I love July not just because it’s yet another reminder of Summer –despite the weather so far here in Britain- but because it is the month dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Christ. An extra moment as it were in our cycle of prayer and worship to think, reflect and ponder again 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…..like the love of parents and teachers and educators who will so often go well beyond the bare minimum of love and duty and care in order to show service, concern and care to others, especially the young.
I was thinking of this reality, especially as we approach yet another conclusion of an academic year as older adolescents have concluded exams and younger children are looking forward to long summer holidays, when I saw the news item [which probably slipped past most people’s attention last week] of the Church of England primary school which has decided to remove to 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 of a school removing the Christian cross from its logo to favour an oak tree to symbolise the amalgamation with 2 other schools, 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.”
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 [even if not always fervently believed in] as the Cross of Christ. And then one is reminded of the story of St. Boniface (Winifrid) who back in the 8thcentury with papal mandate [having already left Anglo-Saxon Christian Britain- Winchester to be precise] went to evangelise the region of the Netherlands and northern Germany; He took an axe to the oak tree idolised and worshipped by the pagan warlords and soldiers and, with the full miraculous force of his apostolic power as bishop, destroyed the object of division and disharmony.
Don’t get me wrong. I love oak trees. There’s nothing more glorious than a mighty ancient English oak and 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 and, with all the force of the grace of the cross of Christ, to chop it down and plant ourselves firmly in Jesus. And that act of will [the axe] soaked in the blood of Christ is what makes all the difference to the journey and being 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….
Something devotional for July.