In popular practice, July traditionally has been devoted to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. Here are some ways to practice that devotion with your family this month.
by Brian Smith
Back in the Middle Ages, many Catholics began observing special devotions around a particular theme each month — the Holy Name of Jesus in January, for instance. Today, many families are reviving this practice as part of the way they observe the liturgical calendar at home. By practicing monthly devotions, the core values of the faith will become more alive within your family. The beauty of monthly devotions is that there is no set way to celebrate. So, be creative, make it fun, and adapt your celebration to your own family.
Here are some ways to celebrate the popular devotion for July, the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
Talking with Kids about the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
Each of us has blood that flows through our body. Blood allows our body to work as God intended. Without blood we cannot run outside, play with our favorite toys, or even breathe! Blood, then, is what allows us to live each day to the fullest. Without blood, we could not live.
Jesus desperately wants us to spend eternity in heaven. When we sin, we turn our backs to God. This makes God sad. And so, to redeem us in the eyes of God, Jesus chose to shed his own blood as a sacrifice for our sins! Jesus wants us to go to heaven so much that he was willing to suffer a long and harsh death. Jesus shed his blood seven times during his life for us:
- The Presentation of the Lord (Jesus was circumcised)
- The Agony in the Garden (Jesus’ sweat turned into blood)
- The Scourging at the Pillar (Jesus was whipped)
- The Crowning of Thorns (thorns were pressed into Jesus’ head)
- The Way of the Cross (onlookers punched and kicked Jesus)
- The Crucifixtion (Jesus is nailed to the cross)
- The Piercing of His Heart (a soldier placed his sword through Jesus’ side, causing all of Jesus’ blood to spill out upon the ground)
As Catholics, we recognize all of Jesus’ suffering and believe that he truly died for us in hope that we might go to heaven one day. Just because Jesus died for our sins does not mean that we can live and do whatever we want. Every day, we must try to be pleasing to God. This includes our thoughts, words, and actions. Sometimes we make mistakes. God invites us to the sacrament of reconciliation to amend our sins. When we recognize our sins, we are joined with the Precious Blood of Jesus as we promise to God that we will try to live a better life.
Feast Days & Memorials
The following days can be connected to this month’s devotion. Click to learn more.
A take away for kids to memorize and/or include in their daily prayer.
“This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.” (Mk 14:24)
Questions to help propogate the faith with your children.
- What sins or mistakes have I made?
- How can I prevent sinning or making mistakes again?
- What can I do to be more pleasing to God?
Incorporate this month’s devotion with the virtues of faith, hope and charity.
Recite the following prayer as a family.
The Fatima Prayer
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy.
Learn about God’s infinite mercy.
The Catholic Church teaches that when the priest consecrates the host and wine, it is transformed into the true body and blood of Jesus. Over the years, there have been many miracles where a consecrated host is scientifically proven to be true flesh. Many of these consecrated hosts are also said to be “bleeding” since often times, blood emerges from the host, miraculously. To make this even more interesting, the blood type AB has been the same for each miracle studied by scientists!
One of the most studied artifacts in the world is the Shroud of Turin. Many people believe this linen cloth to be the same one that covered Jesus’ body when he was placed in the tomb. More importantly, the shroud contains the image of a man who was crucified. The Shroud of Turin has several blood particles on it. Extensive testing has been performed. The blood type on the Shroud of Turin is AB, the same found in many of the documented eucharistic miracles.
Help the church to grow within your own community.
When was the last time you and your family went to the sacrament of reconciliation? This gift from Jesus is celebrated in most parishes each week, often prior to the Saturday vigil Mass. Confession gives us an opportunity to renew ourselves in hope that we might be more pleasing to God. Check out this examination of conscience for kids as a resource to get your family started.
For younger children, consider sitting down as a family and discussing how individual actions can affect the harmony of the entire family. Start the conversation by discussing your own positive/negative actions. Then, open it up to your kids and invite them to say how they help/hurt the family environment. Be strict — no blaming others. This is a self-reflection activity.
For more information about monthly devotions, see the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: #20, #32, #190-191 and the Catholic Encyclopedia: Special Devotions for Months