We have thought of the world without the Precious Blood; let us think of it now with only partial or intermitting access to its saving fountains.

Man fell, and God's justice was blameless in his fall. God's mercy strove to hinder man from falling, and yet he fell. God did every thing for man, short of destroying his liberty. The very act of creation was a magnificence of mercy. But the creation of man, not in a state of nature, but in a state of grace, was a glorious love, which could proceed only from a grandeur as inexhaustible as that of God. Man fell, and God was justified. Adam's descendants might have found themselves hanging over the dread abyss of eternal woe. They might have felt in themselves a violent propension to evil which only just stopped short of an actual necessity. The prospect before them would have been terrible, and yet they would not have one intelligent word to say against it. If their minds were not darkened, they would have seen that not the justice only, but even the love of God stood unblemished in the matter. Nevertheless, how unbearable the prospect! Earth would be almost worse than Hell, because it would be Hell without the miserable peace of its irrevocable certainty. It would be worse, in the same way that a hopeless struggle is worse than the death which follows. Truly there might still be hope, but then it would be such a hopeless hope! Now let us suppose that God in the immensity of His compassion should tell men, in this extremity of wretchedness, that He would assume their nature, die for them upon the Cross, and purchase for them by His Precious Blood the inestimable grace of Baptism. They should pave another trial given to them. They, who had blamed Adam, should have a chance of their own. They should be regenerated, spiritually born again by the most stupendous of miracles. They should be justified, and sanctified in their justification. The guilt of Original Sin should be altogether remitted to them. Not a shadow of it should remain. Even their liability to temporal punishment for that sin in Purgatory should be remitted. God's justice should be satisfied in full. But the grace of Baptism is far more than this. It restores us to a supernatural standing. It makes us God's adopted children. It does not merely rescue us from Hell, and leave us to spend an eternity of mere natural blessedness by the streams and among the fruit-trees of some terrestrial paradise. It entitles us to possess and enjoy God forever. Moreover, this Sacrament stores our souls with most mysterious graces. It infuses celestial habits into us, and endows us with those unfathomable wonders, the gifts of the Holy Ghost. No miracle can be more complete, or more instantaneous, or more gratuitous, than the grace of Baptism.

This, then, should be the work of the Blood of God: and no more than this. Yet would it not seem to men to be an outpouring of the most superabounding love? Would it not open to the wisest of men new depths in the character of God, and be a new revelation of unsuspected goodness in Him? The most ardent and expansive of the angelic intelligences might have contemplated God for ages and ages, and yet their unassisted science would never have dreamed of such a mystery as the Incarnation, of such a redemption as the price of the Precious Blood. Yet does it not make us tremble to think of no more grace after Baptism? Munificent as is that justifying grace, an invention only possible to a goodness which is simply infinite, what, with our experience of ourselves and our knowledge of others, would be our dismay if that one glorious access to the Precious Blood were the only one allowed to us! Surely a more frequent access to it, while it is on God's side a marvelous extension of a gratuitous indulgence, is on our side nothing less than an imperious necessity.

Blessed be the inexhaustible compassions of the Most High, we have incessant access to the Precious Blood. Our seeking of our own interest is made to be the glory of God. Our eager supply of our own needs is counted as an act of sweetest love to Him, the more sweet the more eager it shall be. Yet it is difficult to bring this gracious truth home to ourselves, unless we put imaginary cases of a more restricted use of the Precious Blood. It would be a great thing to be forgiven once more after Baptism; whereas we are being endlessly forgiven, and with as much facility the thousandth time as we were the first. No greater amount of attrition is needed to make our thousandth absolution valid than was required for our first. It would be a huge mercy if almost all sins were capable of absolution, but some few were reserved as unpardonable after Baptism. Even this would seem to the Angels a wonderful stretch of the Divine forbearance. What then must it be to have no sins, and no reiteration of sins, exempted from the jurisdiction of that dear ransom of our souls? At first sight it looks as if such an inveterate compassion lowered the character of God and impaired the lustre of His exceeding sanctity. In this matter, as in others, God must be loved in order to be understood. It is the heart which must illuminate the head. Accustomed as we are to the free participation of the Blood of Jesus, how terrible seems the idea of men going about the world, visible portions of Hell, because they have committed some sin exempted from absolution! To have met Cain upon his passionate wanderings over the unpeopled earth would have been less terrible; since we are not forbidden to have hope for him. But here, again, this incessant pardoning, this repetition of absolution, this endless sprinkling of our souls with the Precious Blood -i s it not a necessity to our happiness, a necessity to our salvation? Astonishing as is the prodigality of the Blood of Jesus, could any conceivable restriction have been endured? It would have been something more than a diminution of our privileges: it would have been a bar to our salvation.

But let us suppose no sins were exempted from the pardon of the Precious Blood, but only that that, price of our redemption was hard to get. God might have willed that it should only be obtained in Jerusalem, and that distant nations must seek it by long and painful pilgrimage. Of a truth, it would be glad tidings to a sinner, that at the eastern end of the Mediterranean there was a mysterious guarded well, which contained some of our Saviour's Blood, the touch of which forgave sin to those who possessed certain inward dispositions, but only forgave it on the spot, in Jerusalem itself. Most willingly would the children of the faith undergo the toilsome pilgrimage, rather than endure the miserable weight of sin. Yet what would happen to the sick, who were too weak to go, or to the aged, who had delayed too long, or to the dying, who have nothing before them but despair? How would it fare with the sorely-tempted poor, if absolution cost so dear? Shall the rich, or the young, or the robust, only be forgiven? What misery and disturbance also would be there in the social relations of life, while multitudes were evermore impulsively pouring themselves out of their homes in caravans of pilgrimage! Or what an intolerable inhumanity would prisons be, if the law of man could secure the eternal as well as the temporal ruin of its offenders! Still, even this single well at Jerusalem would be a mercy of God so great, that it would be incredible, unimaginable, unless it were revealed. Or, again, we might have to gain access to the Blood of our Redeemer by going through considerable bodily pain, or passing some severe ordeals. No one could complain of this. It would be a mercy beyond the uttermost mercies of human law. Oh, does it not make us weep to think then of our own carelessness, and backwardness, and dilatory, lukewarm indifference to that most dear Blood which we can have always and everywhere? We have come to slight God's mercies because his amazing goodness has made them to be so common. We have not even to seek the Blood of Jesus. It comes to us: it pleads with us: it entreats us to accept it: it complains; it waits; it knocks; it cries out to us: it all but forces itself upon our acceptance.

But all this mysterious condescension of God is not the needless outburst of an excessive love. Alas for our shame that we should have to say it! it is a downright necessity for our salvation.  Look at the innumerable confessionals of the Church, at the hundreds of daily death-beds, at the countless retreats of suffering poverty. Is the seeking for the Precious Blood what it ought to be? Nay, do men's hearts soften at its tender, eloquent pleading? Have not sinners to be constrained to come to Jesus? and even of those who are constrained to come to him, how many are there who will not let him save them? One Saint speaks of souls flocking daily to perdition like the flakes of a snowstorm, blinding from their multitude. Another tells us of visions, in which she saw souls trooping constantly into the gates of hell, like the rabble of autumnal leaves swept into thick eddies by the wind. Yet not a soul gets there before whom the Precious Blood has not stood again and again, like the angel before Balaam's ass, and tried to drive it back. If, then, when all access is so easy, and when persuasion mounts almost to compulsion, souls are so backward in having recourse to the Precious Blood, what would be the case if any of these imaginary difficulties of ours were allowed to come in the way? Alas! so it is, that it is necessary to salvation that our salvation should be easy.


--------------CHRIST THE KING