iBreviary on the Web
I have always been a bit of a purist when it comes to prayer. What do I mean by that? Well, I have always preferred to pray using a book or some other tangible accessory like a Rosary. I suppose you could say I’m a bit of a kinetic pray-er insofar as holding something in my hands gives me a sense of comfort. For me, there is just something affirming about grabbing my breviary, turning pages, and flipping ribbons. Nothing really says it’s prayer time than grabbing that special book filled with God’s Word.
Of course, flipping ribbons is precisely what iBreviary has done a marvelous job of mitigating. For those who may not be familiar, the breviary in its native form is actually a four volume set of books with multiple sections including the Office of Readings, Four Week Psalter, Gradual Psalms, Proper of Saints, Commons, hymns, poetry, and prayers. To pray a single hour can sometimes involve flipping to multiple sections of the book, especially in the case of a Solemnity or Feast Day. iBreviary, on the other hand, has taken care of all the flipping by formatting each hour automatically. All anyone would have to do is open the app, click the hour, and pray.
The simplicity of iBreviary is truly an evolution of technology. In fact, the term breviary, which means “brief,” grew out of need largely because of the mendicant orders, particularly the Franciscans, who were always travelling and therefore needed to pack light. The Breviary was a condensed version of the Psalter and other Rites of prayer. One could say it was an effecient use of the technology they had at the time, before the age of computers and smart phones. Yes, there was a time when all the flipping was the norm (and for some of us still is, eh hem), but iBreviary has made praying the Liturgy of the Hours simple and convenient such that anyone could pray using the app. It really is the next logical step in making use of the technology at our disposal.
While I do appreciate the convenience of iBreviary, especially when travelling or on the road, there’s really no substitute, in my humble opinion, for an actual book in the hand–the ribbons, the prayer cards used as book marks (because there aren’t enough ribbons), the crinkled pages, the little notes in the margins, the pages wilted with tears, the crumpled pages in the back, the layers of tape holding the cover on–it adds a certain substance to prayer times that an electronic device just could never replace.
Having said all that, I am happy to share that I’ve found a way to incorporate iBreviary into this website. I’ve noticed the last couple of days that I can’t download the daily updates to my iBreviary app. There must be something wrong with their servers because I did everything I could to try and get it working. In any event, I visited their website to see if there was some statement about their servers being affected due to the pandemic. There was no information on the site, but I did notice they offered a website widget of the app. So, I decided to add it to the sidebar of this site. Now, visitors of the site can use it for prayer, including the daily Mass readings, and other prayers. It’s a great resource for any Catholic.