Oblate Letter 33 - Winter Chair of St Peter 2017


Nothing Dearer than Christ

Oblate letter of the Pluscarden Benedictines, Elgin,Moray,Scotland. IV30 8UA.

Ph. (01343) 890257 fax 890258

Email oblatemaster@pluscardenabbey.org

 DMB series No 33

Winter Chair of St Peter 2017




Venerable Julian of Norwich Revelations of Divine Love Chapter 32

On one occasion the good Lord said, “Everything is going to be all right.” On another, 'you will see for yourself that every sort of thing will be all right.' In these two sayings the soul discerns various meanings.

One is that he wants us to know that not only does he care for great and noble things, but equally for little and small, lowly and simple things as well. This is his meaning: 'Everything will be all right.' We are to know that the least thing will not be forgotten.

Another is this: we see deeds done that are so evil, and injuries inflicted that are so great, that it seems to us quite impossible that any good can come of them. As we consider these, sorrowfully and mournfully, we cannot relax in the blessed contemplation of God as we ought. This is caused by the fact that our reason is now so blind, base, and ignorant that we are unable to know that supreme and marvellous wisdom, might, and goodness which belong to the blessed Trinity. This is the meaning of his word, “You will see for yourself that every sort of thing will be all right.” It is as if he were saying "Be careful now to believe and trust, and in the end you will see it all in its fullness and joy."

So from those same six words' I may make everything all right', I gain great comfort with regard to all the works that God has still to do. There still remains a deed which the blessed Trinity will do at the last Day -at leastso I see it -yet when and how it will be done is unknown to all God's creatures under Christ, and will remain so until it takes place.

The reason why he wants us to know about this deed is that he would have us more at ease in our minds and more at peace in our love, and not be concerned with those storms and stresses that stop us from truly enjoying him.

This great deed, ordained by the Lord God from before time, and treasured and hid within his blessed heart, is known only to Himself By it he will make everything to turn out well. For just as the blessed Trinity made everything out of nothing, in the same way shall he make all that is wrong to turn out for the best.

The consideration of this I found most marvellous, and in my wonder I thought about our faith: our faith is grounded in God's word, and part of it is that we who believe in that word of God will be saved -completely. Another part of our same belief is that many creatures will be damned; for example, the angels who fell from heaven through pride, and are now fiends ; and those men on earth who die apart from the

Faith of Holy Church, namely, the heathen; and those too, who are christened but live unchristian lives, and so die out oflove -all these shall be condemned to hell everlastingly, as Holy Church teaches me to believe. This being so I thought it quite impossible that everything should turn out well, as our Lord was now showing me. But I had no answer to this revelation save this: 'What is impossible to you is not impossible to me. I shall honour my word in every respect, and I will make everything turn out for the best.' Thus was I taught by God's grace to hold steadfastly to the faith I had already learned, and at the same time to believe quite seriously that everything would turn out all right, as our Lord was showing. For the great deed that our Lord is going to do is that by which he shall keep his word in every particular, and make all that is wrong turn out well. How this will be no one less than Christ can know -not until the deed is done. At least, this is what I understood our Lord to mean at the time.


This period of time falls between Church unity week and the Chair of St Peter (22nd of February) and so at this time our hearts may be focussed upon ecumenism.

In the last millennium perhaps no Christian mystical writer has so gathered the scattered flock of Christ in the Northern hemisphere as the hermit, the anchoress, Julian of Norwich.

Her famous “All things shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”(less modern translation of the English) seems to epitomise a spirit of reconciliation of all things and all persons that sweeps us into the positive embracing of opposites.

Theology and all reality have polarities and paradox. Those who avoid these or shun them are not grounded in reality—freedom and causality, Jesus our Lord true God and true man, transcendence and immanence, I and Thou. Julian of Norwich embraces paradox with the enthusiasm of a Tertullian or a Kierkegaard. St John Paul the Great himself was content to hint in “Sign of Contradiction” (page reference?)  that reconciliation of all things while not part of our and God’s revealed reality could still be hidden in God’s transcendence. He does not follow Origen into making into a fact that which IS NOT. Rather like Julian he sees all such speculation as purely such and hidden in the night, the pure trust of childlike faith which perseveres with the facts of faith, the sin that separates and the Grace of God that unites.

