Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

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At the last meeting a description of how Benedictine Oblates might best serve in the light of Vatican II was submitted for discussion. Using the Constitution and Guidelines for the spiritual life of Oblates, as approved by American Cassinese Federation, the following outline was developed. Oblates are reminded that these are goals they should strive toward. But we should reflect on them and how they will apply in our own spiritual journey based on the Rule:

In drawing up its regulations, we hope to set down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome. The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love. Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love. (Prologue 46-49)

Oblates and Oblate novices are invited to submit any comments either on-line or in writing. It is encouraged to submitted comments on-line since other Oblates would have a chance to reflect on what is posted. Letters should be sent to Director of Oblates, Belmont Abbey, 100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Road, Belmont, NC 28012. In the March meeting the comments will be presented. The final outline will be submitted to Abbot Placid for his approval.

Oblates Foster a Spirit of Community

  • Oblates are committed to their monastery, its values, culture and its prayer;
  • The oblates pray for the monastery, the monastic community and the other oblates;
  • Oblates attend the oblate meetings on a regular basis.

Oblates Strive for Their Own Continued Christian Renewal and Improvement: Oblates are persons whose lives are shaped by Benedictine spirituality.

  • They follow the Rule of St. Benedict in their daily lives as far as their vocation in life permits;
  • Oblates commit to a two year period of formation following a course of study approved by the Abbot;
  • Attend at least one retreat or day of recollection once a year (see RB 49:1-3).

Oblates Strive to Be Men and Women of Practical Spirituality and to keep the spirit of St. Benedict alive by the way in which they live. They study and read the Rule of St. Benedict, the writings of St. John Cassian, St. Basil, or the writings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers at least weekly and try to apply the passages to one's daily life; these should be read as lectio divina and studied with the help of a commentary or at meetings with one's fellow Oblates (See RB 48:10-16, 22; RB 73).

Oblates Strive to Be Men and Women of Prayer. Oblates should:

  • pray the Liturgy of the Hours, especially Morning and/or Evening Prayer, as the duties of their vocation in life permit; (see RB 19:1-2);
  • practice lectio divina daily, primarily using the Scriptures (see  RB 48:10-16, 22).

Oblates Strive to Be Loyal and Active Members of Christ and His Church and to live as Men and Women of Christian Virtue and of Peace: Oblates are representatives of the monastery "in the world." As such they should commit to fulfilling one or more of the following at least once a year:

  • contributing in a significant way to a project that improves the natural environment for one's community or parish (see RB 31:10-12);
  • participating actively in a movement that works for peace and justice in one's local community, one's country, or the world (see RB Prol:14-17);
  • undertaking in a specific and regular way one of the spiritual or corporal works of mercy:  instructing and advising in the ways of faith, consoling, comforting, forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently; feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, burying the dead (see Mt 25:31-46; RB 31:9, 4:14-19);
  • helping to build up one's parish family or civic community by concrete, regular involvement in a parish  or community project (see RB 58:24- 25).
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