Nothing Dearer Than Christ
Oblate Letter of the
Elgin, Moray, IV30 8UA, Scotland .U.K..
ph(01343) 890257 fax(01343) 890258
DMB Series No.27 2015 Exaltation of the Cross Autumn quarter
COMMENTARY ON PSALM 116 "Alleluia." Though there are only two verses, the full glory of a heading is assigned to them, so that we may realise that however few the words uttered in the Lord's praises, they are always as full as can be. None can doubt that the source of praise of heavenly splendour must not be labelled insignificant. Appropriately joined to it is the figure called in Greek hormos, for it preserves the continuity of the speech to the end with no change of spokesman or theme, continuing with the one meaning from beginning to end.
Content of the Psalm
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Though this psalm does not allow of division because of the small number of verses, it transcends all others in the economy of its utterance. It is the prime particle of the psalms, exhibiting the distinction of the point from which the line grows and from which different types of figures are shaped in most learned diversity.
Explanation of the Psalm
"Praise the Lord, all ye nations, and praise him together, all ye people." We must associate this psalm too with the character of martyrs, for the holy men speak as though they have already completed their glorious suffering, saying that all nations must be roused to praise the Lord, for He bestowed on His servants such things as caused them to be inspired by His exemplary deeds. Where are the Donatists, who lyingly boast that the faith has been bestowed on their gathering alone? 2 That chorus of the saints cries out that all nations must praise the Lord; if only the Donatists even in our company would do what they lyingly claim to perform uniquely. Next comes: And praise him together, all ye people. Collective praise is that uttered in unison by all the faithful, and is seen to befit the Catholic Church assembled from different parts of the world. All nations in common are exhorted among the people so that none at the Lord's judgment may claim that they were not included." For his
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mercy is confirmed upon us, and the truth of the Lord remains forever." The reason is given why the Lord must be praised throughout the world: it is because He has fulfilled His promises made through the holy prophets by His coming to us. His mercy towards the Christian people is confirmed and will not be moved forever, for He who granted it, as we justly believe, protects us with His pity. He added: "And the truth of the Lord remains for ever." The truth of the Lord here means the Son; as He Himself says: I am the way, the truth and the life! In the view of the utterly mad Arian, there was a time- this is a sacrilege to utter-when the Son was not. That means that there would have been a time when the Father was without the Truth, the Way and the Life. But since we must believe that the Father was never without them, it befits our salvation and truth itself to confess the Son as coeternal and consubstantial with the Father through all things. In addition Scripture says: All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made. If time was created through the Son, how could time exist when its Creator was not? Absurdity always thus attends on base errors. They append a third falsehood: The Father is always predicated as anterior to the Son. Where is the relevant passage? "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God." You observe that there is no anterior order there. Indeed, in many places the Son is named first, as in the
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passage of Paul to the Ephesians: "Do you not know that no fornicator and unclean person has inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God?" And to the Galatians: "Paul an apostle, not by man nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father." And to the Thessalonians: "Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who has loved us." And the second letter to the Corinthians: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God." So that you would understand the equality of the whole Trinity, he added:" And the communication of the holy Spirit be with you all." We read also of the holy Spirit as Lord, and placed first. Paul says to the Thessalonians:"The Lord direct your hearts in the charity of God and the patience of Christ." The holy Spirit is being implored to guide the hearts of believers in both the love of God and the patience of Christ. So citation of one of the Trinity earlier or later will indicate no preference to the listener; human speech cannot express itself otherwise. In God we must reckon there is no disparity or diversity. We rightly believe that where there is one God, no lesser or greater can be found. Unity knows no number, equality allows no scale. As Scripture says: "Thou shalt not go up by steps to my altar."
Conclusion Drawn From the Psalm
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The tiny psalm is enclosed in the most capacious brevity. What more expansive sentiment can be spoken than that the Creator must be praised all over the world? This is a fertile brevity, a restricted abundance, the broadest of confines, narrows which have no boundary. What sweet and remarkable variation, now expressing saving thoughts in a few aphorisms, now relating great tidings in extended speech, so that weary mortals should not experience distaste in their very diligence; for the pleasant diversity gives them appetite. Perhaps the enquiry may be raised why this psalm contains only two verses whereas by contrast Psalm 118 is seen to be prolonged to 176 verses, and several others are shaped differently according to the nature of the themes. Perhaps this consideration is found to explain it: just as a harmony or beautiful melody of musical power makes a perfect song from different sounds and tones, so these psalms, now short, now of medium length, now very long form a single harmony with the most delightful sweetness. An alternative credible explanation is that they denote the Lord's future kingdom in which the saints' diverse merits shine according to the nature of their deeds, though the one blessedness and eternal sweetness is bestowed on all of them."
