Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17)
Oblates seek to live their lives according to the spirit of the Rule of Benedict. They draw inspiration from the Rule and from their affiliation with St. Andrew's Abbey in Valyermo. Through their oblation or gift of themselves to God, they become part of the "extended family" of the monastery and share in the prayer and work of the monastic community. Oblates carry Benedictine spirituality back to their parish and the world. Individually they find a pattern for living their own spiritual lives in the rhythm of silence and speech, solitude and hospitality, contemplative prayer and liturgy. Oblates gather on the third Wednesday of the month at OLA in the Reflection Room with Fr. Philip Edwards, O.S.B., from the Abbey. They begin with Vespers at 6:30 p.m. followed by a Mass with a dialogue homily. Refreshments are served and they adjourn about 9 p.m. Additionally there are monthly conferences held on Oblate Sunday at the Abbey. Becoming an Oblate is a slow process of at least three years in which one gradually comes to integrate spiritual practices into daily life. A Benedictine Inquiry program is beginning on the fourth Monday of the month in the Sapienza Room at 7:15 p.m. Those who are interested in the oblate process begin with attendance at retreats and workshops. As an Observer, they attend local chapter meetings and study the Rule of St. Benedict, doing spiritual reading from a wide variety of sources and praying the Divine Office If, after a year or more, one feels called to an ongoing fidelity to the spiritual monastic life, open to living the Rule of St. Benedict and prefering nothing to the love of Christ, one may become a Novice in a formal year of formation. Finally, after a year of living and practicing the Benedictine experience, one may petition for Final Oblation.