Nothing Dearer than Christ”
Oblate letter of the Pluscarden Benedictines, Elgin, Moray, Scotland. IV30 8UA.
Ph.(01343) 890257 fax 890258
DMB series No 11
Autumn-- Triumph of the Cross---2011
Monastic Voice From The Oblatemaster’s Desk
“Where is the strength of Christ?' Horns are in his hands, there is his strength hid.' Indeed horns are in his hands, because his hands were nailed to the arms of the cross. But what strength is there in such weakness, what height in such lowliness? What is there to be venerated in such abjection? Surely something is hidden by this weakness, something is concealed by this humility. There is something mysterious in this abjection. O hidden strength: a man hangs on a cross and lifts the load of eternal death from the human race; a man nailed to wood looses the bonds of everlasting death that hold fast the world. 0 hidden power: a man condemned with thieves saves men condemned with devils, a man stretched out on the gibbet draws all men to himself. O mysterious strength: one soul coming forth from torment draws countless souls with him out of hell, a man submits to the death of the body and destroys the death of souls. Good Lord, living Redeemer, mighty Saviour, why did you conceal such power under such humility? Was it that you might deceive the devil, who by deceiving man had thrown him out of paradise? But truth deceives no one. He who is ignorant or does not believe the truth, deceives himself, and whoever sees the truth and hates or despises it, deceives himself. But truth itself deceives no one. ……..You did not assume human nature to conceal what was known of yourself, but to reveal what was not known…… The thing was itself a mystery, not made mysterious. It was not done like this so that it might be hidden, but so that it might be accomplished in the way ordained”.--St Anselm,
Benedictine monk of Bec, Normandy, later Abbot & later still Archbishop of Canterbury wrote this “Meditation on Human Redemption.” His “Monastic” voice is singularly appropriate as we celebrate the elevation of two of our Benedictine monks of our monastery, French in its roots, one to the episcopate and the other to the abbatial office. Abbot emeritus Hugh is now Bishop of Aberdeen and Fr Anselm (whose patron we have quoted) is now our new Abbot. The Rule says Ch 49 that
The life of a monk ought always to be a Lenten observance,” and so the Triumph of The Cross which falls about this same time of the issue of this 11
Oblate Letter of Autumn re-echoes our monastic voice of St. Anselm, on the dying and the fruitfulness of the Cross, each truly being a part of the double elevations we celebrate. The Diocese of Aberdeen has lost a bishop & gained a bishop. The Abbey of Pluscarden has lost an abbot & gained an abbot. The monastery of St Mary’s has lost a long-time superior and is confident in the Resurrection and the Triumph of the Cross! In all this there is both Lent & Easter, the Cross & the Triumph which continues in hope.
The Church, the Diocese of Aberdeen, the Abbey of Pluscarden, the monasteries of St Scholastica’s & St. Mary’s Petersham are all in pilgrimage together to and with the Lord. Our new Abbot Anselm has just reminded us in one of his first conferences to his community at Pluscarden that we are like the disciples on pilgrimage to Emmaus as we journey into the future. “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" (Luke 24.26) Did we not realise that we must suffer the Cross of loss to receive new life—the Church, the Diocese, our monasteries? Jn. 3.16-- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” God does not ask of us what He has not done first the Gospel of the Triumph of the Cross reminds us. He gave His only Son. God is eternally emptying Himself that He may be filled with the plenitude of His life in the Holy Trinity, one God. “The thing was itself a mystery, not made mysterious. It was not done like this so that it might be hidden, but so that it might be accomplished in the way ordained”—The Triumph of the Cross… “Indeed horns are in his hands, because his hands were nailed to the arms of the cross. But what strength is there in such weakness, what height in such lowliness?
NB:The Section” Books and Media”is “on the shelf”in this issue because of excess of news!
Prayer Intentions and Events.
