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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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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.

 

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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.

  Good Friday

April 3, 2015

The Real Absence

More than two thousand years ago, there was born, in the City of David, Bethlehem of Juda, a Child whose coming had been prophesied since ancient times. It had been announced that his name should be called “Emmanuel”, which means “God with us.”

God with us. It is a name that bears for us the whole meaning of life, the reason why we exist. God made us to be happy with him forever in the next world. Our final goal in life, as we all know, is heaven, and that union with God that shall be ours for all eternity if we do his will on earth, as it is in heaven. Our very reason for being, our destiny, is union with God. God with us, and we with God.

When our forefather Adam was created, he was brought into a world where he and Eve were united already with God. God walked with them in that earthly paradise, the Garden of Eden. When they sinned they were banished from this paradise, from this union with God, and the gates of heaven were slammed shut behind them. But it was still God’s will that their descendants should find their way back to their lost communion with him.

These sacred three days of the Holy Triduum remind us very clearly of the extent to which God was prepared to go in order to restore this union between himself and his creatures. We mourn today with our Blessed Mother at the foot of the Cross as we commemorate those terrible events caused, necessitated, by our fall from grace. But we rejoice also. We call this day “Good Friday”. It is the day of our Redemption. The day of our restoration to our former union with God.

The first Good Friday, like all days of the Jewish calendar, began at sunset the previous night. It was the night of the Seder, and Our Lord followed the ancient Jewish rituals and ceremonies commemorating the Jewish Passover—eating the blessed Lamb whose blood had been sprinkled on the doors of the ancient Hebrews to save them from the Angel of Death. After this commemoration of the old shadows that foretold our Restoration to grace, Our Lord then proceeded to fulfill them. He would do so of course, by shedding his own most Precious Blood on the Cross, thereby saving, definitively, his people from eternal death. But first he would give us something equally precious…

On the night he was betrayed, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: “Take ye and eat, for this is my Body, and this is my Blood of the new and everlasting covenant. Do this in remembrance of me.” This is how Good Friday began—with the institution of a new sacrament. It was the institution of the Holy Mass. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the perpetual re-enactment of what he would do later on this very day, the breaking of his Body, the shedding of his Blood. For this reason, it is called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Calvary renewed, the very means by which we are restored to union with God. And how does God want us to achieve that union? By that same Holy Mass, sacrifice and sacrament. The Holy Eucharist that the priest, in the role of Christ, calls down to the altar by his re-enactment of Calvary, this Holy Eucharist is given to us to eat. “Unless ye eat my Body and drink my Blood,” said Our Lord, “ ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” Unless you are united with me while you live on this earth, you will never be united with me afterwards in heaven.

Here then at the Last Supper, our union with God is first restored to us. When we receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, we absorb his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity into our own body, blood, soul and humanity. There can be no closer union than that. Not in this life. It is the gift that God left us so that we can realize as closely as possible, while yet in this life, the never-ending union that will be ours when we reach the next.

Here then, is the meaning of life. Here is the reason God made us. Here is what Our Lord felt was so important that he placed it immediately before his Passion and Death, and gave his apostles the power to allow them to continue this Sacrament perpetually through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Sacrament and sacrifice, mysteriously interwoven in the divine will, lovingly provided to us his children of the new covenant. The Mass and Holy Communion, sacrifice and sacrament, these are the single most important things in our life, the means God gave us by which we can be united with him, now and eternally. It would surely take the mind of God to conceive of such a plan.

It should be noted that this experience of receiving Holy Communion and being united thereby with God, exists only in the Church that Christ founded. On Good Friday, the sacrifices of the Jews ended when the veil of the temple was torn asunder. The protestants lost any possibility of being united with God when they denied his Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. The orthodox Christians lost any possibility of being united with God when they renounced their membership of the Mystical Body, which is the Church founded by Christ on the rock of St. Peter. And finally, the members of the “New Church” have lost any possibility of being united with God, since their pope, Paul VI, abolished the Mass, and replaced it with a service that bears no resemblance to a Holy Sacrifice and no mention of the Real Presence of Christ.

