Monday, July 31, 2006


Wednesday, July 26, is the Feast of Saint Anne, the Mother of Our Blessed Mother. The Liturgical Calendar used for the Traditional Latin Mass commemorates only Saint Anne on that day. In the Novus Ordo Calendar, her Feast has been combined with that of her husband, Saint Joachim, so that they are both celebrated on July 26.
Saints Joachim and Anne are an inspiration to all of the members of Christ’s Mystical Body. All that we know of their lives comes to us from pious Catholic tradition; not a word is found about them in the scriptures. Devotion to them has increased in recent centuries. With a “Catholic eye,” we see them as devoted to God, faithful to His laws, and, each day, living a holy love for each other.
Saints Joachim & Ann led simple but holy lives. God does not expect extra-ordinary things from most of us. Too often, I believe, we associate sanctity with doing great deeds, converting nations to Christ, the working of miracles, etc. In the lives of Joachim and Ann, we see none of that. They were ordinary people who lived ordinary lives as most of us do, but with one added ingredient, holiness. As a result, look at how God blessed them. Their child, Mary, was to become the Mother of God. She was, as the scriptures tell us, “the apple of the Father’s eye.”
After years of praying for a child, finally God blessed them with a pregnancy. Little did they imagine the extent of the blessing that god would send.
Nothing would have indicated that their daughter would be the mother of the promised Messiah or that she was to be Immaculately Conceived. Soon after her birth, they knew that Mary loved God totally. Surely, they could see her wonderful virtues and exemplary life. But little did they suspect that Mary would one day be referred to, most appropriately, as the MOTHER OF GOD. See, how God rewards His holy people, how He showers His blessings on them.
What an extra-ordinary example of Catholic Family life and love we find in St. Joachim and St. Ann. May they continue to inspire us to live holy, Catholic lives. Let us develop a rich devotion to them. From heaven, may they bless and protect all of our precious families.
Fr. Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Down the centuries, St. Thomas Aquinas has enriched every Catholic with the treasure of his wisdom and devotion. The lovely lyrics of his Eucharistic hymn, Tantum Ergo, which we sing at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, are a constant inspiration. "Humbly let us voice our adoration for so great as sacrament. Let all former rites surrender to the Lord's New Testament. Faith replaces what our senses fail to see. Glory, honor and adoration, let us sing out with one accord. Praised be God, the Almighty Father. Praised be Jesus Christ, His Son, Our Lord. Praised be God the Holy Spirit, Triune Godhead be adored! Amen!"

Let us now examine a few of the Eucharistic Doctrines expressed in the Lauda Sion.

Transubstantiation! That word that brought such dread to the so-called Reformers! Yet! This is at the heart of our Catholic faith. At the Consecration of the Mass, bread become the Body of Christ and wine becomes His Precious Blood. Jesus was abundantly clear in the sixth chapter of John. The man who does not believe this, cannot be His disciple! Like Peter, we too must say: “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!”

Like Saint Paul, Saint Thomas is abundantly clear. To receive the Holy Eucharist worthily, one must be in the state of sanctifying grace, that is, free from mortal sin. If one is in the state of mortal sin, one must go to sacramental Confession before the reception of Holy Communion. One cannot simply make an Act of Contrition and then receive Communion. Because this is of divine precept, this has been the constant faith of the Church from the beginning and it will be so until the end of time.

Let us return to our analysis of the Lauda Sion. The Angelic Doctor recalls the Church doctrine that Jesus is truly present in every particle of the Sacred Host. "If the sacrament is broken, have no doubt. Remember there is as much in a fragment as in an unbroken host."

This doctrine of the Church is extremely important. Every visible particle contains the Real Presence of Jesus. This principle holds true no matter how small the particle. Priests and deacons should purify the sacred vessels after the Communion of the Mass. They must be careful to consume every visible fragment. Obviously, everyone must take every reasonable precaution when handling the Blessed Sacrament. Recall how Our Lord prepared the Apostles for this when He broke the seven loaves to feed four thousand." Our Lord then wanted to know how many fragments they had collected from what remained (see Mark 8:20). Jesus entrusts Himself to us in the Eucharist. Lovingly aware of His Divine Presence, we must be vigilant that every "fragment be collected."

The Lauda Sion continues: "Behold, the bread of angels is become the pilgrim's food; truly it is bread for sons and is not to be cast to dogs. It was prefigured in type when Isaac was brought for an offering, when a lamb was appointed for the Pasch and when manna was given to the Jews of old."

The Second Vatican Council teaches us that we are a "pilgrim people" on our journey to eternal life. The Eucharist is the Bread of Angels that sustains us along the way. How could we find our way to God without the spiritual nourishment of the Holy Eucharist? How could we resist the temptations of the world, the flesh and the Devil without the indispensable graces that we receive in Holy Communion? "Without me," Our Blessed Lord said, "you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

With these thoughts of Saint Thomas to encourage us, we should make every effort to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion as often as possible. Without frequent reception of the Eucharist, we literally deprive ourselves of “the Bread of Life. Let us renew our commitment to the two great Sacraments that accompany us through life: The Holy Eucharist and Holy Confession.

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Pope John Paul II, in his Wednesday Audience of April 12, 1995, said that the Eucharist must be the central focus of our lives. "The mysterious reality of the Eucharist introduces believers into the `plan' of God, Creator and Redeemer. God wanted His only Son to be incarnate and ever present among us as our traveling companion on the arduous journey toward Heaven."

Our deceased Holy Father's words should inspire us to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion often, even daily. Imagine! In the Eucharist, the Son of God has willed to become our traveling companion on our journey through life. Moreover, Pope John Paul reminded us that the Eucharist is the source of our strength by which we remain faithful to every vocation. "It must be at the heart of the life of priests and consecrated people. It must be the light and strength of spouses in putting into practice their commitment to fidelity, chastity and the apostolate. Jesus in the Eucharist is the ideal in the education and the training of children, adolescents and young people.

Our Eucharistic Lord is the comfort and support of those who are troubled, of the sick and all who are weeping in the Gethsemane of life. He must be for everyone the incentive to fulfill the testament of divine charity in humble and joyous availability to our brothers and sisters, as the Lord taught by His own example, washing the Apostles' feet."

Jesus is the "Bread of Angels," Saint Thomas tells us, Who has "become the pilgrim's food." The pagan world, seeking to explain away the concrete reality of sin, has forgotten man’s absolute need of God's mercy. Because of our sins, we desperately need mercy. Let us kneel before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and humbly seek His mercy. Like the tax collector who would not dare "to raise his eyes to heaven," let us cry out from the depth of our human weakness: "O God! Be merciful to me, a sinner" (Luke 18:13)!

This is a plea that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, cannot resist. Our Blessed Lord will hear our plea just as He hears everyone who seeks His mercy. Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of Man, will come to you with every grace. He will enrich your life with His gentle goodness. He will grant you with the grace to become holy. Jesus, the Merciful Savior, forgave the woman caught in adultery and the Samaritan woman who had five husbands. To Zacchaeus, Our Lord said: "Today salvation has come to your house, for this is what it means to be a son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to search out and save what was lost" (Luke 19:9-10).

In the Lauda Sion, Saint Thomas pleads with the Eucharistic Lord for mercy. May his prayer be ours: "Jesus, Good Shepherd and True Bread, have mercy on us; feed us and guard us. Grant that we find happiness in the land of the living. You know all things and can do all things. You feed us here on earth. Make us citizens in Heaven, coheirs with you and companions of Heaven's citizens. Amen. Alleluia."

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.