The Oblates of Saint John's Abbey
An oblate is a Christian who seeks God through a formal relationship with a particular monastic community. Oblates are men or women, lay or ordained, married or single,
who seek to integrate the spirit of Saint Benedict in their daily lives.
Oblates Pursue Benedictine Spirituality
Fundamentally, oblates are dedicated to seeking God, preferring nothing whatsoever to Christ (RB 72:11). They do this by associating with a particular monastery where they receive support to live according to the spirit of Saint Benedict as revealed by his Rule. Oblates are encouraged to draw life from the following practices:
The Divine Office - Liturgy of the Hours
Growing out of the desire to pray without ceasing and to have the love for God always flowing from our hearts, Benedictine oblates pray some form of the Divine Office (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours, or Opus Dei — "Work of God") when they visit a monastery, at their home, or in a Benedictine gathering with other people. Good resources are The Rule of Saint Benedict, Give Us This Day, Benedictine Daily Prayer, or The Benedictine Handbook.
Divine Reading - Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation. It is intended to promote personal communion with God, knowledge of God's Word, and spiritual transformation. It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the Living Word of God.
Observance of Silence
To be open to listening to the voice of God, to the people who are important to us, to those in need, to our own experiences, silence is essential. "The unexamined life is not worth living."
Regional Oblate Meetings
In a spirit of camaraderie, Saint John's oblates meet regularly in regional groups to pray together, discuss Benedictine themes, and share conversation.
Group and Private Retreats
Oblates are encouraged to make a retreat every year. At Saint John's, the annual oblate retreat is scheduled on the weekend nearest the feast of the Solemnity of Saint Benedict, July 11, when the Abbey celebrates profession of vows, and jubilees. Oblate Days of Reflection are offered during Advent and Lent. Other private and group retreats are available at the Abbey Guesthouse as well.
Study of the Rule of Saint Benedict
Benedict's Rule of life is the surest guide to gain familiarity with Benedictine spirituality. The Rule provides a balanced path between the needs of the individual and community.
Communication with the Monks
Because personal relationships are at the heart of Benedictine life, oblates are welcome to visit the monastery at any time to join the monks in prayer, meals, study, retreats, and a few laughs.
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