Oblates promise to live according to the values expressed in the Rule of Saint Benedict, which was written in the spirit of the Gospel and which has been handed down through centuries of committed Christian life, along with traditions that developed with it. By their commitment to the Rule, Oblates benefit from a time-tried spiritual tradition that has led countless other Benedictines and Oblates to holiness.
Just as a candidate for the monastery is tested to see whether he “truly seeks God” (RB 58), so also those who become Oblates are committed above all else to seek God in Jesus Christ. As a document focused on Christ and intended to lead disciples ever closer to Christ, the Rule challenges every Benedictine and Oblate to a continual refocusing on Christ amidst the routines of ordinary life as well as on special occasions.
“Prayer and work” (ora et labora) has become a motto of Benedictine life. The Rule summons a monk to live a life balanced in prayer, work, and other elements of an horarium (schedule) chosen specifically to help the monk put on the heart and mind of Christ. In a society which encourages people to become ensnared in relentless work or in pleasure-filled indulgence, the Oblate finds support for a life totally dedicated to God in a Rule which calls for balance among prayer, work, community activities, creative leisure, and reading that nourishes one’s spirit.
The experience of the ages has shown that such balance best keeps a person from being caught up in anything other than God Himself. A Benedictine monk takes vows of obedience, stability, and conversatio morum, or ongoing conversion of life according to the monastic way (RB 58:17). The Oblate also promises to live by these three primary values. By obedience Oblates learn to listen to God’s call always and everywhere, with the help of meditative reading of Scripture, especially the Gospels.
Oblates also listen to God’s voice by frequent meditation on passages of the Rule and by efforts to apply the fruits of their meditation to everyday life.
By stability Oblates learn to practice perseverance in carrying out the obligations of their daily lives, especially amidst trials. Striving for an awareness of Christ’s redeeming presence in every situation, they become grateful for the seemingly small blessings of each day and struggle against murmuring in difficult times. Stability means being rooted in Christ, no matter what happens, and joining one’s sufferings to the passion of Christ so that they become redemptive.
Here is an online link to the Rule of Saint Benedict.
Click here to view the daily readings from The Rule.