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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward a doctorate in liturgical theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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When Christ gave the bread, he did not say, "This is the symbol of my body," but, "This is my body." In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, "This is the symbol of my blood," but, "This is my blood."
— Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia, writing in the 5th Century

A Reminder
published 21 September 2011 by Fr. David Friel

Just the other day, I met my first niece for the first time. It was an awesome experience. Like most babies, my niece captivated the attention of the whole house. We sat around our living room, charmed by every sound, every little movement she made.

There was a word that was used a number of times as we sat there together. It’s a word that people don’t use much—a word that I seldom say. But we couldn’t help ourselves from saying, over and over again: “She’s precious. She’s just precious.”

How often have you said that about newborn babies in your own families? It’s the perfect word, isn’t it? We don’t use it much. In fact, we almost reserve it to describe the indescribable beauty of a newborn baby. Children are “precious” because they are a gift beyond price. No amount of money could ever buy so great a gift. Scripture is clear that God alone is the One “Who gives life to all things” (1 Tim 6:13). I have often held signs proclaiming, “Life Is Precious,” while praying the rosary out in the streets, but hearing that word over and over again the other night made me think.

It made me think that there’s really only one other context in which I ever use the word “precious.” Outside of describing newborn babies, the only regular usage of the word “precious” I can think of is to describe the Precious Blood of Christ. What an incredible truth that reveals!

There’s something ineffably marvelous about a baby—its life and vitality! And there’s something even more ineffably marvelous about Christ’s Blood, which was shed to make possible our life! As the First Letter of Saint Peter testifies: “It was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from [your empty way of life] but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

We plead for unborn children and agonize over aborted children for this reason: because they were purchased at a price—the inestimable price of Christ’s Blood. The shedding of His Precious Blood for each one of us has made us, in turn, precious.

Seeing my niece was a stunning reminder for me of God’s tremendous love. She reminded me that every person ever born has shared in the image and likeness of God. She reminded me that every person ever born has been loved by God. She reminded me that every person ever born has been precious.

And the same is true of all the people who, sadly, were never born. May our reverence for the Precious Blood of Christ be an inspiration to the world for how to reverence one another!