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The Via Eucharistiae: A new (beautiful!) devotion for Corpus Christi

An image of the Holy Eucharist in a monstrance.

Jeffrey Bruno

Fr. Peter John Cameron, OP - published on 06/10/23

The Catechism teaches that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The fact that the Eucharist is a “summit” suggests the image of an “ascent” leading us to that summit.

Several years ago I had the privilege of writing a book of meditations for Eucharistic adoration. I had at times wondered why there was not a devotional practice like the Way of the Cross geared to assisting the faithful in their worship of the Blessed Sacrament. So I composed a set of spiritual exercises which I call the Via Eucharistiae – The Way of the Eucharist (I’m sure I am not the first person to use that name). 

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ (Corpus Christi), especially during this Year of Eucharistic Revival, the Via Eucharistiae may be a help to increasing our Eucharistic devotion.

The Catechism teaches that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The fact that the Eucharist is a “summit” suggests the image of an “ascent” leading us to that summit. The Way of the Eucharist is a devotion to the Holy Eucharist that resembles the Way of the Cross in its characteristics and format. The 12 “stations” represent some of the events in the life of Christ that bear a deeply Eucharistic dimension, in some way prefiguring the Sacrament of the Altar. The steps of the Way of the Eucharist anticipate and celebrate the consummate moment when Christ institutes the Eucharist at the Last Supper. We pray the Via Eucharistiae so as to deepen our understanding and appreciation of this great Sacrament of Charity and to enter into this Mystery with a total gift of self.

NEW YORK,PROCESSION,LITTLE ITALY

How the Via Eucharistiae works

Each station begins with these prayers:

Leader: O Sacred Banquet

All: In which Christ becomes our food, the memory of his Passion is celebrated, the soul is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given.

Leader: You have given us Bread from heaven

All: Containing every blessing

 The leader then proceeds to introduce each Station.

The Stations of the Via Eucharistiae

Here are the twelve Stations with a prayer to accompany each:

The First Station: Jesus Is Born in Bethlehem

Loving Father, you sent your Son to satiate every longing of my weak yet longing heart. The Word became flesh at the Incarnation — flesh that your Son commands us to eat so that we may have the life we lack. As I meditate upon the Mystery of the Eucharist, give me new eyes to see how every aspect and action of Christ’s life is meant to prepare me for the ultimate Communion he offers in the Eucharist.

The Second Station: Jesus Fasts for Forty Days in the Desert

Loving Father, the forty day fast of your Son gave him an experience of humanity in its most needy and impoverished state. That need inspired Jesus to cling all the more to you. Give me this grace. I do not ask you to take away the neediness in my life, but rather to free me from every temptation by which I would trust an idol rather than you. May the fasting of my life increase my hunger for the Eucharist.

The Third Station: Jesus Teaches the Lord’s Prayer

Lord Jesus, you teach me to pray for my daily bread in order to prepare my heart for the gift that you will offer at the Last Supper — your Body will become our daily bread, the Bread of Life. In asking for this daily bread, make the whole of my life a begging for you, and let me never settle for anything less than you and your love.

The Fourth Station: Jesus Encounters the Leper 

Lord Jesus, so often I feel like the leper — isolated and alone, faced with impossible circumstances, overwhelmed by sorrows. But in my heart lives an expectation that exceeds all my misery. You are the one who corresponds to my heart. If you will to do so, you can fill my life with your Presence. In all confidence, I place myself in homage before you. 

The Fifth Station: The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes

Lord Jesus, save me from the trap of making myself the measure of all things. When faced with circumstances that are trying or beyond me, please move me to do what you do: to look to your Father in heaven filled with unshakeable confidence and trust. Nothing delights you more than the chance to feed us when we are languishing. Nothing glorifies you more than when your people depend on you for everything. Let me live by the measure of the miracle of the Eucharist.

The Sixth Station: Jesus Delivers the Bread of Life Discourse

Lord Jesus, in this inconceivable declaration — “Unless you eat my Body you will have no life within you” — you give me a new way to conceive. Save me from being a slave to my own weak and fallible understanding. When I am in doubt about the ways you offer to come into my life with your fullness, let me remember my companionship with you and how it always transforms my life in ways I never could have conceived of.

The Seventh Station: Jesus Tells the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Lord Jesus, let me come to my senses at last — let me see how all the hungers of my life lead me to the Father through you. Save me from whatever would distract me from returning to the Father again and again in my life. May I value my spiritual hunger as a mercy that makes me crave for what truly corresponds to my heart: your Presence in the Eucharist.

The Eighth Station: Jesus Encounters the Samaritan Woman at the Well

Lord Jesus, may I see in my thirst a craving for something that I cannot satisfy. Let my thirst lead me to you, the Living Water. May I abandon every attempt to orchestrate and engineer my life. All that you ask is that I give you something to drink — what you desire is my self-surrender, my trust, my obedience, my faith. Take it — it is yours.

The Ninth Station: The Healed Leper Gives Thanks to Christ

Loving Father, it is our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Cleanse me of all my ingratitude, my complacency, my presumption. May every great grace and little miracle of my life send me back swiftly in thanksgiving to the presence of your Son.

The Tenth Station: Christ Institutes the Eucharist at the Last Supper

Lord Jesus, the whole of your life is the offer of a Presence without which I cannot live. The sacrament of the Eucharist assures me that you are always close, that you are always offering me your friendship. Enable me to live my life as an obedience to your Body and Blood that you offer in sacrifice out of love for me.

The Eleventh Station: The Women Keep Vigil at the Tomb of Jesus

Lord Jesus, when it seems that we have failed, that everything is over, and we are in the darkness of the tomb with Christ, then the angels will come and roll away the great heavy stone, and resurrection with Christ will come. May my Eucharistic adoration before your tabernacle renew my certainty and hope. (based on the writings of Caryll Houselander)

The Twelfth Station: The Disciples on the Road to Emmaus Encounter Christ

Lord Jesus, you give us the Eucharist to win us back from the worries and preoccupations that so damage our hope. Let me live the memory of your Presence. Deepen my love for you in the breaking of the bread so that I will never doubt that you are with me always. Stay with me.

~

If you would like to have the complete text of the Via Eucharistiae — which includes Scripture quotations and an original meditation for each Station — you can find it in the book Jesus, Present Before Me: Meditations for Eucharistic Adorationby Father Peter John Cameron, O.P. (Servant Books, 2008).

Tags:
Devotions and FeastsEucharistEucharistic Revival
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