St. Gaspar’s Chaplet of the Precious Blood

Posted on February 20, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

see also:Letters of St. Gaspar

The rosary is a familiar form of prayer. Its repetition establishes a rhythm that steadies our hearts and minds. By involving our hands as we move along the beads, a rosary helps us tune out distractions. Young and old can pray a rosary. No book, no special place, are needed! For these reasons, many religious traditions have prayers that use beads, Buddhists and Sufis (the mystical branch of Islam) as well as Christians. Throughout the centuries, Christians have employed a variety of rosaries. Each rosary is designed to slowly immerse us in a particular spirituality or tradition. In the earliest centuries, monks used stones and strings of beads as aids to prayer and meditation on Scripture, including Lectio Divina or Divine Reading. The fifteen decade rosary, which brings together the major stories of the Christian mystery in the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries, is a Dominican tradition that dates to the 13th century. The Precious Blood Rosary or Chaplet is OUR rosary. This is the means of meditation on the principal blood-sheddings of Jesus that Saint Gaspar, our founder, so readily promoted. The Precious Blood Chaplet was composed by Father Francesco Albertini. He was a canon of the church of San Nicola in Carcere in Rome, which was privileged to have a relic of the Precious Blood. His devotion to the Precious Blood inspired Albertini to found the Arch-Confraternity of the Precious Blood, the forerunner of the Union of the Blood of Christ. Albertini invited Father Gaspar del Bufalo, a canon of the near-by church of San Marco, to preach the inaugural sermon for the Arch-Confraternity on December 8, 1808. Albertini wanted to compose a prayer for the Union, a prayer that would combine giving thanks to God for the gift of Jesus’ most precious blood and intercession on behalf of the world. To prepare himself to undertake this responsibility, Albertini sought the solace of a retreat. In his account of this retreat, Albertini recounts how he was directly confronted by evil and inspired by meditating on the image of the cross. The fruit of this encounter is our community’s Chaplet of the Precious Blood. The Chaplet has seven mysteries, according to a traditional listing of the seven significant times Jesus shed his blood — the Circumcision, The Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, The Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, Jesus Dies on the Cross, and the Piercing with the Lance. Devotion to Jesus’ seven blood-sheddings goes back much farther than our community’s founding. The heart of the chaplet is 33 Our Fathers, in honor of the number of years Jesus is believed to have lived among us. The first six mysteries consist of five “Our Father’s” followed by a “Glory be” and the last mystery has three “Our Father’s” to complete the total of 33. Following each mystery is a verse and response. Verse: “Come then, Lord, help your people.” Response: “Bought with the price of your own blood.” These are drawn from the conclusion of the church’s great hymn Te Deum. The Chaplet was approved by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on May 31, 1809 and ‘indulgenced’ October 18th, 1815(1) The Chaplet was one of the tools that St. Gaspar used in the preaching of missions. References to the chaplet are found in hundreds of Gaspar’s letters. It was the central means he had of inviting the people to pray the mysteries of the Precious Blood, and to provide a focus for the teaching during the mission. In a letter to Pope Gregory XVI in March of 1831, Gaspar points out the chaplet as one of the points in the missionary’s method of life. At the beginning of each day, one Missionary would lead the gathered faithful in the Chaplet while another offered the Mass. In an era when the Mass was in Latin and most people could not read the Chaplet enabled the people to enter more fully into the mystery which was being celebrated. Each of the Mysteries is taken from the Scriptures and is a great place for us to reflect on the meaning found there. The mystery of his Circumcision reminds us how Jesus and his family followed the law, and how the Son of God was incorporated into the family of a particular people in a particular place and time. The Agony in the Garden reminds us how we too seek to take up God’s will in every struggle. The Piercing with a Lance reminds us of the beginning of the sacraments. To pray over these mysteries slowly immerses us into the same mysteries that gave life to Gaspar’s preaching. Prayer was at the center of Gaspar’s life, and the chaplet bears fruit in immersing us in the mysteries of the Most Precious Blood. “Here is the fruit that I experience within myself as the result of this visitation of God; … I have come to realize more and more how needful I am of establishing myself in God’s ways and how urgent prayer is, even though I must say that it has always been my delight; I would like to help sanctify the whole world.” (2) A version of the chaplet, with scripture verses for each Our Father, is available .
NOTES (1)Gaspare del Bufalo, Alejandro Rey, CPPS, Vol 1, pg 353 (2)Gaspar del Bufalo, Letter #3785 to Sr. Maria Giuseppa Pittorri,Letters of St. Gaspar

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See also:

The Litany of the Precious Blood was compiled by the Sacred Congregation for the Sacred Liturgy, and promulgated by Pope John XXIII on February 24, 1960.

This Litany is especially appropriate for Holy Week.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy

Christ, have mercy

Christ, have mercy

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy

Christ, hear us

Christ, hear us

Christ, graciously hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us

God the Father of Heaven,

have mercy on us

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,

have mercy on us

God, the Holy Spirit,

have mercy on us

Holy Trinity, One God,

have mercy on us

Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the eternal Father,

save us

Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word or God,

save us

Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament,

save us

Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in Agony,

save us

Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging,

save us

Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns,

save us

Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross,

save us

Blood of Christ, price of our salvation,

save us

Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness,

save us

Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls,

save us

Blood of Christ, stream of mercy,

save us

Blood of Christ, victor over demons,

save us

Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs,

save us

Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors,

save us

Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins,

save us

Blood of Christ, help of those in peril,

save us

Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened,

save us

Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow,

save us

Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent,

save us

Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying,

save us

Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts,

save us

Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life,

save us

Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory,

save us

Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor,

save us

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,

spare us, O Lord

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,

graciously hear us, O Lord

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us, O Lord

V. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy Blood.

R. And made us, for our God, a kingdom.

Almighty and eternal God,

Thou hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son

the Redeemer of the world and willed to be appeased by his blood.

Grant, we beg of Thee,

that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation

and through its power

be safeguarded from the evils of the present life

so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven.

Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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