Monday, December 10, 2007

An Advent Afternoon

Twenty-five oblates were with us all afternoon Saturday. They stayed for dinner and for the Vigil of the 2nd Sunday of Advent, too.

Every Lent and Advent the oblates have a Saturday afternoon retreat...translate that to mean quiet time, together time and reflection time... right in the middle of the two most well-known liturgical seasons.

Our oblates are very active and have been for years. Recently we added an "Oblates Only" section to our website, where the director can post information and announcements to our 200+ lay members.

There are quite a few websites for oblates, and even an international, ecumenical Oblate Forum site. And the premier Benedictine website has links to numerous sites that would particularly interest Benedictine oblates, too.

If you missed it, see the October 25 entry here for a list of some of the latest books on Benedictinism for the laity...or as one is titled, How to be a monastic and not leave your day job!

More on reading: I'm reading a little book by Thomas Moore that I accidently came upon, Meditations: on the monk who dwells in daily life. Moore entered a monastic community at age 13 and spent twelve years there...all just before the Vatican II Council. His take on the essence of monastic life is very good and these small reflections are powerfully apropos today. Here's one:

In an age of profound cultural transition,
religion itself appears to be going through
its own rite of passage.
For some it is in a time of crisis,
for others a period of vibrant change.
I see religion moving toward a diminishing of dogma,
authority, membership, and belief
and an increase in everyday ritual,
poetic theology, social engagement,
guidance in contemplation, and care of the soul.

In this new setting monasticism, too,
can become more a spirit than an institution,
one element among several
in establishing a soul-centered life,
and a style that invites beauty and culture
into a life of pragmatism and efficiency.