Friday, July 1, 2016

The Wine-Press of the Wrath of God

Today, in the Traditional Roman Catholic calendar, is the octave day of the Nativity of John the Baptist and the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. The professor recently came across this website which has the Divine Office dating back to the pre-Tridentine church. This morning, since the Feast of the Most Precious Blood is not in the New calendar, the professor suggested we pray from the old breviary. And in the old office was this beautiful hymn to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. The professor wrote his own thoughts about the feast and the hymn on his blog.

This hymn speaks to one's soul about the mercy of God, the out-pouring of the Blood of His Son for us. The part that particularly struck me, but all of it is so, so, beautiful, is the stanza towards the end: 


In full atonement of our guilt,
Careless of self, the Saviour trod—
E'en till his heart's best blood was spilt—
The wine-press of the wrath of God.


The stanza evokes an image of the crushed Body of Christ, His Blood gushing forth, and for what, for us. And then there is the image of bathing in that precious Blood which is gushing forth, and receiving healing and mercy. 

Come, bathe you in the healing flood,
All ye who mourn, by sin opprest;
Your only hope is Jesus' blood,
His sacred heart your only rest.


What more can I say, my only hope is Jesus' blood.


Di Guillaume Courtois (called "Il Borgognone") after a Bernini's drawing - [1], Public Domain
Here is the full hymn:

S
alvete Christi vulnera

Hail, holy wounds of Jesus, hail,
Sweet pledges of the saving rood,
Whence flow the streams that never fail,
The purple streams of his dear blood.

Brighter than brightest stars ye show,
Than sweetest rose your scent more rare,
No Indian gem may match your glow,
No honey's taste with yours compare.

Portals ye are to that dear home
Wherein our wearied souls may hide,
Whereto no angry foe can come,
The heart of Jesus crucified.

What countless stripes our Jesus bore,
All naked left in Pilate's hall!
From his torn flesh how red a shower
Did round his sacred person fall!

His beauteous brow, oh, shame and grief,
By the sharp thorny crown is riven;
Through hands and feet, without relief,
The cruel nails are rudely driven.

But when for our poor sakes he died,
A willing priest by love subdued,
The soldier's lance transfixed his side,
Forth flowed the water and the blood.

In full atonement of our guilt,
Careless of self, the Saviour trod—
E'en till his heart's best blood was spilt—
The wine-press of the wrath of God.

Come, bathe you in the healing flood,
All ye who mourn, by sin opprest;
Your only hope is Jesus' blood,
His sacred heart your only rest.

All praise to him, the Eternal Son,
At God's right hand enthroned above,
Whose blood our full redemption won,
Whose Spirit seals the gift of love.
Amen.

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