Sermons

Sermons

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

 

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.

 

Subscribe

 

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.

  Whitsunday

May 24, 2015

Following the Apostles

I was reading in this morning’s lessons from Matins the commentary of St. Gregory the Great on today’s Gospel. In noting the fact that the Holy Ghost wishes to make his abode with us, he points out that so many of us do not allow him to do that. Instead, we feel merely a slight “pricking” of his presence in our soul, and at the first sign of temptation, give ourselves up to our own pleasures and attachments, thereby banishing him from our soul. This is not what God wants. He doesn’t want to be a visitor, coming and going. He wants to dwell in our soul. To make it his permanent dwelling place, his habitation, his temple.

Before Pentecost, the Apostles were just regular folks, like most other people. Like us. Like us they had experienced the occasional visits by the Holy Ghost, inspiring them to virtue, protecting them in times of temptation. But also like us, they had allowed him to come and go, as a visitor. They had often failed in those times of temptation. They had fallen into sin. Which is a pity, because unlike us, they had lived for three years in the presence of the Son of God. And if I were one of the Apostles sitting there in that Upper Room that first Pentecost, in the hours before the descent of the Holy Ghost, I would be feeling pretty bad about myself. Before that flame of divine love came down on my head to dispel these memories of my own shortcomings, I would be weeping over these memories with loathing.

Imagine their thoughts. “Here’s where my life has led me to this point. I’ve been doing nothing for three years except putting all my trust in a man I thought would re-establish the throne of Israel, who would be the Messiah, delivering the Jewish nation from the hands of her enemies. And now this man is gone. Without lifting a finger against the Roman occupiers of our holy land, he has now left us all alone. Sure, he promised he wouldn’t leave us orphans, but that was nine days ago now, and there is still no sign of that Comforter that was supposed to be coming. I’m not feeling comforted, that’s for certain.”

And what about that man? If I were one of those Apostles, I would remember seeing him just a few days ago rising up off the ground before me, higher and higher until he disappeared beyond the clouds. What more could I want to prove to me beyond a shadow of doubt that this man was truly God? And yet, how had I treated him? I spent three years questioning him, asking him for miracles, proofs of his divinity, favors for myself, taking advantage of his popularity, pushing him to make himself King of Israel. And then at the first sign of trouble, when he needed me the most, I was nowhere to be found. First, sleeping in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then running away when the soldiers came. When they asked me if I knew him, I denied him, and the cock crew. When he died, I doubted his divinity and went into hiding. When he rose from the dead, I still doubted and demanded to see his wounds.
And now, on this Sunday morning, a morning like any other, I’m just sitting here, preparing myself for yet another long day of waiting. Waiting for what? Is anything really going to happen? Look at me, I’m still doubting. And why not! Didn’t he say to us “Ye men of little faith?” So here I am, with the little faith I have left. Depressed. Consumed with regret and bitter memories of my own cowardly and faithless behavior. Angry with myself, and yet sorry for myself. Wallowing in the self-pity of knowing that I am the slime of the earth.

If at this moment I stood before the judgment seat of God, I would not even wait for Christ’s sentence upon me. I have already judged myself, and would hurl myself freely and willingly into the eternal abyss, knowing in my self-loathing that I deserved nothing better.

And then perhaps, I might remember the fate of Judas. I would look around at the other Apostles, all going through similar thoughts and self-doubt. And then together, in one last forlorn act of hope, we would turn to that other person in the room, to the one who had never doubted, never denied her Son. She had had the courage to stand at the foot of the Cross, the courage to watch him die, the courage to keep him company in his hour of greatest need. Surely his Mother must despise us now. And so we hardly dare to turn to her. And she sees our furtive glances of shame. But she doesn’t turn away. Instead, she bestows her sweet smile upon us, and the thrill of renewed hope rushes into our heart and lungs and we dare to breathe again. She knows what we’ve done. And she has forgiven us. And therefore will not the great God Almighty forgive us, he whose Son could refuse his Mother nothing, this Mother whom he gave to us while he was hanging from the nails, to be our Mother. Surely he would not make such an act of love and confidence in us as to entrust to us his Mother and then forsake us.

Trembling with this renewed hope, we feel the air around us tremble with us, and as we fall to our knees the noise of a mighty wind fills the room. Great tongues of fire appear and descend upon each of us. Fire that doesn’t burn our flesh. But a burning fire nevertheless, that enkindles our hearts, setting them on fire with that transcendental love that will never again go cold. We are touched with the same love that unites God the Father with his Son. The love they call the Holy Ghost, the third person of that Blessed Trinity, the love that proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who together with the Father and the Son is to be adored and glorified, qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur! The love of a Father for his sinful prodigal children that is so complete, so infinite in its capacity that he would send his only-begotten Son to die for us. The love of that Son so entire and perfect that he would shed his last drop of blood for us, and allow his Sacred Heart to be opened so that his infinite graces may flow down upon us.

This then is Pentecost. Not merely an event in history, but the manifestation of God’s love in the most perfect way on us his children. The Apostles were from that moment different men. Men who would never again waver in their faith, never again show the least reluctance to live and die for such a God who had loved and forgiven them so much.

This is Pentecost. The birthday of the Church. And like all our birthdays, it marks another year past, and another year closer to the birthday that will be our last. When will be our last Pentecost? How many more Whitsundays remain before God says “Enough”, and sends his Son again to judge both the quick and the dead? I don’t know the answer to that of course. It is for God alone to know the hour and the moment. But I do know this. That time is running its swift course, and that which is prophesied must surely come. I was impressed once by a little handwritten sign in a sacristy that reminded the priest as he vested for Mass to “offer this Mass as though it were your first, and offer it as though it were your last.” As we remember the first Pentecost today, let us act as though it were our last. As though today is our last chance to ask the Holy Ghost for his Sevenfold Gifts, our last chance to be enkindled, like the Apostles, with that heavenly fire from God’s right hand.

The Holy Ghost appeared in tongues of fire, because fire burns. And this fire of the Holy Ghost should make us burn with love for God. Burn with love for our neighbor. Are we truly on fire with that love? If not, all the gifts of the Holy Ghost together will not be enough to save our souls. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,” says St. Paul, “and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

The Holy Ghost brings us this gift of charity, this love. Because he is love. And he wants us to keep love in our hearts, not just as a visitor, driven out every few days by a new sin, a new offence against God that expels the Holy Ghost from our hearts. No, he wants to abide in our hearts for ever, as an indwelling central focus of all our thoughts, words and deeds, our hopes, the reason for which we do anything. This is the only acceptable response to God’s love for us. It’s a response that is, essentially, the only thing God demands of us. If Christ had spoken only one thing to us in his whole life surely it would have been these words: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all thy mind. And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Do this and you will save your soul. Do it not, and you will spend eternity regretting it most bitterly





 Sermons from the Chaplain