‘[W]hy blood? Why so much emphasis on the death? Surely the life of our Lord had a significance of its own; he came to earth to live, not simply to die. Here, I think, we want to make the doctrine plainer than it is in many people’s minds. The life of our Lord on earth might have been a sufficient atonement for our sins, had God so willed, even if he had not crowned it by a death on the cross. If he had seen fit to ascend into heaven again, when he was still a little child in his Mother’s arms at Bethlehem, our redemption might still have been achieved. What made amends for our sins was not precisely his death, but that generous offering of himself to his eternal Father which began with Bethlehem and only ended on Calvary. If we use his blood as the symbol of that life-long generosity which redeemed us, it is only because the cross was the supreme test, the crucial experiment, which gave that generosity its perfect outward manifestation.
…[T]he doctrine of the Precious Blood certainly means this, for Catholic and Protestant alike – it means that you and I had something done for us which we could never have done for ourselves. Deny that doctrine, obscure that doctrine, and you have fatally altered the whole content of the Christian message. The love of God, St John tells us, resides not in our showing any love for God, but in his showing his love for us first, when he sent out his Son to be an atonement of our sins. Forget that, and you have forgotten how to be a Christian’.
Mgr Ronald Knox, 1888-1957
Fr Lee Kenyon