Why am I an Oblate?
Upon Oblation, Glastonbury Abbey Oblates take the name of a Benedictine saint or other saint of inspiration as their Oblate name. The statements below are signed in their Oblate name.
The Rule of St. Benedict is a refreshing voice of moderation and reason in the chaos of my daily life. It provides practical guidance on how I can order my life in a way that honors my roles as wife, mother, writer, and child of God. It allows me to name, accept, and reckon with my weaknesses while encouraging me to live more fully according to my gifts and position in life. Being an Oblate of St. Benedict helps to keep me focused on the One who brings order out of chaos.
For much of my life I was a ‘Rule Keeper’; someone who is black & white, a perfectionist holding high expectations for herself and others. I am grateful for the friend who invited me to an Oblate meeting years ago. By the grace of God, I am learning a new way.
Benedict begins his Rule with the word Listen and ends it with a reminder that this little rule is for beginners. Throughout the Prologue and 73 chapters, he does his best to remind us that humility means we remain teachable. We are not perfect, we are not masters, and we need help to live in right relationship with each other. I find this ancient document very relevant today, as many are searching for meaning and a spiritual connection. Being an Oblate gives me the community and the tools to help me be Teachable. I am a better person, wife, mother, friend, co-worker because St. Benedict continues to point me toward a deeper relationship with Christ through the scriptures. I invite you to come to an Oblate meeting and Listen for yourself.
“The Rule of Benedict with its many treasures of guidance and balance struck me in a profound way when I read, ‘All are to be welcomed as Christ.’ No easy feat, yet so compelling and the desire for this way of experiencing all my brothers and sisters brought me to a deeper commitment to seek God by becoming a lay Oblate of St. Benedict. The Benedictine monastic practice of hospitality, compassion, coupled with the study of the rule, daily praying the psalms, seeking God's guidance through scripture and Lectio, help me to "Listen" better, to grow spiritually and to soften my heart. I experienced the hospitality of St. Benedict when I first came to the Abbey. It felt wonderful to be welcomed with open arms. I hope to share this welcome to all who cross my path and being an Oblate helps me work on this. Chapter 7 of the Rule -- "On Humility" -- quotes (John 6:38), ‘I have not come to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.’ Every day we can begin again and try our best to love God with all our hearts, discern His will for us and love and serve our neighbor as if they were Christ standing before us.”
“Why am I an Oblate? One reason is Benedictine Oblates crave silence, and silence, according to the late Thomas Keating, is "God's first language." These days we are beset by distraction: social media, a raging current of "must see T.V., and noise, noise, and more noise! We oblates are encouraged to find a quiet place to turn off the world, settle our souls, and be with God. How good is that!"