July and the Most Precious Blood of Christ:
I love July not just because it’s Summer with lighter evenings and hot days, but because it is the month dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Christ. An extra moment in our cycle of prayer and worship to think, reflect and ponder. We ponder on the immeasurable sacrifice that Jesus paid for each and every one of us by His death on the Cross.
Frankly, one cannot have enough time and occasions to ponder on the depth of this love, so another whole month, outside of Lent is a grace. It has often been written and said that one single drop of the Precious Blood of the Lord would have been more than enough to save the whole of humanity from death and damnation. So the almost endless outpouring of his Blood in his passion and death points to a higher truth.
Removal of the Cross as School Logo:
I was thinking of this reality, when I was reminded of a news story from a few years ago. Unfortunately this news probably slipped past most people’s attention. However, a Church of England primary school decided to remove the Cross from its logo to replace it with an oak tree instead. This news item.
Now I don’t know the precise details of this case, but what is undeniable is the official response of the school saying the reason for the removal of the cross was: “To give more prominence to the tree, which not only reflects the school name but is also an ancient symbol representing many beliefs.”
St. Boniface and the Oak Tree:
When I read that I couldn’t help feeling a tinge of sadness about yet another institutional denial over our shared Christian heritage. Especially something so universally accepted as the Cross of Christ. Then I was reminded of the story of St. Boniface (Winifrid). St. Boniface, evangelized the region of the Netherlands and northern Germany. He took an axe to an oak tree that pagan people idolized and worshiped. With the full miraculous force of his apostolic power as bishop, he destroyed the object of division and disharmony.
Our Call in This:
Don’t get me wrong. I love oak trees. There’s nothing more glorious than a mighty ancient English oak. I love basking in its shade on a hot summer’s day with a family picnic or praying the Rosary alone. But like St Boniface, sometimes it takes Christ-like courage to take an axe [metaphorically-speaking] to the root of our moral and spiritual problems. We are called to chop it down and plant ourselves firmly in Jesus. That act of will, soaked in the blood of Christ, is what makes the difference to the journey. We need to be able to see the wood of the cross from the trees!
And here’s something devotional for July….a Litany of the Precious Blood to recite in your home with the family….
Edmund is currently Education Consultant for the human sexuality formation programme A Fertile Heart, Receiving and Giving Creative Love a theology of the body oriented resource for Catholic schools and families. He has worked professionally within varied leadership roles in the Church since 1990. Edmund was Private Secretary to two diocesan bishops. From 2003-2016 as Director of Pastoral Affairs in Westminster. He has contributed to various Vatican publications and addressed the VIth World Meeting of Families in Mexico in 2009. In 2007, he established the St. John Southworth Fund grants scheme on behalf of the Archdiocese of Westminster awarding more than £2m to help alleviate poverty for families across London. He helped establish Caritas Westminster in 2011. He addressed the 2014 annual conference of the American Academy for Fertility Care Professionals on Fertility Awareness –a Male Perspective; and was a guest speaker at the "Re-Engaging Humanae Vitae" conference at Ave Maria University, Florida in 2016. He has been actively involved in Catholic education for over 30 years and is UK representative for the GoodLove Foundation a global platform of sexuality formation resources for parents sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. Among his most notable achievements is the establishment of the annual Mass of Thanksgiving for Matrimony at Westminster Cathedral, London, which since 2008 has gathered more than 15,000 couples to renew their marital commitment.