Benedictine Oblates at Mount St. Scholastica
Benedictine Oblates are Christian women and men from any walk of life who seek to live a life in harmony with the spirit of St. Benedict as it is found in both the Rule of Saint Benedict and in its contemporary expression.
They choose to associate themselves with a particular monastery because of a personal connection with its members and spirit. In doing so, they share in the prayer of the monastery and in its efforts to live more completely what it means to be a Christian. They are aided in developing their own spirituality through regular personal prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, study of the scriptures and the Holy Rule as well as other spiritual reading (lectio), and the practice of such virtues as humility, hospitality, community, stewardship, mindfulness and peacemaking, which are particularly emphasized in Benedictine spirituality. They and the sisters also feel a sense of shared community and mutual support.
Homily from 2017 Oblation
Sheep do not have a reputation for being the most brilliant of animals. But what they lack in individual intelligence is compensated by their extraordinary sense of community. They are excellent followers, and no one can be called a good shepherd without good sheep.
The smartest thing a sheep can do is to be loyal to a good shepherd. Nature did not give sheep any good personal defenses like claws or wings or venom. But nature gave them something else, the instinct to stick close to a top-of-the-foodchain ally, a creature that can throw a rock or build a fire or force them to go somewhere they would never choose to go, but which turns out to be a green pasture near restful waters. Nature gave them the instinct to stay together and thereby to be easily led. But no sheep is born with the ability only by instinct to know their true shepherd.
In Jesus’ time, sheep were kept safe by being brought together in a common pen at night. Then each shepherd would come and call their sheep and depart with them. Instinct prepares a sheep to follow the right crowd, but they had to learn from those other sheep to recognize the right voice. Once they have that skill, they cannot be deceived because they have learned the sound of their own shepherd’s call. As each group moves out of the pen, they can distinguish whether or not this is their flock and wait for their own command.
Candidates, each of you here tonight heard a voice calling your name. You recognized the voice not only of the Good Shepherd Jesus, but of St. Benedict, who instructs that the superior of a monastery takes the place of Christ and is to act as a shepherd. You found a group of people who welcomed you into their fold and helped you to more clearly distinguish the voice of the shepherd.
Here tonight, you will make your oblation on this vigil of Good Shepherd Sunday under the window that shows St. Benedict as shepherd. His sheep have very large eyes and ears and almost imperceptible mouths, a lesson for us all. He holds a staff that helps to steady his feet with one end and bring back the stray with the hook on the other. The sheep rest on his shoulder, nuzzle his cheek, whisper in his ear, and follow the line moving ever upward together to everlasting life.