Oblate letter of the Pluscarden Benedictines, Elgin, Moray, Scotland. IV30 8UA.
Ph. (01343) 890257 fax 890258
Website www.pluscardenabbey.org DMB series No 14
MONASTIC VOICE:- From a sermon of St Bernard of Clairvaux on Ss. Peter & Paul for the Summer season:- “The Church recalls the Apostles' death with an especially solemn feast. Today Peter was crucified; today Paul was beheaded: this is the reason for today's feast; this is the cause of our present rejoicing. By making a festive and joyous day on these anniversarie of death, the Church undoubtedly possesses the Spirit of the Bridegroom, the Spirit of the Lord, in whose sight, as you find in the psalm, precious is the death of the saints. How many people do we believe were present when the Apostles underwent their sufferings who in no way envied their precious deaths? For 'to the eyes of the foolish they seemed to die, and their going was considered an affliction. So indeed, 'to the eyes of the foolish they seemed to die': 'But to me,' the prophet says: 'your friends have received honour beyond measure, O God; their sovereign power has been strengthened beyond measure. Brothers, to the eyes of the foolish, God's friends seem to die, but in the eyes of the wise they are judged instead to be asleep. Lazarus, too, was sleeping, because he was a friend; and 'When he gives sleep to his beloved’, behold the heritage of the Lord. Let us strive, brothers, to live as the just lived, but let us long even more to die as they died. Wisdom reveals the final end of the just, judging us there where she finds us.”
FROM THE OBLATEMASTER’S DESK: The Summer of Easter follows hard on the heels of our Lenten spring-time. With the harvest of Pentecost the reapers put in their hooks and before we know it we have the harvest of Ss. Peter and Paul on the 29th June, the harvest of whose martyrdom we celebrate. St Bernard draws our attention to the remarkable fact of our celebration which in retrospect makes our celebration of the Easter Triduum even more remarkable. Can we really be celebrating the empty tomb and the presence of the Risen Lord when it has cost the abandonment of Holy Thursday and Good Friday’s painful execution?
Can we really celebrate the great edifice of the Church’s living stones when their foundation rises from an upturned cross and a bloodied chopping block?
I was surprised when once remarking to my GP, Dr. McClure of Elgin, that I would have preferred if our former Oblatemaster Fr. Maurus had died an ordinary death when he transfixed me with his eye, as is his wont, and said, “Yes, and what’s an ordinary death?”
We of all people should not have to be reminded of the extraordinary nature of our transitus from this life to the next. How could it be ordinary! A former bishop of the diocese of Aberdeen, now an Archbishop, remarked at his own Mother’s funeral, that in her dying gasping moments it was like a birth-pangs, and so it was. And so it is for all of us with the eye of faith, however abandoned be our passion truly following our Master and His chosen apostles. The whole of life in its winters and its spring times only gives glimpses and hints of the summer-time, the Sabbath of summer-times where harvest overtakes its proper season and makes it redundant! May we all echo St Bernard’s implied “Maranatha!”—“Come quickly Lord!” of his summer-season sermon—and not be found wanting or unready by His grace! Our Lady, Mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Books A postulant Oblate from the Black Isle was asking me about fiction. This as we know can be spiritually profitable especially if works of art like “The Betrothed” by Manzini are in view.
A more recent author notable for his spiritual vision is Michael O’ Brien. I’m reading “Plague Journal” at present. His most recent is I understand “The Father's Tale: A Novel "A modern retelling of the parables The Good Shepherd and The Prodigal Son." Canadian bookseller Alex Graham is a middle-age widower whose quiet life is turned upside down when his college-age son disappears without any explanation or trace of where he has gone.-------There is quite a list of others all of which are meaty in religious terms— that is in terms of life, real life.
Prayer Intentions and News
Please pray for Bishop Hugh, Abbot Anselm, our juniorate & noviciate and especially Br.Cyril Our newest novice (formerly “Jakub”), & for our sick monks. Please pray for Br. James and our aspirants & for vocations to the monastery. New Oblates: Ursula Mary St Michael Humphrey and Margaret Thérèse Graham. Postulant: Margaret Johnston and all our novices and postulants. Our Oblates alone number about two hundred (in answer to a question recently).
Please pray for all the sick & especially: Beth Fallows (who sent me her beautiful poems which I mention here—thank you-- in case a letter before Ghana is not possible) ,Gail Schmitz, Marie Claire Hernandez, Bob Clark who has helped us with the honey for years when he was well enough—thank you Bob!, James Cairns who is now poorly & in a hospice ( & for his wife & family ), Martin MacRae, Irene Coultard, David Paterson & his Wife Angela, for Beth Fraser who despite illness makes by hand hundreds of rosaries many of which I’ll be taking out to KB, Ghana, thank you (two Beth’s!), Mary Roche, Poppy Sinclair, Bob Barr, and for all the sick & their families. Please also remember Mary Tibble who in her day assisted major surgeons in the theatre and now assists us from her nursing home in processing our used stamps!!—thank you! (They are all keeping Lent better than the rest of us—thank you for being “patients” in the real meaning of the word! --See the Rule!)
We join with Marcin & Kasia in thanksgiving for the safe delivery of their new baby son, Gabriel.
Pentecost Lectures :29th – 31st May 2012 at Pluscarden Abbey--
Pentecost Lectures continued:-Professor Lewis Ayres, Bede professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Durham. “You Have Revealed Your Glory”—the Mystery of the Trinity Tuesday 2.45 –last lecture Thursday am 10.15. Free –open to all ( but I think the accommodation is spoken for—you can check for a cancellation; non-residents more than welcome-please indicate ( to Fr. Bede) coming –for the soup!
