If Conversion is the conquest of the empire of the Precious Blood, Sanctification is its government of that which it has conquered. Sanctification is to Conversion what Cosmogony is to Creation. It is the dividing up, and dispensing, and setting in order, and adorning, what has already been created out of nothing. Or, again, it is to the work of justification what, in natural things, the preservation of life is to the evolving of life out of nothing. It was the Holy Ghost Who fashioned the Precious Blood out of the immaculate blood of Mary. He was the Fashioner of the Sacred Humanity. To Him that work is specially appropriated. He also is especially, and by appropriate office, our Sanctifier. It was to Him that Jesus left His Church. What our Lord Himself had been during the Three-and-Thirty Years, the Holy Ghost began to be in some peculiar manner from the day of Pentecost. Jesus Himself has returned to abide in His Church in the Blessed Sacrament; but He abides in it as it were beneath the administration of the Holy Ghost, which He Himself appointed. The Precious Blood, which the Holy Spirit fashioned, is now the same Spirit's instrument in the great work of sanctification. As that Blood was the love of the Son's Sacred Humanity, by which He offered his atonement to the Father, so is it the love of His Sacred Humanity, by which with sweetest affectionate ministries He subserves the sanctifying office of the Holy Ghost. By the Precious Blood the Son Himself became Redeemer, while by the same dear Blood reparation was made to the Father's honor as Creator, and to the Holy Spirit's tender love as the Sanctifier of Creation. He Who in the Holy Trinity was produced and not producing became fertile by the Precious Blood. 

Was there ever any such fertility as that of the Holy Ghost? The leaves of the trees, the blades of the grass, the matted entanglement of tropical herbs in the moist forest, the countless shoals of the living inhabitants of ocean, the swarms of insects which in hot regions blacken the sun for miles as if they were sandstorms - these are but types of the fecundity of the Holy Ghost in the operations of grace. We never can do justice to the magnitude of the world of Angels. The poor child, who has no notion of money but in pence, would be bewildered if he were called upon to deal with gold and to count his gold by millions. So we in earthly things are accustomed to dimensions, and to numbers, on so dwarfish a scale, that even our exaggerations will not raise our ideas to the true magnitudes and multitudes of the world of Angels. The countless myriads of individual spirits, the countless graces which are strewn all over the breadth of their capacious natures, the colossal size of those graces as compared with those of human souls, the inconceivable rapidity, delicacy, and subtlety of the operations of grace in such gigantic intelligences and such fiery affections - these considerations, if well weighed, may give us some idea of the fruitfulness of the most dear sanctifying Spirit. Every one of those graces was merited for the Angels by the Precious Blood. Converting grace they never had; for they never needed a conversion; and to those who fell no conversion was allowed. If we think also of the multitude of souls, the sum of successive generations from Adam to the uncertain Doom, if we try to bring before ourselves the variety of vocations in the world, the strictly peculiar needs of each single soul and the distinctive characteristic shape of the holiness of each single soul, then the multiplicity of the processes of grace prolonged perhaps over half a century or more, we shall see that the arithmetic of even human graces is amazing. Through the instrumentality of the Precious Blood, the Holy Ghost is everywhere and always making all things productive of sanctity in some measure and degree. Sanctification may be called the production of heavenly beauty in the world. It is the filling of nature with the supernatural. It is the transforming of the human or angelic into the Divine. It is the engraving of the image of God upon every piece and parcel of the rational creation. It is the brightening and the beautifying of creation. It is the empire of light stealing upon the realm of darkness, swiftly, slowly, variously, with beams and splendors, with transformations and effects, more marvelous than those of any lovely dawn upon the mountains and forests of the earth. It is the especial and appropriate office of the Holy Ghost, with the universal and invariable and inseparable agency of the Precious Blood. Thus, every process of Sanctification, while it is an outpouring of exquisite love upon creatures, is also a passage of mutual love between Jesus and the Holy Ghost. Our Lord's words in the Gospels indicate to us something of the unspeakable jealous love of the Sacred Humanity for the Eternal Spirit our dearest Saviour, whose very office and occupation it was to forgive sin, was unlike Himself when He excepted from this amnesty the sin against the Holy Ghost: unlike Himself, yet true to some depth of holiness and love within Himself. On the other hand, it was to be the office of the Paraclete to bring Jesus to mind, to fill the memory with the sweet words He had said, to keep the Thirty-Three Years alive on earth forever, to be forever testifying of Jesus, and forever completing and adoring the work which He had come on earth to do. Thus, as in theology the Holy Ghost is named the Kiss of the Father and the Son, the Son and the Holy Ghost kiss Each Other in the Precious Blood. All Sanctification is the love of the Holy Ghost for the Sacred Humanity; and every operation of the Precious Blood is a tender adoration of the Holy Ghost by the Created Nature of our Blessed Lord.

