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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.

 

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Link to our Features Page to see what a difference our online edition of the traditional Roman Breviary can make in your life.

 

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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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  13th Sunday after Pentecost

August 14, 2016

Thy Faith Hath Made Thee Whole

Several decades of increasingly graphic horror movies from Hollywood have deadened our appreciation of what is truly shocking. And yet, I believe that if I were to show you photographs of the effects of leprosy on the human body, you would still find it in you to be appalled and horrified. It is a gruesome disease: the symptoms begin with the thinning of the eyebrows and eyelashes, and then a thickening of the facial skin, so much so that the person is no longer recognizable, his face contorted and disfigured by swellings and infection. First the nose starts to bleed so badly that you can’t breathe through it, you develop pain in the throat and are unable to speak properly. Eventually, this results in the complete destruction of the nasal septum and the collapse of the nose. In the advanced stages, arthritis develops, with swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin and armpits, fingers and toes become deformed and sometimes fall off altogether, and if that wasn’t enough, the leper would often go completely blind.

Now let’s think of leprosy as being symbolic of something more spiritual in nature. Think of the poor souls who have lost the faith, who no longer have the stability of their two-thousand-year-old Catholic faith to sustain them through the temptations and trials of their life. What happens to them? Inevitably they fall into sin, and their soul takes on the characteristics of leprosy: they become deformed, infected with ignorance, depression and sin, their state of grace, their ability to act properly, their good deeds all dropping away like diseased fingers and toes. And in the later stages they are blinded to their own sad state, excusing themselves as no worse than anyone else, justifying their sins and sometimes even taking pride in them. If you don’t believe me, think of “gay pride”. Look at the human deformities who walk in those parades, blind even to their own identity, and ready and willing to mutilate their bodies to turn themselves from the men and women God and Nature made them, into monsters, creatures of the devil.

All this because they have lost the faith or never had it. Today God has given us this picture of the ten lepers for a reason. He knows that we too, to one extent or another, are lepers. We all lack faith in different degrees. And to that degree that we lack faith, our souls have taken on the aspect of decay. But today’s Gospel reminds us that there is hope. That hope comes in the form of our Divine Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who today has chosen to walk into our lives for a short time in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Now it is up to us whether we are just going to let him pass by, or whether we are going to call out to him like the lepers in the Gospel: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

What will it take for us to make the right choice? First of all, we must dispel any sense of complacency we might be tempted to feel. Sure I’m a sinner. But I’m no worse than anyone else. And God is a merciful God. He doesn’t want me to go to hell. He will be lenient with me on the Day of Judgment.

I’m afraid that is the sin of presumption, where we presume on God’s mercy to save us from the fires of hell. Many non-Catholics have had the audacity to turn this presumption into a doctrine of their erroneous faith, whereby all they have to do to be saved is to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and all their sins are forgiven, past, present and future. Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. Faith and commitment do not act as a license to sin. We have to continue, until the end of our lives, to tell God we are sorry, every time we sin. We must obey God’s commandment to the lepers, and go show ourselves to the priest, confessing our sins in the Sacrament of Penance, and being absolved of our sins by the priest, the successor of the Apostles to whom Our Lord gave the power to forgive sins: “Whose sins ye shall forgive, they are forgiven.” At the Protestant reformation they threw out the Sacrament of Penance, depriving themselves of this gift of God by which their sins could be forgiven. The same thing happened after Vatican II. What happened to those long lines at the confessional every week that were so common before? Many churches don’t even have a confessional any more.

The Second Vatican Council has wreaked havoc on all the sacraments, and on every aspect of the faith. Popes, bishops and pastors appeared to have completely lost the faith, and now seem to be teaching the very opposite of what God revealed to his Church, the truths practiced and taught by the Church since the days of the Apostles. I could give you example after example. Let me give you just one.