In the midst of this universal and worldwide apostasy, it is little wonder that the world today is plunging headlong into a state of wickedness unknown since the days of Noah and the Great Flood. Without union with God, our neighbours are turning to substitutes for that union, trying to find an alternate meaning for their poor lives. Is it any wonder that the Devil has used the opportunity to provide so very many ways for them to think they have found such substitutes. These hapless souls wander through life from one pleasure to another, one distraction to the next, seeking but never finding anything that could possibly fulfill their innate desire for union with God, the true reason why they were created. And then of course, the truly wicked ones continue to rise up and plot against Christ and his anointed.

What an astonishing grace, then, that we have been given: through no merit of our own, we have been inspired by God to realize the importance of Mass and Holy Communion. And in our case, we have even been given the opportunity of attending this same Mass, receiving this same Holy Communion, as often as we want. Think about that. We have the opportunity of being united with God as often as we want. We must ask ourselves today, how often DO we want to be united with God? How important is Holy Communion in our lives? How fervently do we seek every possible opportunity of attending Mass and receiving God into our body and soul? This is what God wants of us—to “do this in remembrance of me…” And if we want to walk the path towards heaven, we must follow this direction from God himself in order to remain on that path.

But not today. Of all the days in the year, this is the only day on which we must not receive Holy Communion. Our Lord made it very clear himself at the Last Supper: “I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Not until his resurrection would Christ again break bread with his disciples, and so it always was with the Church. From the earliest apostolic times there was no actual Mass on Good Friday, only a Mass of the Presanctified, and it was forbidden to receive Holy Communion, except for those in danger of death. On Good Friday we have always been bereft of Sacrifice and Sacrament. It is the only day where we are deprived of the presence of God, in remembrance of that day when the divine Saviour died on the Cross and was taken from our presence.

This absence of God today is our reminder to us what things would be like without this God. “And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.” Christ, the Light of the World, is extinguished and in his place comes the darkness. And today his Mystical Body, the Church, is as it were extinguished, and the world is again filled with the darkness of sin and despair. The New Church, of course, denies that this is so, and pretends to feed her children with the bread of the New Mass. Even many traditional Catholics today blindly follow along in this act of blasphemy, defying the commandment of Christ and receiving Holy Communion on Good Friday. It is not what God wants. God wants us to remember the darkness that covered the earth on that day, and the reason why it was dark. The absence of God on Good Friday IS our sacrament today. It is the outward sign of the inward grace we shall receive if we acknowledge the deprivation we suffer by the withdrawal of God from our midst. The rest of the year, Christ promised he would not leave us orphans. He left us the Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence. But today, this dreadful day when he died and no longer dwelled amongst us, today, he has left us with something truly terrible, the Real Absence.

And it IS real. It is an absence that we can feel with our senses. It is a tangible, sensible, real absence. We know it all too well, as it has transcended itself into our very lives since Vatican II. The Real Presence has been taken from our churches, and replaced with that Abomination of Desolation that is the New Mass. This act of liturgical apostasy is the supreme blasphemy. Our Holy Mother the Church has taken away the Real Presence of Christ, and given us Desolation instead. Desolation… The real absence of all good. And today especially, as we behold our Christ dying on the Cross, we are indeed desolate.

Listen to Christ’s last words on that Cross. They are not words of comfort, and yet in a certain sense they are because they show that he shares our suffering today. As he hung there dying, he cried out with his last breath, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani? “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” You see! Even Christ himself was left desolate at this moment, as his Father in heaven withdrew his presence from his Son. Seemingly impossible if we understand the nature of the Trinity, the love that exists eternally between God the Father and God the Son. And yet it happened. So why should we not also feel that desolation of being forsaken by God on this day, his Eucharistic presence denied to us to remind us of the total darkness and emptiness of a life without Holy Communion.

Tomorrow, the long death vigil will be over, and at the end of this vigil we can again receive that Holy Communion, and chant our exaltation of the Risen Lord. But for now, we must stand with the Blessed Mother and St. Mary Magdalene and St. John. We must lift our eyes to gaze upon the Precious Blood flowing from the wounds of Christ, and we surely must, once and for all, repent our lack of love for him, and our failure to seek out and receive that Body and Blood in Holy Communion.



 Sermons from the Chaplain