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The Official Prayer of the Church

 

Next to the Holy Mass, the Divine Office (or Breviary) is the most important prayer offered to God.  It is offered by the Church and in the name of the Church, conferring multifold graces and blessings on those who recite it worthily, attentively and devoutly.  Normally the domain of priests and religious, the Church has continued to recommend her official prayer to the faithful.  However, until now, the complexity of the rubrics and a lack of suitable translations has deterred many.

 

Now Accessible to the Layman

 

With the help of modern technology, it has become easier to overcome these problems.  The result is the Roman Breviary published by the Confraternity of Ss. Peter & Paul in both Latin and English.  No knowledge of the liturgy is required.  All you have to do is click on the feastday, and then on the Canonical Hour you want to say.  The rest is just like reading a book—everything is laid out for you in order according to the rubrics of the day.  No more flicking through the ribboned sections of a weighty volume.  No more apprehension that you are forgetting some obscure rubric.  It's all there spelled out, in order, every day.

 

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And if you do want to deepen your knowledge of the Breviary or the Confraternity, this website can help you with that too.  We already provide a short history of the Breviary, instructions on when to recite which Hours, a brief commentary on the psalms, and much more.  And for those who would really like to understand the rubrics in greater depth, we provide in our bookstore a detailed but simply written electronic manual entitled How to Say the Breviary.  We shall be expanding this website regularly with more information, so check back with us frequently.  And may God reward your prayers by bestowing on you all those spiritual favours that come from a devout reading of the Church's Divine Office.

 

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Link to our Features Page to see what a difference our online edition of the traditional Roman Breviary can make in your life.

 

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Link to the Office for the Feast of St. Pius X, our secondary patron.  You can browse through the various Hours of the Office and get a feel for what to expect.

 

Check out the artwork, the original photos, play some of the music.  We hope you enjoy the experience.   More importantly do you think this approach to prayer is something that could be spiritually beneficial for you?

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  24th Sunday after Pentecost (4th after Epiphany)

November 3, 2013

Save Us, Lord, We Perish!

About a hundred years ago, the great Pope St. Pius X went to visit one of the colleges of Rome, where men were being trained for the holy priesthood.  And as he passed through the ranks of the seminarians, he stopped at one point, and asked one of them:  “How many marks has the true Church of Christ?”  “Four, Your Holiness,” the seminarian replied.  “She is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.”  “Very good,” said the elderly Pontiff.  “But there is another mark, the Church’s most conspicuous mark, the clearest of all the ways by which men may know the Church of Christ.  Does anyone know what it is?”  And no one answered.  “Well,” said the Pope, “I will tell you.  It is persecution.  We read in the Gospel: ‘If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.’  Persecution is for us Catholics our daily bread, it is the surest sign that we are the disciples of Christ.”

And so it is, and so it has always been.  Through all the centuries of the past, Holy Mother Church has been able to say, in the words of St. Paul, “I bear the wounds of Christ in my body.”  She was always persecuted, always hated, because “the disciple is not above the master.”  And confidently she says with St. Paul: “In all these things we are victorious, because of Him that hath loved us.”

In today’s Gospel, we see Our Lord and his disciples crossing the stormy Sea of Galilee in a little fishing boat or barque belonging to St. Peter.  The barque of Peter is a picture of the Catholic Church.  “The barque of Peter may be swept by the waves of persecution,” says St. Anselm, “but it can never sink, because Christ is there.”  This has always been the proud boast of the Church, that she is sustained and supported by God alone.  “Behold I am with you until the end of time!”  “The gates of hell shall not prevail against her”, Christ has promised.  “When the storm is at its height,” St. Jerome adds, “Jesus wakes from his sleep, and commands peace.”  The Church is indestructible.  The barque of Peter can never sink.

“The Church is like the moon,” says St. Ambrose, “it may wane at times, but never be destroyed; it may be darkened, but it can never disappear.”  What we see today is the Church in almost total eclipse, with the slimmest of crescent light shining from its remnant faithful.  But it is still the Church, Christ’s mystical body, and Christ is with us. 