From The Oblatemaster's Desk
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The "Suscipe" that we say at our oblation is from the longest psalm 118 and today we have a monastic commentary from Cassiodorus ( whom we quoted 23 oblate letters ago, six years ago on psalm 94 in oblate letter number 3) a commentary on the shortest psalm number 116-- which comes into, is the meat in the sandwich of "THE "LITTLE OFFICE"(that is always an alternative "Divine Office" for hard pressed oblates whether hard pressed by time, age or illness--reminder, as follows:
V/ O GOD, COME TO MY AID.
R/ O LORD, MAKE HASTE TO HELP ME.
GLORY BE TO THE FATHER AND TO THE SON AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT.
AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING, IS NOW AND EVER SHALL BE, WORLD
WITHOUT END. AMEN.
O PRAISE THE LORD, ALL YOU NATIONS,
ACCLAIM HIM ALL YOU PEOPLES!
STRONG IS HIS LOVE FOR US;
HE IS FAITHFUL FOR EVER.
GLORY BE TO THE FATHER AND TO THE SON AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT.
AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING, IS NOW AND EVER SHALL BE, WORLD
WITHOUT END. AMEN."
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If we read Cassiodorus' commentary (or any other commentary of the Fathers of the Church) we realize that such a small psalm prayed with the right intention is not insignificant. As St Benedict emphatically makes plain, following our Lord, it is not by our length that we are heard in our prayers but by our compunction and purity of heart. Nevertheless we still pray our Divine office if and as we are able and may the Lord bless us in all our efforts-- and the smallest visible performance may sometimes take the largest and sincerest effort.
Books and Media Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska--Divine Mercy in My Soul --'"I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful heart. Jesus also tells her to record His message of mercy in a diary:"You are the secretary of My mercy. I have chosen you for that office in this life and the next."'What better way of preparing for the Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis about to begin than reading this diary of a Saint so dear to St John-Paul? ISBN number 976-1-59614-110-0 published by the Marian Press. Price new 20 Euros The “UK Oblates Team" have a website www.benedictine-oblates.net that often has very useful information and articles and advertises events.
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Our own website is www.Pluscardenabbey.org and it has a section "Oblates" which has all the oblate letters of Pluscarden for the last eighteen years or so-- the most recent- mid-2011 onwards are on the link which you click onto on the oblate part of the website where it says "HERE" or use this link valeofstandrew.blogspot Kristo Buase's new website: www.kristobuasemonastery.org sign up for its newsletter-- Br Martin is making his solemn profession on the 1st November 2015 I think.
For our new Oblates Kevin Maximilian Shinkwin, now Lord Shinkwin! and Dr. Deirdre Benedict McGovern; new novice oblates David Muir and Siobhan Gilmour. Golden Jubilarian's:- priesthood -Fr. John Kirwan, John McKinlay-marriage. For Pat Carrigan's diaconal studies. For Deacon Peter Morris C.Ss R. being ordained priest at St Mary's Cathedral Aberdeen on the 26th October. For Abbot Anselm's and Bishop Hugh's intentions. For vocations to Pluscarden-- for Br Mina who is from Egypt a country of persecution and is a pre--postulant and all aspirants. St Mary's, Petersham and Kristo Buase. Br. Adrian and Br. Finbar, and Br. Timothy's health.
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Please pray for Br. Cyprian who is in his Silver Jubilee year of Profession
For Brothers Joseph( whose mother just had a stroke) and John who have come to us from Tien Phuoc priory in Vietnam for two years.
For the repose of the soul of Oblate Maurice Dufficy, and for his wife who has just had a stroke.
