Oblate Letter 24 Advent Christmas 2014

Nothing Dearer than Christ” 

Oblate letter of the Pluscarden Benedictines 

Pluscarden Abbey,Elgin, Moray, Scotland.

 IV30 8UA.

Ph. (01343) 890257    fax (01343) 890258

Website    www.pluscardenabbey.org 

DMB series No 24

Oblate Letter: Advent and Christmas 2014

Monastic voice: St Augustine Sermon 256

And-so it is too, when this body has been made immortal and
incorruptible, when every trial and temptation has passed away. For 'the
body indeed is dead'-and why? 'Because of sin. But the spirit is life', as the
apostle says. Why? 'Because of righteousness.' Is it a dead body we give up?
Indeed no, for hear what Paul says: 'If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from
the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life also
to your mortal bodies. 'So now the body is of an animal nature, then it will be
spiritual. How happy will be our shout of Alleluia there, how
carefree, how secure from any adversary, where there is no enemy, where no
friend perishes. There praise is offered to God, and here, too, but here it is by
men who are anxious, there by men who are free from care, here by men
who must die, there by men who will live forever. Here praise is offered in
hope, there by men who enjoy the reality, here by men who are pilgrims on
the way, there by men who have reached their own country.
So, brethren, now let us sing Alleluia, not in the enjoyment of
heavenly rest, but to sweeten our toil. Sing as travellers sing along the road:
but keep on walking. Solace your toil by singing-do not yield to idleness. Sing
but keep on walking. What do I mean by 'walking'? I mean, press on from
good to better. The apostle says there are some who go from bad to worse.
But if you press on, you keep on walking. Go forward then in virtue, in true
faith and right conduct. Sing up-and keep on walking.
St Augustine Homily 35 on St John's gospel
I beg you, join with me in love. Run with me in faith. Let us yearn for
our heavenly home. Let us sigh for it. Let us realize that we are strangers here
below. What shall we see then? Listen to the words of the gospel now: 'In the
beginning was the Word, and 'the Word was with God, and the Word was
God' You will come to the fountain from which flows the-water with which
you have been sprinkled.
You will see that light in all its clarity from which fitful and broken
gleams shone into your heart whilst it was in darkness here below. You are
being made pure, that you may see and be able to look into that light. John
himself says: 'Beloved, we are God's children; it does not yet appear what we
shall be; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall
see him as
He is'
I can see your feelings are being lifted up with me to heavenly things,
but the perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthly tent burdens
the thoughtful mind. I am now going to put down that book. You are going to
go away, each one of you to his own home. To have been
together in the same light has been good. To have been glad together has
been good. To have rejoiced together has been good. But when we part from
one another, let us not part, from God.


Very rarely does one hear the praises of the Roman Office sung but
the above two extracts from the Divine Office volume three for the last
ordinary week of the year, from the Office of Readings (no we don’t expect
you to “do” that too!)—these two extracts alone show the care made in
choosing readings suitable for the “last things” and the end of the year and
their resonating beauty. These products of an exemplary and tireless bishop
whose conversion is a story of hope for all and whose inspired industry fills 40
fat volumes that are food for the soul—all available in modern English(New
City Press 2009 ISBN 978-1-56548-318-7-paperback) evoke the intensity of
the psalms and take us to a deeper spiritual level-“When we part from one
another let us not part from God”.
So often St. Augustine’s faith takes off so that it soars and sings—you
can almost hear him singing the psalms. He has commentaries on every psalm
–and the whole Bible, book by book, verse by verse—and he found time to be
a very pastoral bishop too! Miraculous!
The Roman Office accesses these jewels for us even if we only
occasionally delve into the Office of Readings. The Catechism of the Catholic
Church accesses all these riches too as well as being a textbook of reading
Scripture, of Lectio, of prayer and of Christian living.
I mention this because sometimes we tend to read modern Scripture
commentaries and spiritual works without scratching the surface too much of
the classics of faith—classics that converted for example Blessed John Henry
Newman.. ”For what page, what saying of the divinely inspired Old and New
Testaments is not a perfectly straight rule for the life of man? Or what book of
the holy Catholic Fathers does not loudly proclaim how we may come by a
straight course to our Creator”—we who are” hastening soon to reach the
heavenly fatherland” RB73 “. Sing as travellers sing along the road: but keep
on walking. Solace your toil by singing-do not yield to idleness. Sing but keep
on walking.”

