Oblate Letter 32 Advent and Christmas 2016

Nothing Dearer than Christ

Oblate letter of the Pluscarden Benedictines, Elgin,Moray, Scotland.IV308UA.

Ph. (01343) 890257 fax 890258

DMB series No 32

Advent and Christmas 2016



Blessed Henry Newman Sermon 5


Religious Joy

 "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good

tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."-LUKE ii. 10, II.

THERE are two principal lessons which we are taught on the great Festival which we this day celebrate, lowliness and joy. This surely is a day, of all others, in which is set before us the heavenly excellence and the acceptableness in God's sight of that state which most men have,  or may have, allotted to them, humble or private life, and cheerfulness in it. …………………………

……………The Angel honoured a humble lot by his very appearing to the shepherds ; next he taught it to be joyful by his message. He disclosed good tidings so much above this world as to equalize high and low, rich and poor, one with another. He said, "Fear not." This is a mode of address frequent in Scripture, as you may have observed, as if man needed some such assurance to support him, especially in God's presence. The Angel said, " Fear not," when he saw the alarm which his presence caused among the shepherds. Even a lesser wonder would have reasonably startled them. Therefore the Angel said, "Fear not." We are naturally afraid of any messenger from the other world, for we have an uneasy conscience when left to ourselves, and think that his coming forebodes evil. Besides, we so little realize the unseen world, that were Angel or spirit to present himself before us we should be startled by reason of our unbelief, a truth being brought home to our minds which we never apprehended before. So for one or other reason the shepherds were sore afraid when the glory of the Lord shone round about them. And the Angel said, " Fear not." A little religion makes us afraid; when a little light is poured in upon the conscience, there is a darkness visible; nothing but sights of woe and terror; the glory of God alarms while it shines around. His holiness, the range and difficulties of His commandments, the greatness of His power, the faithfulness of His word, frighten the sinner, and men seeing him afraid, think religion has made him so, whereas he is not yet religious at all. They call him religious, when he is merely conscience-stricken. But religion itself, far from inculcating alarm and terror, says, in the words of the Angel, " Fear not; " for such is His mercy, while Almighty God has poured about us His glory, yet it is a consolatory glory, for it is the light of His glory in the Face of Jesus Christ. Thus the heavenly herald tempered the too dazzling brightness of the Gospel on that first Christmas. The glory of God at first alarmed the shepherds, so he added the tidings of good, to work in them a more wholesome and happy temper. Then they rejoiced.


The bright oasis of Christmas is prepared for by the little desert of Advent. Dark and mid-Winter are suitable signs of a world bereft of God. The bright effulgence of Christmas (and Easter!) are plenipotentiary, gracefilled insertions of God’s grace into the lifeless Lazarus of our world! “Lazarus! Come out!—Come out from the stable!—Come out from the tomb! Rise to realms of glory on high on God’s pinions! The whole Bible is gospel—good news. The horrendous is caught up in love and glory. The starlight of joy depends on the inky blackness that seems to engulf.

Blessed Henry Newman understates it. The greater our gloom or our sorrow, our poverty or nothingness, our lack or our shame and our blame—the supernova of God’s grace and His love in Christ saves from below—God is lowlier yet, humbler yet. We cannot succeed in dying to a place where He is not! Hyper-reality on the one hand, and the most nihilist nothing are all engulfed by the love of God WHO IS . Nowhere is God not.  “Where could I flee from Your presence!” Ps 139.7b

Then they rejoiced.”!!And how!



God’s Master Plan”—“Penetrating the mystery of Christ” by Mgr Peter Hocken. God’s Masterplan explores the word which expresses God’s vision for the world and the Church, of Israel and of the consummation of human history. A Charismatic, ecumenist and orthodox Catholic Mgr Hocken makes theology accessible and readable—a very Advent book! £6.99 ISBN 0-9540335-3-1   Alive Publishing .


For Abbot Anselm's and Bishop Hugh's intentions.

For Prior Bede.

For Fr. Ambrose Flavell on Sabbatical  For Br. Cyprian-Prosper here from KB for two years of monastic studies

For vocations to Pluscarden (especially the ten who thanks to your prayers took part in our monastic experience weekend) and for all our aspirants. St Mary's monastery, Petersham and Kristo Buase Priory. Br Meinrad in hospital, Br. Adrian, and Br. Finbar, health.

Eddie Francis Sands, Bryan Sylvester Miller and Michael Wilfrid Gilfedder who have all made their Oblation recently.

