The Holy Bread of Eternal Life
Publication Date: November 19, 2020
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Restoring Eucharistic Reverence in an Age of Impiety
Recent decades have been marred by pervasive Eucharistic abuse, from violations of liturgical norms and rubrics to practices that encourage irreverence and facilitate habitual sacrilege. The coronavirus crisis in 2020 has occasioned a further wave of sacramental manipulation, desacralization, and deprivation that has left almost no Catholic in the world unharmed.
These disturbing signs of the times call for an unsparing reassessment of official and unofficial policies, practices, customs, and attitudes, along with fresh appreciation for creative minorities that are taking a different, more difficult, and more successful path to reverence.
The Holy Bread of Eternal Life is a powerful and timely book by scholar Peter Kwasniewski that exalts the divine gift of the Blessed Sacrament, which can never be too much adored, too much loved, too much cared for, or too much sacrificed for.
Drawing on both Testaments, the Fathers of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Magisterium, Kwasniewski describes the fitting veneration and handling of this mystery of faith past and present, the dispositions we need to cultivate for a fruitful reception of the Lord, and the blessings that follow from a life centered on Holy Communion. At the same time, the book critiques many novelties in modern Catholic worship and shows why they must be set aside for the health of souls and the Church.
There is far more at stake in today s debates concerning Holy Communion than what preferences should be indulged or slip-ups tolerated. At stake is whether we truly believe in Jesus Christ, our God, our Savior, our Friend, and our Judge, really present in the Eucharist; whether we acknowledge and accept His lordship over us in every aspect of what we do and say; and whether we will act, react, worship, and pray in a manner consistent with true belief.
"This luminous and lucid book should be given to every bishop and pastor in the world; indeed, it would be of immense benefit to every Catholic believer, if he would but read it with prayerful attentiveness. It is a banquet of sound teaching, of wisdom, of reasoned argument, and of a holy zeal for the restoration of the House of the Lord. No one who reads it will remain unchanged."
Michael D. O Brien
"Until we know Jesus and know Him on His terms we will not have peace in our lives or our society. In the Eucharist, Jesus has accommodated himself to us with unimaginable generosity. Dr. Kwasniewski has set himself the task of understanding Our Lord s terms of engagement, so that we may know Him and know peace. This book is admirable biblical theology after the pattern of St. Thomas Aquinas.
"What a beautiful book about the Beauty so ancient yet ever new! It surprised me by showing me, in a way that was powerfully new by being powerfully old, the centrality of Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist; that nothing could be a more potent hidden weapon for revitalizing the Church, the culture, and the world than revitalized Eucharistic devotion; and that nothing could weaken these mission fields of the new evangelization more than its weakening. The power of the unforgettable image that begins the book also permeates it: receiving Holy Communion is like eating the sun."
"Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has written an important book that sets forth in clear and compelling arguments the need, and the way, to restore in the Church the due reverence and honor that we owe to Our Lord Jesus Christ, really, truly, and substantially present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. In particular, I am convinced that the renewal of the Church requires that Holy Communion be received only on the tongue and kneeling. This will teach the faithful the true nature of the Most Holy Eucharist more than a million documents."
Fr. Gerald E. Murray, JCD
Pastor, Holy Family Church, New York, NY, and commentator for EWTN's The Papal Posse
"The greatest crisis in our time, the one that is at the epicenter of all others, is the profanation and desecration of the King of Kings in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In this book you will find a clear treatment of the cause and remedy of this crisis. My prayer is that you will read and absorb the wisdom in Dr. Kwasniewski's passionate and illuminating book, and then act with all the vigilance and personal commitment possible to fight against this most grave evil of our time. If we do this together, we will see a renewal of the Church and the societies in which faithful Catholics live and worship. May God give you eyes to see and conviction to act."
President of the Avila Foundation for Spiritual Formation
"Today's crisis of the Church is above all a loss of Eucharistic faith. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified this grave situation, where human safety is placed above the centrality of Christ and the sacraments. A must-read book that shows how sacrifice, adoration, and Communion must be at the heart of the Church because they are Her Heart: the Holy Eucharist."
Fr Serafino M. Lanzetta, STD
Lecturer in Dogmatic Theology at the Theological Faculty of Lugano
"No dry treatise, this invitation to Eucharistic holiness is a prayerful provocation, asking how devoutly we approach the Lord in His Holy Sacrifice. It not only aims to remedy commonplace liturgical abuses, but bids us all to unite our lives to the Sacred Host in a fruitfulness we cannot yet imagine. Dr. Kwasniewski draws upon millennia of Sacred Tradition to show that proper reverence and reception of the Lord s Eucharistic Body is the only antidote to the abuses within, and the assaults upon, Christ s Mystical Body.
Fr. David Meconi, SJ
Director, Catholic Studies Centre, Saint Louis University; Editor, Homiletic & Pastoral Review