Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Modern Fashions Offend Our Lord Greatly

On July 16, the Church commemorated the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. On this date, in the year 1251, Our Blessed Mother designated the scapular to Saint Simon Stock as the special mark of her maternal love. This feast is also known as the Feast of the Scapular. Aside from the Carmelite Order, many other religious orders wear the scapular as a sign of Mary’s special protection. Scores of lay people wear it for this same reason.
Father Pius Parsch, the great liturgist of a few decades ago, made this interesting observation: “The scapular of the Blessed Virgin should remind us that Christians have an apostolate against current extremes and extravagances in modes of dress. Clothes are a symbol of the person. Like the Christian heart, dress must be chaste and simple for one judges the interior from the exterior. It should not be necessary to add that special attention be given this matter when preparing for church attendance.” Yet today, it is necessary to add that Christians cannot dress according to the standards of the pagan world.
Who could deny that our modern world is obsessed with sins of lust? One can hardly read a newspaper or listen to the radio without finding abundant evidence to support this claim. Most television programs are utterly obscene. The soap operas, for example, are an absolute affront to Catholic morality. The mass media now provides a platform for the pagan agenda.
Moreover, modern fashions betray a pagan mentality. Although this is true of both male and female fashions, the modern style of dress for woman has gone much beyond the vulgar, to the utterly obscene.
Some Catholics, rather than resist the trend and bear witness to Jesus Christ, dress as immodestly as nonbelievers. This grieves the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Our Blessed Lady confirmed this by revealing to Blessed Jacinta Marto, one of the seers of Fatima, that sins of the flesh greatly offend Almighty God. Jacinta tells us that: “The sins which cause most people to go to hell are sins of the flesh. Fashions offend Our Lord greatly. People who serve God should not follow the fashions of the world.”
Father Parch has rightly observed that Christians must always dress modestly. This is especially true when we go to church. It is distressing to see people come to Mass in shorts and revealing clothes.
Bishop John Yanta of Amarillo, Texas has written a marvelous Pastoral Letter entitled: “Modesty Starts with Purification of the Heart.” Check it out on our websitewww.saintgianna.net in the Contemporary Bishops section. It is an excellent read.

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

Monday, August 07, 2006


The Solemnity of the Assumption is one of the most important celebrations of the Church’s Liturgical Year. The liturgy of the Novus Ordo Mass captures the richness of the mystery at hand as expressed by the Second Vatican Council. A new Preface was also composed which truly expresses Our Lady’s role in Christ’s Mystical Body. In essence, the Solemnity of the Assumption emphasizes essentially final judgment and where we, the faithful, will spend eternity.

Saint Paul, in today's Second Reading to the Corinthians is clear. At the end of time, Our Lord: "After having destroyed every sovereignty, authority, and power, will hand the kingdom to God the Father." Only then will His work of the redemption come to its full completion. Our Lord will have won complete victory over sin, Satan, and death. The Kingdom that Our Divine Savior will hand over to the Father will be the eternal abode of those who have died in the peace of Christ. The damned, those who, in effect, has rejected His holy Gospel, will be with Satan in hell and will suffer eternal punishment. There are no alternatives. Thus, the Church today puts before us the example of Our Blessed Mother as the Image of the Church and the perfect pattern of what all of us should and must become.

The mystery is perfectly captured in the preface of the Mass of the Assumption: “Today the Virgin Mother of God was taken up into heaven to be: “The beginning and the pattern of the Church in its perfection, and as a sure sign of hope and comfort for your people on their pilgrim way.” With these words, the Church comforts us with the reminder that we are a redeemed people, desired for eternal life in the Beatific Vision of the Blessed Trinity. In heaven, we shall have a joy that “eye has not seen or ear heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.” Moreover, we read in the orations (prayers) of the Mass of the Assumption: The Opening Prayer: “May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory!” The Offertory Prayer: “You raised her up to heaven. By her prayers, help us to seek you and live in your love.” The Closing Prayer: “May we who receive this Sacrament of Salvation be led to the glory of heaven by the prayers of the Virgin Mary.”

