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January 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — It has become increasingly clear that the year 2020 was, by God’s providence, a wake-up call on many levels. Massive disruption was caused by civil and episcopal responses to COVID-19, and these may well worsen in 2021, as “Traitor Joe” takes up the reins of authority in the United States of America and begins to carry out, with Comrade Harris, the soft Bolshevik revolution, with the smiling complicity of most of the Catholic hierarchy. The errors of communism, which Our Lady of Fatima warned would spread throughout the world, have indeed spread over the decades, like a light rain that slowly saturates the ground — first winning over the intelligentsia, then percolating through the media and popular culture, and finally dictating the policies of the oligarchs who exercise power.

Meanwhile, in the churches where they might have expected to find strength and consolation, the faithful have faced demoralization from liturgical tinkering, shortcuts, shutdowns, arbitrary rules, institutionalized abuses. They have internalized the message that Mass is totally optional and that, in fact, it’s “safer” to stay at home or to do something less crowded. The results are hardly surprising: what appears to be a permanent dramatic dropoff in Mass attendance. Crowdedness now seems to be a “problem” only at traditional Latin Masses, where, thanks be to God, many Catholics have found the reverence and orthodoxy for which they had been longing. This, indeed, is the silver lining on the otherwise dark cloud.

Stepping back and taking the broad view, there is no doubt about it: we are witnessing an acceleration in the sinfulness of mankind — and this includes, alas, Catholics — whereby more and more extreme forms of evil are becoming more and more “normal.” Our sins are piling up in number and gravity, as if we want the inevitable divine reckoning to be as terrifying as possible.

It seems that at least a few should “stay awake and watch” with Jesus in His agony in the garden, should unite themselves to His Cross, and should deny themselves in order to beg the Lord for His mercy. Abraham asked the Lord if He would spare a city where only a few just men lived, and the Lord said assuredly He would. Chastisement has come and will come, but our prayers and sacrifices will strengthen us in bearing the storm and bearing fruit for the eventual restoration of the Church and of the Faith. In some mysterious way, our involvement is part of the unfolding of God’s plan, and we should not stay on the sidelines when we can enter more deeply into that plan.

This is why Sophia Institute Press has announced a “Novena for the Eucharist,” from January 24 to February 2. The website is https://eucharisticpenance.com. Those who sign up pledge to:

  • pray a daily rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet
  • attend daily Mass
  • fast by skipping one meal
  • give alms
  • abstain from media

What is important is not absolute perfection in this regard (one makes a promise, not a vow!), but doing all that one can to live the spirit of penance and reparation for sins committed against the Holy Eucharist.

The Novena of the Eucharist is linked with the release of my book The Holy Bread of Eternal Life: Restoring Eucharistic Reverence in an Age of Impiety. In Holy Bread, I take a no-holds-barred look at the evils committed daily against the Blessed Sacrament due to decades of liturgical deformation and abuse, and I argue for immediate and urgent concrete solutions. Not all of us are in a position to implement most of these solutions, yet we should do what we can. At very least, we should pray and do penance.

I will certainly be doing this novena, and I strongly encourage all LifeSite readers to join. Mark it on your calendars or make reminders on your personal devices. Even if you don’t think you can do all of the recommended practices of piety, it would be worthwhile to do at least some. When you sign up at the website, Sophia will send you, for each day of the novena, a short daily meditation from Scripture and a prayer taken from In Sinu Jesu.

In these opening days of 2021, I have a greater foreboding than usual about what the future holds. We need to ramp up our prayer and sacrifices. Prayer and fasting will save us, and nothing else. As Jesus said, some demons are driven out in no other way — and there are a lot of demons on the loose right now.

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Peter Kwasniewski, Thomistic theologian, liturgical scholar, and choral composer, is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College in California (B.A. Liberal Arts) and The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC (M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy). He taught at the International Theological Institute in Austria and the Franciscan University of Steubenville's Austria Program, then helped establish Wyoming Catholic College in 2006. There he taught theology, philosophy, music, and art history and directed the choirs until leaving in 2018 to devote himself full-time to writing and lecturing. 

Today he contributes regularly to many websites and publications, including New Liturgical Movement, OnePeterFive, LifeSiteNews, Rorate Caeli, The Remnant, and Catholic Family News, and has published ten books, including four on traditional Catholicism: Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis (Angelico, 2014, also available in Czech, Polish, German, Portuguese, Spanish, and Belarusian), Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness (Angelico, 2017), Tradition and Sanity (Angelico, 2018), and Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright: The Genius and Timeliness of the Traditional Latin Mass (Angelico, 2020). His work has been translated into at least thirteen languages.

Kwasniewski is a scholar of The Aquinas Institute in Green Bay, which is publishing the Opera Omnia of the Angelic Doctor, a Fellow of the Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies, and a Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center. He has published over 1,200 articles on Thomistic thought, sacramental and liturgical theology, the history and aesthetics of music, and the social doctrine of the Church. 

For news, information, article links, sacred music, and the home of Os Justi Press, visit his personal website, www.peterkwasniewski.com.

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