It is with the hope that English lay folk will learn to value more highly, and understand more clearly, the beauty, dignity, and antiquity of the Church's public liturgical prayer that this little book has been translated into English. While there are so many books of private devotion-of various degrees of excellence and authority-the one devotional book to be used above all others, which has grown with the Church's growth and nourished the devotion of her saints, which is intimately bound up with her history and full of her spirit, seems to be forgotten, to be set aside as dry and archaic, or to be regarded as the private property of clergy and religious. Yet there is no book richer in treasures of devotion, endowed with higher authority, or more capable of producing in the souls of those who use it digne, attente, ac devote, a devotional temper at once hearty and strong and truly Catholic.
It is much to be regretted that the history of the Roman Breviary is so little known, even to those upon whom the Church has laid the obligation of its daily recital throughout the year. Were priests and religious better instructed in the origin, development, and purpose of the book with which in one sense they are so familiar, we are confident they would fulfil their obligation with greater fervour and respect, and by this means the reign of God would be more perfectly realized both in the hearts of those who are priests and in the souls of the faithful entrusted to their care. I t is for the benefit of priests occupied in the work of the ministry, who may have neither the time nor opportunity to consult the works recently published on the Breviary, that we have undertaken to give in the following pages an abstract of the monumental work of Dom Baumer on the history of the Roman Breviary, while making use at the same time of the less voluminous work of Mgr. Batiffo.
"We conclude with the following words of Dom Baumer: "The earthly psalmody, or, in other words, the praises of God uttered by the lips of priests and monks, either in their solitary cells or in the choir in church, are but the echo of those eternal songs which the elect, in union with the choirs of saints and angels, sing to the melodies of the heavenly Jerusalem before the throne of the Lamb. May we all find ourselves among the elect, that we may for ever be eternally associated with those choirs of blessed spirits. Here below in our exile let us practise with fervour that which is to be our endless occupation in the realms of bliss in our Father's House.""
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