The day before yesterday was the Feast of All Saints and yesterday was All Souls Day.  First we celebrated the Church Triumphant, and then the Church Suffering.  But as we all remember from our catechism there is another branch of the Church, the Church Militant, and it is this we remember today.  The Church Militant comprises the living faithful members of Christ’s mystical body.  And how do we know this church?  By its four marks:  she is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, as we have seen.  But let’s not forget that little reminder from St. Pius X that we may also know the true Church by the clearest mark of all, that of persecution.  Turn on your TVs and what church do you see constantly mocked?  Do the late night comedians dare to tell Jewish jokes?  Do they mock the Jehovah’s Witnesses?  Or the Presbyterians?  And of course you’ll never ever hear any attempt whatsoever to poke fun at the false prophet Mohammed.  But we are subjected to a constant barrage of blasphemies, vile mockery of our holy religion in all its aspects.  And this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the persecution today of the one true Church.  Alas, the worst persecution comes from within the Church itself.  From her apparent priests and bishops and even pope.  They allow any loathsome heresy to be preached from their pulpits.  They don’t just tolerate, but even actively support all false religions, both in their beliefs and worship, claiming that they are just as beneficial for salvation as the Catholic Church.  They claim that anyone can go to heaven, even atheists.  Where will they draw the line?  I’ll tell you where:  right at our front door.  When it comes to the true Church of Christ, they will do everything in their power to silence us traditional Catholics, to root us out from the face of the earth.  Just like Nero and Diocletian, they might accept every false pagan god imaginable, but true Christians they will burn at the stake, feed to the lions, torture and murder with impunity.  Pope Francis loves the Jews and the atheists and the homosexuals, but he had another word entirely to describe traditional catholics, a word which I would blush to repeat in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  This Pope Francis claims he wants to take the Church back to its apostolic roots.  He might be succeeding, but it is he who has become the persecutor, not the leader of the faithful Christians.  But fear not, as that true Holy Father Pope St. Pius X reminded us, “persecution for us Christians is our daily bread, the surest sign that we are the disciples of Christ.”

Where is Christ?  Do we see him anymore in this world of ours?  Do we feel his presence at all?    Is he again sleeping, as he did that night in the barque of Peter?  Where is he?  I’ll tell you where.  He is where he said he would be:  “Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.”  Yes, Christ is still with us, whether we see him, whether we feel his presence or not. 

The truth is, that Christ does not always make his presence felt.  It is as though he were truly sleeping.  And isn’t this one of our unspoken complaints at times?  When we look around at the immorality of the world, with its open perversions, its thriving industry of infanticide, its moral, financial, political corruption, all somehow geared towards the destruction of the Church and the hatred of God?  Don’t we often wonder to ourselves when is God going to finally wake up, and put a stop to all this?  Is God truly sleeping?  Is he just so depressed, so tired of his creatures and their iniquities, that he has decided to just go to bed?  No.  That is not how it is.  God isn’t up there in heaven lying in a hammock in his teddy bear pajamas.  “Behold,” says Psalm 120, “he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”

The truth is that this idea of God sleeping is a picture, an allegory for what is truly happening.   Ironically it was an evangelical Christian who explained it very well a few years ago.  Billy Graham's daughter, of all people, was being interviewed on the Early Show in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  She was asked:  “How can God let something like this happen?'   And Anne Graham gave a very good answer.  She said, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.  How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

The world doesn’t want God.  The world has NEVER wanted God.  On the contrary, the world has always persecuted the true Church of Christ.  And in the 1960s, when John XXIII and his Second Vatican Council “opened the windows of the Church to the world”, they let the world into the Church, and drove Christ out.  Since then, our good and patient Lord has been waiting.  Call it sleeping if you like, but ever watchful, ever vigilant nevertheless.  And what is he waiting for?   He is waiting like he did on the barque of Peter, for us to come to our senses, to see that we are in peril, and call upon his Name like the Apostles did:  “Save us, Lord:  we perish.” 

And Our Lord called those apostles that night “men of little faith.”  Why were they so afraid of a storm at sea, when the Creator of all things, including the mighty ocean depths, the lightning and tempests, was right there with them in the boat?  Why are we so afraid today, when that same Christ promised to be with us unto the consummation of the earth?  Don’t be like the apostles, praying in fear and desperation.  But pray with the same words they used, Save us, Lord, we perish!  -- not because ye are men of little faith, but with the full trust, knowledge and confidence that he that keepeth Israel slumbers not nor sleeps, and that he who created the wind and the waves can calm them and restore them to their normal state.  Many believe that when God “wakes up”, he will come and destroy cities, and nations, as he once did Sodom and Gomorrah, for having defied his laws.  Perhaps he will.  Indeed in today’s Gospel, when the disciples called upon him, and he awoke, “he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea.”  There are those who will be rebuked, it is certain, but let us pray God also that we are not among that number.   And after he rebuked the winds and the sea, there was a great calm.

So in the midst of all this darkness, all this turmoil, all this division and arguing and fighting and persecution, as we struggle to do what is right, to keep afloat in this sea of iniquity, for the sake of our immortal souls, let us continue, with our rosary beads in our hands, to cry out to the God who hath made heaven and earth: “Save us Lord, we perish.”  And may he arise and rebuke the winds and the sea, and all the other dark forces of this world, which collaborate together to drag us beneath the storm-tossed waves of confusion, down into the depths of despair.  And may the Lamb of God grant unto us his peace.

 

 

 Sermons from the Chaplain