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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.

 

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?

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  Quinquagesima

February 15, 2015

Blind, Ignorant, and Stupid

Today’s Gospel for Quinquagesima Sunday has two parts.  In the first part we listen to the words of Our Lord as he prophesies his own passion and death.  It is a remarkably accurate prophecy:  “He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:  and they shall scourge him, and put him to death:  and the third day he shall rise again.”  But the Twelve Apostles “understood none of these things.”  Perhaps we should not be surprised that they did not understand the prophecy before it happened.  After all, Our Lord had performed many miracles, and they perhaps thought he would be able to avoid the terrible things of which he spoke.  But when Our Lord’s words were fulfilled, and these events came to pass, now we wonder why these Apostles did not remember Our Lord’s words, why they didn’t keep their faith during those dreadful days surrounding the crucifixion.

But they lost their faith in the horror and shock of Our Lord’s death.  And they were blinded to the realization that these awful events were simply the fulfillment of the prophecy that Our Lord had made in today’s Gospel.  Not until they saw with their own eyes the glorious body of the risen Lord on Easter Sunday did the eyes of their faith re-open, and they saw again that Christ was truly the Messiah, the Son of God.

The second half of today’s Gospel follows seamlessly from this consideration of the blindness of the Apostles.  Indeed, he performed this miracle partly in order to impress on their minds the lesson they were eventually to learn from their sad abandonment of their faith.  It is the story of the curing of the blind man.  When the blind man heard that Our Lord was passing by, he called out to him for mercy.  Here was a man who truly had the faith.  So much faith that when they tried to silence him, he called out all the more “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”  And Our Lord did have mercy, and did cure him of his blindness.  And then he made his point:  “Receive thy sight,” he said.  “Thy faith hath saved thee.”  If only the Apostles had heeded this miracle.  If only they had had the invincible faith of this simple beggar.  If only we had this same faith!

For it is to us today that the Gospel speaks.  To us who are blind and need to ask God for mercy.  “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us.”  Give us that strength of faith that cured the blind man, that we may see God’s plan in the awful events that have befallen Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, during these past fifty years or so; that we may not lose our faith, but may accept the plan of Divine Providence; that we may calmly get on with what we need to do during these sad times; that we may save our souls.  It is for this that God allowed us to be born at such a time in history.  He has chosen us, Catholics who keep the faith, no others, to react appropriately to these events, according to his holy will.  Not to run around complaining, not bemoaning the apostasy in the Church and the wickedness in the world, not looking back in anger, or nostalgia, at what was.  No, to us is given the task of dealing with this crisis as our own state of life permits.  We are the ones chosen to fight this fight.  So let us ask God to lift the blindness from our eyes.  And then let us take a look at how we can find God’s will in our lives, and how we can cooperate with God’s will in this fight.

One of the most effective cures for our blindness is knowledge.  The lack of knowledge (ignorance) is a sure cause of blindness, as we grope for the meaning, the significance of things we don’t understand.  For example, we don’t know, we don’t understand, why God is allowing this tremendous apostasy since Vatican II.  If that is the case, we should not sit back and wallow in our ignorance, trying to pull ideas from thin air.  All we have to do is listen to the prophecies that God has provided for us as a warning.  Just as Our Lord warned the Twelve Apostles of his coming Passion and Death, so too we have been warned about the Great Apostasy at the end of time.  As the physical body of Christ was crucified, died, and was buried, so too today we behold the same thing happening to his mystical body, the Church.  And the warnings are there in Holy Scripture, the “abomination of desolation” for example, and many others like it.  Time and again, the Blessed Mother has appeared, at La Salette, at Fatima, warning us to say the Rosary, that mankind must change his ways, or terrible things would happen.  There are countless Catholic prophecies speaking of Rome and its loss of faith in the end times.  God has known this would happen from the beginning of time, just as he knew he would be crucified to redeem mankind.  Vatican II and the modernist wave that flooded the Church in its aftermath were not a big surprise to God.  And, quite frankly, they should not have been to us either.  But we were blind, and in spite of all the prophecies we did not see it coming.  Now we turn to God, and ask him to cure our blindness, so that we can more clearly see God’s plan in this new Calvary.

There’s a story told about a French missionary priest called Père Demares.  He was on the train traveling from Paris to Strasbourg when he was approached by a woman who proudly proclaimed herself to be an atheist.  Father Demares asked her:  “Have you read Fénelon?” (a Catholic author).  “No”, she replied.  “Have you read Bossuet?”  “No.”  “All right then, have you read Bourget?”  “No!”  And he continued down the list of Catholic authors.  It turned out she had never read a single Catholic book.  Then Father Demares replied:  “My dear lady, you are not an atheist, you are ignorant and stupid.”  And he went his way.  Perhaps you think that was a bit harsh.  Perhaps it was.  But it was accurate.  The woman hadn’t read a Catholic book, so how could she be so sure God didn’t exist?  She didn’t have the knowledge necessary to draw such a conclusion.   She was ignorant.  And yet she drew the conclusion.  Which makes her stupid as well as ignorant.  When it’s question of our souls, our eternal salvation, we cannot choose to deliberately wallow in ignorance, making stupid remarks that merely show up our ignorance.  So let’s not risk being labeled as “stupid”.  Let’s heed the words of Our Lady at Fatima and the words of countless prophets.  Let’s not act as the blind multitude who follow in their blind obedience their Vatican II popes, but who have been truly blinded to the teachings of the hundreds of popes who came before. 

How can we expect them, these blinded faithful, to see the light of truth?  How can we expect those who have lost their faith altogether to open their spiritual eyes and see the goodness of God in their miserable and meaningless lives?  Perhaps that is why God has chosen us, for better or worse, to be his beacons of light and truth in this crisis.  Through no merit of our own, he has called us, just as he called his Twelve Apostles.  He has told us through his own words and the words of his Blessed Mother what would happen in these times.  So let’s not be blinded as the Twelve Apostles were in the Gospel today.  Instead, let us open our eyes, do what we have to do during this coming Lent:  pray, do penance, make reparation, so that when we arrive at the Church’s final Calvary, we will be strong enough to survive it.  With prayer and penance, let’s fight our way through the Passion and Death of the Church, so that we may be enjoy her final glorious resurrection.

Our Lord told St. Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church.  Let’s not act as though this was a lie or maybe a mistake on Our Lord’s part.  He who can neither deceive nor be deceived!  Instead, let us have faith in these words of our Saviour that the gates of hell will not ultimately triumph, and let us beg Jesus, Son of David, to have mercy on his Church, and cure the blindness of her pastors and faithful.  Meanwhile, let us keep our own eyes open and fixed on our path.  And may Almighty God protect and defend us from our ignorance and stupidity.




 Sermons from the Chaplain