Please pray for our sick Oblates and their relatives & especially Oblates Fr. Bob Halshaw, Paul Costello and postulant Oblate Albert Paterson both cancer treatment. Mrs. Allie Brien, Mrs. Alice Sullivan who was 90 on the 21st August. Gitte Mackay and Maggie Barrett, Paul Miller, Margaret Rawcliffe, Mrs. Gertrude Corker’s two daughters, Bob Barr, Brian Milne, Gail Schmitz continued improvement, Fiona Sellar, Martin's wife Mary, Graham Dunbar, Alison Donald, Beth Fraser and her husband Chris, Bob Clark, Nick MaCrae’s son, Martin MaCrae battling illness, Dr. David Paterson and his wife Angela, Jacqui’s daughter Sally, Hester, Poppy Sinclair, Ian and Frederick Brodie--the twins, for Pat Foster poorly, Eddy Sands, Johan Baillie, James and Helen Timoney both very ill and Pat Foster also very ill, Carolyn and Marshall Boardman and especially their son Malcolm, Martin Farrelly and especially for his wife Val(anyone got any news of them?), David Braine, Susan Stephen, Evelyn needs prayers for illness, Violet, Sheila and all friends of the Abbey
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and for all oblates, and all the sick, and those who care for them--and for Josaphat our sponsored seminarian.
- Mass of Re-dedication of the Abbey Church here this November 5th 2015 at 11.00 am followed by buffet lunch (sorry accommodation full up).
- 21st November Presentation of Our Lady---renewal of oblation after Mass at the Abbey, preceded by a talk by Fr. Benedict.
- Oblate Retreat here at Pluscarden--NB Change of time SECOND weekend of Lent February 2015 led by Fr. Abbot, our Abbot Anselm, as before, a great success-- thank you Fr. Abbot! Do mark it in your diary for the SECOND Weekend of the Second Sunday of Lent for 2016. (The change is because of Fr. Dunstan's Silver Jubilee!)--if staying arrange with the guestmaster, Fr. Bede, please.
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•St Mungo’s Chapter Glasgow. As announced. Peter Aitken 11, Maxwell Grove, Glasgow. G41 5JP. Phone: 0141 4272084. Numbers have been steadily increasing.
•St Margaret’s Chapter, Dunfermline as announced. Contact Pat Carrigan email@example.com
•St. Monica’s Chapter, Thurso. Contact Jane Coll. "Scaraben”, Westside, Dunnet, Thurso, Caithness, KY14 8YD. Phone 01847 851467 as announced.
•ST.PETER'S CHAPTER OF OBLATES-restored: Aberdeen-- GOOD NEWS --MEETINGS WILL START AGAIN ON NOVEMBER THE FIRST WEDNESDAY(4th November) IN ST.PETER'S church parish ROOM BETWEEN 5PM AND 6PM AND WILL MEET EVERY MONTH AFTER THAT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE AND IT WILL BE "ST.PETER'S CHAPTER". AS I AM INTO CHURCH ON WEDNESDAY'S PREPARING THE BULLETIN ANYWAY ---Brian---- MY CONTACT DETAILS WILL BE e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org that's my personal e-mail address my tel no 01224 485781 mobile no 07443032289 ----- from Brian Milne
•New Chapter—St.Mirin’s Chapter. Date: 1st Saturday each month. Time 2-4 pm. Venue: Hall 2, St Mirin’s Cathedral, Cathedral Precincts, Incle Street Paisley, PA1 1HR—secure parking there within Cathedral enclosure. Farther information: St Mirin Chapter, Benedictine Oblate Group, c/o Campbell Murdoch, Fircroft, Knockbuckle Road, Kilmacolm, PA13 4JT m: 07810 350006
UGANDAN SEMINARIAN NEW UPDATE
The Pluscarden Oblates continue to support Josaphat our 22 year old
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Seminarian. He is about to begin MAJOR SEMINARY with your help. Letter follows from Paul Costello:-
I am writing to you all, after informing Fr. Martin, of the position I find myself in. I have recently been diagnosed with a Melanoma Cancer on the lung. As the future is unclear I feel unable to continue with the organisation of the sponsorship. I am therefore asking for someone to take up this important task.
In addition, as the cost of Josaphat’s education has increased now that he is in the Major Seminary, there is a real need to attract more sponsors.
Please keep me in your prayers.
Yours in Christ,
Paul Costello, 4, Commercial Road, Ellon, Aberdeenshire AB41 9BD Tel:- 01358-721512 Mobile:- 07762-432080
As the Year of Mercy approaches may the Lord grant that we may all even now take up the tools of Good Works "and never to despair of the mercy of God" RB ch. 4
May God bless you all!
Fr. Martin PAX