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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?

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.

  St. Joachim, Father of the Blessed Virgin Mary

August 16, 2015

And Was Made Man

 Yesterday we reflected on the ultimate destiny of Our Blessed Lady, as she passed out of this world to be with her Son in heaven forever. Today we look back in time, as our Gospel takes us through the ancestry of Our Lord, starting with Abraham and going all the way to St. Joseph. “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob” and so on, until finally another “Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”

You’ll notice that this is the beginning of the first chapter of the very first book of the New Testament, the Gospel according to St. Matthew. The four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are usually depicted according to the way they begin their gospels. Thus the symbol for St. Mark is the lion, as his gospel begins in the desert with St. John the Baptist; St. Luke’s symbol is the ox because his gospel opens in the temple with the priest Zacharias offering sacrifice; St. John is represented as the eagle because of the wonderful opening of his gospel, the one we say at the end of Mass every day: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” We soar like an eagle with St. John up into the very heavens where God existed before all things. But St. Matthew, what is his symbol? Because of this long human genealogy that opens his gospel, and which we read today, St. Matthew is represented as a man.

Yesterday, we were concerned with the Blessed Virgin Mary as she rose up into heaven to be with God forever. Both her soul and her body were raised to the divine habitations. We saw how, through the Redemption, man has been given the privilege of being raised to God. Today, with the feast of St. Joachim, we are reminded how God became man. How he came down from his Father’s throne, and became man. “Et homo factus est.” He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, who, sinless though she was, was still nevertheless a mere mortal, with human parents of her own. Christ was the Son of God, but he was also the Son of Man, the Son of David, and it was into the house of David that he was born.

Saints have often wondered which was the greater miracle: that God lowered himself to become a humble man? Or that, through the Blessed Virgin Mary, he raised man to the divine? It is no coincidence that the Church has given us the Feast of St. Joachim on the day following the Assumption so that we can reflect on both these aspects of the Incarnation, and on what should be our personal response to the privilege of our Redemption.

The world into which Christ was born was one in which many men had already been born and had died. The very first man, Adam, had been created out of dust, and every man since had returned to dust when he died. But now the new Adam was born: the human side of Christ coming from the dust of humanity, but divine nevertheless, and with an eternal spirit which would not permit its body to return to the dust of the earth. Thus it was that when Christ died, his Body did not decay, but rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven.

From that time on, we had the promise of something better than merely returning to the dust of the earth when we died. We had the promise of eternal life, not only for our souls, but followed eventually by our mortal remains at the Resurrection of the Body. And to show us that this would truly happen, it was not enough that Christ alone should ascend body and soul into heaven. God wanted to provide us with one real example, a prototype if you like, of what will eventually happen to us if we follow his commandments. What better example could he find than in the sinless spotless Maid who had given him his own humanity and crushed the head of the serpent beneath her heel?

The offspring of a human father, St. Joachim, this Woman clothed in the sun had reached the heights of what humanity is capable. While all men are created in the image and likeness of God, the most perfect example of humanity ever seen, God’s greatest creation, was the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is she who is the most perfect reflection of the divinity that belongs to God alone. If we are created in God’s image and likeness, she alone comes close to being an almost perfect likeness. Look at the life of Our Lady: it is a reflection of the life of her Son. The mysteries of the Rosary show very clearly this close parallel, this mirror image, between the two, a parallel so close that surely God would not allow this woman to experience all the joys and sorrows of the life of his Son, without allowing her also to participate in his glories. If Our Lord was to rise from the dead and ascend into heaven as we meditate on in the First and Second Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, so too would his Blessed Mother be taken up, assumed, into heaven in the Fourth Glorious Mystery. At the end of her life, she did not merely return to dust like her father St. Joachim before her. She entered heaven body and soul, like her Son, another perfect image of him who created her and in whose footsteps she so closely followed. Her soul of course was spotless, like his. And her body was granted the privilege of anticipating the Resurrection of the Body that awaits us all.

Her body had been the tabernacle of the Most High God himself, and we cannot imagine that that precious tabernacle of God could be given over to the worms of corruption and to the stench of decomposition. After all, we have hundreds of examples of incorruptibles, holy men and women whose bodies remained incorruptible after death, and it is impossible to imagine that she, who was the holiest of all these holy men and women, would not have been granted this same privilege. Like her Son, Our Lady was raised from the dead, incorruptible, to follow her Son into glory everlasting. As St. John of Damascus put it, Our Lady “returned not to dust, but, being herself a living heaven, took her place among the heavenly mansions.”

Our Lady, then, was not allowed to taste the corruption of death. This was the body which had housed the yet unborn Creator of the Universe, which had given birth to the Divine Redeemer of mankind. Not only was it not allowed to decay, like the incorruptible saints, but it was given the additional privilege of being taken up with her soul to enjoy, immediately, the everlasting bliss of heaven.

Our Lady’s Assumption not only mirrored her Son’s Ascension into heaven, but also foreshadows our own entry into the eternal kingdom. Once our own souls are completely purged in the fires of Purgatory, we too shall rise from that dread place and take our place at the feet of God. “O death, where is thy sting?” asks St. Paul. “O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And let us give thanks today also, for the good St. Joachim, whose constancy in prayer along with his wife, St. Anne, eventually gave them a child. A child who would be the most perfect image of God the world had ever seen. A child “such was never none like nor never shall be.” Keep us, O Lord, this day without sin. As thou didst keep Our Blessed Mother from sin all the days of her life, and whom thou didst reward by sparing her from the corruption of death. Keep us, like her, free from sin, that we may never be confounded, but may be lifted up for ever, to worship thy Name, ever world without end. Amen.

 Sermons from the Chaplain