Blood of Jesus, Save us!

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I have spent the past days exploring Bavaria and surrounding areas. I have been blessed to serve Mass in Weingarten, in addition to Masses in Bavaria. The monastery would serve as a perfect home for a group of men devoted particularly to the Passion and the Most Blessed Sacrament, just saying. A brief history of the Basilica is below, followed by a short meditation, from my next book project. (More pictures below from a tour of the Basilica).

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Serving Mass in a private chapel

The greatest treasure of Weingarten is its famous relic of the Precious Blood, still preserved in the church of Weingarten. Saint Longinus, the solder who opened Jesus’ side with a lance, caught some of the Sacred Blood and preserved it in a leaden box, which later he buried at Mantua. Being miraculously discovered in 804, the relic was solemnly exalted by Pope Saint Leo III, but again buried during the Hungarian and Norman invasions. In 1048 it was re-discovered and solemnly exalted by Pope Saint Leo IX in the presence of the emperor, Henry III, and many other dignitaries. It was divided into three parts, one of which the pope took to Rome, another was given to the emperor, and the third remained at Mantua. Henry III bequeathed his share of the relic to Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, who gave it to his daughter Juditha. After her marriage to Welf I, Duke of Bavaria, Juditha presented the relic to Weingarten. The solemn presentation took place in 1090, on the Friday after the feast of the Ascension, and it was stipulated that annually on the same day, which came to be known as Blutfreitag (Blood Friday), the relic should be carried in solemn procession.

The procession was prohibited in 1812, but since 1849 it has again taken place every year. It is popularly known as the Blutritt (Blood Rite). The relic is carried by a rider (currently the parish priest), der heilige Blutritter (the Holy Blood-rider), on horseback, followed by many other riders, and many thousands of people on foot.

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Relic under the Altar of the People erected by the Monks in 1934. Accessed from behind, under key and lock.

From the publication (a book of 31 days of meditations on the Passion, by Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, C.P.) I am presently working on:

Jesus thirsts for our eternal salvation, He thirsts for souls. This is the thirst of which he complains, and which is consuming His very life’s Blood. Jesus most passionately desires that the Blood He has shed should benefit mankind by saving them from Hell; and yet He foreknows that there will be many eternally lost, notwithstanding all His love and all His sufferings. Oh, truly does this thirst consume the loving Heart of Jesus, and its sacred heat slowly but surely deprives Him of life!…

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A friend of mine receiving the Blessing with the Relic. We prayed the Litany of the Precious Blood and then each received a blessing with the Relic.

The text continues:

…My soul, reflect now what things thy desires tend to, and what thou does thirst after. No doubt thou thirstest after worldly goods, after honors, pleasures, comforts, and amusements, but thou thirstest not after thy salvation; thou are not desirous of gaining heaven, of entering into the possession of that eternal, undying bliss which Jesus has purchased for thee at so dear a rate. Jesus Crucified thirsts in an especial manner after thy salvation and progress in Divine love. If thou hadst been present on Mount Calvary, and hadst heard our Redeemer saying, “I thirst,” wouldst thou not have relieved His sufferings by giving Him a littler water? Know that even at the present moment it is in thy power to relieve His burning thirst. He says to thee from the Cross, “My Son, I thirst for thy soul.” Art thou desirous of affording thy Redeemer some solace in His sufferings from thirst? Offer Him thy thoughts by frequent consideration on His goodness and sufferings. Give Him thy heart with all its affections by constant protestations that thou lovest Him above all things, and will ever love Him in preference to all created objects. Give Him thy soul with all its powers, and often renew thy resolution to work out thy eternal salvation, however much it may cost thee, and hope that thy efforts may be crowned with success, through the merits of His Passion. Thus mayest thou relieve Jesus in His thirst.

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Probably late 15th, early 16th Century Crucifix from a local artist, repainted.
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Painting near the old sacristy.
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Illumination in a Ritual for Blood Friday
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The High Altar
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Very fitting vestment for Weingarten (Wine garden), made from the remnants of older vestments, hence the variation of textile in the decoration.
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Vox Humana stop on the Pipe Organ. The builder of the organ, in his devotion to proclaim the Glory of God, saved of his own money the necessary funds to cover the stops and keys in ivory, as the Abbot deemed it excessive for a monastic church, in its poverty.
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Pipe Organ
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Reliquary in the Sacristy with Benedictine Saints and a relic of Saint Benedict at the bottom of the Cross.

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