Oblates of St. Benedict are Christian individuals or families who have associated themselves with a Benedictine community in order to enrich their Christian way of life. Oblates shape their lives by living the wisdom of Christ as interpreted by St. Benedict. Oblates seek God by striving to become holy in their chosen way of life. By integrating their prayer and work, they manifest Christ's presence in society.
Saint Paul tells us that each member of the body of Christ, the Church, has a special function to perform. Most are called to the married state and the raising of a family. Some are called to the single life in the world and others to the life of a priest or religious man or woman. The role of Oblates is to live in the world, to become holy in the world, to do what they can to bring the world to God by being witnesses of Christ by word and example to those around them.
Oblates concern themselves with striving to be what they are, people of God and temples of the Holy Spirit. Their prayer life will flow from this awareness, as will their willingness to offer themselves (that is the meaning of the word oblate) for the service of God and neighbor to the best of their ability. Oblates do not take on a new set of religious practices and are not required to say a certain number of prayers or engage in special devotions. They do not live in a religious community or take vows.
Oblates promise to lead an enriched Christian life according to the gospel as reflected in the Rule of St. Benedict. In this way they share in the spiritual benefits of the sons and daughters of Benedict who are dedicated to the monastic life by vow. After a time of preparation, which culminates in an act of Oblation -- a rite approved by the Church -- the candidates become Oblates of St. Benedict. This promise affiliates them with a Benedictine community and commits them to apply to their lives the characteristic monastic principles.
Oblates strive after stability and fidelity in their lives by regular worship with other Christians and by the support they give to the social and educational apostolates of their local parishes as well as that of the Church as a whole.
In accord with the teaching of Benedict, Oblates practice moderation. This moderation manifests itself in the use of the goods of this world, an increasing concern to their neighbor, and in the way they temper and direct their desires. Their fidelity to Christian living will provide a much needed example of genuine Christianity and a stabilizing influence for good on all around them.
In the spirit of the gospel, Oblates commit themselves to a continual conversion to Christ. They see sin and any attachment to it as basically incompatible with a serious following of Christ. Through this deepening of the baptismal promise, Oblates are free to put on Christ and to allow him to permeate their lives. In this way Oblates will come to recognize that in all the phases and events of their lives, in their joys and successes as well as in their sorrows and disappointments, they are in close union with Christ and participate in his very death and resurrection. This 'putting on of Christ' is the goal Oblates pursue in their conversion of life.
In the spirit of obedience, Oblates strive to discover and maintain their proper relationship toward God, their family, and the civil and religious society in which they live. Before God, Oblates must come to recognize themselves as creatures dependent on their Creator and as sinners before their Redeemer. Aware of their own spiritual poverty and need of God, Oblates come to realize that they have no other reason for being, except to be loved by God as Creator and Redeemer and to love and seek him in return.
God bless you,
Fr. Aidan, OSB