The traditional 14 Stations of the Cross have been a stronghold in Catholic Culture. Begun by St. Francis of Assisi, for those who could not make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the Stations are 14 stops along the way to the cross. It’s literally walking the way of Jesus to meditate and pray. Angel Koerkel stumbled upon a video of the 14 Stations of the EUCHARIST from Fr. Jonathan Meyer. 14 stops through the Bible that are all connected to the Eucharist and to Mass. We have taken his outline—which was very brief—and expanded it for a summer series of meditation, prayer, discussion, and a little Bible Study. If you have not been able to join us, PLEASE pop in for a session or two!

Here is a sample, mostly from the very first station. 

The story of Cain and Abel is found in Genesis 4:1-8. This is the tragic story of sin that led one brother to kill another over envy, because God chose the sacrifice of a lamb offered by Abel, and rejected the offering from Cain. In the Bible this is the first mention of an offering, a sacrifice, worship, a gift given to God.

A sacrifice is a gift of great worth. Worship is really worth-ship; giving to God time, attention, and something that demonstrates His worth. Pope Benedict VXI said the concept of sacrifice has been “buried under the debris of endless misunderstandings!”  From a great book titled A DEVOTIONAL JOURNEY INTO THE MASS, by Christopher Carstens :“Most of us associate sacrifice with giving up, going without, destruction, deprivation, loss, pain, and suffering. If we focus so absolutely on these unpleasant aspects of sacrifice, we are consequently tempted to sacrifice to God things that are small, those that are not essential to us, gifts that are on the heart’s periphery and disconnected from the core of our being.” 

In the Biblical sense, many sacrifices were very expensive and needed animals. It may seem odd and brutal to us, but the animal sacrifice is a total gift–it is killed so that no one else may take from it–and yet, with many sacrifices, the meat is eaten in a sacred meal with the community and with God Himself. It appears Cain offered some vegetables. It does not say the first fruits or the best fruits. But his younger brother Abel offered a just sacrifice; the choice meat of the first lambs. Abel offered a costly and worthy sacrifice: a Lamb.

Have you ever given a gift to God to the point of it really, really being a sacrifice? Also, do you tend to give God the first fruits, the best… or do you tend to give the leftovers, it’s an afterthought if there is any thought at all?! When have you been like Abel? 

The murder of Abel is sort of an anti-gift, it’s anti-worship, a taking away rather than a giving away. It’s the worship of envy, hatred, self rather than the worship of God.Have you taken time and energy away from God and wasted it on selfish or sinful things? Have you sacrificed a friendship out of pride? Family relationships out of envy? Have you taken something first or worthy that really should have been offered to God? When have you been like Cain?

At every Mass the objective of the preparation of the gifts and of the altar is to bring forth bread, wine, and financial offerings. But also, the purpose is to place our whole selves on the altar so that we can be joined with Jesus’s whole self and given to the Father. The next time the Collection basket passes by, really focus on it. Imagine at that moment you are placing your daily prayers, gratitude, labors, joys, pleas, and suffering in that basket to be placed at the altar.

What happens to everything placed on the altar at Mass?  it’s blessed and given back to us as something better – even the “good” stuff, like wine, is made better through the Holy Spirit.

The ultimate Sacrifice is Jesus giving us the worthy gift of his very life! He gives us his body and blood. “There is something deeper at the heart of sacrifice: the heart of man. God wants nothing else. Beneath the pain, loss, deprivation, and destruction associated with Jesus’s offering, our Lord’s Sacred Heart desires nothing more than loving union with God the Father.” –Carstens

Imagine yourself at Mass. Imagine your prayers in the collection. Imagine the Chalice; after the gifts are brought forward, the priest drops a little water into the Chalice. Think of it as your prayers, works, joys, and sufferings, and those of all others throughout the world, being intermingled with the Precious Blood of Christ’s offering. 

Consider yourself a particular grain of wheat, a part of the host of Jesus’s mystical body.

In reality, Jesus does not want YOUR STUFF… he wants YOU. Ponder that. How does that work in real-life application? How does that affect the way you offer WORTH-SHIP?