Oblate Letter 29 Lent & Easter 2016

"Nothing Dearer thanChrist”

Oblate letter of the Pluscarden Benedictines, Elgin,

Moray, Scotland. IV30 8UA.

Tel. (01343) 890257 fax 890258

Email oblatemaster@pluscardenabbey.org

Website www.pluscardenabbey.org

DMB series No 29: Lent and Easter 2016




Dom Odo Casel: The Mystery of Christ Made Present – “Authentic Adoration of the Cross”:


“It is now plain to see that the decisive event in the life of Jesus was his death. From time to time one hears it said today that there are two ways of walking with the Lord. We may accompany him on his earthly journeys or venerate him as the exalted one. Both ways are said to be good, and each Christian must choose the way that suits him. This view is not in harmony with the scriptures or the teaching of the Fathers. Holy Scripture demonstrates clearly how the Lord himself throughout his life constantly alluded to his death: ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem’ (Lk. 18:31). His whole life on earth was one offertory procession towards the hour of his death, which then became his entry into the Father's presence.”


FROM THE OBLATEMASTER’S DESK: Dom Odo Casel of our order is a famous name in liturgical studies – a mystic whose entire inspiration was the liturgy and Christ in the liturgy – rather like our own Blessed Columba Marmion.

Each of us as monk or oblate is to read over chapter 49 of the Rule at the beginning of Lent and then to decide prudently how to observe Lent.

Our Monastic Voice this quarter gives us a programmatic sentence to guide our Lent and indeed our whole lives as Christians and our prayer and if Dom Odo Casel had written nothing else he would have done well with this one sentence: “His whole life on earth was one offertory procession towards the hour of his death, which then became his entry into the Father's presence.”

This gives the frame of reference for us to interpret and understand our own lives too with the centre of gravity very obviously being in eternal life. This life is the “offertory procession” – a “school of the Lord’s service”. It is useful to follow through on this and seek for the “penitential rite for example in our lives”. It is hard to see how the “Ita missa est” when translated into my life which is “the offertory procession on earth” doesn’t become the “I shall spend my heaven upon doing good on earth” of St Therese of Lisieux.

Let us use this sentence of Dom Odo Casel's to direct our prayer this Lent and Easter, “His whole life on earth was one offertory procession towards the hour of his death, which then became his entry into the Father's presence.” – This is your life – this is my life!



Dom Odo Casel O.S.B. born Koblenz, 1886; died at the Abbey of the Holy Cross of Herstelle, 1948; was a German Benedictine monk liturgist and theologian. He entered the Abbey of Maria-Laach in 1905; he made olemn profession in 1907, was ordained priest in 1911, graduated in philosophy in Bonn in 1919 and later in Rome in theology with a thesis on the Eucharist. He died suddenly on the morning of Easter in 1948, leaving his disciples and experts in liturgy the opportunity to implement his findings and theological insights expressed especially in the fifteen volumes of his Yearbook on the Liturgy.

See especially this Lent perhaps: The Mystery of Christ Made Present published in English in 1999 (St Bede’s Publications ISBN 1-879007-38-x, now sadly out of print), translated by the late Fr Ronnie Walls of the diocese of Aberdeen (see his life The One True Kirk and its update Love Strong as Death).

If you want a different version of the Rule and Commentary this Lent why not look at Mother Mary David Totah’s Daily Reading from the Rule of St Benedict With a Short commentary (with dates!), available from St Cecilia’s abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight PO33 1LH




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, 90 next month! and Br Finbar’s health. Fr Dunstan who has his Silver Jubilee of profession the first weekend of Lent this year; RIP his mother Honor Robertson who has just died and for his father who is almost 90 and very poorly. For Brs Joseph and John who have come to us from Tien Phuoc priory in Vietnam for two years to study English. For Mother Mary Clare, founder of St Scholastica’s Petersham RIP 3rd January 2016. For John McKinlay’s Ruby wedding anniversary!

Please pray also for Mgr Robert Provost McDonald, Netta Ewing,Jim Lavery, Rev. Christopher Mayo, Dr David Paterson’s granddaughter Grace, Fr Bob Halshaw, Paul Costello, Albert Paterson. For Mairi Cuthbert’s husband. Mrs Allie Brien, Mrs Alice Sullivan. Gitte Mackay and Joe Barrett (knee replacement) and his wife Maggie Barrett, John Gleeson (hip replacement), Paul Miller, Margaret Rawcliffe, Mrs Gertrude Corker’s two daughters, Bob Barr, Brian Milne, Gail Schmitzcontinued improvement, Fiona Sellar, Johan (Joy) Baillie, Michael Carson-Rowland, 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, James and Helen Timoney, Carolyn and Marshall Boardman and especially their son Malcolm, Martin Farrelly and especially for his wife Val, David Braine, Susan Stephen, Evelyn, Violet and Sheila, all friends of the Abbey, all oblates, and all the sick, and those who care for them, and for Josaphat our sponsored seminarian.



Oblate Retreat here FRIDAY 19TH – MONDAY 22ND FEBRUARY 2016 at Pluscarden SECOND weekend of Lent led by Fr Abbot, our Abbot Anselm, as before. Do mark it in your diary for the SECOND Weekend of the Second Sunday of Lent for 2016, DAYS AWAY FROM NOW. (The change is because of Fr Dunstan’s Silver Jubilee!) if staying arrange with the guestmaster, Fr Bede, please.



1. Saturday 20th February 10.30 am
2. Saturday 20th February 3.00 pm

3. Sunday 21st February 3.00 pm

Fr Abbot will preach at the Sunday Mass and there will be another opportunity to renew your Oblation at the final Mass at 9 am on Monday 22nd February. Fr Martin will be available in this Year of Mercy for the Sacrament of Confession.


Tuesday 17th – Thursday 19th May: the Annual Pentecost Lectures on “Newman on Vatican II”, by Fr Ian Ker (Newman scholar). Please book with Fr Bede as usual unless you are travelling in or commuting.


Pluscarden 1230 Pilgrimage – please register to take part by March 31st this year!


17-20 October: UK National Oblates’ Retreat at Mount St Bernard Abbey led by Abbot Erik Varden and Sr Laurentia Johns. Please watch UKOT website for details: www.benedictine-oblates.net



·      St Mungo’s chapter: Meet on the second Saturday of each month at 2 pm. Contact can be made via Peter Aitken. Tel. 0141 427 2084, or via Graham Dunbar at 0141 558 4323 as group Secretary and Treasurer.

·      St Margaret’s Chapter, Dunfermline as announced. Contact 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 as announced.

·      St Peter’s Chapter: next meeting WEDNESDAY 10TH FEBRUARY AT 5 PM IN ST PETER'S CHURCH PARISH ROOM AND EVERY MONTH UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. e-mail: brianbmilne2647@gmail.com tel 01224 485781; mobile 07443032289.

·      St Mirin’s Chapter: 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. Further information: St Mirin Chapter, Benedictine Oblate Group, c/o Campbell Murdoch, Fircroft, Knockbuckle Road, Kilmacolm, PA13 4JT m: 07810 350006



“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. To sustain our support we need more Sponsors. Could you please reflect and 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; tel. 07810-350006; email:  jcmurdoch@yahoo.co.uk  

I pray that you will support Campbell as well as you supported my efforts.







Fr Martin