St Thomas Aquinas once said, “The Eucharist is the sacrament of love: it signifies love, it produces love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.”
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Catholic faith. In this year of Eucharistic Revival, many Catholics are committing themselves to rediscovering this beautiful, essential mystery of our faith. If you want to learn about and grow in devotion to the Holy Eucharist in 2024, here are some steps you can take to do so!
Go to Mass as often as possible
One of the best ways to grow in your love of the Eucharist is to be a regular communicant. To receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to worship our Lord at Mass is one of the simplest but most impactful ways in which you can form a greater devotion to the Eucharist. Maybe you just go to Mass on Sundays right now, but you want to start going more frequently. Start by going just one additional day a week. Commit to that day, ask a friend or your family to keep you accountable, and keep doing it as much as you can! Add as many days as you can throughout the year. If you are already a daily communicant, commit to an extra couple minutes of prayer in thanksgiving before or after Mass just reflecting on the mystery of the Eucharist alone.
Pray the Rosary
You might think that praying the Rosary only builds devotion to Our Lady, but the Scriptural nature of the mysteries allows for growth in many different areas of the spiritual life. To grow in love of Jesus in the Eucharist, focus on the sorrowful or luminous mysteries. The sorrowful mysteries allow us to reflect on Jesus’ Passion, and the luminous mysteries conclude with the Institution of the Eucharist. By understanding the context in which Jesus sacrificed himself for us, we can better understand that sacrifice within the context of the Mass.
Pray the Stations of the Cross
Like the sorrowful mysteries, the Stations of the Cross walk us through the Passion of Christ, from his condemnation to his ultimate death on the cross and burial. When we encounter the Holy Eucharist at Mass or in Adoration, this is the sacrifice we should have in mind: Jesus’ body and blood offered freely for each one of us.
Read about the Eucharist
There are some great books on the topic of the Eucharist. Some of our favorites include Eucharistic Meditations by St. John Vianney and Understanding the Mass by Charles Belamonte. Spiritual reading offers structure for meditation that is very helpful, especially for complicated aspects of the faith such as the Eucharist.
Reflect on the words of the saints on the topic of the Eucharist
Each day, week, or month, find a quote from one of the Saints about the Eucharist that resonates with you. Reflect on that quote in your prayer and as you participate in the Mass. We do not necessarily need to have original thoughts about the Eucharist to grow in our devotion. Sometimes, reflecting on the wise words of the saints can be the most powerful form of personal prayer.
Lectio Divina is a form of prayer that dates back to the third century and is still practiced today by religious, consecrated, and lay people alike. There are four different steps to Leo Divina: read, pray, meditate, and contemplate. In order to grow in devotion to the Eucharist, focus on the reading of the Last Supper, or the events leading up to, and including the Passion of Jesus. Sit with the scriptures and reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus thousands of years ago on Calvary. Rejoice in the fact that Jesus makes that sacrifice for us again- every day, at every Mass, in every Catholic church across the entire world.
St. Paul of the Cross writes, "Let weak and frail man come here suppliantly to adore the Sacrament of Christ, not to discuss high things, or wish to penetrate difficulties, but to bow down to secret things in humble veneration, and to abandon God's mysteries to God, for Truth deceives no man—Almighty God can do all things. Amen." Eucharistic Adoration is a great way to simply sit with our Lord and love him. Many churches have Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction regularly- look around for opportunities to participate in this beautiful form of prayer in your hometown.
Growing in devotion to the Eucharist is a great goal for anyone to have this year- and we want to help you on that journey! We hope that these suggestions can help guide you to a deeper prayer life and a greater love for the Eucharist that never stops growing.