But we should soon sink out of our depths in mysteries like these. We will pass on to the third of the principal ways in which the Precious Blood reconquers for God the empire of His Own Creation, and establishes the kingdom of Christ - the Building up of the Church. To continue our comparison with Creation - as Conversion represents the act of Creation, and Sanctification the work of Cosmogony, so the Building up of the Church is parallel to those changes in the face of Creation made by the lapse of time and the agency of the natural laws of the universe. The alterations of the bed of ocean, the deposits of mighty rivers, the crumbling of the rocks, the devastations of the earthquake and volcano, the elevation and subsidence of the earth, the spreading of the sandy deserts, the mutations of climate from other and less normal catastrophes - all these things have altered the face of the earth, made it more habitable, and by deciding its physical geography have gone far to decide its history and to locate the centres of its civilization. So is it with the spiritual earth through the vicissitudes of the Church. The Church is the work of the Precious Blood. It was made by it, cleansed by it, adorned by it, propagated by it, and kept glorious by it. The Church is that portion of Creation purchased by the Precious Blood out of alien pos. session, recovered from unjust holding, redeemed from slavery, conquered from enemies. The salvation of individual souls is dependent upon the Church. Hence the Building up of the Church is one of the grandest works of the Precious Blood. The conversion of nations, the history of doctrine, the holding of councils, the spread of the episcopate, the influence of the ecclesiastical upon the civil law, the freedom of the Holy See, the papal monarchy of past ages, the concordats of the present day, the filial subordination of Catholic governments - all these things alter the face of the spiritual world. Every one of them is a vast fountain of God's glory, an immense harvest of souls, a prolific source of human happiness, and the antidote to a thousand evils. Above all things, the honor, the freedom, and the empire of the Holy See are the works of the Precious Blood. The Church is the Body of Christ; and nowhere are the lineaments of our dearest Lord, His beauty, His persuasiveness, His strange commingling of gladness and of woe, so faithfully expressed as in the Head of His Church. Hence it is that the joyousness of the Saints ebbs and flows with the vicissitudes of the Holy See. Hence it is that the most secret mystics are affected by the fortunes of distant Rome, like the wells that dry and fill again in hidden sympathy with an earthquake in some remote quarter of the world.

In quiet times good men can love the Vicar of Christ, and look at him as their venerable father and monarch, ruling over all the best affections of their hearts, with a loyalty which the hereditary sovereigns of the earth can never obtain, and which is a far more heavenly thing than a patriot's love of the land which gave him birth. But when the clouds gather round the Sacred City, when the pressure of self-seeking potentates again begins to crucify our Lord afresh in the person of His Vicar, when the coils of diplomacy twist themselves round Peter's throne, when well-nigh all the world, schism, heresy, unbelief, ambition, injustice, and Catholic states world-tainted, league together against the Lord's Anointed, then to the Saints the face of Christ's Vicar becomes like the countenance of his Lord. It grows more majestic in abjection. The anguish on it is Divine. It is more worshipful than ever, at the very moment when it is calling out our tenderest love and our keenest sympathies. This too is a time rife in victories to the Precious Blood. Rome is saved, and man has not saved it. They were bearing the papacy out to burial, and lo! a glorious resurrection! When deliverance was furthest off, then it came. 

But these great historical triumphs are not the only victories of the Precious Blood in evil days. It wins many in the secrets of hearts. The spirit of the age is forever tainting the minds and hearts of the elect. There are few who do not end by going with the multitude, few who are not imposed upon by the pompous elation of science, by the juvenile pronouncements of an improved literature, by the complacent self-glorifications of temporal prosperity, and by the pretensions to an unparalleled grandeur which each generation makes as it struts out upon the stage of life. It is fine to innovate: it is refreshing to be audacious: it is a cheap victory to attack: it is comfortable to be on the same side with the loud-voiced world around us. Few men have clearly ascertained their own principles. They admit into their inconsequent minds wandering ideas of the times, without seeing that they are in reality hostile to the holy things which occupy the sanctuary of their hearts. Hence they get upon the wrong side, specially in middle life. It is not youth so much as middle life that falls in this way. While the generosity of youth makes early life to err in questions of degree, the same generosity keeps it incorrupt in questions of kind. It is the egotistical self-importance of middle life, which makes apostates, reformers, and malcontents. It is then that men get upon the wrong side. They fight under wrong banners. They frustrate the promise of their better years. They become out of harmony with the Church. [Emphasis in bold added.] From that hour their lives are failures. They grow querulous and contentious, peevish and captious, bitter and sour. Their old age is extremely solitary; and it is a great grace of God if they do not die on the wrong side, they who seem to have been raised up to be the very foremost champions of the right. Now it is bad times which open men's eyes. They see then how the spirit of the age has been nigh to deceiving them, how they mistook its loudness for wisdom, and how near they were to losing the simplicity of their devotion in the unhelpfulness of an intellectual demonstration, which has passed away, and has done as little, and is remembered as much, as the popular novel of a season. Many are the victories of disenchantment which the Precious Blood gains in times like those. Souls, that are won back to the old ways and the antique fashions, may yet be Saints, whose promises of holiness must soon have been withered, cankered, or dispersed in the vanity of modem attempts and innovations. 

Nay, though we may be unable to see it, we cannot doubt that there are triumphs of the Precious Blood in the spread of heresies, in the schism of kingdoms, and in similar catastrophes of the Church. Souls seem to perish, and it is hard to bear. But the life of the Church is very vast, and is ruled by immense laws; and when her Spouse comes at the end, the Precious Blood must needs present her to Him "a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." 1 We must remember always, therefore, that the Church is the empire of the Precious Blood, and that that Blood will be the law of its life, and will govern it, not at all in the world's way, not at all in the spirit of an age, but altogether after its Own spirit and altogether in its Own way. Souls soon lose themselves who chafe because the Church is not wise with a worldly wisdom. 

But we should have a very imperfect notion of the empire of the Precious Blood if we did not take into account the chief methods by which it does its work. We have seen some of the principal ways in which it spreads its empire; let us now see the means by which it spreads it. These means are the Sacraments. 

1. Eph. v. 27.


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