We are pleased to announce the election of Abbot Anselm Atkinsonwho is a “son of the
”, a peninsula
Liverpool, apologies, correction! Owing to the recent appointment of Abbot Hugh Gilbert as bishop of Aberdeen and his Episcopal Ordination on the 15
of August we the monks of Pluscarden have had to elect a new superior. On Tuesday 9th August, Dom Anselm Atkinson was elected by the monks as third Abbot of Pluscarden. His election was confirmed by Abbot Bruno Marin, Abbot President of the Subiaco Congregation. Dom Anselm was duly installed as Abbot by the Right Reverend Francis Baird, Abbot of Prinknash Abbey, acting on Abbot Bruno's behalf. The date for Abbot Anselm's blessing will be the third of October.
Abbot Anselm made his first monastic vows at Pluscarden in 1976 at the age of nineteen. He was ordained priest in 1982 by the Right Reverend Mario Conti, who was then Bishop of Aberdeen. He was sent to study at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, where he gained a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture. Since the late 1980s he has been permanently resident at our daughter house in Petersham, Massachusetts, where he was Superior until his election as Abbot of Pluscarden. In 2003 he was elected Abbot Visitor, which entails monitoring the progress of all the monasteries in our province.
We warmly invite all our Oblates &; friends to join their prayers to ours in thanksgiving for Abbot Anselm's election and to support him in his future ministry. Please pray for Bishop Hugh Gilbert too! Br. Simon is making his Simple Profession on the 14
September, please God.
Please pray for
vocations to the monastery & for our Noviciate. Continue to pray & in thanks for the Scottish Ordinariate especially for newly-ordained
Len Black (Diaconate Pluscarden, Priesthood in Greenock) and his flock in Inverness & all his charges throughout Scotland! We pray also for
Br Gregory now Carthusian
Gregory ordained 31
August! We pray for new Oblates Paul Francis
Van Rooyen, Henry
Logan, Lady Joan
Baillie, Rev. Donald
. Prentice & Philip
Elizabeth of Hungary
Hammond, for novice, Rev. Dr. Michael Ross, and for postulants, Lilian Bailey, Roger Gleaves, Alice McLeod, Marie Cumming, Tony Parr, Rebecka Winell-Reid, Mark Trimming & Georgina Quinn.Pray for our Provincial chapter at Pluscarden 5-9 Sept.
for the repose of the souls of:- Br. Michael’s Mother, Oblate,
Sylvia Mary de Klerk,
for Phil Hammond’s Sister, Frances, Eileen Kerr’s Husband Alec, James Cairn’s Sister-in-law Faye.
Please pray for all the sick especially
Bob Barr with failing sight,
Gail Schmitz, Marie Clare Fernandez, Bob Clark, James Cairns, Martin Macrae, Irene Coultard, David Paterson & his Wife, for Beth Fraser, Mary Roche, Poppy Sinclair, and for all the sick.
YEAR JULY 27
TO JULY 30
2nd to 5
August on CALDEY ISLAND (WALES!) to commemorate 100
anniversary of the conversion of the Caldey community. At this stage simply please let me know (name & contact details) that you intend to come. (
Caldey have minimum charges & there is the travel down to consider)
if anyone is interested in forming an Edinburgh group please get in touch with Robert Hill at or phone him on 07905 407 936
St Mungo’s Chapter Glasgow
. As announced. Peter Aitken 11, Maxwell Grove, Glasgow. G41 5JP. Phone:0141 4272084.
St Margaret’s Chapter Dunfermline.
Pat Carrigan ------------at
: 07853 407 913 .
of June they had an anniversary Mass
St. Monica’s Chapter, Thurso
. Contact Jane Coll (website manager Benedictine-oblates) on 01847 851701 or at
St. Peter’s Chapter
Telephone 01224 485 78119 Donview House Seaton Crescent, Seaton, Aberdeen, AB24 1TZ.
St Mary’s Chapter Dundee
. May 21
and dates as agreed 11.30 at St. Mary’s High Street, Lochee, Dundee. -------info. St Mary’s,.
PRAYERFUL BLESSINGS ON THE TRIUMPH OF THE CROSS
Fr Martin pax