would ask us to spend a few more moments reflecting on God’s blood, divine blood. His letters indicate it is too little to call this blood significant. Somehow our words do not convey its grandeur. This blood was the flaming outburst, the burning expression, the extravagant generosity, of a God of unreasonable and unimaginable kindness. (1) The human body of the Son of God becomes the holy of holies, and now the blood on the mercy seat is the blood rushing through his precious heart. His death on the cross and the tearing of the veil in the temple indicate that the presence of the divine has been snatched from a temple of stone and placed in the temple of a human heart where it is most defeated, overwhelmed or broken. We may think that God has abandoned us in our struggles; yet, in fact, he is closest to the broken and forsaken. You who once were far off have been made near through the Blood of Christ. (2)

This blood has a voice, a piercing cry. For Gaspar the sound of this blood extinguishes any noise of sin. (3) This voice cries out clearly on behalf of sinners and any who are broken. This voice cries to the heavens when life is lost or blood is shed. This is precisely where a devotion to or spirituality of the Precious Blood identifies us. Reciting a devotion is untruthful if it does not correspond to devoted living, and a spirituality is empty if it is not a way of life. A Spirituality of the Precious Blood drives us to follow that voice, to take it up as our own. St. Gaspar would plunge us into these mysteries, (4)bending to its gentle crushing force that urges us on to a courageous love, first for the ineffable love of God, and in the same beat of the heart, to a love for all people, especially those who are far off. Yes, blood can be messy, but it is sacred too.

1. Letter 57
2. Eph. 2:13
3. Letter 52
4. Letter 57

Bookmark and Share
  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

August 2012

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Contact us

St. Gaspar's Letters

Who is St. Maria de Mattias?

Why Precious Blood?

What is a Precious Blood Missionary?

Our International Website

What the Pope said to us


About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Articles and Writings category.

Catholic Carnivals is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.