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The Fusion of Three Christological Devotions

July 21, AD 2013 9 Comments

Photo Credit: thedivinemercy.org

Believe it or not, the Catholic Church and her faithful are devoted to Jesus Christ. With all our hyperdulia and dulia (devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints), we can often lose sight of the Church’s Christological devotion. Most clearly, the Church’s faithful are dedicated to the Eucharist—to receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist and adoring Him, whether reserved in a tabernacle or exposed on the altar in a monstrance. Besides devotion to the Eucharist, the Church has three popular Christological devotions: Divine Mercy, Sacred Heart, and the Precious Blood, all of which have been the highlight of special devotion in recent months. The Sunday after Easter was Divine Mercy Sunday which many people observed by praying a nine day novena in honor of the Divine Mercy. June was the Month of the Sacred Heart and July is dedicated to the Precious Blood.

One of the temptations of the devotional world is to see devotions in competition with one another, as if they detract from one another or are diametrically opposed. This was made quite clear to me a number of years ago when I was discerning with a religious community that promoted the Divine Mercy message. One of my friends expressed his concern and hesitancy toward the Divine Mercy devotion because he believed it took away from and was replacing devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Rather than seeing these devotions as competitive, we should instead see them as complementing and to a certain extent fused to one another.   Common to all three devotions is the blood of Christ, His love, and mercy for the entire human race.

The Sacred Heart and the Precious Blood

If one pauses for a moment and thinks about the Divine Mercy and Precious Blood devotions, one quickly would discover that Christ’s Sacred Heat is foundational for both devotions.   Within the body, it is the heart that pumps the blood through the circulatory system. If one of the valves or arteries becomes clogged, it is necessary to do surgery—either to place a stent in order to open the valve or to do open heart bypass surgery. The heart is crucial in order for maintaining life because if blood cannot be pumped serious complications can result, including death. Jesus’ Sacred Heart was responsible for pumping His blood. When He was whipped, tortured, scourged, and crucified, Jesus’ heart continued to pump the blood that was shed for our sins, for the sake of mercy.

The Divine Mercy and the Precious Blood

Jesus taught St. Faustina many different prayers; the most popular being the Divine Mercy Chaplet. In the chaplet, the devotee prays, “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly Beloved Son, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. “  Another popular prayer of the devotion is, “O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus, as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in You.”  The blood of Christ is central to the Divine Mercy devotion because the faithful offer their prayers in atonement for sins and confess their trust in Christ’s saving blood. As the Responsorial Psalm for the Feast of the Precious Blood proclaims, “Your Blood O Lord is the Source of Life.”[1]  Through St. Faustina, Jesus has relayed to the world that the Blood of Christ is indeed the source of life—the source of mercy.

Conclusion

The Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy, and Precious Blood devotions are intimately linked and fused. While they are indeed three separate devotions, nevertheless, a crossover exists within the devotions themselves. It is important for us to realize that the devotions we hold dear, do not compete with one another but are three different expressions of how we tell the Lord we love Him and receive His love and mercy. During the remaining days of this month of July, let us allow the blood of Christ to wash over us, the blood that pumps through His Sacred Heart and radiates the world with mercy. Let us turn toward Jesus, whose heart was pierced for our offenses and has become a fount of mercy and source of saving blood.


[1] The Feast of the Precious Blood is observed by some communities on July 1 (e.g. Missionaries of the Precious Blood). The liturgical feast of the Precious Blood has been joined to the celebration of Corpus Christi in the Ordinary Form.

About the Author:

Fr. Edward L. Looney was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Green Bay on June 6, 2015. Fr. Looney has a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother, is a member of the Mariological Society of America, and has researched and written extensively on the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, recognized as the first and only approved Marian apparition in the United States. His most recent work is A Rosary Litany. To learn more visit: arosarylitany.com. Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author are his alone, and do not reflect those of his diocese. He seeks to always remain faithful to the Magisterium.
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  • Robert R. Allard

    Very good analogy. Not only His Heart, but Jesus Himself is what these devotions are all about. Anyone not liking any of these devotions, can’t be a real Catholic. The Feast of Divine Mercy, which Jesus said would be the “last hope of salvation” must be celebrated by every priest and every parish throughout the world. Please read: http://divinemercysunday.com/pdf/newfiles/2009LettertoBishopsandPriests2.pdf

  • Chauffeur

    Perhaps you know…
    Are Plenary Indulgences in competition with each other? For example, may a person concurrently participate in the 30 day Two Divine Promises “novena” (for others), and participate in the Plenary indulgence for daily communion / rosary in a church (for others or self)? (And then further, participate in the First Friday and First Saturday devotions?) Basically, many devotions may be completed concurrently, but when one involves communion for 30 consecutive days, then that suggests those communions can’t be considered for other devotions.

  • MM

    In an practical way devotions are in competition with each other. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. More choices is a good thing. Because we all have only so much time (most people have to work for a living and need to sleep and eat, etc.) we have to pick and choose what devotions we are going to do. We pick which ones we do based on a lot of different factors. There are thousands of saints and we just can’t know about all of them and pray to all of them individually. With devotions concerning Mary there are hundreds of them, many coinciding with particular apparitions. Even for Christological devotions there are many. We are not required to participate in all devotions that exist – that would be impossible. It’s wonderful that we are all individuals and the Church gives us so many different ways to grow closer to Christ. Because I participate in certain devotions and not others does not diminish the others.

  • dthy

    His Precious Blood is the sign of the New Covenant, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is Calvary in our own time. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the manifestation of His Divine Mercy, His Divine Love is present to us in the Holy Eucharist.

  • NYCFiredog

    Humans can be silly. Thank God, Jesus is not as petty as we can be. It is the same type of illogic of the Protestants that Devotion to Our Lady detracts from Jesus. It seems that they were beautifully timed to flow one devotion into the other creating an Ocean of Love of Christ.

  • Laurie

    “Hesitancy toward the Divine Mercy because he believed it took away from devotion to Sacred Heart”?? Actually, what you point out in this article dumfounds me. I would think that any Catholic with this mindset needs to reset the common sense button or perhaps even do some soul searching as to superficiality of one’s faith. I don’ intend to be demeaning, but it is person (Jesus) to whom we direct the love of our hearts in all the various devotions right? Prayer is dialogue with a person, not a formula.

    One
    of my friends expressed his concern and hesitancy toward the Divine
    Mercy devotion because he believed it took away from and was replacing
    devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. – See more at:
    http://www.ignitumtoday.com/2013/07/21/the-fusion-of-three-chirstological-devotions/#disqus_thread
    One
    of my friends expressed his concern and hesitancy toward the Divine
    Mercy devotion because he believed it took away from and was replacing
    devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. – See more at:
    http://www.ignitumtoday.com/2013/07/21/the-fusion-of-three-chirstological-devotions/#disqus_thread
    One
    of my friends expressed his concern and hesitancy toward the Divine
    Mercy devotion because he believed it took away from and was replacing
    devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – See more at:
    http://www.ignitumtoday.com/2013/07/21/the-fusion-of-three-chirstological-devotions/#sthash.XQLSM7ds.dpuf

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