Chaplet of the Precious Blood Reflections

The Chaplet of the Precious Blood is a group of prayers composed by Don Francesco Albertini, a Roman priest who later became a Bishop, around 1808. He wrote this and other prayers for a new lay organization he founded: the Confraternity of the Precious Blood. Later on, the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, who were influenced by Albertini, promoted this prayer (and others) in their work of revitalization and reconciliation after the Napoleon Wars in Central Italy. These poems are meant to provide reflection in praying the Chaplet, which may be found here, or read on their own.

First Mystery: the Circumcision of Jesus (Luke 2:21)


Joy at a new life come into the world,
a hope fulfilled, a promise of the future,
a sign of an unbroken chain
beginning at Creation,
reaching toward the End of Time.
Covenant, joining the eternal braid
of God’s family through the ages.

Covenant, a promise unbroken,
never to be broken.
Naming, the start of identity
as an individual child of God,
marker of a person.

A spot of blood:
the price of Covenant,
the price of a Name.
A seal of covenant,
the price for a name
that will bring blood in the future:
the blood of many,
the blood of one.

Immanuel, God-with-Us,
a name purchased in Blood.

Second Mystery: the Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:44)

Night of walls closing in

How easy to forget the light of Hope
in the anxious darkness,
cut off from light,
from companionship,
from any peaceful sound.

The beating of a heart magnified,
thoughts closing in, circling, gathering,
fear demanding submission.

Like a captive straining against iron bonds,
sweating in the dark, sweating in struggle.

Night of walls closing in,
night of absent hope.
Night of wild, dark dreams
of failure, of defeat,
of abandonment,
of annihilation.

Night of blood and sweat,
wrestling with darkness Jacob-like,
hoping for a new name
hoping for a new future,
hoping for Hope.

Third Mystery: the Scourging at the Pillar (Matthew 27:26)

Undeserved punishment

Leather and metal slit the air
before landing on naked skin.
Thirty nine lashes
of futile appeasement.

Each slap drawing agony,
each slap drawing blood.

Taking another’s punishment
for an unacceptable reason.
Taking another’s punishment
in hope of redemption.

Blood running down
in vivid rivers,
blood running down
through grime and sweat.

It never seems it will stop
until it does,
and the onlookers cry, “Not enough!”

The world is not satisfied.
The world will never be satisfied.

Fourth Mystery: the Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27:28-9)

Becoming a Strawman

Degradation by elevation:
a painful crown
mocking power.

A living ring that once bore flowers,
blossoms of spring, witness to life,
red flowers of beauty.
Now twisted into a circle of pain,
without the blossoms,
without sweet fragrance,
only supple stems and thorns
woven into an instrument
of mockery.

Empty royal signs
forced upon Him.
Symbols of humiliation
to be laughed at.

A body already doomed
and good for nothing
but harsh comedy.

The crown brings red streamlets,
forced pain for other’s pleasure.
A crown no one will swear allegiance to,
a crown that commands no servants.
At least, not yet.

Fifth Mystery: the Carrying of the Cross (John 19:16-7)

Long unwanted journey

Slow step by slow step
He goes where He does not want to go.
Weight on his shoulders, tearing open
straining muscles and sinews
beyond repair.
As if they’ll ever get a chance to mend.

Pushing through the crowd,
prodded, compelled,
no relief except by moving forward,
no escape except by struggling forward.

A long road to Hope through
agony and despair,
a long road to peace
through struggling like a soldier
up a street made of the mud
of blood and sweat,
kidney punches and rib jabs,
abuse and shame.

Onward, onward,
a struggle that never seems to end
until it does.

Sixth Mystery: Crucifixion (Luke 23:33-34)

Destruction of Death

The worst that could happen,
Nails pushing through skin, breaking bone,
rending nerves,
until coming out the other side
to be buried in wood.

Hanging awkwardly,
nailed to a tree,
gravity pulling down,
trying to steal breath.
Pushing upward on mangled legs
for air in ragged gasps.
Fighting for a few more
precious seconds of life.

More blood, more blood,
bleeding before an uncaring world
that rejects Him.
It says: “You have no name, no hope,
no future, no light.
You are nothing!”

But the tables are turned.

The Cross is transformed.

The days of Jerusalem are numbered,
the days of the Romans are numbered,
the days of Darkness are numbered,
the days of Death are numbered.

The blood changes everything.
The blood opens the long closed door.
The blood hides the Sun
until the world can bear the Darkness no longer.

Then, the Blood brings life and light.

Seventh Mystery: Piercing His Side (John 19:34)

Spring of Life

Blood and water,
a quest for finality.

Blood and water,
wanting to be sure.

Blood and water,
dying and rising.

Blood and water,
soaking the soil.

Blood and water,
raising up life.

“Surely, this was the Son of God.”

Blood and water,
drowning despair.

Blood and water,
testament to Hope.

Blood and water,
washing the soul.

Blood and water,
river of forgiveness and healing.

Blood and water,
wine of the New Covenant.

Surely, this is the Son of God.


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