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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

 

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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.

 

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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.

  Passion Sunday

March 22, 2015

The Beginning of the End

We can’t help having a bit of a grim and lonely feeling when we come in this morning and find all our images and statues gone. Well, not exactly gone, but hidden. Hidden beneath these gloomy purple drapes, taken away from our reverential gaze for a while, removing from us, it seems, all consolation in this the most solemn and austere of the Church’s seasons which begins today, the climax of our Lenten penances, the holy Season of Passiontide.

We lose more than just our statues and images today. In the texts of the Mass, we also lose the joyful Prayers at the Foot of the Altar; the doxology of praise, the Gloria Patri is not said at the Asperges or the Introit, nor is it said by the priest at the Lavabo. And then of course, whenever we look around the church, seeking relief perhaps, or some distraction, from the severity of the Church’s liturgy at the altar, what do we see? Once again, we are faced with these grim reminders of the coming Passion and Crucifixion, these purple hangings.

But what do all these purple figures represent? What is meant by hiding all these images? The brief answer is to be found in the last few sentences of today’s holy Gospel. “Your father Abraham,” said Our Lord to the Jews, “rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” Then said the Jews unto him, “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple. Jesus hid himself. And as he hid himself from his people in those days before his Passion, so too today he hides himself behind all these purple veils. Not just himself, but even those images of his Blessed Mother and the saints who followed him. We remember a time when God was hidden from his people.

Today is Passion Sunday. There are two Sundays in Passiontide, today and next week which is Palm Sunday. But for a moment let’s transfer our thoughts from these last two Sundays of Lent to the first two Sundays of Lent. I’d like you to compare those first two Sundays of Lent with the last two Sundays of Lent. Because there are some remarkable similarities. Look back to the First Sunday of Lent for example. Remember how Christ went out alone into the wilderness? And now today, the First Sunday in Passiontide, he again goes off by himself, hiding himself from the people. And then the Second Sunday in Lent, if you remember, dealt with the transfiguration of Our Lord, as he appeared in all his glory before his apostles, strengthening them for the coming Passion. Just as next Sunday, Palm Sunday, we shall be strengthened one last time before his Passion, as he is glorified, this time before all his people, when he makes his final triumphant entry into the holy city of Jerusalem, to the waving of palms and the chanting of Hosanna to the King of David.

So there’s a very similar message, isn’t there, between the first two and the last two Sundays of Lent. That message is for us to prepare. Prepare for our glory in the next life by our sufferings in this one. Prepare for our crown by our cross. And how? First we must go off on our own into our own wilderness of prayer and fasting. Today, the Church reinforces this idea that we are alone now with God, by hiding all our images and statues, our dear friends and consolations in this life of suffering. We must now stand alone and face God alone. We must lay bare our souls to our Creator, and humbly acknowledge our nothingness, confessing our sins, thanking him for taking those sins upon himself, and carrying our cross for us. Take this opportunity this week. Stand alone before God. Go to Confession. Repent your sins. Vow to lead a more godly life. And then next week perhaps, at the sight of the new images the Church gives us, images of that triumphal procession into Jerusalem as our Holy Week begins, then perhaps we can be strengthened one last time before Good Friday. Then perhaps, we can receive from our loving God the graces to suffer with Our Lord and for him, on that other Holy Week procession, the one up the hill to Calvary.

And now for a moment, let’s move on, away from the world of Holy Scripture, away from the story of the Passion and Death of Our Lord, to the present day, to our own lives here and now… Is it not true that we are living through a second Passion today? What Our Lord experienced, the Passion and Death of his own physical body, is now in our lifetime being repeated, this time to his Mystical Body, the Church, and to all her members, to you and me, each and every one of us. It is as though purple drapes have been thrown over our true popes, our bishops, our pastors. As we came in this morning, we looked around to see the crucifix, and our beloved statues and holy pictures hidden from us. God is truly hidden from us. But think about it, haven’t we experienced that same awful feeling every time we walk into a Novus Ordo church? It doesn’t have to be Passion Sunday in a Novus Ordo church for God to be hidden from us there. The statues and holy pictures have not simply been covered up. They have been thrown out. And even worse, the tabernacle has been relegated to some side chapel, where Christ, if he’s there at all, is hidden from the people who come to church to find him. Any hint of beauty has been hidden behind the ugliness of modern art and architecture. The very faith of our fathers has been covered over and hidden by the dark trappings of modernism, the divine mysteries of Christ’s eternal sacrifice lost behind the never-ending handshakes and man-centered babble. It’s no wonder that they don’t even bother to cover things with purple drapes any more for Passiontide. First of all, there is no Passiontide any more, it’s been suppressed. And besides, there’s nothing left to cover up! This is truly the crucifixion of the Mystical Body of Christ, it is the Passion of the Church today.

Why did God hide himself before his Passion? Because they wanted to stone him. Why did they want to stone him? Because he said “Before Abraham was, I am.” Eternal truth. Before Pope Francis was, I am. Before Vatican II was, I am. The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. God who is unchangeable like our holy faith in him is unchangeable. In this brief snapshot of time in which we live, whether we have a good pope or a bad pope or no pope at all, God watches each and every one of us from heaven and gives us the graces we need to save our soul. That is all we need. And even though God may be hidden from us in these dark days of the 21st century, he IS just as much as he has ever been.

This eternal God is calling us to cling to those truths that are now hidden, the truths of the everlasting hills. So on this Passion Sunday, as we prepare to commemorate Our Lord’s most bitter Passion and Death, let’s respond with generosity to this call of God, and cling to God alone. Not to our images of God, not to works of paint and clay, plaster and marble. Put aside all reminders of God, and cling to God himself. It is he who will help us carry the burdens we bear, he whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light. So let’s take our burdens to him, all those sufferings and yes, even the sins of our own life and bring them to Our Lord. He is the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.

And while we so blithely pile our sins and sorrows once again on the back of our poor Saviour and make him carry them again to Calvary, can we perhaps spare a little effort, like Simon of Cyrene, to help him carry them? Can we perhaps try and accept a bit more lovingly the sufferings we must endure? Can we take just a little of Our Lord’s heavy burden from him, and carry some of them ourself this time? It takes men and women of courage to follow Our Lord to Calvary, and I hope he will find them in abundance here at Infant of Prague Chapel. Because you see, in these terrible times it is we who have been given those extra graces to see a little into the truths and falsehoods behind the events of the last fifty years in Rome and the world. To us therefore has been given the responsibility of action, of being generous in our willingness to resist temptation, to go and sin no more, to take up the cross and follow him.

God may be hidden under these purple drapes, but God is still here. He is the Godhead hidden in the tabernacle. Each of us must find him in our own way. “O Godhead hid! Devoutly I adore thee.” Make your Communion with God, and then ask of him, as St. Francis of Assisi asked, “Lord, what wouldst thou have me do?” To what task are you calling me? How can I best respond to your call to follow you? What role do you want me to play in this Passion of the Church today? Your answer will come in time. Prepare for it now by preparing for Holy Week. Confession, Communion, prayer, penance, avoid sin, practice virtue. Lead a godly life. And God will eventually no longer hide himself from you. He will reveal himself in all his true glory, the glory of the Resurrection, and the life everlasting. Amen.

 Sermons from the Chaplain