One of the last things Christ did before his Ascension into heaven, was to order, order, the Apostles to go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. It has always been the greatest task of the Church to bring all nations to the truth of Jesus Christ. For two thousand years we sent out missionaries to baptize the pagans, we did our best to preserve the souls of the faithful from the deceits and errors of Protestantism and other heresies. And we were always ready to welcome with joy all converts who wished to be members of the Catholic Church and avail themselves of the graces of her sacraments. Compare this attitude with Pope Francis, who actually said (and this is a direct quote): “The worst thing you can do is religious proselytizing.” Proselytizing is the new-fangled Vatican II word meaning “convert”. He’s telling Catholics that the worse thing they can do is try and convert non-Catholics. He’s telling us to disobey Christ’s commandment to teach and baptize. Unbelievable.

After all, what did Christ do with the lepers? Did he “dialog” with them as Pope Francis would have us do? Did he pat them on the back, and commend them for being “good lepers”? Did he congratulate them for their diversity, welcoming them into society so that they could infect the healthy? Did he apologize to them that they had been marginalized from the rest of society? No. He healed them. And our mission as Catholics is also to heal. To instruct the ignorant. To rebuke the wicked. To convert the sinful. Christ never told us to just “be nice” to non-Catholics or fallen-away Catholics by lying to them. Certainly, we can be charitable to them, we can be polite and civilized, tolerating to a certain extent their error. But not by lying to them and telling them their error is on an equal level as the truth of the Catholic Faith. It’s not “nice” to lie to them as Pope Francis would have us do. It’s not “nice” to tell them that they should continue in their lack of faith, or in their sinful way of life, or in their disobedience to God’s law. I cannot stand here and lie to you and tell you that there will be no consequences when you die. Nor should we lie to our neighbor.

On the contrary, to allow our neighbor to remain in this kind of blissful ignorance is a sin on our part against charity. How can we truly love our neighbor as ourselves if we just abandon them to their fate? Love of our neighbor demands that we strive to bring them into the arms of their merciful Saviour, repentant for any sins they have committed, and eager to make up for lost time by leading a life of renewed virtue and a burning love of God.

And how many will do that? Well, there were ten lepers. And we know how many returned to thank Christ. Only one out of ten got the message. The rest may have been healed, but only one was made truly whole again. Sure, the other nine, their bodies were made whole again, but so what if their souls remained as putrid and decayed as they were before? In the world today, how many live their lives according to God’s will and not their own? Would I really dare say it’s only one out of ten? My dear faithful, I doubt very much it’s even a tenth of that.

What do we need to do to make sure we are the one in ten? Certainly it’s not enough just to say “sorry” to God. We have to make reparation for our sins. How? It’s actually quite simple in theory. We have to follow Christ’s commandments. “If ye love me,” he said, “ye will keep my commandments.” It’s not enough then for our sins to be forgiven. We have to do something in return. We have to love God by obeying his commandments, by obeying his will and not our own. We have to give up our own sinful attachments, our own sinful appetites, and obey God. Now we are showing God some true love, real gratitude for what he has done for us. First we believe in what he has told us, what he has commanded, and then we follow his commands. First we have faith. And then we put this faith into practice.

Make no mistake about it, because your eternal salvation depends on it. It isn’t enough to say “Lord, Lord” and ask for mercy on Judgment Day. We have to do our part now. As Our Lord passes through today, let us ask him for mercy with arms outstretched. Let us live our lives with renewed faith and love, so that when he comes again in glory to judge both the quick and the dead, and we beg his mercy one last time, he will once again stop and reach out his merciful hand to us, and invite us to be with him this day in Paradise. May we be preserved from an eternity of suffering and regret! May Almighty God spare us from that fate, by inspiring us today to “show ourselves to the priest”, asking for the mercy of God and the forgiveness of our sins, and then committing ourselves once more to a life of faith. Let us all be blessed to hear, like the leper, the comforting words of our Saviour, “Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.”


 Sermons from the Chaplain