I had the very great fortune in being able to spend a week on retreat at Pluscarden Abbey last week, returning home last night, during which the oblate master Fr. Martin Birrell OSB had also organised a second "Oblates Weekend".
The first four days were just what I needed - prayer and silent devotions; giving our Lord priority He most assuredly deserves rather than centering my thoughts on my own sinful self. Kneeling before one of the greatest gifts He gives us, the Blessed Sacrament, is without doubt a grace we should never pass by.
One day whilst wandering around in semi contemplation I made tracks towards one of Fr Benedict the Prior's great loves and knowledge; the apiary. As you approach the apiary there is a large sign stating BEE-ware ......... but following the adage "a fool rushes in where Angels fear to tread" I ignored the warning. As I passed each hive, named after towns of Scotland, I became aware of louder droning noises. Within moments the first attack came and for the first time in many decades, I was roundly stung. I beat a very hasty retreat and whilst recounting this incident to another oblate over the weekend, himself a very respected apiarist, he smiled knowingly whilst informing me that Pluscarden Abbey bees are well known and greatly feared around the district as the most cantankerous and aggressive bees in the north of Scotland. I can now attest to the truth of that statement!
During the weekend I was honoured to witness three of our number enter the novitiate of Lay Oblates. They will now spend a year as novices until, God willing, the make their full Oblation. On Monday morning Fr Martin celebrated Mass and gave a very powerful sermon regarding our lives as lay oblates. I shall post more fully about the Oblate Weekend once my videos have been edited and other material arrives from Fr Martin. It is my intention to once again make a DVD of the weekend. Next year we hope to travel to the Cistercian Abbey on Caldey Island to celebrate 100 years since the Anglican Benedictine monks joined the Catholic Church, and, following directly from this event, Pluscarden was refounded. Lots of history here but for next year's blog.
|Lay Oblates of Pluscarden|
Finally, my daughter Fiona is to be married to Stephen on Saturday the 18th of August and I end this post in asking for your prayers for them. This will be the first marriage in the Forma Extraordinaria in this neck of the woods in many a long year.