"NOTHING DEARER THAN CHRIST"
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DMB Series No. 28 2015
Advent Christmas quarter
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity
46. 'A Christmas in Carmel' "I am writing to you before Matins, in our dear little cell, and I wish I were an artist that I might make a sketch for you of the whole scene. There is a beautiful starry sky, and the moonlight pours into our cell through frozen window panes. It is entrancing. Our window looks on to the ambulatory, an interior garden, surrounded by our big cloister. On a rock in the middle, a large Cross stands out. Everything is silent and calm ; and that makes me think of the night on which little Jesus came to us. I can almost hear the angels singing their sweet hymn: He is indeed Emmanuel, God with us.
A Christmas in Carmel is unique! In the evening I installed myself in the Choir and spent the whole vigil there with Our Lady, waiting for the Divine Child, who would be born this time not in the crib, but in my soul, or rather in our souls, for He is indeed Emmanuel, God with us.
47. 'The God of the Crib' Did not the God of the Crib tell you deep in the silence of your soul what good wishes His Carmelite had confided to Him for you? As the Divine Child dwells in my soul, His prayer is all mine and I love to direct this prayer upon those to whom my heart remains always deeply grateful. Which is just one way of telling you that you have a big share in my poor little prayers ! I have always loved this beautiful feast of Christmas, but in Carmel it has something very special about it. This time, instead of spending the holy vigil between Mother and Marguerite, I spent it during the great silence, in Choir, very close to Him, and I loved thinking to myself: 'He is my All, my One and All.' What happiness, what peace, that brings to my soul. He is the only One. I have given Him everything; if I look towards earth, I see nothing but loneliness and even emptiness, for I cannot say that my heart has not suffered, but if I fix my eyes on Him, my Shining Star , everything else vanishes, and I lose myself in Him like a drop of water in the ocean. There all is calm and tranquil, there I find the wonderful peace of God, the peace St Paul spoke of when He said that 'it surpasses all our thinking'.
Sunday will be the anniversary of the great day of my profession. I shall be in retreat, and am glad to be able to pass the day with my Bridegroom. I am so hungry for Him; He hollows out deep chasms in my soul, chasms which He alone can fill, and, to that end, He plunges me into deep silences which I have, no wish ever to leave.
48. 'To be a constant prayer'
There is so much to be atoned for, so much to be implored; and I am convinced that to meet so many needs one must become a 'constant prayer' and exercise great love. The power of a soul surrendered to love is so great! Magdalene is a wonderful example, one word from her was enough to obtain the resurrection of Lazarus.
In our beloved France we have a great need of God's power to raise us from the dead. I love to call down upon her the Precious Blood He shed for us. St Paul says, 'It is in Him and through His blood that we enjoy redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. So rich is God's grace that has overflowed upon us.' This thought is a great help to me. It is so good in those hours when we feel nothing but our miseries to go and be saved by Him. I am full of such miseries, but God has given me a Mother, an image of His mercy, who is able at a word to calm all the anxieties in the soul of her little one and give her wings with which to fly up into the radiance of the creative Star. So I live in thanksgiving, joining in the eternal praise sung in the heavenly courts, serving my apprenticeship while still on earth.
Pray for your child. Consecrate her with the Sacred Host, so that nothing may remain of poor Elizabeth, but that she may live entirely for the Trinity."
From The Oblatemaster's Desk
"In our beloved France we have a great need of God's power to raise us from the dead. I love to call down upon her the Precious Blood He shed for us. St Paul says, 'It is in Him and through His blood that we enjoy redemption, the forgiveness of our sins." These words are particularly poignant at this time when we mourn the untimely deaths of innocent victims in Paris, may they rest in peace and our Lord comfort the bereaved.
Always the feast of the Holy Innocents and Herod's hatred seem to be closely bound up with God's extravagant love for us shown in Christmas. The humble love of Christ always makes the devil rage.
