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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?

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  Third Sunday in Lent

March 8, 2015

The Pitfalls of Pride

On the first Sunday of Lent we accompanied Our Lord up the mountain of temptation. Last week we went with him up Mount Thabor and witnessed his glorious Transfiguration. And now, finally, we obey the rule of nature that what goes up must come down. Our Lord reminds us today that if you try to climb too high, if you puff yourself up with high and mighty self-importance and presumption, you will only embarrass yourself and be humiliated. He that exalteth himself, he says, shall be humbled. Pride cometh before a fall. And so this week we are going to climb back down those mountains. Because what concerns us today are not the dizzying heights of temptation, where the devil lays out before us all the pleasures and enticements of the world, nor about the lofty peak where Our Lord was transfigured before his Apostles, strengthening them to resist in the time of temptation. This week, we don’t so much descend from these mountain tops. Rather, we come clattering down from them with a loud thud.
That thud is the sound of a soul falling from grace. It is the thunderclap heard in heaven when a Christian soul deliberately turns his back on God and walks, quite knowingly and defiantly, into the valley of the shadow of death. It is the sound of the wailing of the angels as they bemoan the blackening of a soul, their cries of warning unheeded. It is, in short, the sound of Sin.

We are all familiar with sin. Familiar in every sense of the term. We know, for example, that we can sin by thought, word, and deed. We know that our sins may be mortal or venial, according to the gravity of the offence against God. We know that the consequence of sin is death—the death of the soul and its eternal damnation. When we look around us we are quite familiar with the sins of others, and could happily rattle off a list of all the faults of our neighbour if called upon to do so. And ultimately, if we ever spend a few precious moments of self-examination, we will see just how familiar with sin we all are. A familiarity from experience, unfortunately.

Today I’d like you to think about this type of self-examination. The idea of looking into ourselves to see what evil lurks not in the hearts of men, but in our own hearts. Of what are we truly capable if we let ourselves go, slipping down the slimy path until we can no longer stop ourselves from rushing over the precipice into the great abyss of the inferno beneath. There is great benefit to be derived from such an examination of our conscience. It can help us, firstly, to develop a sense of our own true worth, which we very quickly realize is not very much. It can help us develop a hatred for our sins, not only because they merit the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but more so, because they have offended God, who is infinitely good, and deserving of all our love. But notice, I say they can help us do these things. We must strive to reap these benefits when we think back on the sins we have committed this day, or since our last confession. We must learn to truly detest our sins, and for the right reasons, we must learn to have perfect contrition if possible for these thoughts, words and deeds committed against our loving God.

There is a danger, though, that such self-examination may actually encourage other faults, other sins. There are snares put in our way by our adversary the Devil. He does not want you to advance on the way of perfection, and he will do all he can to trip you up and lead you astray from that path.

It should come as no surprise that the first trap we encounter is that of pride. This comes into our minds at first in obvious ways, but then so very subtly, as we examine our conscience. For example, the first thought we often have when we compare our recent actions with a list of the Ten Commandments is along these lines. “Let me see… I haven’t killed anyone. No, I haven’t committed adultery this week. I haven’t robbed anyone, or consulted with fortune tellers. I went to Mass on Sunday. In fact I’ve been pretty good. Yes, I think I’m a pretty good person.” Pride!

This kind of pride is obvious, and most of us recognize it quickly for the temptation that it is. To stop at the exact letter of the law, and not explore a little further into its spirit – seeing anger, lack of patience, hatred, perhaps where the letter of the law says “Thou shalt not kill”, for example. Or impure thoughts, immodesty, and not just adultery. There is a whole bunch of divisions and subdivisions in those commandments, and it requires a fair bit of digging to uncover them all. And yet how often do we examine our consciences and complacently observe no sin in our thoughts, words and deeds of the day? It’s just pride, and we should begin our examination by humbly acknowledging it.

From there, let’s go on to look in the right places. And let’s know what we’re looking for. Perhaps not mortal sins but venial. Not so much sins of thought, word and deed, but rather sins of omission. Not even venial sins maybe, only imperfections. Let’s never congratulate ourselves that we haven’t committed a mortal sin this week. Instead let’s turn our attention to those venial sins. We might fail to find any (although if we dig deep enough, it’s unlikely), but let’s not forget that although we may not have committed this or that sin in particular, we may nevertheless have wasted a whole list of opportunities to do better than we did? All those missed opportunities throughout the day, all those actual graces from God, little nudges from our guardian angel, where we could have said something to bring our neighbor closer to God, could have done something to bring ourselves closer to God… but we didn’t. We chose instead to follow our own will, preferring our own little pleasures and vanities instead of rising to the higher calling.

Are these sins? Usually not. It’s like hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock. Not a sin, no. But could we get up a few minutes earlier and spend them with our mouths open to God in prayer, instead of just open? Our conscience must decide these things. Is it a sin to watch a game of golf on TV? No. Seriously boring though it may be, some people, I am told, find it relaxing. And we do need to relax now and again. However, could you be doing something better? Reading about your faith, or the life of a saint perhaps? We don’t need to get paranoid about it, and feel guilty when we take legitimate rest and relaxation. But just try and be aware of those little prods from God, making sure they really are from God (as opposed to an overly scrupulous conscience).

I sometimes wonder how bitterly we will regret, in the fires of purgatory, the number of times we failed to answer those little prods. In the meantime, we must never ever be content with our current state of “holiness”, because to do so is pride. We can never reach perfection, so never think you already have. That’s the kind of pride that really does come before a fall. The pride we take in our own holiness is the very sin that proves we are not holy! We think we’ve reached the top of the mountain, where in fact we’re already sliding down that slippery path over the cliff.

Beware this kind of pride, but beware even more the other kind of pride, the kind that is actually disguised as its opposite, humility. St. Teresa of Avila pointed out that the devil is very anxious for us to believe that we are humble. What a truly infernal trick, after all! You strive, you struggle for the virtue of humility, and suddenly you believe you have attained it. “Oh my word, I am so humble.” Pride! And what irony! To be proud of being humble! Beware this trap.

And thirdly, when we examine our conscience, when we get a true glimpse of the state of our own soul, ugly perhaps with sin and imperfection, and surely nothing in comparison with the infinite goodness of God, be very careful not to fall into discouragement. On that first Holy Thursday, both Judas Iscariot and St. Peter denied Our Lord. One repented of his sin and wept bitterly. The other despaired and hanged himself. Be very careful to follow in the footsteps of St. Peter, and not the other one who ended up in hell. Recognize your own worthlessness, your nothingness, but never ever be discouraged by it. Instead, remember that in spite of it, Our Lord Jesus Christ chose to be scourged, crowned with thorns and nailed to a cross for you. To God you are worth something.

All these traps the devil places in our way should encourage us to place our whole trust in God. In the 90th psalm we read that “A thousand shall fall beside thee, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee”. We can’t climb the heights of perfection alone. When we try to succeed alone, we fall alone, and alone we contemplate our fall. The best way to find true humility is by thinking often of Our Blessed Lady. She who was so humble and meek, and yet was exalted, magnified, by the Lord. Find in the image of Our Lady that peace she felt in her own unworthiness. Be content to feel small and weak in the hands of God. Calmly accept the humiliation of being imperfect, and in this spirit simply and trustingly ask God for what you need most to make you better. Never exalt yourself. If you do succeed in becoming truly humble it will be God that makes you so, and you’ll never even know it. And it will be in that humility that he and he alone will exalt you.

 Sermons from the Chaplain