Benedictine Oblates of WCCM
Meditation creates community. Meditators who experience personal transformation through a daily practice seek to express this in ways suitable to their own path. Oblation is one of these.
‘Oblate’ literally means ‘one who is offered’. Originally in the Rule of St Benedict it referred to children who were ‘offered’ by their parents to the monastery for formation and education. When these children reached the age of decision they could chose to stay on in the monastery or leave and live outside. These who left would often keep close links to the monastery though. Later on, in the Middle Ages, it referred to lay people who wanted to be linked to the spirituality of St Benedictine by becoming associated with a particular monastery.
Some established meditators within WCCM feel attracted to the wisdom of St Benedict and his 1600 year-old Rule as a way of deepening and grounding the process of personal ‘conversion’. The World Community is ecumenical and the Oblate community specially reflects this. However, the WCCM as a whole acknowledges a special relationship to the Benedictine tradition which was the first in the western Church to form a stable form of inclusive religious life and, in succeeding generations, has always adapted to the needs and circumstances of the age. Oblates live out their oblation in a spirit of ‘obedience, stability and conversion’ and promise ‘to share always in the life and work of our Community’.
The Rule, of course was aimed at monks living within a monastery, but in our case oblates relate to a global monastery without walls. Nevertheless, oblates aim to seek God daily in prayer and meditation and maintain a balance in body mind and spirit and reflected in the time-management of work, reading and prayer. More than a book of rules, the Rule distils a wisdom born of love, nourishing discipline and expressing itself in compassion.
The basic element of the Oblate Community, is the "cell". This word has a long monastic tradition referring originally to the monk’s cave or room. With us it is used to describe presence not only physical space. The cell meets with regularity, to meditate, to share the Word, to consider their ways of sharing in the work of the wider community and where time allows share a meal together. There are cells in London, Cambridge, Berkshire and Leeds and there is a monthly online cell meeting for those unable to travel. All are welcome.
If you would like to explore this Benedictine path as a way of life growing out of your meditation we will be happy to help you understand what it involves. You will find basic vision by reading John Main’s Community of Love.
For more information about the WCCM Oblate community please click here
The Oblate coordinator for the UK is Eileen Dutt.