Sermons

Sermons

For Sundays and Holydays

What is the Breviary Online?

 

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.

 

Learn More about the Breviary

 

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.

 

Is this Breviary for You?

 

Check out the Features

 

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

 

Check out a Sample Day

 

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?

How Do I Get Started?

 

Register and Subscribe

 

Register

 

Link to our online Breviary homepage.  Underneath the login form is a box, with the words First-Time User? and Register Here in red letters underlined.  Click on this link and complete the short form.  Click the Sign up link.

 

Subscribe

 

Log in to our webiste using the user name and password you have chosen.  When you first attempt to Recite the Breviary you will be linked to the subscription page.  Here you may choose from our monthly subscription of $2.50 (USD) per month, or $24.00 for an annual subscription.  Or simply send a check to the address provided on our Contacts page.

  Second Sunday after Epiphany

January 18, 2015

The Cross is Mightier Than the Sword

When the Holy Ghost descended on the heads of the Twelve Apostles and the Church was born, these founding members of that Church set about obeying the commandment of Our Lord that they should teach and baptize all nations. As so they divided up the world amongst them, not as conquering heroes, but as missionaries bringing the Gospel of Christ to a pagan world. It was fitting that the head of the Apostles should end up in the world’s capital and greatest city, Rome, and thus it was in this so-called Eternal City that St. Peter would base his See. Today we commemorate the feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Rome and remember how intrinsically linked is our faith with that city and its first bishop. We are members of the Roman Catholic Church and we profess allegiance to the papacy and the authority it represents. We must do so or we are not Roman Catholic. And no matter what villainous apostate might occupy the Chair of Peter today, we have been given the grace to recognize that our allegiance is to that Chair and what it represents in spite of him.

Next Sunday, the other great apostle, St. Paul will be commemorated in a similar way. Saints Peter and Paul are also linked in many ways. They both died on the same day, June 29th in the year 67, both of them in Rome. St. Peter was fixed upside down to a cross, and St. Paul was beheaded with the sword. The Cross and the Sword are thus linked in the mind of the Church just as the two apostles. Both Saints Peter and Paul made the transition from sword to cross – St. Peter was the one who cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant in Gethsemane, and was told that he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword. St. Peter repented, and instead of dying by the sword, died by the Cross. Meanwhile, St. Paul had been a great persecutor of Christianity, but was converted on the road to Damascus, and lived from that time a life of penance and hardship, carrying his cross across the world to bring the Gospel of Peace.

These two holy apostles helped spread the Faith thoughout the Roman Empire, and thus founded a new Roman Empire, a new Pax Romana, a new peace that would cover the land. When the pagan emperors converted to the new faith, it was the Cross of Christ appearing in the heavens to the Emperor Constantine that would signal the beginning of this new peace. “In this sign shalt thou conquer.”

The peace and unity that this new religion brought to the world was, alas, short-lived. What God had given us, man somehow found a way to destroy, and very soon, the sound of division was heard in the land. Heresy first raised its ugly head, shattering the unity of the Faith. Arianism, Nestorianism, Monotheism, one by one split off from the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church creating various “Christian” factions. Later, the schismatics would refuse the primacy of St. Peter, and would tear asunder the unity of the Mystical Body.

To our everlasting shame, and in spite of the heroic efforts of many holy men and women through the ages, all these errors would eventually be synthesized into one single error, that of modernism, and the Church would suffer her darkest days.

