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All God's works are in a certain sense part of the life of God. It is this which gives to creation its interest as well as its significance. It is in this way that time participates in eternity. The life of the Precious Blood may be divided into seven epochs; or it would be more true to call them seven lives, both because they do not follow each other in order of time, and also because they are not all actual periods of its existence. These seven lives are as follows: the life of the Precious Blood in the Mind of God before creation; its life of efforts in the world from creation to the Incarnation; its life upon earth during the Thirty-Three Years; its life of energy in the Church afterward, up to the day of Doom; its contemporaneous life all that time in Heaven; its contemporaneous life on earth in the Blessed Sacrament during that same time; and finally its eternal life in Heaven, when the Doom is past. In all these lives of the Precious Blood there is a hidden life which we cannot reach, and whose mysteries are not only above our comprehension but beyond our imagination. Its union with the Divinity is inexplicable. Its peculiar redeeming value, in that it is blood, is also a secret hidden from our intelligence. It represents abysses of the Divine wisdom, which are not only unfathomable but nameless. It bears upon itself the imprint of unsuspected perfections in the broad majesty of God. The jubilee of its life is a height of creation lost to our eyes in the burning vicinity of the uncreated. To this innermost inward life we cannot penetrate; but we can see, and understand, and love much of an inward, though less secret, life, which we could not see when we regarded the Precious Blood under the figure of a Procession. It is of this inward life we must now endeavor to get some idea.

The life of the Precious Blood in the Mind of God from all eternity is in one sense a real life, and in another sense an unreal
one. It was not an actual life. It was a life of predestination, of foreseen beauty, of multiplied divine intentions. It was a specially Divine invention, if we may use such a word. It was an idea which could not have come to any mind but that of God, and therefore the complacency which it caused in the Divine Mind was immense. It was a sort of second Word to God, a created expression of His uncreated perfection. It was part of the most grand and glorious thought of God, the Incarnation. It was a most important part of it. It was also a specially chosen part, selected for the accomplishment of our redemption, and for the restoring of a revolted creation to the dominion of its Maker. In the most dear and dread Mind of God it was a fountain always flowing. The beauty of its flowing had been one of His unbeginning gladnesses. It was the fountain which gave forth, multitudinous and beautiful as the creation of the radiant Angels, the countless predestinations of the infinitely varying souls of men. The mystery of all election was from the first glassed in its beaming depths. It was its spray, which caught the golden light of eternal things, and fell down before the throne, even as it is still falling now, in starry showers of splendor. It was a mirror too in which the manifold countenances of the Divine perfections looked always, and loved to make their beauty bearable to mortal eye. It is there to this day, that the oppositions in God are seen to be harmonies most simple and most worshipful. All parts of creation give us double views of God, simultaneous views of His seeming opposite perfections, just as on the Mount of Olives the eye may rest at will either on the Dead Sea or on the Holy City. But of no part of creation is this so true, or true in so high a sense, as of the Precious Blood. Redeeming grace tells the whole history of God, so far as it can be told, unfolds His character in all of its breadth which is comprehensible, and as it were recites and magnifies each separate perfection: and redeeming grace is the specialty of the Precious Blood.

Moreover, the Precious Blood dwelt also in the Mind of God as the type and model of all creation, whether fallen or unfallen. In its unity lay the germs of all created loveliness and of
all created variety. Mary was its first shadow, its first reflection, the freshest copy of the original. No wonder then that it was an infinite delight to the Three Divine Persons. To them it was none the less real because it was not yet actually created; for to God the solidest created substance is but as shadow compared with the reality of His ideas. Thus from all eternity did the Precious Blood reign like a sovereign thing in the adorable complacency of God.
As it had lived an eternal life in the Mind of God before creation, so also did it live a life of visible effects and real jurisdiction from the beginning of the world, before it had become itself an actual created thing in the mystery of the Incarnation. It was the Precious Blood which hindered the fall of man from being as irretrievable as the fall of Angels had been. It did real work in every single soul which was created in those four thousand years. It altered their position in the world. It made the. eye of God look differently on them. It rained supernatural graces upon their hearts. It diminished temporal chastisements. Neither was it less influential in the counsels of God than in the souls of men. It caused His compassion to overspread the whole earth. It turned the chronicles of the world into a succession of types, and shadows, and predictions of itself. While it was itself preparing all things for its own coming and shedding, it so controlled all things that they rather seemed to be a preparation for itself. It sounded in every thing that God said. It impressed its character upon every thing that God did. It underlay all heathen life, and all Hebrew life. It was the significance of the most significant, and also of the most insignificant, events. It molded all sanctity into an onlooking for itself. It beautified the hearts of men for God with supernatural desires. For all those forty ages it was the secret meaning and the hidden agent of the world. All that blossomed upon earth blossomed only because the Precious Blood watered the soil under ground. Who would not long to see it, as it would one day be, in the actual Human Heart which was to be its living chalice? Even the patience of the long-waiting God might vouchsafe to yearn for the actual creation of the Precious Blood. How sweet then to Him must have been that dear sanctity of Mary, whose beautiful compulsion caused the Word to anticipate His time!

