Death by Breviary

This is going to be a boring post so bear with me.

In the seminary, the most beloved book isn’t the bible.  No, not Dan Brown novels either (it’s just a phase, really).  Not even the Pugad-Baboy, Beerkada and the wonderful Kiko Machine series either.  FHM and Maxim failed to qualify too because technically, they’re magazines, not books.  Beloved friends, the most loved and most used book by a seminarian is the breviary.

seminarian\'s prayerbookIf you’ve met a seminarian before, you probably saw a breviary already.  But because you’re a heathen, you don’t know it’s called that way.  It’s that thick book they’re often holding which many laypeople mistook for a bible.  The breviary is the official prayerbook of priests and seminarians, often two-inch thick, but it can be thicker because of a seminarian’s habit of stuffing its pages with countless istampitas (holy cards), novenas and, syempre, pictures of girlfriends, both real and imagined.

The breviary is the book version of one of he official prayers of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours.  Litugy of the Hours is the Church’s traditional way of sanctifying the hours, through prayer and meditation on the psalms and other choice biblical passages.   On an ordinary day, according to the Litugy of the Hours, an ordinary Christian should pray seven times a day.  While in theory, Liturgy of the Hours should be prayed by all the members of the Church, in reality, it is reluctantly prayed alone by priests, nuns, monks and seminarians.  This is simply because these prayers often last from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, a daunting task for a person with busy TV-watching schedule.   So, breviary is somewhat a misnomer as its latin root word is “brevis” meaning short.  Well… technically, they’re right because the complete version of the liturgy of the hours is composed of four books of similar thickness.  Heavy enough to be used as doorstop.

Breviary can test the aptitude of a seminarian in liturgy.  One can easily catch who really knows how to open his breviary on the right page, and who is just winging it.  Let me give you an example.

Let’s give a fictional situation for you to see how difficult this book is.  Say it’s Sunday and you wanted to pray the breviary.  So you opened your breviary and asked yourself, Sunday of what week?  Good thing there’s only four week to choose from so you find out that for today you are to use Week Four.  Then  you realized that today is the Feast of St. Thomas.   So before you pray, you must find out first look what kind of saint is this particular Thomas:  is he a priest?  an apostle?  a doctor of the church?  or simply a holy man?  You see there’s twenty Thomases among the Catholic saints, the popular omong them are St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Thomas Beckett, St. Thomas More, St. Thomas of Villanova, etc.   Now since this is just an example, let’s say you saw in your breviary that it’s St. Thomas the Apostle. 

At this point you will open your breviary to chapter called Proper of the Saints and look for Thomas’s feastday among the calendar of saints.  (are you still reading this?) After finding it,  it will tell you to please open your breviary to the Proper of Feast for Apostles.  So you go to that page and there you’ll be pointed out to use the Sunday of Week One and not Week Four (wow, you’re still reading this!).  Then upon opening to Sunday Week One, the prayer leader intoned and you realized that feasts of saints are not celebrated on sundays according to the Table of Liturgical Precedence  so you hurry back to Week Four.  But then you realized this Sunday celebrates the Solemnity of say, Trinity, so you now go and open your breviary to the Proper for the Feast of the Holy Trinity, which is buried somewhere in there.  and then you realized that….  (You probably get the idea now).

Yes, this book may be tough, but still, once you’ve get the hang of it, it’s all a breeze really.  We were told during our novitiates that we are to treat them like they’re our wives, just like how soldiers treat their issue rifles with the same affection.  I guess their right.  The priests who had been faithful in praying their breviaries are the ones that last long in the ministry.  It only goes to shopw that for every man, the best way to keep on track is to keep your “wife” close, regularly, lovingly, devotedly be it a prayer book, a gun or a real human being. 


21 Responses

  1. Bro Utoy, your blog title is so appropriate. Using the breviary is so confusing, although maybe the example you gave us was really meant to confuse us and see how loyal we are to you as blog readers. Well, I made it to the end so that only means one thing… I am a loyal fan… or was I just so bored in the office that reading your explanation on the breviary was more interesting. Nah, I am a fan.

    What struck me though is the fact that (per the breviary) we Christians should pray at least seven times a day. Mukhang talo pa natin yung mga Muslim who pray (sala) only 6 times a day! I guess, bottom line is that any chance for you to pray to God is the best be it 7 or 100 times a day (or more).

    By the way, my wife will be undergoing a colonoscopy on Wednesday. Could you include her in your prayers? Thanks!

    sure, leap. I’ll include pinky’s intentions on our Mass tomorrow.
    as for the 7 prayers, buti pa ang muslim, faithful sa prayers. ang mga pari, usually, only two of the seven prayers na lang. but the monks and cloistered nuns still pray all seven of them.
    God bless and telll pinky to get well soon.

