The World Community is ecumenical and inclusive and the Oblate community specially reflects this. To nurture this openness the WCCM as a whole acknowledges a special relationship to the Benedictine tradition. This links us to the universal and ancient monastic wisdom. The Rule of St Benedict (from the 6th century) became the common guide for monastic life in the western Church. It began in the Dark Ages, a time of painful transition and confusion – not so different from our own – and modestly inspired a stable form of inclusive common life among those ‘truly seeking God’. Over the past fifteen hundred years it has proven one of the great wisdom texts to succeeding generations, steady and balanced but not rigid and so it has always adapted to the needs and circumstances of the age.
A Benedictine Oblate community has been part of he World Community family from the first days in which John Main began to teach. Oblates of the Community, like all members of WCCM, are committed to the basic practice of meditation twice a day. But then, meditation changes your life – in different ways for different people. So some meditators in the community ground and guide their personal lives in the wisdom of the Rule of St Benedict. In it they find an ongoing inspiration for living in the spiritual precepts of ‘obedience, stability and conversion’. They discover what these mean in the circumstances of their lives. They integrate the times of meditation with the Daily Office, regularly enriching their minds and hearts with the Word of God, and with a daily reading of the Rule as well as with their participation in the life and work of the WCCM Oblate community.
The Rule speaks to and befriends the monk within each of us. It describes a balanced and harmonious way of daily life that sustains us in ‘glorifying God in all things’. Personal values are re-prioritised accordingly. Prudent and practical, its wisdom recognizes the need for balance in body mind and spirit. It helps us achieve this day by day and to rebalance ourselves in the time-management of work, reading and prayer. Much more than a mere book of rules, the Rule avoids legalism and fundamentalism by exemplifying flexibility and compassion. It distils a wisdom born of love, nourishing the discipline we all need if we are to be free.
WCCM Benedictine Oblates thus both express and deepen their commitment to their inner journey and a life of service to others through a wisdom both ancient and modern. It is a unique form of oblation, however. WCCM oblates are not ‘attached’ to a physical monastery, but themselves form a global monastery without walls. But they also play their role in the international Oblate community and take part in the regular Benedictine Oblate Congresses.
If you would like more information on the Oblate Path in the World Community, please contact your national WCCM Oblate Coordinator or the International CoordinatorInternational Coordinator, Eileen Dutt: firstname.lastname@example.org