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The Precious Blood

An Easy Means to Prevent Numerous Mortal Sins

Here on earth we shall never sufficiently realize what sin is. The person who sins rebels against God. It was sin which caused the death of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. Yes, sin is deicide, for according to the words of St. Bernard, "Sin murders God in so far as it is possible for man to do so." Once, when Our Lord showed St. Catherine of Genoa the heinousness of venial sin, the servant of God was so terrified that she would have died instantly had she beheld one of these stains on her own soul. "This vision," she says, "concerned only a slight fault and lasted but a moment; had it continued a little longer, it would have sufficed to cause my death, or even to change the substance of a rock into dust."

The least sin is so great an evil that the Saints say: "If we could open the gates of Hell and liberate all the souls enclosed therein, and could release all the suffering souls from Purgatory---all this by one little lie [that is, by a venial sin], we would not be permitted to do so." By preventing one mortal sin, we render an inestimable service to the honor of God---and how easily this can be done! Father Faber writes: "If every evening, before we retire, we would ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to offer to God the Precious Blood of her Divine Son Jesus for the intention that thereby one mortal sin which might be committed somewhere that night might be prevented, and if every morning this offering were renewed from day to day, we could prevent many mortal sins." What joy and happiness this practice would bring to us! We could thereby atone for our own sins and merit immeasurable treasures for Heaven.

Here follows a striking example: St. Paphnutius (died circa 350) had for many years lived in a desert and labored at his sanctification by austere works of penance. Once a peculiar thought came to his mind, and he dared to express it to God in prayer. He petitioned the Lord, in all humility and simplicity, to reveal to him a person who had the same degree of merit as he himself. God deigned to grant his request, and He gave Paphnutius to understand that at this moment a certain flutist living in Egypt ranked equal to him in merit.

The Saint at once started on a journey to find the flutist. Having arrived at the appropriate village, and making inquiries there, he was informed that the man he was seeking was engaged at a neighboring tavern, playing for the amusement of those who patronized the place. "How strange!" thought Paphnutius. Nevertheless, he sent word to the musician, begging him for a short interview. When the musician came, the Saint took him aside and spoke to him regarding the condition of his soul. "What good deeds have you ever done?" asked Paphnutius.

"Good deeds?" replied the flutist; "I do not remember ever having done any; all I remember is that one day, while I was pursuing my former trade of stealing, I saved the honor of a virgin consecrated to God, and another time I gave my money to a poor woman who, in her great distress, was about to commit a crime." From this, our Saint realized that God had given the flutist graces similar to those he himself had received, because for the honor of his Creator, this man in his crude life had prevented two mortal sins.

You who read this, whosoever you may be, resolve to say the following little prayer every morning and evening:

O Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of thy Divine Son for the intention that one mortal sin may be prevented this day (or this night).

You may add a Hail Mary in honor of the Mother of God for this intention. Perform this devotion with great fervor and perseverance, and teach it to other devout souls. You will thereby acquire immeasurable merit.

If we truly love God, we cannot feel indifferent when God is offended. St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, when only eight years old, happened to hear two persons quarreling and using the most insulting language, and undoubtedly they thereby became guilty of mortal sin. The Saint was so pained at the thought of how grievously God had been offended that she spent the entire night weeping. Sixteen years had passed and she had forgotten this occurrence, when God revealed to her that in reward for the tears she had shed for the sins of others, she was destined to a special degree of glory, which was shown her in the form of a brilliant garment.

Will our reward be less if, for love of God, we try to prevent His being grievously offended? Oh, let us do our utmost, let us use every possible means, especially prayer and the offering of the Precious Blood of Jesus, to prevent mortal sins!