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Seen like this, new forms of monastic life can be creatively imagined and courageously risked. The oblate may live in the monastery or in lay communities of oblates that are probably closer in form to the monasteries that Benedict himself knew. Or, the oblate can continue in the more conventional form to live in the world as a spiritual friend, associate or member of a monastic community. In our modern confusion Benedict offers us a clearer understanding of the nature of these three spiritual elements of life. Prayer is more than ritual and mental prayer. Work means more than making money.

It is about service and the making of a just world that consciously and continuously awaits the coming of the Kingdom. And peace is not just a passing state of mind, a temporary relief from stress and anxiety.


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If the oblate today recovers this latent contemplative energy in the Benedictine life we could expect to see a greatly increased influence of the spirit of the Rule in our world. This would affect not only monasteries but all the institutions of society: in the ways in which dialogue is conducted, the church is run and families raised.

Benedictine monks and oblates face the same challenges and so are equal partners in this work of seeking God through the wisdom of our Holy Father Benedict. I had a lovely time! Christian faith is effectively lost, though the structures of Christianity may remain powerful for a while, when tradition becomes archaic rather than a contemporary reappropriation and projection forward.

What is being regained and passed on is not something that can replace the necessity of our personally experiencing it. The life of a tradition is precisely this multiple personal experience forming and awakening the ecclesial reality.

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It was good to live and share our faith through the liturgy, though a challenge at times as we embraced celebrations in five languages My dictionary offers the following: conversation, chat, interview, discussion, exchange of ideas When we incline our whole being to others, when we pay real attention to them, when we really listen to them with both our ears and heart — rather than putting ourselves in the centre — our thoughts, opinions, advice, solutions — we may just It was so good to be at this wonderful Congress, the organisation of which was a mammoth task in the first place, and was to be heroically carried through with love and generosity - and not a little patience and self-sacrifice - whilst there.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have been present and thank all who supported me with their love and prayers and have taken interest. First of all, of course, we need to understand the question. As oblates we are mindful of the wisdom of St. Our brief put forward the hope that this dream could be realised by Benedictine oblates setting out together on the 8.

Meditation at the heart of prayer

The Rule, then, provides the optimum conditions for contemplative prayer, Benedict alluding to this in his last chapter ch. I had a lovely time at the Congress Sue Thomson, U K. Door to Silence. True communion depends on people plumbing the depths of their own being, knowing themselves, and then revealing themselves known. Love is fulfilled in the revealing of our true self to another who is equally real. I felt a deep inner joy within at having come to this moment. Houston Oblate Community He gave gifts…so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Here are our responses. We want to:! As we give these gifts to the world, God gives them to us. May all who receive these gifts, and all who use them do so to the praise of His glory as we grow in Unity and the grace-filled goodness of Oblate Comm-Unity. In taking the first step of postulancy on the first September, , I felt blessed indeed to be making this commitment within our meditation group that meets weekly at St Mary's Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur.

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Of course in one sense I had; but I also realised, some years on, that something still felt to be missing. As we've been gathering to meditate for over a decade, their presence and support meant a lot. The music that led us into the time of meditation, Raag Pahadi, played on the bansuri bamboo flute struck a deep chord within me. Poignantly registering the call of the Divine, it spoke also of an indelible spiritual connection with India, the country of my birth, where meditation and interior silence are at the heart of the contemplative life.

Laurence Freeman on John Main

After meditation, I read the words from the Postulant Chart and then signed it in front of the group. It felt like the culmination of many steps. So much that had happened. In thinking about the term 'oblation' as an offering, it spoke to me of being called to 'offer' my life to God in a particular way. I realised quite soon that the path of Christian meditation, The Rule of St. Benedict and the process of oblation was touching something I had not felt before. Early in the process of postulancy I spoke to my mentor about how I felt it had filled a space in me that was empty.

She responded by saying: "perhaps you were I believe they have awakened in me a new vigor to live these as fully as I am able. I know I have grown, and continue to do so, in my understanding about community. Being part of this community has helped me to understand how I can relate to communities in general more fully. It has opened me to the relationships in the community connected with my work life. I don't say those relationships are always easy, but that's part of the issue of working at community life.

I know this will benefit me both in my working role but also in my daily life with all my relationships. I feel that has spoken true of things for me throughout this whole time leading to making my final oblation. Benedict and the process of oblation has been giving new life to me and has allowed me to open the way for God to come closer and so enrich so many different aspects of life, including my vocation as a priest. I have certainly felt whilst testing my call to oblation that I have had tremendous support from my mentor and the meditation community in general.

I am conscious of the difficulty I have of getting to events due to my work role and often the long distances for the events which would mean needing to take time out which is simply not normally available. However, I have felt that this gap has been bridged by the contact I have had with my mentor and others at the oblate days in December. I am aware I may be fortunate in having had a positive experience of support from my mentor but I have certainly felt that she has always been encouraging and affirming whilst making me think and reflect on the necessary areas relating to oblation.

It has been helpful to exchange email correspondence and to be able to ask advice or her thoughts where there were issues of concern. It has been a really positive part of the process for me in aiding me to think seriously and deeply about the call to oblation and what that has meant. Through all of this the path to oblation has given me a newness and an experience I want to share with others. It may not always be that they want to hear it yet but I am keen to help them feel and experience something I believe has brought freshness to my spiritual journey.

I continue to follow my practice of meditation and to follow the Rule of St Benedict and the working out of my commitment to Obedience, Stability and Conversion as fully as I can. Making the step to full oblation is for me the culmination and affirmation of all I have and am committed to. Stephen Gott Email: s.

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I feel it has been good to be able to share and exchange thoughts and reflections in an open way. There has always felt to be a sense of working at this together, which I feel is how it should be.


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I really believe the mentor approach is of immense value to the work of the oblate community. Laurence will lead the retreat with a daily conference and evening contemplative Eucharist. Giovanni Felicioni will lead daily yoga.

This humane, typically Benedictine balance is blessed by the beauty of the setting and the friendship of the monastic community with whom the night prayer peacefully concludes each day. During my time of pondering oblation I have learned much about letting go of self; though I know only too well there is a great deal more of self to let go of. I believe I have grown in my understanding of patience as I have waited through the process of becoming an oblate; something I am sure will be good news to many people who I work and live with.

As a parish priest I was familiar with oaths of obedience but have come to value the concept as much about mutual obedience as that of authorative obedience. The value of course is in mutual respect. At the same time I have learned so much about stability and conversion. I love the contrast between stability and conversion.

Yet at the same time how they open up to each other and bring each other alive. I see. The brochure with full details and registration form may be downloaded from - www.


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  • I began this journey of Studying the Rule of St. Benedict on December 2, Since then I have tried to remain faithful to the daily readings and meditation, and I have conscientiously worn the St. Benedict medal each day as a reminder of my commitment. Lead us further today along this path of freedom, to which you call us, through Jesus, your beloved Son our Lord. This love is like the ocean. It is like the prairie. I worked in courts and prisons and on the street for several years, nearly 25 years ago. One day I met a man named John.

    He had been doing 30 days in the old Nicholas Street Jail. Previously he had been in Kingston Pen for several years for blowing up banks. It was a great expanse of water with no bounds. We were sitting in my living room and my young son, John, who was then three years old, came into the room. He stopped momentarily when he saw the stranger but big John held out his hands and arms and John went to him. I was very touched by this experience. Prairie - In I spent the summer in Saskatoon and visited homes in a new sub-division and helped in starting a new congregation. The home where I lived looked out over a vast field of wheat.