  2. now, who said that was boring?
    aliw nga ang post na ito, bro utoy.
    magbigay ba ng comparative analysis between seminarian and soldier? hehehe

    and you’re right. di ko rin inusisa akala ko bible lang rin ang mga bitbit ng tulad mo, breviary pala tawag dun.

    dami ko nang alam, pwede na kong sumali sa who wants to be a millionaire dito. hehe

    Godbless brother utoy!


    naku, itatanong yan sigurado sa Name That Tune so lyamado ka na! hehehe… God bless! regards to Juday and Jolens.

  3. uu nga nakaka-bigay aral ka naman… astig sa post…

    napadaan lang po..

    >>> mang BADoy

    thank you for coming at Utoy’s blog, mang BADoy! come again! hehehe…
    sana nag-iwan ka ng URL para madalaw ko rin ang bahay mo. God bless!

  4. okay yan ah.

    pwede ba ako magkaroon nyan?

    pwedeng pwede, taps! God bless!

  5. kuya utoy now ko lang alam na breviary pla ang name ng book na yan (hindi kasi nagtatanong eh!) kala ko diary kasi ang daming sabit-sabit..hehehe

    kung minsan, kamoots, parang diary din kasi andaming nakaipit na loveletters doon. hehehe…

  6. i think nakita ko na rin ‘to sa pinsan ko na isang taon nalng maging pari na pero biglang nag-asawa..hehhh akala ko bible din ‘to iba pala…it’s nice to read your blogs para balance pagkatapos magbasa ng fhm…heheh

    kapatid, pahiram naman ng FHM mo para… ano… para, uhmmmm, mabalance din ang readings ko. God bless!

  7. my bro had been to a seminary before (kasi gusto ko sana ako, kaso i have to provide for the family, so sya na lang ang pinag-simenaryo ko, ako tatrabaho)…’yon pala ang tawag dun, kala ko noon nobenas lang… “treat them like you’re wives”, siguro naging unfaithful ‘yong kapatid ko, kasi after two years eh nag-asawa na…

    bro be faithful ha, he he he

    single ka pa ba, kapatid? pwede pa humabol sa seminaryo namin ang hanggang 39 years old! God bless!

  8. ah, the breviary pala iyon. Thank u bruder for educating us here about the life “inside”..that’s something unique..

    ironically, i am a catholic h-school graduate and we had theology for four years, but i wasnt informed how is it called.., i jst the priest holding it from time to time which i assume to be a bible.

    anyways, all your post are equally engaging 🙂

    salamat, kapatid! akala ko rin noon, bible yun. truth to tell, it is sometimes more read than the bible sa loob ng seminaryo.
    God bless!

  9. brother, dumalaw lang po ako.
    aamin na ako father, hindi ko nabasa ang post mo….patawad!! madaliang blog hop lang po muna ako e…musta po?

    ok lang yun. basta take time to breathe kasi mukhang puro trabaho ah. God bless!

  10. Brother, maraming salamat sa pagdalaw sa aking blog. Hehe.
    Nakakatuwa at napaka-informative ng entry mo.

    Ang kumplikado ng breviary. Naalala ko tuloy noong highschool noong tinatyaga ko ang cathechism of the catholic church pati na ang concordia bible dictionary.

    Balak ko kasing mag-pari noon.

    Pakiramdam ko napaka-kumplikado ng mga bagay-bagay. pagkabasa ko ng CCC opakiramdam ko napaka-makasalanan ko. Hehe.

    At noon, alam ko pa kung anong week na sinong santo ang may pista sa araw, mga ganun, kung anong year na sa liturgical calendar. haha. Pa–hardcore ang school namin noon eh.

    Nga pala, lumipat na ng bahay si samjuan-dito na:

    kitakits doon brother utoy!

    thanks for the invite, sam! uy, if youre still single, it’s not yet too late to be a priest. malay mo… God bless!

  11. Kapatid, teka lang parang wala yatang nagtatanong kung bakit “Death by Breviary” ang title? Hanggang ngayon, i’m still trying to connect the dots even as i prayed mine – baril,asawa,lifetime commitment. Yun na nga siguro. Sensya na tao lang…Medyo morbid lang kasi siguro ang dating ng title sa akin.

    death need not trouble you, kapatid. hehehe… i don’t want to explain the title. nandun ang fun eh. God bless!

  12. I am still using the breviary from time to time, pero mas tawag namin ay Liturgy of the Hours.. according to my very strict mentor friend.