We have entered into the Egypt of sin and separation but surely the true meaning of Julian’s “All things are well and all manner of things shall be well” is shortly to unfold in our celebration of Lent and Easter.

Our wounded Church will shortly take heart in our Lord’s words to us, “Did you not know that the Christ must suffer and so enter into His glory!” Our Church’s very woundedness is Her stigmata and Her birth pangs.


“Benedict XVlth Last Testament in his own words” with Peter Seewald. ISBN HB 978-1-4729-4467-2. £16.99

I never fully appreciated the full stature of this Servant of God who had suffered a brain haemorrhage long before being made Pope—“If my peoplestill need me I will not refuse the work………!”—Staggering!


For the repose of the soul of our own Br. Meinrad Gibson who died peacefully here at Pluscarden in his cell on the 5th January in the 83rdyear of his age and the 47th of his monastic profession. He had been a Dean for over 40 years, and also served as Prior, Sub-Prior and Assistant Cellarer.

For the repose of the soul of Oblate James(Jimmy) Shand.

For the Repose of the soul of Gillian Cole, Br. Thomas, guestmaster’s sister who died aged 51 unexpetedly in Australia of food poisoning.

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

For Prior Bede.

For Fr. Ambrose Flavell on Sabbatical in Aberdeen Diocese.  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 especially postulant Br. Mark. St Mary's monastery, Petersham and Kristo Buase Priory.

Mhairi (Marianne) NINIAN Cuthbert whomade her Oblation on St Scholastica’s feast day 10th February!

For all our novice and postulant Oblates. Pat Carrigan being ordained Deacon 16th September.

Please pray for the health of 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, Lilian Bailey,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 especially 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--pacemaker. David Braine, philosopher been very ill, Susan Stephen,Cindy’s husband, Danielle & her son Osyp, 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.(Some members poorly please pray for)

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

Br.Thomas     guestmaster@pluscardenabbey.org



SATURDAY 4thSUNDAY TIMETABLE, MASS AT 10.OOAMFIRST Talk 11.30 am on Sat 4th and SECOND TALK 3.00 pm.



AFTERNOON Opportunity for Lenten Confession during EXPOSITION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT FROM 2.00-4.00 P.M.

FINAL MASS 9.00AM MONDAY opportunity for renewal of Oblation.

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— 2017 –given by the well-known theologian Francesca Murphy.( Please pray for – broken her leg)  Book with guestmaster Br. Thomas or come on the days. Tuesday 6th Juneto the Thursday 8th June following Pentecost 2017 as before.


7th National inter-Oblate Retreat 24th -26th March 2017—Fr. Gervase Holdaway, “Living as an Oblate in 2017”—Venue –Douai Abbey.


Or phone 0116 241 9611

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 971024www.appealpluscardenabbey.org.uk                  (with a web form to register if you prefer)

Dates for your Diaries

•                Oblate retreats Pluscarden 2018:-

•                February 16th -19th-Fri-Mon. 2018

•                August 17th-20th—Fri-Mon 2018

•                Can pencil in with guestmaster for those dates God willing!


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:- Sabbatical break due to health etcContact Brian for details.St. Peter's Catholic Church, Castlegate, Aberdeen. When next arranged 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


   Our two seminarians are progressing very well.  Josaphat is about to start the second semester of his second year at Major Seminary.  Charles has just successfully completed Form 5 at St . Peter's College and has been admitted to Form 6.  There are a number of Oblates who are supporting these students.  I would like to appeal for some additional support.  The costs for 2017 have increased from 2016.  In addition, Sr Catherine (our contact in Uganda) has identified a potential third student.  They would start in Septemeber 2017.  It would be good if we could support all three.  The commitment would be £10-20 standing order per month per person.

Please pray for Josaphat and Charles.  I will leave the last word to Josaphat (from his Christmas letter), "Please believe me that I will always value the love you show me especially I cannot thank you enough but all I can say, you have been so GOOD to me and I am grateful.  I will continue to pray that God walks with you through the joys and sorrows that may come your way".

For more information please contact: Campbell Murdoch, Fircroft, Knockbuckle Road, Kilmacolm, PA13 4JT.  Tel: 07810 350006 or email: jcmurdoch@yahoo.co.uk

 “Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising Him.” Jn 24.15

May the Lord accompany us!     

With blessings ,

In the love of Christ,

                                                Fr. Martin

Our Lady of Pluscarden Pray for us.