It all came to fruition in the 1960s with the Second Vatican Council. Some of you are old enough to remember the 1960s, and what was going on in the world at the time. You will remember the Flower People, Woodstock, the hippy movement, the Beatles, psychedelic drugs and so-called free love. And what was the response of the Roman Catholic Church, the bastion of truth, to all this? Instead of condemning these dangerous trends, John XXIII and his successors wanted to bring the Church up to date and make it more relevant to this new generation of long-haired pot-smoking good-for-nothings. In their perverse fantasy, they managed to abolish the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass replacing it with a frenzied, hand-shaking back-slapping, Kumbaya get-together of the “People of God” (whoever they are). Not only Catholics, but Protestants, Jews, atheists, were all welcome to attend and to participate in the supreme and most holy sacrament of “togetherness”, “fellowship”. Thus was born a false ecumenism, the “coming together” of all religions by the process of eliminating anything in the Catholic religion that offended anyone else. This approach succeeded in bringing not peace and unity, but the sword. The sword of error, the sword of division, the sword that would tear open a new wound in the Mystical Body of Christ, this time from within. This new wound would not divide Catholics from Protestants. It would create a rift within the Church itself, separating Catholic from Catholic. The first division sprang up between conservatives and liberals at the Council, then the “traditional Catholics” and “liberal Catholics” began their open schism, until finally today, when sede-vacantists fight with the Una-Cum groups, people are refused Holy Communion on the basis of what “opinion” they hold on the papacy, on the validity of a particular episcopal line or whatever. Catholic is pitted against Catholic, brother against brother. Holy Mother Church is in a state of civil war.

In the midst of all this division we must return to our two holy Apostles of Rome. It is providential and certainly not a coincidence that their January feastdays fall exactly a week apart. This duration of a whole week corresponds with the octaves of the liturgy, and that is almost exactly what it has become. For today we begin the annual Chair of Unity Octave. This octave was established, interestingly enough, by a group of Anglican Franciscans in New York State back in the early 1900s. They prayed then, just as we pray now, that all divisions in the Mystical Body of Christ may be healed. In their own case, their prayers worked, and they all converted to the Roman Catholic Church, entering the fold of the true Good Shepherd under the papacy of St. Pius X.

Today, the first day of the Chair of Unity Octave, we pray for the unity of all mankind under the eternal, revealed truths of the Catholic Church and through her life-giving sacraments. We pray for the conversion of our protestant, Jewish, Moslem and atheist brethren to the true Church of Christ, the Mystical Body. We pray that the divisions in the Mystical Body of Christ may be healed. First and foremost that greater glory may be given to God, but not forgetting the charity that we owe to those who wander in error outside the folds of Holy Church, where there is no salvation.

This is the true ecumenism. Our Lord himself prayed that “all may be one,” and Unity is one of the four marks of the Church by which all men may recognize that it is the true Church. The true ecumenism for which we are taught by Our Lord to pray, is the Unity of all people within the One, Holy, Roman and Apostolic Church, in submission to the Chair of Peter.

So in this year of Our Lord 2015, our call, our duty which we are called upon to perform by those two great Apostles Peter and Paul, is to pray fervently that “all may be one”, and that all false religions and heresies, including that of modernism, may one day soon, again become subject to the authority of a true Roman Pontiff within the bosom of our holy Mother Church. Let us pray for the help of St. Peter and St. Paul with this intention, that they might supply us with the weapons we need for the fight. Our chief weapon, if you will remember, is the Cross. If we are called to the fight, let us enter it carrying high this banner of redemption, the most powerful of all weapons. Our weapon must never be the sword. We can never succeed in bringing people to God as the Moslems do, by the sword, but by the Cross, by our prayers and penances. Our aim is not to wield the sword of justice against those who are outside the Church, nor even against our enemies within the Church. Our aim is their eternal salvation. Our weapons are the love of God and our neighbour, never the Sword of justice which belongs to Christ alone. The Emperor Constantine did not see a sword in the sky. He saw a cross. In this sign, the Sign of the Cross, ye shall conquer. Every day this week, then, make the Sign of the Cross and begin your prayers for true Christian Unity. During the Chair of Unity Octave, pray especially this year for the conversion of those who would rip apart the Mystical Body with the sword of modernism. Help restore unity to the Church and peace to the earth. The same peace that existed that first Christmas, the peace that covered the land to prepare for the birth of Christ. It is the peace that we need now to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ, when he, and he alone, shall wield the Sword of Justice. And it is the peace that we must have in our hearts when we forgive them that persecute us. May this peace which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 Sermons from the Chaplain