The Church on earth offers praise to Mary as “the highest honor of our race.” The Preface teaches us: “You would not let decay touch her body for she has given birth to your Son, the Lord of all life, in the glory of the Incarnation.” As the Second Vatican Council teaches, Our Blessed Mother is our Mother and our Model. We must not only love her as our heavenly mother but we must also imitate her as the pattern and the model of all of the virtues. During her earthly life she practiced perfect charity, obedience, purity, patience, indeed, all of the virtues to their highest degree. On Calvary, at the foot of the Cross, she gave birth to us in the order of grace. In heaven, she is our Advocate with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Good mother that she is, Our Blessed Mother ceaselessly pleads our cause, as she waits for the day when all of us are safely home in heaven.

Let us join the Universal Church, both here on earth and in the Kingdom of Heaven, in praise of Our Lady. She is the highest honor of our race. She is the “apple of the eye of the Father, the Mother of the Son and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Mary, the Mother of God and Our Blessed Mother, “is the beginning and pattern of the Church in its perfection.” Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen

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

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


On various occasions, Our Divine Savior made it clear to His disciples that He would offer His life up to the Father on the Cross of Calvary. However, despite His painstakingly preparing them for the “Scandal of the Cross,” they remained incredulous. They persisted in their desires that Our Lord’s mission would be the restoration of Israel to its former glory. The last thing that they wanted was a suffering Messiah, one who would die on a cross.

Shortly before the Transfiguration, depicted in today’s Gospel, Our Lord warned them again regarding the Crucifixion. When, He did, Peter took Him aside and said: “This can never be.” This angered Our Lord and He rebuked Peter severely: “Get behind me you devil.” Imagine! Just a few days before, Jesus had promised to give to Peter the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Now, He calls him a devil! Why! Peter wanted an earthy kingdom, a kingdom of this world. He was consumed with this world and not with the things of heaven.

To prepare the Apostles for “the Scandal of the Cross,” Our Lord took Peter, James and John up on a high mountain. There He allowed the glory of His Divinity to shine forth. Yes! He would allow Himself to be crucified. But He would do so of His own will. He would die in our place, accepting the punishment our sins deserved.

Jesus is no mere man. He is the Son of God, who became man! Thus, on the Mount of the Transfiguration, Our Savior’s face became as radiant as the sun. Moses and Elijah then appeared with Him. They represented the Old Covenant, which was about to be replaced by the new. They were to remind us of the Law of Moses and the Prophets. God's commandments, given to Moses, reminds us that God does make moral demands and is keenly interested in man's actions.

Despite this reminder, many today fall into the foolish trap of thinking that the Lord accepts our sinful behavior. Sin can never be acceptable to God. Jesus Christ came into the world to take us out of our sins, not to confirm us in them. He is our Savior from sin, Satan and eternal death. Jesus Christ does not leave us in our sins! We, in turn, must respond to Our Lord’s redemptive act by repentance.

The role of the prophets is to call men back to the observance of God’s commandments. They did this by proclaiming the moral order. God sends the prophets to warn mankind of the consequences of sin and that God does punish the unrepentant sinner. The last of the great prophets was Our Lord Himself, who came as Priest, Prophet and King. Moses and Elijah foreshadowed the New Covenant. Our Lord instituted the New Covenant, which is the Catholic Church. In fidelity to her mandate from the Lord, the Church, in every era, exercises its prophetic role by calling men back from sin to the observance of the moral order.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the words of the Heavenly Father booming down from the heavens: “This is my beloved Son! Hear Him!” How do we hear Jesus Christ? How do we know that we are following His Gospel? The answer is clear: when we are obedient to the teachings of His Holy Church, the One, Holy, Roman Catholic, and Apostolic Church. When the Church teaches through its Magisterium, that is, its teaching Authority, it teaches us in the name of Jesus Christ and under the guide of the Holy Spirit. When we are obedient to the teachings of the Holy Father, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth, we are being obedient to Jesus. The Pope, and the Bishops who teach in union with him, teach us in the name of Jesus Christ and under the guide of the Holy Spirit.

If we are to be true followers of Our Lord, we must be obedient to the teachings of the Holy Father and the Bishops united with him. “He who hears you, hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” By dissenting from the teachings of the Pope of Rome, one separates himself from Jesus Christ and His holy Church. For, the Church is Jesus Christ is the Church and the Church is Jesus Christ! It is His Mystical Body!

THIS IS MY BELOVED SON! HEAR HIM! On the Day of Judgment, Our Lord will ask us if we obeyed that divine commandment. May God grant we are able to say, “Yes Lord, I was obedient to your Church.”

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