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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.

  Third Sunday in Advent

December 13, 2015

Serve the Lord with Gladness

“O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands.” Words taken from the one hundredth psalm, sung today at the Office of Lauds. “Serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song.”

We don’t usually need much of an excuse to be joyful. In fact we seem to grasp at every opportunity we can find. Mankind sometimes seems as though it is in a never-ending quest to rejoice and be happy, to satisfy every little whim that attracts us. As Catholics we try at least to practice some restraint—we try, for example, not to satisfy those whims which we know to be sinful. And even then, how often do we fail? And when it comes to those other little whims, the “innocent” whims that “don’t do anybody any harm,” what then? Are we not like the rest of the world, following the lower appetites and demands of our body, never tiring of pampering ourselves with whatever we think we should have.

Today we are commanded to rejoice. St. Paul’s Epistle stresses the point: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice!” But this command is not a license, obviously, to practice unbridled restraint and join the world in its licentious quest for pleasure. Joy is not to be found in pleasure. Not true joy. It is a command to be joyful, yes, but we must find our joy in the right place. And that place is not in doing our own will, but God’s.

As we approach closer to the feast of Christmas, as we meditate more and more on the third Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, the word seems to have gone out—start the Christmas parties, light up the tree, send out the greeting cards, it’s time to start getting into the Christmas spirit. It’s party time! And sure enough, it’s alright to start getting into this festive mood. It is, after all, the legitimate anticipation of our joy in the birth of Christ, our rejoicing that the darkness of our world will soon see the Light of the world born in our midst. It’s our joy too at what comes with that nativity of the Son of God—not least of which is the knowledge of our Redemption. And yet, when we take a close look at all those nativity scenes popping up outside churches and on people’s lawns, all prepared for that most wondrous event, we see that there is still one thing missing. Our Lady and St. Joseph are there, the shepherds have already shown up, with their lambs, the star of Bethlehem shines bright already over the little stable. But the manger is empty. Yes, we rejoice today, but it is not with the unbridled joy of Christmas. Our joy is one of anticipation, and not yet of realization. Our penitential season of Advent is nearly over, but it is not over.

And so in the midst of our joy today, we must continue our work of preparation. Our King will soon be born. We still have to prepare his coming with gifts. Our time of rejoicing today is his gift to us, but we must now reciprocate. Let’s return for a moment to this morning’s Divine Office: “O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands.” Let’s not forget what comes next: “Serve the Lord with gladness.” In other words, we must put Our Lord’s interests first, ahead of our own. We must serve him. How are we to do that? Simply by doing his will, as laid out for us in the ten commandments and by the precepts of the Church. First and foremost we must obey the commandments and avoid sin. And then we must obey the Church as she commands us this week to follow the prescribed laws of fasting and abstinence on the three Ember Days of Advent.

There is a reason for this penance in Advent. It is not deliberately timed so as to spoil our Christmas parties, but to remind us that we must not celebrate with complete joy quite just yet. We remind ourselves by our penance of those four thousand years when man had not yet been redeemed, when he did not yet have the light of the world to dispel the darkness of sin in which he walked.

Thus, as we rejoice today at the command of St. Paul in his epistle, we are soon enough reminded in our Gospel that we must do penance. St. John the Baptist is a frequent and welcome reminder during the Advent season that our task right now is not to be celebrating Christmas just yet, but preparing for it. St. John Baptist, by his words and his example, calls us to that penance, to do the will of God instead of our own for once. This is the hardest sacrifice we can make—our natural disposition is “non serviam”, I will not serve. But remember that psalm from this morning’s Divine Office—“Serve the Lord with gladness?” Penance is the most precious sacrifice we can give, because to serve God gladly is to give of ourselves. By penance we offer to God the highest faculty we have—that free will which makes us like God, and with which he will never interfere by force. Think about it—we always want to please ourselves. God will never interfere as we go about our day pleasing ourselves. Only we can make that free will choice not to please ourselves but to please God instead. That is exactly what penance is, and why it is so very pleasing to God!

The laws of the Church are largely meant to give us opportunities to make that free will choice to do the will of God from our heart, to “serve the Lord with gladness.” Remember that we owe God this much at least. And how great is our debt! Think of all the sins we have committed during the course of our lives. Think what Our Lord went through so that these sins, our debt to him, might be forgiven. Think for a start how he humbled himself by leaving his throne of eternal glory in heaven to be born in some cold obscure stable in the presence of farm animals. How very important it is that we do not ignore our debt to him. There are some people apparently, who believe in God and yet won’t acknowledge they owe him anything. They claim they have never done anything to be sorry for. To pretend this is offensive to God, and God is not mocked. We have to be sorry and we have to show God we are sorry by our actions, by our acts of penance freely and joyfully offered to him.

This is the week of Gaudete Sunday. It is also the week of the Advent Ember Days. Today be joyful. Later this week, do penance. “Serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song.”

 Sermons from the Chaplain