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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.

  Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

November 15, 2015

No Pain, No Gain

Is there one amongst us today who has not experienced the sorrow of having lost a loved one? If there are those so fortunate here today, they may be assured that, unless death shall strike them first, a time will surely come when they will have to kneel at the side of an open casket, and say goodbye for the last time to someone they deeply love. This love may have been taken for granted for many years, an unspoken, perhaps even unfelt, attachment to a particular family member, a good friend, even a spouse. But when the hour of death comes, there comes with it a very rapid realization of its finality. Suddenly we are faced with the prospect that never again will we have the opportunity of telling, or of showing someone that indeed we do love them very very much.

They are now gone. Gone in the twinkling of an eye. And we are faced once again with the questions that have vexed mankind since the original sin of Adam: “Where have they gone?” “Where do we go when we die?”

Pity our poor protestant brethren, with their imperfect understanding of life after death. In spite of the teaching of Holy Scripture which tells us that it is a wholesome thing to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins, these protestants bask in the false hope that all those who believe are saved and go straight to heaven when they die. But if they’re right, and there is no Purgatory, only Heaven and Hell after death, then why pray for the dead? If they’re in heaven, they are in no need of our prayers. And if they are in hell, they are beyond our help altogether.

We Catholics are not so certain where a soul has gone. And in this uncertainty whether our deceased loved one is in heaven yet, or still suffering in the fires of Purgatory, lies our salvation. Because this very uncertainty allows us to pray for them. In fact it makes it our duty to pray for them. It means we have the opportunity to do something. Something helpful, concrete. The possibility that our loved ones are suffering and that we can actually help them, by offering up our own crosses, by our prayers, our rosaries, and especially our Masses, this is a tremendous consolation to us Catholics that others can never know. What a wonderful thing at a time of terrible sorrow and bereavement, to know that we are still needed by our loved ones, and that we can help them. We have not, after all, lost forever that final opportunity to show them that we love them.

The name Purgatory is not mentioned specifically in the Scriptures. It is a name which the Church simply came up with to describe the purpose of the place. It is a place of “purging”. And why do we need to be purged after our death? Because like the snow that will no doubt soon be falling to cover our lawns and our driveways, our souls gradually gather the grime of the earth. Our souls may be absolved in the confessional and our sins forgiven. But something remains, something is left behind when the stain of sin is removed.

Imagine a little boy who kicks a ball through the neighbour’s window. He might apologize and be forgiven by the neighbour. But his parents still have to pay for the broken window. There is still something owing in justice even after the apology. Saying sorry, being sorry, is certainly important. But it’s not enough.

Or think for example if you stole some money, a hundred dollars, from an elderly neighbour. Afterwards you feel guilty, you go to confession, you ask the priest for forgiveness. Before he gives you absolution, he will probably ask you a question: “What have you done with the hundred dollars?” “Oh, it’s under my pillow.” “And what do you intend to do with it?” “Spend it!” Don’t expect absolution until you assure the priest that you will restore the money to its rightful owner.

And this is as it should be. To have the opportunity not only to say we’re sorry, but to prove it by trying to undo the evil we have done. This is easy to understand when we think about the examples above, the breaking of a window, the theft of someone’s property, but how do we undo the evil of an impure thought, for example? All sins after all are against the justice of God, and reparation must be made. But there is not always an easy way of doing so in this life. Purgatory gives us the opportunity of making this reparation to God. It purges us from all the punishment due to sin, and renders our souls once more as pure and white as the driven snow. Then and only then will our souls be ready to enter into the spotless kingdom of God, that new Jerusalem which knows no imperfections, no stains, no darkness.

Purgatory therefore is a gift of God. If we cannot make up to God in this life for the dreadful thoughts, words and deeds we commit against him, we have one last opportunity after death to do so, a last chance to and make us worthy to enter the kingdom of heaven. It’s a last chance, however, that we don’t get to choose or refuse. After all, presumably we have already chosen heaven by dying in a state of grace. We are already “saved” at that point. When our divine Judge sentences us to this final act of expiation, we will be only too happy to obey him, conscious of the reparation we owe to God before we can enjoy our eternal reward. We will truly see at that point the goodness and mercy of God in giving us this opportunity to “make it up to him.” We will see God’s justice as something to welcome and no longer to fear.

And what can we do, now, to prepare for that moment? To make sure that when our time comes for our own purging, it may be as short and painless as possible? There are three things in particular we need to do, all of them very important.

The first is obvious. We must strive for perfection here on earth. “Be ye therefore perfect,” said Our Lord, “even as your heavenly Father in heaven is perfect.” When Christ commanded this, he knew that none of us would ever succeed. But he looks at our effort, not our success. We must “strive” for perfection. That means avoiding sin at all cost, and then practicing the virtues, loving God and neighbour, and offering up every tiny little action, every breath of our lives, to God. If we’re selfish enough to do it for no other reason than to lessen our own time in Purgatory, this alone will suffice. But let’s not forget that if we do it for unselfish motives, namely out of pure love of God, rather than to avoid “time in Purgatory”, we’ll actually be a lot closer to that perfection we’re aiming for.

The second thing we need to do is accept all our crosses here on earth. Often the first thing we do when we are given a cross to bear is to pray that God will take it away. We should remember to follow the example of Christ and pray at least that God will remove it only if it is his divine will. But then, if the cross must remain, accept it. It’s a gift from God, don’t be so rude as to refuse it. Accept it, not grudgingly, complaining about its weight, or even worse, bragging about your fortitude in bearing it. But accept it willingly, embrace it even, take Christ’s sweet yoke on your shoulders, and with your hearts filled with love, follow him. Follow him, if you have to all the way to Calvary. Carry your cross, and if necessary let yourself be nailed to it. Because the suffering that we choose to accept in this life is voluntary, as opposed to the suffering of Purgatory. We can freely choose, here and now, to accept it, and that is worth many times more than being “forced” to do so after death. Every little pain we freely accept in this life is worth much more than many days, even years, of time spent afterward in the purging fires of Purgatory.

And the third thing we should do is have a great devotion to the Holy Souls. They are our dear departed, our brothers and sisters in the faith, brethren of the same Mystical Body of Christ that we belong to, no longer members of the Church Militant as we are, but passed on to that other branch, the Church Suffering, where one day we will be, God willing. Pray for the dead, as the Scriptures tell us. Offer up your crosses, offer up your daily sufferings for the alleviation of theirs. Have Masses said for their intention. Join the Guild of All Souls so that they may benefit from our monthly Requiem Mass. They cannot help themselves, they are beyond the ability to gain merit for themselves. But we can help them, and it is our duty to do so. “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” And in doing so, let us pray that just as we help them today, so too those who follow us in the faith, our children and all those we leave behind, will one day remember us when we die.

These three ways of preparing for Purgatory are all truly gifts of God. They are all opportunities for us to lessen the time we will spend there, and we should be grateful to God for them. Thank God for your crosses, thank him for giving you the chance to offer up your sufferings for others, thank him for giving you the graces to avoid temptation and sin, and following his command to try and be more perfect. The closer we are to God, the more good we can do for our neighbour, whether living or deceased, and the less time we will need to spend after our own death making reparation for the sins and imperfections of our life. We have so very many reasons then for loving God and drawing ever closer to him, reasons that are good for us and for those we love and want to help. But let us remember above all that our main motivation in loving God should always be that he himself is all good and deserving of all our love. Let’s not squander the gifts he has given us, but rather let us reflect that love, and show forth his peace to all men of good will in this life, and his everlasting peace, eternal rest, to those men of good will who are already suffering in the next.

 Sermons from the Chaplain