On a tight tight budget (we are broke, broke, broke) we had chosen our itinerary from things less likely to dig deep in our pockets! The Basilica of the Holy Blood was free, and since I am intrigued by and curious about relics, we headed there first. The relic is very precious as it contains the blood of Jesus Christ. Not only that but the blood becomes fresh again daily, then coagulates again at night.
You may be interested in my ommitance of words like "apparently" or "supposed to" but where relics, and religion are concerned I think its more respectful to present the information in definate language. Why not? Its a belief held by many people and so when on their turf I try to be respectful.
So we went to see the Holy Blood and I actually got to hold the relic itself! I queued up and they allowed me place my hands on it. I couldn't take my eyes off it, and I have to admit I was open mouthed, and not in prayer! It was bizarre... a blood stained rag in a glass tube, but the blood was as new as if I had just dabbed it off a wound. Bright red and glistening. Amazing.
Of course there are those stick in the muds who say scientifically the blood changes because of temperature, but I say Booooooo to that! Why shouldn't it be the blood of christ? Why shouldn't it be revered and held in a precious vile? I think its brilliant, and I have to say I felt something when I placed my hands on the glass bottle, despite my curiousity for the world of relics, despite my questions regarding how the blood of christ ended up in Belgium, despite the obvious modern "oh come on!" reaction that most would have, I felt something as I laid my hands on the precious relic, a mixture of amazement and awe, followed by a definate feeling of encouragement.
Perhaps it was the curiousness of humankind that touched me, the belief in our uniqueness, the belief in God, or maybe it was the strength of the relic, who knows?