What is an Oblate of Saint Benedict?
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 (Christ is our Wisdom, I Cor. 1 and 2), as interpreted by St. Benedict. Oblates, therefore, 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.
Offered up; devoted; consecrated; dedicated…The act of offering, or of making an offering…Anything offered or presented in worship or sacred service; an offering; a sacrifice. I like to sense its meanings as the act of being poured out for God alone! In this sensus we are all oblate… in being oblations for God alone, thus preferring nothing to the Love of Christ…
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 Secular 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. There are also Religious Oblates that would live within a monastic enclosure in cloister with Regular Brothers or Sisters, those under formal VOWS.
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, but take PROMISES to live by the spirit of the Rule in support of their local community or House.
On Oblations and Holocausts
What is it LORD that you would have me offer my Beloved?
How much shall I pour out?
How hot must the fires be to satisfy my First Love?
How much of my flesh and blood do you require to satisfy your Holiness?
How far shall the little soul travel into the wilderness to make amends for the sins of his past; the shortcomings of his present?
Where shall the man flee from the wrath coming; the fires of judgment and what oblations to prevent the fires from falling upon the man?
What does God require?
The Holy Scriptures answer us in our cries in the night, for the LORD has paid the penalty for the sins of the whole world; but, it is a costly Grace:
The LORD has required nothing of us, but to have Faith in His Provision of our Salvation and to simply respond as we are to His Mercy. I am recalling the dedication of the Temple by Solomon the king:
“And Solomon finished the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all that he had designed in his heart to do, in the house of the Lord, and in his own house, and he prospered. And the Lord appeared to him by night, and said : I have heard thy prayer, and I have chosen this place to myself for a house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven, and there fall no rain, or if I give orders, and command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people: And my people, upon whom my name is called, being converted, shall make supplication to me, and seek out my face, and do penance for their most wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land. My eyes also shall be open, and my ears attentive to the prayer of him that shall pray in this place. For I have chosen, and have sanctified this place, that my name may be there for ever, and my eyes and my heart may remain there perpetually. And as for thee, if thou walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and keep my justices and my judgments : I will raise up the throne of thy kingdom, as I promised to David thy father, saying: There shall not fail thee a man of thy stock to be ruler in Israel.” (Second Chronicles 7: 11-18)
My heart breaks inside me as I read this passage; for it is followed by the terrible failure of many in Israel and the world; and the judgments that followed (which continue to this day); but, beloved ones, God is not finished with the failures of life.
He instructs us in those failures; and shows us the better Way.
He says to Solomon:
“I have heard thy prayer, and I have chosen this place to myself for a house of sacrifice.”
This place is where out Beloved has walked and talked the Word of Truth to the people that are His very own. The Word of the LORD has gone forth in Zion. The Way of the LORD has not changed, as changes for many are easily made; but, for God the One who is unchanging says: He will hear the cries of: “my people, upon whom my name is called, being converted, shall make supplication to me, and seek out my face, and do penance for their most wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land. My eyes also shall be open, and my ears attentive to the prayer of him that shall pray in this place.”
My beloved ones, if we call upon the Name of the LORD; we shall be saved; for God hears us!
Like Jeremiah was told:
“Cry to me and I will hear thee: and I will shew thee great things, and sure things which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Cry to me?
Crying out to God does this?
Does God hear the cries of little souls like you and me?
Does God hear the cries of little “nothings”?
Jeremiah was certainly a little soul that cried out to God; the rich and the famous of the times were very harsh toward this prophet; and yet, it was God who heard him; and the same God said through Jeremiah to all of us:
“Cry to me.”
Oh my God, what does my Lord mean by all of these things?
We have cried out; but, God was already CRYING OUT as One of us; and I hear the still and the small Voice returning out in the cried from the Holy Place where the Son of Man cried out:
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”
Here He is poured out as an Offering.
Here the Holy Spirit hears our cries to make present His Offering at the Eucharist.
Here, my Wonderful LORD laid down His Life once and for all people; to the Jew first and also the Gentiles; here, He makes Atonement for the sins of every person; awaiting the cry of the heart of each one who will come to the Place of this Offering; this Holocaust that in in God alone; our
God is a Consuming Fire.
Who is able, dear friends, as I write weeping; who is able to comprehend the Gift that is God alone as Man; Present Deity; the Divine Mercy; laying aside His own prerogatives and becoming the slave; devoid of rights and privileges; there to be beaten and perforated like the kosher unleavened Matzo; there God as Man redeems us from our sins; the Lamb is slain and the Offering (Oblation) is made and burned (Holocaust) upon the Altar?
Who can comprehend these things? Only God is able!
O Precious Blood that redeems.
O Holy Body of Christ that sanctifies the vilest.
What angel has any understanding of the depth to which the Son of God stooped to redeem us poor sinners?
Solomon I believe speaks of this.
For the Seed of Abraham was Chosen, even as seen before in the Offering of Isaac at mount Moriah; and the Promise through Nathan to David; God will never depart one micron from the covenants to Abraham and king David:
“For I have chosen, and have sanctified this place, that my name may be there forever, and my eyes and my heart may remain there perpetually. And as for thee, if thou walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and keep my justices and my judgments: I will raise up the throne of thy kingdom, as I promised to David thy father, saying: There shall not fail thee a man of thy stock to be ruler in Israel.”
My beloved, God will fulfill this literally in the Day of the LORD; only as known unto God are these things from eternity!
Truly, He fulfils this even now for each and every one of us who cry out to Him!
Let me ask again: “What is it LORD that you would have me offer my Beloved?”
The echoing refrain of the Gospel soon replies again:
“I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.”
“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Even so, He says:
“Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am.”
“I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.”
How can we possibly miss this Person; and how is it possible not to fall down and worship in abject emotional and spiritual “exhaustion” before; like John did when He saw the Risen Christ?
How is it possible that the Creator should come down and be missed by the vast majority of men?
It is so simple, dear friends.
OUR hearts are hardened against the Way, the Truth and the Life. WE prefer our own selfish mechanisms over the Selfless Savior that desires to save and sanctify us wholly.
This accounts for rebellion against the true King that lurks within the hearts of men in the present evil age; an age that swiftly will become the self-emolliating victim of the evil one who will also burn before Christ’s Glorious Parousia.
I cannot speak too long on this; but, I know the One who saves from the coming time of trouble.
We look to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our Faith.
Therein, we find in Him alone our Holocaust and Oblation; our Perfect Love who desires Mercy in that Place where He was Offered once and for all.
The Hermitage; (Monastery of Mary in the Wilderness)