10/19/2019, in the Chapel, encircled by Oblates and Monks, and guided by Brother Gabriel, I am received into the community of Mt. Saviour Monastery. It is day three of a four day Retreat; a gathering of Oblates from Canada and the US, near and far. The only way I can describe these four days: a soft and lovely song, start to finish.
I had not reviewed the outline for the Oblation ceremony in quite some time. In fact, I was not sure I’d be able to attend the Retreat and not sure if the time was right to take the step. It unfolded, quite naturally, as soon as I felt an unequivocal certainty, asked if it could happen, and got the “yes” from Brother Gabriel. I had very little time to write out my Oblation statement, which I signed, witnessed by the community, and which remained on the Communion Table. Part of me wants to apologize for the notepaper, the lack of editing. But the heart of me was in it, and remains in it.
I feel quite joyful, having made the leap. My discernment period took about 16 months. I’m sure the process differs for people who seriously consider a Benedictine life. One to the next, each person finds their way to a decision based on their whole being, and their way of being. I prayed, often (all the time, really), for help with figuring out whether I was doing the discerning, or whether I was being discerned by the Benedictine legacy (I believe it worked both ways, after all) and I may have over-thought or under-thought everything.
On some level, I was afraid. Very SERIOUS. Reading and re-reading and a little nervous about reading Scripture, as prescribed for Lectio Divina. I was unsettled for about six months. Noisy.
Conversatio: it dawned on me, eventually, that I have somehow recognized and harmonized with the way-of-being that IS Mt Saviour. I did not know what to call truth of the place or the truth of the life that is lived there. Now I do.
God’s sense of humor? Or, His pity. One indication that one might consider becoming an Oblate is if one buys all the merchandise in the gift shop, at regular intervals, in what may be an attempt to “bring the monastery home.” Of course, one also purchases gifts for all reasons and seasons in order to share a “piece of the peace” in the form of books, CDs, candles, cards, knitted goods, pictures, you-name-it.
Mercifully, He directed me toward a brochure in the lobby. It was free. The word looked interesting; a word I had not noticed before and knew nothing about. Oblate.
I seek God, as He seeks me. I seek to know His Will, and seek to DO His Will. Not so easy. Possibly impossible. But, I have a toolbox.
Saint Scholastica, dear sister, pray for me. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for me. And thank you, Our Lady, Queen of Peace.