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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.

  Second Sunday in Advent

December 6, 2015

Reeds Shaken by the Wind

This past week our nation has woken up to yet a new fear. Not since 9/11 has so much blood been spilled by evil men in the name of Islam. We had been warned since the attacks in Paris that Jihad was coming to our shores, and so what happened in San Bernardino was less a surprise than a grim confirmation that our perennial war with the followers of Mohammed was ratcheting up a notch.

The usual political reactions came into play even before the echo of gunshots had subsided. After all, these were gun-shots. And so the narrow-sighted left, clawing over themselves to deny the fact that an act of terrorism had been committed, turned their eyes of blame to the guns, and the US Constitution that permits us to carry them. From a Catholic point of view, there is nothing with the debate about the Second Amendment. But the Catholic principle on which it stands is our natural right to self-defense, so please bear that in mind when you find yourself in any political or ethical argument on the subject.

At Mass today, we are not concerned with politics. Not, that is, unless politicians and their exponents of error attempt to trample on our religious freedom and right to worship God. And so I am very much concerned about the headline in the New York Daily News the other day that read “God isn’t fixing this.” The position of the newspaper was to attack the Republican presidential candidates, who had, individually but in unison, asked for prayers for the victims of the California shootings, and their families. These men were attacked because they dared to invoke the mercy of God, rather than joining the Left in their attack on the right to bear arms.

Every week there seems to be a new low in the depth of hatred towards God. In the words of the Second Psalm, “the kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his Anointed.” In the space of a week we went from an enemy who would attack us from the outside, to an enemy within—a US citizen shooting his fellow Americans in the name of Mohammed—to an enemy even closer to the very heart and fabric of our society. Whether they be Islamic terrorists or blasphemous journalists, or even, dare I say it, cowardly presidents, they all share the one common goal of ridding the world of Christianity once and for all. They are the enemies of God. And therefore we must fight them. And to fight we need courage.

In today’s Gospel, we find St. John the Baptist in prison, suffering because he had dared to stand up to King Herod, admonishing him for living a sinful lifestyle. Here is our perfect example of courage. He was a prophet, but as Our Lord said, “more than a prophet.” He was Our Lord’s cousin, one who had renounced the luxuries of the world to go and live in the desert, dressing in camel hair, eating locusts and wild honey. His ascetic lifestyle was the very antithesis of that of his adversary the king. He preached not only in word but in deed, giving an example of detachment from the world that was itself an admonition to the extravagant life of Herod.

Our Lord asks his disciples if, when they had gone to the desert to see St. John, they had expected to see “a reed shaken by the wind.” It was a rhetorical question of course, because someone less of a trembling reed would have been hard to find. St. John Baptist stood firm in the face of God’s enemies. He had the virtue of courage. And courage is indeed a virtue. In fact the Latin word virtus means courage. There can be no real virtue without courage. How contemptible would religion be, would we be, if we didn’t have the courage to stand up for what we believe? Like soldiers who refuse to fight?

Many people are brave in other things, but not in their religion. And yet it is here, more than anywhere else, that courage counts. Courage means power to resist violence and ridicule. We cannot agree with everybody, simply in order to “be polite” or “keep the peace.” Sometimes to do so is to deny God, or his laws, or perhaps the Church and her rights. Do we neglect our duties to God in order to please our fellow man? Are we afraid to commit to attending Mass, or to fasting on the days prescribed? Are we afraid to guide our fellow Catholics in these matters, our spouse, our children? And yet so many women and children have given their very lifeblood for their faith. And the way things are going, we may be called upon to do that too. How likely are we to fight like St. John the Baptist—or to deny our faith for the sake of our lives, or ever our comforts?

Religious courage is not just a matter of nerves. We can overcome any persecution, any violence, any attack, by asking God for courage, like any other virtue. And like any other virtue, it is a matter of habit. We must choose between courage and its opposing vice, cowardice. And then we must practice the virtue, practice being courageous. One victory leads to another.

This is a question of our salvation. God will accept many things as excuses, but cowardice is not one of them. Human respect especially makes things worse rather than excusing our failures. Excuses like “I didn’t go to Mass because I didn’t want to upset my husband” is not going to stand well before God when we are judged.

King Herod was not a man of courage. Remember how we would give in to Salome who asked for the head of St. John Baptist! Cowardice often goes hand in hand with our attachment to the things of this world, for the simple reason that we are afraid to lose them. We put more stock in them than we do in the things of heaven. But St. John Baptist was not “a man clothed in soft garments.” He didn’t care for fine things, and neither should we. Not if we want to be brave. Fine clothes, high position, luxurious habits—these are the traps of the world. Think of the man who asked Our Lord how to get to heaven, but went away sad “for he had many possessions.” Think of St. Lawrence on the other hand, who before he was martyred gave away all the Church’s riches to the poor.

If anyone will come after me, said Our Lord, let him take up his cross. We need to shake off, with courage, our love of ease and our hatred for mortification. This period of Advent is a wonderful opportunity to do so, as, like St. John Baptist, we prepare for the coming of the Lord. Tomorrow is the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception and we have a beautiful opportunity to show a tiny bit of courage by shedding our attachment to food and observing the fast and abstinence. We have another opportunity on Tuesday, when we are asked to attend Mass and celebrate Our Lady’s great privilege. She shared with St. John Baptist the privilege of being born without original sin. But only our Blessed Mother was granted the even higher privilege of being conceived without original sin. This “woman” had more courage than anyone else, before or since. She is our perfect example of courage and self-sacrifice, without which we cannot please God. If we are to have that “peace and joy in believing” that St. Paul talks about in today’s Epistle, we must learn to fight and suffer manfully for our faith.

Only by courage will we overcome our fears of the terrible things now approaching our very doorstep. And more importantly, only by courage will we prepare, truly prepare, for the coming of Our Lord. He comes at Christmas to be sure, but he will come again to judge us, at the hour of our death or at the end of the world, whichever comes first. Prepare for both, and do so bravely!

 Sermons from the Chaplain