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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.

  Second Sunday after Easter

April 19, 2015

Worthy is the Lamb that was Slain

There are an awful lot of references in the Bible to sheep. In fact, sheep are mentioned more than 500 times in the Bible, that’s more than any other animal. This is not surprising, as the Holy Land of Palestine is not merely a land flowing with milk and honey. It also flows with sheep. These sheep have always played an important role in the economy of the region, providing not only food but also wool for clothing. And perhaps because of this role of generous giving, or maybe because of their faithful and uncomplaining reliance on their shepherds, the Bible frequently uses sheep as a metaphor for the people of God.

Thus it comes as no surprise when Our Lord refers to himself in today’s Gospel as the Good Shepherd. “Be ye sure that the Lord he is God,” says Psalm 99. “It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves. We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” And if we are God’s people and the sheep of his pasture, then surely it is the Son of God who is our Shepherd. Our Good Shepherd, because how could Christ be anything other than good?

And how good is he? Good enough to lay down his life for his sheep. This goes beyond just giving them a bucket of peanuts now and again, or whatever sheep eat. It goes even beyond rushing out in in the cold dark night to look for the missing sheep, or keeping watch for the wolves. Would we give our life for a sheep? We are so far above a mere sheep, are we not? And yet how far above us is Our Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal Word and Son of God? And yet he claims he would give his life for us. They say that talk is cheap, but in the case of Our Lord, we know full well that he meant what he said. Because of course he did it. He gave his life for us sheep, so that we could return safe to our heavenly pasture.

And here’s where all this gentle language about sheep and shepherds starts to have an edge to it. Our Lord brings in the notion of giving his life. Of dying, in other words. Death. And not just death, but violent death. And really if we think about it, our holy scriptures seem to have an awful lot of links between sheep and death. I’ll leave you to delve through the pages of your Douay-Rheims and find all of them. Let’s just mention a few so that we can begin to understand the reason for this connection.

As far back as Adam and Eve we find sheep. Our first parents had two sons, as you know. Cain and Abel. The eldest, Abel, happened to be a shepherd. And he was also the world’s first murder victim, slaughtered by his brother Cain because God had preferred Abel’s sacrifice to Cain’s. What did Abel offer to God? The first-born lambs of his flock of sheep. While Cain offered to God whatever he had tilled from the ground. And the Book of Genesis tells us that “the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.” So now we have to ask ourselves why God accepted Abel’s offering of lambs rather than Cain’s bunch of carrots.

When God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, he stopped him from doing so at the last minute and told Abraham to sacrifice a ram instead, a male sheep. Again a sheep. And during the ten plagues of Egypt, when God sent his Angel of Death to destroy every first-born male in the land, he spared the Hebrews by having them sprinkle the blood of a lamb on their doors. The children of Israel were saved by the blood of the lamb.

And on it goes throughout the Old Testament, with the bloody sacrifices offered in the temple of Jerusalem. And what kind of lamb did God require? “Your lamb shall be without blemish”, ordered God. “Thou shalt not sacrifice to the Lord thy God a lamb that has a blemish or anything evil, for this is an abomination to the Lord thy God.” Our offerings must be pure and immaculate, without spot or blemish, and only then are they acceptable to God. And so when St. John Baptist saw the Christ, he knew him to be sinless and without blemish, and he pointed him out and said: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him that taketh away the sins of the world.”

Finally, the perfect sacrifice, the spotless lamb who would die for his people, the Good Shepherd who would die for his sheep. The fulfillment of all the prophecies. In the Book of the Apocalypse, the Lamb again appears, and the cries of the great multitude in heaven cry out “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing.”

Thank God that he has provided such a sacrifice for us, for without this infinite and divine sacrifice, we could never have worthily repaired the damage of sin. We poor creatures are incapable of keeping ourselves for long out of sin, offending God constantly with our attachments to our own pleasures and the things of this world.

But God reminds us today of something truly wonderful that allows us mortal men to dare raise our eyes to God and ask for his pity. For there is one creature, one blessed human being that God has created, who is as worthy as a mortal being could ever be, and who, like a lamb without blemish, has been immolated on the altar of compassion at the foot of the Cross itself. There is one Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Virgin most Renowned, whom the human race can hold up to God and say: “Behold thy Mother.” Behold one from amongst us who is blessed amongst women. Who has crushed the head of the serpent with her heel. Who alone among the children of men has been found without stain of sin.” On this day, let us honour that Lady Conceived without Sin. Let us remember our own poor faults, and present to God his Mother as our representative and ambassador. And it is she who will intercede with her Son, the Good Shepherd, for all his little lambs that have gone astray, all his people and the sheep of his pasture.

 Sermons from the Chaplain