    Anyhoo, with my current sked I can’t anymore keep up with the mid afternoon, night prayer at compline. vespers lang at lauds ang kalimitan ko nadadasal. I still know the ins and outs of the breviary kahit halos ten years na ata ako nasa labas.

    may favorite portion of the LH is pp.1444 pag may kaaway ako haha — go figure.

    per my most favorite day is sunday week 1 because we get to sing and play awit ng paghahangad (Psalm 65) lalo na pag octave ng easter at chritsmas haha, lungad ako sa awit ng paghahangad. Its my vocation song actually. my love song to god na nawala na ata kasi sobrang layo ko na sa kanya. I’m a mess right now. really needs an overhauling.

    anyhoo its so nice that you still get readers for this topic. you are very talented indeed. Pag ako nagsusulat ng tungkol sa diyos, hanubeh walang nagbabasa haha di ata bagay kaya ayan puro tv shows binoblog ko kainis. Im in the process of buying two other hosting accounts so that i can segregate secular stuffs from OTWOMD. Medyo di ako masaya sa takbo ng blog ko.

    BTW, please give me the details on what time alis and itinerary RE: Jhoens’ ordination. Sasagwan lang ako sayo sa oras mo kasi free naman ako anytime. idetalyado mo kapatid. kaw na bahala mag plano. i will wait for your email till this evening

    ikaw ha, office of the dead yung p.1444 ah! hehehe… i love the sunday morning week one too, pero for the wrong reasons: kasi, sa canticle of the three young men inside the oven, may mention ang dolphins, tapos, sa part na “holy men of humble hearts,” pinapakinggan ko ang katabi kong kapampangan. hehehe… bad.
    readership? konti lang kasi ang posts ko kaya may readership. wala na silang mabasa kaya pinagtitiyagaan na lang. bow talaga ako sa mga kaibigan nating bloggers lalo na sa pasensya nila sa mga bagay na ito.
    God bless!

  13. Breviary can test the aptitude of a seminarian in liturgy. One can easily catch who really knows how to open his breviary on the right page, and who is just winging it. Let me give you an example.

    according to my super pilyo brothers in the sem, dyan mo daw makikita ang IQ ng seminarian LOL salbahe ano? parang sinabi ang breviary ang test ng bilis ng utak, tibay ng daliri at listo ng mata LOL

    at tests din yan kung magaling kang mag-lipsync. minsan ganun lang ang ginagawa ko kapag di ko makita ang tamang page. pasimple na lang na sisilip sa katabi habang kunyari alam na alam ang ginagawa. hehehe…

  14. Thanks
    Is this useful?

    uhmmm… you’re welcome?

  15. marami akong naalala.

    maraming salamat.


    maraming salamat sa pagdalaw! kamusta na, yas?

  16. ako din.maraming naalala gaya ni ‘yas.hehe.


    tinago mo pa ba breviary mo, dedpish? dami sigurong nakaipit na pics ng chicks dun ano? hehehe…
    God bless!

  17. I know how to use this breviary before when i was still in canossa and in a seminary in san jose, nueva ecija (taga dun kasi ako, hehehe), ayan, alam mo na past ko, pero nde natuloy ang pagpasok ko, bale aspirant palang ako nung tinuruan nila akong bumasa ng breviary. Sayang lang at nde natuloy, pero im not closing my doors pa nmn, ngaun pa nakilala ko kayo ni rev siopao, toinks!

    Godbless kuya!

    uy, ex-con!üüü alam mo ba sabi nila, ang mga ex-sem, babalik at babalik yan sa seminaryo?
    pero wag si siopao ang gawin mong model. mapapariwara ka lang. hehehe…. (di na niya ito mababasa kasi lumang post na ito.ü)

  18. Hahahaa!!!

    Tumbong kita kay Rev, pero don’t worry wala ng time si rev na magbasa ng lumang post kasi walang time ek ek, toinks!!

    Naku, eto na nga yata ang sumpa, akala ko wala na ung calling, tas bigla kayong pumasok sa eksena, ayan nabuhay muli ang tawag, kayo dapat ang sisihin, toinks!! hehehe..

    aba, kasalanan ko bang may calling ka? hehe… God bless!

  19. […] is one of the loveliest lines I prayed this Advent from my Breviary (Bro Utoy has a good post on this). My new Breviary, by the way, is a gift from my MSC friend. The past decade, I switched […]

  20. […] Pop Quiz Ek-Ek: What does your church wear reveal about you?Oh meyn, top teyn!Confess to UtoyDeath by BreviaryMga Sure-Fire Tips para Hindi Antukin sa SimbahanMga Datkomistas, na-BITAG!!!SMY, Utoy, You Crepe! […]

  21. saan po ako pwede makabili ng murang breviary… i’ve been searching everywhere… ang 4 volumes kasi worth thousands… anun din ang isang volume lang… ang shorter christian prayer din 1k… i checked out st. paul’s mayroon silang 700+ but i’m wondering kung merong mas mura… kahit morning at evening prayers lang po… thanks….


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