Part of any spiritual life is an active participation in the sacramental life of the church. Benedictine oblates are called to this participation in an even greater way because of the offering we made of ourselves to God. Signing our oblate promises on the altar is something more than just a formality!
In a very real way oblates have united themselves to Christ on the altar, not in a sacramental way such as the priesthood, but as a sign that we are called to be deeply conformed to Christ, who gives himself to the Father for the good of the Church and the world. The sacraments are the means to that deeper conformity.
Recently, I have been blessed with being able to conform myself more closely to the suffering Christ as I’ve had surgery a few month ago and as I prepare for another surgery in the next few days. The means for this has been the sacrament of the sick. This sacrament of healing is also a sacrament of conforming one to the suffering Jesus who chose suffering as the means of redeeming the world. The anointing one receives sets the sick individual aside to suffer with, in and through Christ for the good of the Church and the world.
As a convert to the Catholic faith, I’ve know life without the sacraments. It is a dull and boring spiritual life. It is a life that leaves much to be desired.
Although oblation isn’t a sacrament of the church it definitely points to them. It is a way of participating in the offering of Christ to the Father. It is a life which must continually be strengthened by the sacraments Christ gave to his Church long ago.
Failing to participate in the sacramental life of the church is spiritual suicide. It is certainly necessary for any of Christ’s followers. How necessary it must be for those of us who have chosen to dedicate our lives to him under the title of “offering/oblate?”