But often as the military jets fly over us at the Sanctus or at the Consecration here at Pluscarden I muse on the words of a Legionary of Mary in the Stella Maris hostel for down-and-outs in Dublin when hearing oft repeated, mindless oaths from some of the residents-- he would say smiling calmly with conviction "It's their way of praying".
So it is when everything in daily life goes wrong or when inappropriate noise blots out the mostHoly ofwords-- it is the devil glorifying God in the only way he knows how-- in reverse, in negative, in contradiction. BUT the Lord does not allow the devilto IGNORE God's glory and God's love but he must perversely punctuate with his darkness the glories of God's light. The devil is pressed into the service of the Lord's punctuation, black against white, and hellish, ear-splitting discord into God's counterpoint. The devil's rage against the light is tempered into the plangency of God's harmonies.
Let us pray this Advent that the raucous roar of the world both outward and inward may give way this Christmas to a desire and a love so profound that we may join with Blessed Elizabeth saying, "I am so hungry for Him; He hollows out deep chasms in my soul, chasms which He alone can fill, and, to that end, He plunges me into deep silences which I have,
no wish ever to leave."
Books and Media
SISTER ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY Spiritual WritingsLetters, Reatreats and "Unpublished Notes" Edited by M.M Philipon O.P. OCLC no. 19646504 published 1962-- still available new and second-hand. ------a good selection
At the end of her life, she began to call herself "Laudem Gloriae". Elizabeth wanted that to be her appellation in Heaven because it means "praise of glory". She said, "I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and to transform them into Himself."
For Br. Martin Osei of KB who made his Solemn Profession on the 1st November, All Saints. For our new novice Oblates Mairi Cuthbert and Michael Gilfedder. Golden Jubilarian:- priesthood, Fr. John Kirwan, John McKinlay, marriage 25 years. For Pat Carrigan's diaconal studies. For Deacon Peter Morris CSSR. thanksgiving ordained Priest at St Mary's Cathedral Aberdeen on the 26th October and for Mum and Dad and Sister all Oblates. For Abbot Anselm's and Bishop Hugh's intentions. For vocations to Pluscarden-- for Br Vincent who is a postulant from Vietnam and all aspirants. St Mary's, Petersham and Kristo Buase. Br. Adrian and Br. Finbar, and Br. Timothy's health. Please pray for Br. Cyprian who is in his Silver Jubilee year of Profession and keeping the celebration on the 14th December (Solemn Profession) & Fr. Dunstan has his Silver Jubilee of profession the first weekend of Lent next year. For Brothers Joseph and John who have come to us from Tien Phuoc priory in Vietnam for two years to study English.
Humble apologies to Connie Reid--Oblate--When Oblates of Pluscarden told me that Connie Reid had died how was I to know that the Connie Reid of whom they informed me of her death was NOT our Oblate Connie Reid of Peterhead and who is an Oblige of Pluscarden Abbey-- their Connie Reid was, God rest her, not an oblate of Pluscarden and lived in FIFE!-- Apologies our Petrhead Connie! Both have been glad of the extra prayers -- our Connie told me so although our Oblate Connie of Peterhead got a wee bit of a surprise!(Thanks be to God she is still with us -- she has a strong heart!) Also John McKinlay said I'm bumping up his age a wee bit -- it's his silver Jubilee of marriage not his golden Jubilee! Ye cannie be right all the time!
Please pray for our sick Oblates and their relatives & especially Oblates Fr. Bob Halshaw, Paul Costello and postulant Oblate Albert Paterson cancer treatment. For Mairi Cuthbert's husband. Mrs. Allie Brien, Mrs. Alice Sullivan. Gitte Mackay and Maggie Barrett, Paul Miller, Margaret Rawcliffe, Mike Carson-Rowland Mrs. Gertrude Corker’s two daughters, Bob Barr, Brian Milne, Gail Schmitz continued improvement, Fiona Sellar, Martin's wife Mary, Graham Dunbar, 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 du Plessis, Poppy Sinclair,John Gleeson hip operation, Ian and Frederick Brodie--the twins, for Pat Foster poorly, Eddy Sands, Johan Baillie, James and Helen Timoney, and Pat Foster also very ill, Carolyn and Marshall Boardman and especially their son Malcolm, Martin Farrelly and especially for his wife Val, David Braine, Susan Stephen, Evelyn needs prayers for illness, Violet, Sheila and all friends of the Abbey and for all oblates, and all the sick, and those who care for them--and for Josaphat our sponsored seminarian.
