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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.


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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.


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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.


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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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  The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

August 15, 2015

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

 “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”

These words, taken from the Book of Genesis, are read today as part of the Office of Matins for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They tell the familiar yet terrible story of the Fall of Man. That dreadful day on which our first mother Eve committed the terrible sin, the atrocity, of disobeying God! From the moment she did this Mankind has looked down on Woman as the creature who lured him into following her into ruin, by eating of the forbidden fruit. “The woman, whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” See how fast Adam was to point the finger of blame at Eve, how fast man was to blame woman.

But if we men are so quick to shift onto woman the responsibility for our own actions, how much more eagerly should we be ready to praise that other Woman, the Woman clothed with the sun, the Blessed Mother of God and our own Mother in heaven. Because from all time God had a plan. He had created man with free will, knowing full well that he would eat of the forbidden fruit. He created man, knowing that he would need to redeem him, and knowing too how he would go about doing so. So that when Adam and Eve committed their sin, God immediately put into motion his plan of redemption. His first step was to reveal in prophesy to the serpent, the Devil, that just as a woman had been the cause of Man’s fall, so too a woman would be the cause of his redemption. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” he said to the serpent, “and between thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”

The seed of Eve that God prophesied that day was of course, none other than the Blessed Virgin Mary. By her Immaculate Conception, she was the first ever, the one and only, child of Eve to be conceived without inheriting any stain of that original sin that our first parents committed. This alone was enough to crush the head of the serpent, but there was more to come—the reason why Our Lady was granted this great privilege was because she was destined to become the Mother of God’s only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. He that was to be born of her was to re-open the gates of heaven by dying on the Cross for our sins. And he was to enact the great victory over death, and over Satan, by his glorious Resurrection on that first Easter Sunday.

If man was created in the image and likeness of God, surely there was never one created with such a close likeness to God as she who was sinless from her conception and throughout her life. It is not for nothing that we pray to the Blessed Virgin as the Mirror of Justice. For she is truly a mirror, a reflection of that infinite goodness that belongs to God alone. And it is no wonder then that she reflected Our Lord’s work of redemption by her own close participation in it. By her “Fiat” at the Annunciation, where she freely agreed to take on the role requested of her by the Angel Gabriel, by her labour of love in giving birth to the Messiah in the stable of Bethlehem, by all her joys and of course by her seven sorrows, she was with Our Lord at every important step of his life. She was there, not just watching on as an idle bystander, but as an active participant in these events. It was she who conceived him, she who gave birth to him, who presented him in the temple, who carried him in her arms as they fled to Egypt, who sought him when he was lost, who raised him in Nazareth, who persuaded him to perform his first miracle at Cana, and finally who stood before him as he breathed his last breath on the Cross.
From birth to death, Our Lady remained with Our Lord. And if she would be with him in the joys and the sorrows of his life, it is fitting now today that she should be with him in his glory. In our Rosary, we contemplate this transition from joys to sorrows to glory, just as our liturgical cycle follows the same pattern year after year from Advent and Christmas, to Lent and Passiontide, and then on to Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. And now today, we come to the great feast that in a way closes the liturgical cycle, the feast of Marymas, the Assumption, when Our Blessed Lady is taken up into heaven, there to be crowned as its queen for all eternity.

“The heavens declare the glory of God” we read in Psalm 18 at Matins. Truly the whole of Matins reflects this joy, the joy of Creation as it watches God’s greatest creature of all rise into the heavens to her eternal glory. In the readings of Matins today, St. John of Damascus lists the great joys of each of the nine choirs of Angels in contrast with the great sadness they must have felt at the Fall of Man. “This day” says St. John, “the Eden of the new Adam receiveth the living garden of delight, wherein the condemnation was annulled, wherein the Tree of Life was planted, wherein our nakedness was covered.” Not only with the Angels but with mankind too, there is a great exultation. Again at Matins today, we read how womankind cannot restrain its joy at seeing the triumph of the new Eve: “Who is she that goeth forth as the morning, clear as the sun, and comely as Jerusalem? The daughters of Sion saw her and called her blessed; the queens also, and they did praise her.” Indeed all of nature gathers to sing the praises of Our Lady on this great day, as Matins continues: “ As the flower of roses in the spring of the year, and as the lilies of the valley, so did they cluster round about her.”

We are drawn into this general thrill of praise. We, who, in the year of Our Lord 2015, continue to sing the praises of the Blessed Mother in the official prayer of the Church on this great feast of Marymas, we too participate in the great story of redemption. We are part of this story, for it was God’s eternal plan that his Son should be born of this spotless Maiden in order to die for us, and to open the gates of heaven for us. Today, this same Maiden precedes us body and soul through those gates. She leads the way for us to follow, and she waits for us there, interceding for us at her Son’s throne, praying for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

As members of the Catholic Church, then, we continue today with renewed faith our prayers to our blessed Mother, who was the fulfillment of God’s plan, that we may fulfill our part of that plan also, and rise up at the day of judgment to be united with God forever. From the sin of our first mother Eve in the Garden of Eden until the solemn proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption by Pope Pius XII in 1950, and so on to our own poor prayers of filial devotion today, these may be thousands of years, but in the eyes of God, it is one single moment of cause and effect, moved by him towards its eternal conclusion. Listen to the words of Pope Pius XII, to the participation of the Church Militant in the great plan of redemption. The scene shifts to Rome, the Holy Year of 1950, and the moment of the definition of the last dogma to be declared infallibly by the Catholic Church. Pope Pius XII is seated on his throne, the papal tiara on his head. He is surrounded by hundreds of prelates, chamberlains carrying the great flabella, the fans of ostrich feathers, Swiss Guard in the magnificent uniform reserved for such occasions. And he solemnly intones the infallible words of dogma: “Wherefore, having offered to God continual prayers of supplication, and having invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, to the glory of Almighty God who hath enriched the Virgin Mary with his special favour; in honour of his Son, the immortal King of ages and victor over sin and death; for the increase of the glory of the same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the whole Church, by the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that : The Immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, was, at the end of her earthly life, assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

Our simple prayer of love today is one which we make every time we say the Hail Mary. We entrust ourselves with all our confidence and heartfelt love to our Mother in heaven, and ask her to pray for our forgiveness so that we may join her at the hour of our death, and thus complete our part in God’s eternal plan for the redemption of our own soul. Holy Mary, pray for us!

 Sermons from the Chaplain