Books and Media 

If I have mentioned in the past books that have come back to me by circuitous paths I now mention one that was returned to me in the last week—and I was surprised to find what a good and useful book it is:”FREQUENT CONFESSION—Its place in the Spiritual Life” by Dom
Benedict Baur O.S.B., Archabbot of St Martin’s Abbey Beuron, translated(
from the German) by Patrick C. Barry S.J. Scepter Publishers 1999 ( first
published Freiburg 1922) ISBN 1-889334-16-2 (first English edition St. Paul
Publications 1959, “1984 Four Courts Press Dublin) The 1999 edition would be
a good buy even for its introduction which is an excellent piece in praise of the
worth and utility of this Sacrament from so many worthy and saintly
exponents.This is a book for “ the health and growth of the spiritual life of all
the faithful —What more could one say?

Prayer Intentions

 For our new Oblate, Fiona Cecilia Mitchell. Mgr. Robert
impending hip replacements, For Abbot Anselm's and Bishop Hugh's
intentions. For vocations to Pluscarden, St Mary's, Petersham and Kristo
Buase. Br. Adrian and Br.Finbar, health.The repose of the souls of Sarah
Boyle, Br Finbar’s mother and Irene Potter, Br Gabriel's mother-both have
just died in November.Also Mrs Jessie Johnston, Robert Johnston's mother.
For the repose of the soul of Willie Reid, Connie Reid’s husband who died just
about the time the last oblate letter came out. Br Jerome Leo oblate Master
of St. Mary’s Massachusetts has been very ill and needs our prayers( Do you
read his online daily commentary on the Rule?) Please pray for our sick
Oblates and their relatives & especially Eileen Grant's son Robin recovering ,
Sarah Drever’s husband Leslie, Leandro Herrero, Mrs. Allie Brien, Brigitte
Mackay and Maggie Barrett, Paul Miller 90's and hernia, Margaret Rawcliffe,
Mrs. Gertrude Corker’s two daughters, Bob Barr, Brian Milne, Gail Schmitz
who has been poorly, Martin's wife Mary, Maurice Dufficy, Mary Bradley
recovering, Maureen’s sister Dorothy, Leonora, 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 Brodie and his twin
brother, Carolyn Boardman and especially her son Malcolm, Martin Farrelly ,
David Braine, philosopher, Susan Stephen, Evelyn, Violet, Sheila and all
friends of the Abbey (especially the Rodway's grandchild Kiara) and for all
oblates, and all the sick, and those who care for them--and for Josaphat our
sponsored seminarian.


NB Oblate Retreat here at Pluscarden first weekend of Lent 2015
led by our Abbot Anselm as before.( 20th-23rd February 2015) book with
Fr.Bede or attend daily.
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..Pat Carrigan smcb_oblates@live.co.uk
St. Monica’s Chapter, Thurso. Contact Jane Coll. "Scaraben”, Westside, Dunnet,
Thurso, Caithness, KY14 8YD. Phone 01847 851467
ST.PETER'S CHAPTER OF OBLATES Aberdeen NEXT MEETING not until February --- Mr
Brian Milne Tel 01224 485781 stpetersbulletin1803@talktalk.net (Brian’s HEALTH
New Chapter—St.Mirin’s Chapter. Date: Saturday, 6th December. Time 2-4 pm.
Venue Hall 2, St Mirin’s Cathedral, Cathedral Precincts, Incle Stret Paisley, PA1
1HR—secure parking there within Cathedral enclosure. Meetings thereafter on the
first Sarurday of each month.—If you haven’t received a personal invitation (my
fault—Fr. Martin-- if not!—apologies!) –this is your personal invite! You are warmly
invited to the inaugural meeting one and all. Farther information St Mirin Chapter,
Benedictine Oblate Group, c/o Campbell Murdoch, Fircroft, Knockbuckle Road,
Kilmacolm, PA13 4JT m: 07810 350006 ejcmurdoch@yahoo.co.uk

Ugandan Seminarian update:-

The Oblates are supporting Josaphat in his year of
Pastoral work. The Parish will give him the accommodation and food but he needs
money for:- Clothing: he needs a white cassock. Books: Morning and Evening
Prayers, Hymn books, African or Jerusalem Bible and a Catechism. During the year
he will be called away for Seminars and so will need travel expenses and
sustenance.I believe that Josaphat is a mature young man focused on the
Priesthood. Please remember him in your prayers.—(Paul Costello—all
correspondence to him.)If you feel drawn to assisting Josaphat in any way then
please contact me, Paul Costello, 4, Commercial Road, Ellon, Aberdeenshire AB41
9BD. Telephone 01358-721512 e-mail:paulandjocostello@btinternet.com
From Fr. Ambrose-- former Oblatemaster, now superior of KB-
-Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, Greetings from Kristo Buase! We have
just launched a new website: www.kristobuasemonastery.org Prayers
please for the repose of the soul of our dear Father Bartholomew Banzie OSB
“The Word was made flesh, he lived among us and we saw his glory”
With blessings and prayer that the Christ Child may be at home in our
hearts this Christmas and always. Yours in Christ and SPNB,
Fr. Martin pax
+Christmas Blessings! Nothing Dearer than Christ”