Almost everything traditional before Vatican II, like the Breviary, is so much more difficult and time consuming. Anyone who goes to the Tridentine Mass knows that it is so much harder to kneel in silence during Holy Mass and the same can be said for the altar boys.
It is the same with the Breviary. At the beginning of Lent, I plunged into the Latin Breviary. Many priest I know told me to go slowly with maybe Lauds and Vespers. The Liturgy of the hours took me around an hour to do. The Latin Breviary is still taking around 2 1/2 hours. Many many times I have been tempted to return to the Liturgy of the Hours to save time. But by God’s grace I have persevered. In one week you pray all 150 psalms. In the new liturgy of the hours you do them in a four week cycle.
For anyone interested, there is an app for ninety nine cents, called BrevMeum. You can download it on to your iPhone or iPad. To begin with, I would pray the Breviary on my iPad. It is easy to do because it is already organized for that day. It says the date and lists the hours: Matutinum (Matins), Laudes (Lauds), Prima (Prime), Tertia (Terce), Sexta (Sext), Nona (None), Vesperae (Vespers), and Completorium (Compline). The Novus Ordo Liturgy of the Hours is hard enough, but the Latin Breviary is very hard and confusing to follow. So starting with the app is a good way to begin. There is a pamphlet explaining how to pray the Breviary called “Learning the Traditional Breviary” an explanation of the code of rubrics for the traditional (1961) breviaries romanum being that promulgated by Summorum Pontificum by Bernard A Hausmann, S. J. This can be purchased from Angelus Press for $14.95. There is a Roman Breviary printed by Baronius Press that has English along side the Latin. I cost $300 and has three volumes. But sad to say it is not available right now because it is sold out till more are printed. See how much the Catholic Tradition is growing that they can not print enough liturgy books to keep up with the growth.
I asked several priest to help me start with the actual printed Breviary. It is somewhat like the Liturgy of the Hours and that helps if you know it. But it still is much more complicated. So I still use my app to help me find my place in the book. Little by little I am learning how to do it. One reason I wanted to use the printed book was because all that electric screen motion is not good for your eyes or mind. When I began, I was spending 4 hours praying the electronic Breviary. Then all the time I spend in front of the computer to write this blog.
Being that it is in latin, makes it harder to concentrate and understand. But I believe in catholic tradition, and so I have been making the sacrifice of praying this Breviary. As I said before, all things traditional are way more difficult and longer. But it is worth it.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest thing a priest can do in his day. He offers it for his and the salvation of all. Then comes the Divine Office or Breviary. These times of prayer are set aside so that Prayer comes first and sanctifies the day. Prayer is the hardest thing to make time for. But when I pray, things go much better.
I know that this is not too interesting to those who are not obliged to do the Breviary like priest and religious, but the information needs to get out to other priest. All over the world there are priest like myself who start saying the Tridentine Mass and from there begins the discovery of all the other Rites and prayers. You begin to look at the Rite for Baptism. You look at the Rite for Blessing Holy Water. You look at the Breviary. So this is for these priest who, like myself, want to do what is best for God, even though it is so so difficult.
It is wonderful to be a traditional catholic priest, but it sure takes so so much sacrifice and love. It is wonderful to be a traditional catholic lay person, but it takes great discipline to travel so far just to find a Tridentine Mass. It takes a lot of guts when everyone ridicules you at church for dressing modestly and covering your head with a vail. But when we die, God will reward each and everyone of us.
Finally we need to always keep in mind that prayer is the greatest thing we can do each day. Being lazy, as we all are, it will make life go easier by asking for God’s help. Try as much as you want to live life your way, but when it isn’t working our, why not try praying much more.
The original author of this blog and passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.