Michael Perrott who has just trasnsfered his Oblation to Pluscarden Abbey. For all our novice and postulant Oblates. Pat Carrigan being ordained Deacon 16th September. Please pray for the health of the the Very Rev Mgr. Robert Provost McDonald, Rev. Christopher Mayo, Fr. Bob Halshaw, Paul Costello, Albert Paterson. For Siobhan Gilmour's husband, for Mrs. Allie Brien, Mrs. Alice Sullivan, Gitte Mackay and Joe and esp. Maggie Barrett, Leonora Duson, Margaret Rawcliffe, Robert Cantafio’s Mother Margharita, Mrs. Gertrude Corker’s herself and her two daughters, Bob Barr, Brian Milne, Gail Schmitz, Fiona Sellar, Johan(Joy) Baillie, Susan Carson-Rowland and her husband Mike, Martin's wife Mary, Graham Dunbar, Beth and ChrisFraser, Bob Clark, Nick MaCrae’s son, Martin MaCrae battling illness, Dr. David Paterson and his wife Angela and granddaughter Grace, Bryan Miller, Jacqui’s daughter Sally, Hester du Plessis, Poppy Sinclair, Ian and Frederick Brodie--the twins, for Pat Foster, Malcolm Boardman & all the family, Martin Farrelly and especially for his wife Val, and also for Peter Wynne Sunday, 8.00 am altar-server at Mass here for 40 years still awaiting an operation. David Braine, philosopher been very ill, Susan Stephen, Evelyn, Violet and Sheila and all friends of the Abbey and for all Oblates, and all the sick—the list is never complete--- and those who care for them--and for Josaphat and Charles our sponsored seminarians.


Julian Group Monthly at the Abbey. Contemplative prayer group meet monthlyon the first Tuesday of each month after Mass here. You are welcome. Silent prayer inspired by the spirituality of Venerable Julian ofNorwich.

·      2017--Pluscarden Oblates Lenten Retreat led By Fr. Abbot the first weekend of Lent  Friday 3rd- Monday 6th March. Attend daily or book in with the guest master (arriving the Friday, departing the Monday)

·      Br.Thomas     guestmaster@pluscardenabbey.org

·      Talks 10.30 am on Sat 4th and 3.00 pm on Sat 4th and Sunday 5th –Fr. Abbot also preaching at 10.00 am Mass on the 5th Opportunity for Lenten Confession

2017 4th International Congress of Benedictine Oblates 4th-10th November 2017 in Rome- We have our 2 delegates, John Mckinlay and Bryan Miller but you can always go on the short leet -- just let me know.

The Pentecost Lectures—next year 2017 –given by the well-known theologian Francesca Murphy.  Book with guestmaster Br. Thomas or come on the days. Tuesday 6th June  to the Thursday 8th June following Pentecost 2017 as before.


2017 5th June-3rd September   1230 pilgrimage    

details:-Pluscarden Abbey Appeal Office,216 High Street,

Elgin IV30 1BA Phone: Tel. +44 (0)1343 555038 Mob. 07415 971024 www.appealpluscardenabbey.org.uk                  (with a web form to register if you prefer)


St Mungo'schapter, Glasgow:-We meet on the second Saturday of each month at 2 p.m. 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 monthly meetings as announced, All details 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 and as announced.

St. Peter's chapter of oblates Aberdeen:- next meeting-- was Wednesday 6th September 2016 then at regular intervals at St. Peter's Catholic Church, Castlegate, Aberdeen.   at 5pm. e-mail brianbmilne2647@gmail.com (Brian Milne convener),  phone 01224 485781 mobile 07443032289

St. Mirin’s Chapter. Paisley. 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





JOSAPHAT, our Ugandan Seminarian, is now well into the second semester of his first year at Major Seminary in Gulu in the North of Uganda.  He will spend three full years here studying theology and philosophy.  He will then go on to National Seminary to study theology.  

We are now supporting a second student.  Charles has started at junior seminary, St Peter's College in Tororo. Tororo is also Josaphat's home town.  Charles plans to follow the same path as Josaphat. Without the prayers and financial support of the Oblates, these young men would not be at seminary.  If you would be interested in helping us support Josaphat and Charles (this would entail a monthly standing order of between £10 - £15) please contact Campbell Murdoch, Fircroft, Knockbuckle Road, Kilmacolm, PA13 4JT.  Tel: 07810 350006 or email: jcmurdoch@yahoo.co.uk





John 1:14et Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis et vidimus gloriam eius gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiae et veritatis et de plenitudine eius nos omnes accepimus et gratiam pro gratia..

…..May the Lord make His abode within each one of us this Christmas and in Eternity.

         Thanking you  for your kindness and patience. 

                  With blessings ,

                           In the love of Christ,


                                                      Fr. Martin

Our Lady of Pluscarden Pray for us.