But the hour arrived, and the Creator became a part of His Own Creation. The Precious Blood was actually created, and rose and fell in pulses of true human life, and filled with joyous being the Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart, and lived its life of Three-and-Thirty Years among men. These Three-and-Thirty Years formed in all true senses the longest and most important epoch of the history of creation. They were filled with countless actions, the value of each one of which was infinite. The vocations stamped upon millions of souls came from those actions of God made man. Their energies are vigorously ruling the world at this hour. They have molded age after age since then. All holiness has been but an infinitely diversified copy of them. Out of their merits the attributes of God daily drink their fill, and yet those merits still abound and overflow. Out of their merits the Sacraments are drawing incalculable exuberances of grace all day and night; and they are still full to the very brim, and capable of saving unnumbered new creations, Out of the satisfactions of those years the jurisdiction of the Church has drawn almost unlimited indulgences; yet no visible impression has been made on their abundance. Poetry and art go to those years as to a school of heavenliest beauty; and all times and all minds find the lessons fresh and new. Theology sits by them as by abysses of Divine wisdom, and one while is actively weaving her wondrous science out of them, and another while, captivated by their beauty forgets to weave, is rapt in contemplation, and becomes devotion. As to devotion, those years are its very cloister and its garden. That life is God made visible to His creatures as the rule of life. It lays bare the very foundations of morals. It reveals the possibilities of human actions, while it also paints as in a picture the indefinable operations of the Holy Ghost. It is a freshness and a joy to think that, at this hour of the peaceful dawn. thousands of souls are silent before God, caught in the sweet snares of the beauty at these earthly years of Jesus. Our Lord revealed to the Blessed Michael of Florence, the Camaldolese, how He longed that those who loved Him should honor the Thirty-Three Years with affectionate minuteness. It has been the characteristic devotion of all the Saints. The souls that have been most drawn to meditate upon the attributes of God have learned their science in that other science of the Three-and-Thirty Years. Sometimes this devotion takes special possession of a religious order for some length of time. Sometimes it fastens upon a single religious house, and
develops itself with marvelous fertility. This appears to have been the case with the Carmelite convent at Dole in the seventeenth century. To Sister Anne of the Cross, a lay-sister, it was the form and type of her whole life. It came natural to her to do even her ordinary actions in thirty-threes. Still more did her penances and devotions take that shape. When she was asked if she did not weary of such a reiterated devotion, she replied that, so far from it, it always came to her as new. The devotion of Mother Louisa of Jesus was even yet more remarkable. She could hardly occupy her soul with any thing but the Thirty-Three Years; and the abundant lights she received from God in prayer had chiefly reference to this devotion. The first years of the Sacred Infancy were "delicious" to her soul. She had an especial attraction to contemplate the first time our Lord bent His knees, and clasped His hands, in prayer to the Father. Her holiness seemed always to be a participation in some of the interior dispositions of Jesus upon earth; and the characteristics of her spiritual life, consequent upon this devotion, were persevering fervor and extreme joyousness. She imprinted this devotion upon the whole community, and also upon the externs who came across her.

We see remarkable traces of the same devotion in our Lord's answer to the prayers of Frances of the Mother of God, Carmelitess at Dieppe, distinguished for her devotion to the Precious Blood. When she was praying for the soul of Sister Catherine of the Angels, she asked our Lord after Communion to apply to Sister Catherine's soul one drop of His Precious Blood in order to achieve her deliverance. Our Lord answered, "I have given her one of My steps," thus showing the value of His least actions. At another time she made the same prayer for Sister Elizabeth of the Nativity, asking for one drop of the Precious Blood; and our Lord answered, "I will give her one of My tears, the efficacy of which is so great that it would turn Hell into Paradise, if it were applied there." These answers seem to imply a special devotion in Frances of the Mother of God to the Thirty-Three Years;and that saintly religious was one of the most remarkable among the holy persons of the seventeenth century.

We speak very truly when we divide the world into many worlds. We talk of the vegetable world, and the mineral world, and the animal world. We even subdivide these into lesser worlds.We go to the sidereal world to learn the immensities of space. Geology opens a world to us, which overshadows us with its distances of time. We call man a little world in himself; and the microscopic world, while it is so rife with new aspects of God, delights us with all that it insinuates of the possibilities and likelihoods of the invisible world of immaterial and angelic life. We call these by the name of worlds, because they seem like complete creations in themselves, and are each of them a distinct revelation of God, distinct from all other revelations of Him, and yet harmonizing with them all. They are separate shadows of God. They are His wisdom and His beauty, His power and His love, seen from
different points of view. He is many Creators in one Creator. We are very right in making His one world into many worlds. So it is with the Incarnation. The whole material universe is not so vast as that one world of the Incarnation, nor capable of so many or such magnificent subdivisions. Intellectually or spiritually, the Thirty-Three Years form a world far vaster than the world of stars. They can even bear to be subdivided into many other worlds, which are still spacious enough for the swift intelligences of Angels, as well as the rapidity of glorified human minds, to traverse for eternity, finding fresh wonders evermore. The Precious Blood has one biography in Mary's Womb, where it issued from the lone sanctities of her immaculate heart. It has another in Bethlehem, and another in Egypt, and another in Nazareth, and another on the shores of Gennesareth, and another in Jerusalem, and another in Galilee. Each of these is a world beyond the measures of our science, a cloister for devotion, and yet a cloister in which eternity has ample room. God's vastness is a living vastness. It carries itself everywhere, and everywhere is entire and transcends the necessities of space. Each of these separate worlds of the life of Jesus upon earth is tied by some occult sympathy to some particular attribute, or group of attributes, in God. Thus we learn in the life of Mother Margaret of the Blessed Sacrament, Carmalitess at Dijon, that the souls which are called to a special devotion to our Lord's Resurrection have always a peculiar attraction to worship the Divine sanctity. These are glimpses of that glad science of the Three-and-Thirty Years, which will be part of our unutterable bliss beyond the grave. Surely it makes the world seem wearier than ever, to think of the unsuspected grandeurs which the mysteries of our sweet Jesus are waiting to pour out into our souls, when He has received us into His kingdom.


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