Benedictine life is a Christ-centered, cenobitic way of life which follows a Rule and an Abbot. More simply, it is the life of a Christian family. All those elements that constitute a harmonious Christian family are found in a Benedictine monastery, and by extension, should characterize the life of a Benedictine Oblate. This way of life is crystallized in several pithy mottoes and in the three “Benedictine” vows. The mottoes are: “Pax” (Peace), “Ora et Labora” (Pray and Work), and “Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus” (That in all things God may be glorified). The vows are Stability, Conversion of Life, and Obedience. An Oblate’s life should mirror the values and life-style contained in these nuggets or distillations of a monk’s life.
1. Oblates are men and women of steady, disciplined prayer. The structure and extent of prayer is not legislated for Oblates, but it is expected that an Oblate be regular, disciplined, and persevering in prayer.
2. Oblates are obedient, not to an Abbot, but to the duties of their state in life, to their responsibilities in workplace and society, to their church doctrine, practices, and leadership.
3. Oblates strive to work as assiduously as they pray. Any legal and moral work is proper for an Oblate. Oblates do quality work, striving to build the Kingdom of God on earth, physically, morally, and culturally. Manual labor is prized, and never denigrated.
4. Oblates foster a sense of community, of family. They strive to promote good, healthy, and peaceful relations within their own family, in their church and work community, and in the larger society of religions and nations.
5. Oblates try to “bloom where they are planted.” They put down roots and produce fruit where they live and work, rather than seeking greener and easier pastures.
6. Oblates accept the need for ongoing conversion, always wanting to respond more fully and lovingly to God’s call. They know that God is not finished with them, and so they remain open to formation and transformation.