OBLATE WEEKEND JULY 27TH TO JULY 30TH 2012, This Year-please let me know using the form below( mark envelope or email “Fr Bede”) if you intend to come-- The monastic guesthouses are booked up already Here is a list of those booked to stay AT the Abbey: Pamela Nelson-Shaw, Tricia Kirby, Ursula Humphrey, Pat Fernandez, Morris family, Brigitte Mackay, Georgina Quinn, Jane Coll, Ann Morgan, Barbara Van Rooyen, Glynis Stranraer-Mull, Rebecka Winell-Reid). Men: Martin Gardner, Pat Carrigan, Terry Kirby, Charlie Muir, Jim Bradley, Steve Fennell, Henry Logan, Frederick and Iain Brodie, Fr. Francis Wilson (Awaiting cancellation: Edmund Young & Chris McKeown) I shall append alternative accommodation to the next Oblate letter as before. Fr. Abbot (Anselm!) is giving our keynote address! Programme as below. Do please fill in the slip enclosed if you are coming to some part of the Oblate Weekend—all the parts—even if you have already communicated. Thank you. Address to Fr. Bede.
OBLATE WEEKEND 2013 2nd to 5th August on CALDEY ISLAND(WALES!) to commemorate 100th anniversary of the conversion of the Caldey community. At this stage simply please let me know,after this summer’s weekend-- Fr. Martin by mail or email ------------------- firstname.lastname@example.org ) ( Your name & contact details) & that you intend to come. (32 places only, Prinknash have spoken for six already—Caldey have minimum charges & there is the travel down to consider)
Groups & Chapters-below
St Mungo’s Chapter Glasgow:-As announced. Peter Aitken :- 11, Maxwell Grove, Glasgow. G41 5JP Phone:01414272084. Peter Aitken is the link man.
St Margaret’s Chapter Dunfermline. Pat Carrigan Telephone: 07853 407 913 . Have just held a successful Lenten Retreat! Pat Carrigan will keep you informed.
St. Monica’s Chapter, Thurso. Contact Jane Coll (website manager Benedictine-oblates) on 01847 851701 or (subscript line between jane and coll ) 20 miles is “close” up here!
St. Peter’s Chapter Aberdeen. 1st Wednesday’s 7.30 Telephone 01224 485 78119 Donview House Seaton Crescent, Seaton, Aberdeen, AB24 1TZ. Brian Milne will keep you informed
St Mary’s Chapter Dundee. May 21st and dates as agreed 11.30 at St. Mary’s High Street, Lochee, Dundee. -------info. St Mary’s, ---- Canon Angelosanto is coordinator.
Moray Group Meeting three to four times a year, in Elgin they met first then will be Forres and once a year ( of the “Moray Group”) at the Abbey immediately before the Oblate Weekend begins. For the Moray locals really. Maggie Graham is the link person.
PROGRAMME FOR THIS SUMMER’S OBLATE WEEKEND
*note—non-resident attendees will need to make their own provision for Friday supper & for breakfast on Saturday, Sunday & Monday. There are buffet meals for lunch & supper on Saturday & Sunday for all. Please fill in & send the chit for catering numbers.
( Moray Group meet 3.30 Parlour 1 St Benedict’s)
Friday Arrival of residents before Vespers 27th July 2012
Supper for residents 6.45pm (St. Scholastica’s own times)
DVD Talk specially made 8.30pm (marquee)
DVD, virtual presence Bishop Richard Moth Oblate of Pluscarden Abbey, giving a talk on the Divine Office, specially made for us for the beginning of our Oblate Weekend.
Saturday 28th July, St Ignatius Loyola û û
Lauds circa 5.25am
Prime circa 6.45am
Coffee 10.00am (marquee)
Fr Abbot : Opening Conference 10.30am (marquee or as announced)
Lunch 12.45pm (marquee)
Talk from Fr. Bede “To Have a Passion for The Gospel!”
2.30pm (marquee or as announced)
Tea 3.45pm (marquee)
Opportunity for Confessions.
Supper 6.45pm (marquee)
DVD/slides on Kristo Buase recent returnee 8.30pm
Repose circa 9.30
Sunday 29th July Seventeenth Sunday of the year
Lauds circa 5.45 am
Breakfast after Prime
Talk on the Liturgy of the Day Fr. Benedict Hardy
Lunch 12.45pm (marquee)
Talk from Fr Dunstan on “The Guestmaster” 2.00pm ( marquee or as
Tea after None (marquee)
Vespers & Benediction 5.15pm
Supper 6.45pm (marquee)
DVD Made By the Oblates of Thien Phuoc Vietnam 8.30pm ( marquee)
Under the Direction of Teresa Ngan Giang Oblate
Repose 9.30pm circa
Monday 30th of July St Peter Chrysologus Memoria
Lauds circa 5.25AM
Prime 6.45am circa (30”after end of Lauds)
Breakfast after Prime
Terce & Mass 9.00am
Marking the formal conclusion of the Oblate weekend with sermon from the Oblate Master & renewal of Oblation during Mass. Those who extend their Oblate spiritual retreat/weekend to three days by arriving sooner or departing later there may be a plenary indulgence for such a three day spiritual retreat, under the usual conditions.
Coffee & Farewells 10.00am
Dominic the Seminarian is sponsored but if any Oblate felt willing to offer sponsorship then they should let me know & they could be put on a "standby list". Who knows if sufficient Oblates offer we may manage a second Seminarian. The standby list would also cover for any unknown extra future requirements.
God is good. Wishing you all greetings & you all remain in our prayers,
Paul Costello(Fr. Martin: “Oblate organising it for us---Thank you Paul!”)
“Come Holy Spirit”------Blessings from