Yonder Scarlet Stain

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Tuesday Within the Second Week of Lent

Isaiah 1:10, 16–20
Matthew 23:1–12

Come back, says the Lord,
and make trial of me.
Crimson-dyed be your guilt,
it shall turn snow-white;
like wool new-washed yonder scarlet stain (Is 1:18).

Innocence Restored

Were more comforting words than these ever spoken to souls besmirched by sin? Such is the hope held out to each one of us: a snow-white purity and an innocence like wool new-washed. God Himself longs to restore us to the innocence lost by sin. For this did the Lamb of God pour out His Blood in all the sufferings of His bitter Passion. Saint John said it: "The Blood of the Son of God Jesus Christ washes us clean from all sin" (1 Jn 1:8).

The Blood of the Lamb

The Blood of the Lamb makes saints out of sinners. The Blood of the Lamb cleanses hearts defiled by the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Blood of the Lamb heals the soul's deepest wounds and cures the festering malignancies of sin.

Only one thing can come between the sinner and the Precious Blood of the Lamb, and that one thing is pride: the pride of self-righteousness. If you can save yourself, you have no need of Jesus whose very Name means "God saves." If you can heal yourself, you have no need of the Divine Physican. If you can cleanse your own conscience, you have no need of the Precious Blood. But the truth is that we can do none of these things. We need to be saved. We need to be healed. We need to be washed in the Blood of the Lamb.

The Power of the Blood

The Lord asks, "Will you think better of it, and listen? Or will you refuse and defy me?" (Is 1:19). Woe to the recalcitrant and the obstinate. Woe to those who seek to justify themselves. Woe to those who resist the grace of God and rebel against His plan. Blessed are the humble. Blessed are those who abandon themselves to grace. Blessed are those who trust in power of the Precious Blood.

Channels of the Precious Blood

The saving Blood of the Lamb flows through four principal channels: 1) the Word of God; 2) the Sacrament of Penance; 3) the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; 4) adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

The Word of God

In the Bible, blood signifies life. In John 6:64 Our Lord says, "The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." One who meditates the Word of God and holds it in his heart receives an infusion of the soul's very life Blood. Lectio divina is a kind of spiritual communion with the Precious Blood.


The Sacrament of Penance is the efficacious application of the Precious Blood to all our sins and miseries. There are people who go regularly to the beauty parlour and to the health spa, people who have face lifts and tummy tucks, people who are ecstatic over fashionable make-overs from head to toe. "Woe to you," says Jesus, "because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all filthiness" (Mt 23:27). The health spa of the soul is the confessional? Go to confession, and go frequently. It is the only make-over that counts in the eyes of God.

Holy Mass

The focus of the apparition at Knock in Ireland was the immolated Lamb standing upon the altar in front of the Cross. The Mass is the sacrifice of the Lamb renewed upon the altar in an unbloody manner. This does not mean that there is no blood; it means that the Blood of the Lamb, truly present, is offered and given under the sacramental signs of water mixed with wine. The Blood of Christ received in Holy Communion remits venial sin and purifies the soul of the impurities that we accumulate from one day to the next.


And finally, there is adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. When we adore the Lamb hidden in the tabernacle or exposed in the monstrance, we are adoring the Precious Blood. Our Lord's Sacred Humanity is wholly present in the Eucharist: His five wounds, His Precious Blood, His pierced Heart, living and palpitating with love. An inexhaustible stream of Blood and of water gushes from the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. When you adore the Blessed Sacrament, make your soul an open chalice to receive the Blood of the Lamb for the sake of those who refuse it, or disdain it, or are indifferent to it. Adore and receive the Precious Blood for the forgiveness of your own sins and for those most in need of its power.

Glory to the Precious Blood

The Scribes and Pharisees sought to justify themselves, but their efforts were futile because they had not received nor could they dispense the Blood of the Lamb Who was slain. By God's mercy, the same Precious Blood shed upon the Cross is applied to our souls in the Sacrifice of the Mass. The Blood of Christ turns our crimson-dyed guilt snow white and makes our scarlet stains like wool new-washed. Glory to the Precious Blood!


This is a tremendous reminder of need to continually deepen our relationship with the Lord. THE phrase that sticks out so wonderfully for me is "God Himself longs to restore us...."

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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