Oblates and the Rule

As men and women committed to live their ordinary lives by the principles of the Holy Rule, Oblates learn the value of seeking God in all things and at every moment. Just as Benedictine monks take vows of obedience, stability, and conversion according to a monastic manner of life, Oblates make promises to observe the spirit of these three primary values as well as the other Christian values that underlie the details of the Rule. In particular, Oblates are called to cherish silence, to extend hospitality, and to nurture reverence for all people and all creation. They come to accept the stark reality of evil and human weaknesses, both their own and those of others, and yet continually rise to welcome the healing love of Christ, Who is ever present to challenge us beyond our failings.

Oblates grow to appreciate the necessity of ample time for prayer as a primary and time-tested means of fostering life in response to God's grace; in particular, Oblates enter into the traditions of the Liturgy of the Hours and of the holy reading of Scripture (lectio divina). In these ways Oblates try to govern their whole lives by God's Word, with which they become permeated by the discipline of prayer. Perhaps the commitment of Oblates can best be summed up by Saint Benedict's urgent appeal to "listen," which is the first word of the Holy Rule. Realizing that God is speaking to us through every event and every person that they encounter, Oblates and monks share the goal of making every moment of their lives a prayerful offering to God.

To enter into such a life of continual surrender to God, Oblates must come to understand that the Rule is not so much a set of "rules" as a book of Christian wisdom, a time-tested interweaving of values and norms for living an intensely Christian life in community with others. Oblates come to see the Rule as a practical guide of life that disposes them more and more to heed the call to sanctity in the ordinary things of life. "Preferring nothing to Christ" becomes their motto in all circumstances, so that together with the monks of the Archabbey, they allow God to expand their hearts in Christ's love, however painful that process may be.

In this age of confusion and instability, the Rule provides Christians with a much-needed norm and a concrete way for discipleship. In this age of individualism, affiliation with the Archabbey as an Oblate provides fellowship, mutual support, and loving communion with monks and other Oblates in our common striving for the everlasting life for which God has so lovingly destined us all.

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