Ø 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 (arriving Friday 19th to Monday 22nd February, departing after Monday morning Mass) of Lent for 2016. (The change is because of Fr. Dunstan's Silver Jubilee!)--if staying arrange with the guestmaster, Fr. Bede, please.
Ø Annual Pentecost lectures Tuesday 17th May to Thursday 19th May--Theme:- " Newman on Vatican ll"--Speaker Fr. Ian Ker famous Newman Scholar. If staying please book with Fr. Bede-- unless commuting in.
· St Mungo’s Chapter Glasgow. 2nd Saturday of each month. Peter Aitken 11, Maxwell Grove, Glasgow. G41 5JP. Phone: 0141 4272084. Monthly meetings all year round.
· St Margaret’s Chapter, Dunfermline as announced. Contact Pat Carrigan firstname.lastname@example.org
· 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 STARTED 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 brianbmilne2647ATgmail.com that's my personal e-mail (AT=@))* address my tel no 01224 485781 mobile no 07443032289 ----- from Brian Milne . NB- *REPLACE AT WITH @ TO EMAIL
· 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 UPDATE
“Josaphat, our Ugandan Seminarian, has just completed his first semester at the Major Seminary in Gulu in the north of Uganda thanks to the financial help of the Pluscarden Oblates. He will spend the next 3 years in Gulu studying Theology and Philosophy before his final year in the Ggaba National Seminary near Kampala. The cost of education Josaphat is shared by ourselves and his home Archdiocese of Tororo. Josaphat is now off home to Tororo for Christmas.
To sustain our support we need more Sponsors. Could you please reflect & see if you could support Josaphat in his education in any way by a monthly standing order of £10 or £15 or a donation. If you find you would like to sponsor Josaphat then please contact Campbell Murdoch who I will be handing over to.
His contact details are:-Campbell Murdoch, Fircroft, Knockbuckle Road, Kilmacolm PA13 4JT Telephone 07810-350006 email:- jcmurdochatyahoo.co.uk *
I pray that you will support Campbell as well as you supported my efforts.
yours, Paul (note :-Campbells' emailabove -- *replace at with @ to make it work! This is to avoid automatic hacking.)
Misericordiae Vultus BULL OF INDICTION OF THE EXTRAORDINARY JUBILEE OF MERCY
" My thoughts now turn to the Mother of Mercy. May the sweetness of her countenance watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God’s tenderness. No one has penetrated the profound mystery of the incarnation like Mary. Her entire life was patterned after the presence of mercy made flesh. The Mother of the Crucified and Risen One has entered the sanctuary of divine mercy because she participated intimately in the mystery of His love. Chosen to be the Mother of the Son of God, Mary, from the outset, was prepared by the love of God to be the Ark of the Covenant between God and man. She treasured divine mercy in her heart in perfect harmony with her Son Jesus. " Pope Francis
Prayerful blessings at Christmas
to each of you,
in the love of Christ
Late extra to Oblate Letter 28—Advent Christmas:- Pluscarden:—Prayers:-
Mike Carson-Rowland, dialysis and for his WifeSusan Carson-Rowland—Attending Raigmore hospital.
Rev. Christopher Mayo, Episcopalian priest in Brora--- to have major operation this weekend Raigmore hospital, and for his Wife
Please add both to the Christmas prayer-list—just missed the main sending.
Blessings love and prayers,