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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.

 

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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  15th Sunday after Pentecost

September 6, 2015

Reaping What We Sow

Be not deceived, God is not mocked! Words taken from today’s Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians. Our first lesson as Christians is that God is omniscient. That’s a long word which has a simple meaning: God knows everything. From his throne in heaven, God sees all things, and knows all things. All that we do is as open to God as though he were right here with us watching our every move. Which indeed, he is.

God sees us. This thought should be enough to stop us from doing any evil. The idea that God is watching us should suffice to prevent us from all sin, whether in word or deed, or even in thought, because our innermost thoughts are equally open to the all-seeing eye of Almighty God as even our outward deeds. God truly sees us.

And yet, in spite of being the focus of God’s attention from our birth to our deathbed, there are those who live and act as though they are invisible to our Almighty Father in heaven. For them perhaps, there is no God, no one to see the evil they do. And so they turn to evil as their only source of happiness, because after all, if there is no God for them, there is no eye of God upon them to watch over them, to care for them, to provide for their every true need, to protect them and their loved ones from harm, no God to be their sure defence and helper. And without this God, what can provide them with happiness? They seek after the only things they know, the things which can give only a brief, passing, fleeting happiness--pleasure, riches, vanity.

And thus these poor people who are without God turn their backs away from him. And with their backs turned to him, they can never see him, never find him. In fact they soon stop looking for him. Instead of trying to find happiness where alone it is to be found, they turn around and face the opposite direction away from God. Away from him who alone can bring them to eternal joy in heaven.

And when the voice of their conscience calls out, accuses them of wrong-doing, they try to ignore it. They make false pretences, false excuses for what they do. Their excuses are so weak that they would be ashamed to make them to men. They know they are false. And yet they act as if they thought they could deceive Almighty God. What could be more odious to him, who is the very Truth, than such a lack of sincerity and honesty, such defiance in their refusal to turn around, face their God, and admit their wrong-doings.

Make no mistake, says St. Paul. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that also he shall reap. Think about that. St. Paul was speaking to agricultural people--farmers who knew very well what was meant by sowing and reaping. These farmers would spend long hard weeks sowing seeds in the fields each spring. During the summer the warm days would allow those seeds to grow into the crops that people needed to survive the long hard winter – there were no stores in those days, you grew what you needed to survive. And when the autumn came and the crops had reached their full growth, the farmers would go into the fields again for the harvest. They would reap what they had sown. If someone had sown cornseeds, it would be corn that would grow, and the farmer would reap a harvest of corn. If barley, or oats, had been the seed that was sown, he would reap barley, or oats. He would reap what he had sown.

What are you sowing today? What seeds are you planting that you will later reap? You must examine your conscience on this, and figure out whether you are truly sowing seeds from which you will later live to reap the benefits. You might work very hard sowing the seeds of thistles, but when they grow up and choke you, of what use was your labour? Children and young adults, you must work hard in the springtime of your life to cultivate the virtues that will come to your assistance when you are older. Practice now the virtues of patience, forbearance, meekness, so that you will not grow up into men and women of violence, bitterness and hatred. Practice the virtues of modesty and chastity so that when you are older and living amongst all the temptations of the world, you will be able to resist its lure. What ye shall sow now, that shall ye also reap later. And if you’re already advanced in years, perhaps so advanced that you think it may be too late to start sowing in the fields, remember the parable of the workers who turned up even at the eleventh hour, and still received the same reward as those who had labored through the heat of the day.

And in the great harvest which is to come, that day of wrath when the souls of men shall arise and stand before God to be judged, that awful Dies Irae, what shall ye then reap? For everything that you have sown during the course of your life will be shown to you, and you shall reap what you have sown. Make no mistake, listen again to the words of St. Paul: “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.”

Who are these who sow in the flesh? They are, first of all, those who follow the IDEAS of the flesh, and look at all things in a purely natural way without reference to the good Lord who created all and protects his creation at every moment. Then there are those who look for the REWARDS of the flesh, whether it be in riches, power, pleasure, or other earthly vanity. And finally there are those who are SLAVES to the flesh—those who are so addicted to the instant gratification of their whims that they look no further for their true happiness.

You must learn by their BAD example to follow another path to happiness. Because these people we have just mentioned who sow in the flesh shall reap corruption. If you want to reap true happiness, you must fight these tendencies to look at things in a purely natural way, or to seek your pleasures in the worldly material things, or to give in to your every little whim. Practice penance, practice denying yourself little pleasures now and again, in order to learn how to fight these tendencies. Be masters over your inclinations. In the book of Genesis, God tells us that “the lust thereof shall be under thee, and thou shalt have dominion over it.” Control your tendencies to material pleasures, and chastise your body and bring it into subjection. Sow your virtues, and you will reap your reward.

Last week we learned that life is a battle. A battle against mammon. We learned that all these passing earthly joys, these vanities, are nothing more than illusions. We learnt also how to fight against them. This week’s Epistle warns us of the consequences if we fail. Woe to those who sow in the flesh. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.

What does that mean exactly? First of all, if we sow in the flesh, we will sooner or later wake up to the awful realization that these earthly joys we sought are nothing other than hollow vanity. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher. Vanity of vanities and all is vanity. You heard it last week, you hear it again now. If you sow in the flesh, you can only hope that God gives you the grace to realize this hollowness in this life when you still have time to turn back to God, to CON-VERT, to face him whom you have mocked, and begging forgiveness, spend the rest of your life trying to make up for your past mistakes. And if you don’t wake up to this truth before you die, you will wake up from your deathbed in another world, where it will be too late to turn back to God, too late to convert, too late to do anything but wallow in despair for the rest of eternity, bewailing the wasted time and efforts you put into pleasing yourself and not God. God is not mocked. How terrible will that awakening be! Just as described in Psalm 85, “they have slept their sleep… and found nothing in their hands.”

So once again, I ask you, what are you sowing? Most certainly, each of you is sowing something. Is it in the flesh or the spirit? Are you trying to please God each day, or yourself? How much time do you give to God? And how much time to mere amusement? Do you face towards God to find your happiness? Or do you face away from God? This is our battle. You can’t serve God and mammon. Make your firm commitment now, with the help of our Blessed Mother, who never ever turned her back on her divine Son, who turned instead away from all thoughts of human happiness in order to follow him to Calvary and the foot of the Cross. The one time in her life that Our Lady could not find Jesus, she could not rest. It was so painful for her that it counts as one of her Seven Sorrows, right up there with the Crucifixion. She looked for him for three days, never stopped looking, until her eyes once more rested upon her Son and her God in the temple at Jerusalem. The Blessed Virgin Mary is our mother. She will plead to her Son for us if make the mistake of turning our back on him. She will plead like the mother in today’s Gospel pleaded, until Our Lord had mercy on her, and raised her child back to life. So ask her always to intercede for us poor sinners, now and especially at the hour of our death.

Make that same commitment now, as the Blessed Mother did with her Fiat, to seek your happiness in God. And don’t ever think that God isn’t watching. He who seeth all things sees you. And he is not mocked.


 Sermons from the Chaplain