Reflection for Oblation 2015

May 2, 2015

Anne Shepard, OSB


People of faith know that there are many translations of the scriptures.  Years ago, when we were using the Jerusalem Bible translation for the lectionary, I was struck by the wording of the last discourse of Jesus, the last conversation Jesus had with His disciples as written by the evangelist John.  Rather than the wording as I just read “remain in Me, as I remain in You,” I heard “make your home in Me, as I make Mine in you.”   The notion of being at home with each other connotes something very strong, very personal, very Benedictine.  

One of the greatest compliments that we receive is to hear that someone feels at home here at the Mount or in one of our mission houses.  It means they feel welcomed, heard, accepted for who they are.  People feel that others are paying attention to them and that their needs are being met.  When you are at home you don’t have to put on airs, or compete, or worry about an image.  When I am at home with someone, I feel free to argue, to tease, to question, to challenge, but most of all to accept completely and be assured that the acceptance is mutual.  

This is so true with Jesus making a home in us.  He wants us to welcome Him and welcome His word into our hearts.  He wants us to confide in Him, our hopes and sorrows, our joys and daily events.  He wants us to be open to His end of the conversation.  Jesus wants us to listen to what he has to say to us and the advice He has for us.  On the other side, we must be at home with Jesus.  We must really strive to hear what He says to us.  Jesus wants us to be home- to be present- to take time to “hang out” in silence, in laughter, with sharing insights and joining Him at meals.  And if we choose to be at home in the Lord, and let the words of God seep into our being,  we are told “ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”  Whatever we want.  Anything.  That’s a lot.

Tonight, we are welcoming sixteen new oblates, perhaps our largest oblation group ever at the Mount.  The leaders of oblates in the multiple geographic regions have attested to their readiness.  They assure us that they are at home with the Lord.  They know and appreciate the Rule of St. Benedict and want the values of the monastic tradition to guide their lives as men and women of faith.  These candidates know and love us, we sisters of Mount St. Scholastica.  They are women and men of profound prayer who are striving to do the will of God in their day to day living.  

We are in the midst of strategic planning.  We have no idea what the outcome will be in terms of specifics.  What we are confident about is that the future of Benedictine life in the United States and around the world will include a significant role played by you, the oblates.   God bless you.