Heather Schmidt Albinger (pictured, far left) becomes an Oblate of Holy Wisdom Monastery in April 2015. Pictured here with many of her 2015 oblate classmates and the sisters. Photo by Kathleen Wessels.
When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. (John 1:38-39)
This Scripture was shared during my first oblate retreat. Stay is what I heard. Stay, stay, stay. How do we stay with Christ? We must come and see—follow to remain—follow to stay. Stay has emerged in my own rule as a means of conversion. Stay captures many elements of Benedict’s Rule—statio (an intentional pause), stability and holy leisure. I also hear a call to patience, waiting, deepening in—and to spiritual practices that cultivate these gifts: meditation, walking, yoga, swimming, singing, retreat…what else?
The Psalms were the topic on my last oblate retreat, and I heard stay again. Are you familiar with the word, Selah that appears between verses in the Psalms? Selah is translated as “pause and listen.” For me, it says, “stay, be in this moment. Let the fullness wash over you.” Obedience to this kind of staying teaches, heals, and grows me.
This oblate formation year asked a rule of life from me, which emerged, little by little, from that first retreat to the last, and became a song—with a refrain that sings, “Listen, Stay, Obey”—sings Selah—pause here and stay. Perhaps my verse about stay (below) will sing to you as you stay today. Peace.
or nest in the treetops that dance in the wind.
Exhale, be patient—the wait won’t be too long.
Yoga, a swim, or a walk with the dog.
Follow through seasons with prayer, work, and play.
Listen, Stay, Obey.
Heather Lee Schmidt Albinger became an oblate at Holy Wisdom in April 2015. She is a spiritual author and songwriter. The rest of her rule, her songs, and her recently published book, This Moment of Retreat: Listening to the Birch, the Milkweed, and the Healing Song in all that is Now can be explored at www.heatherleeonline.com. Heather’s book is also in all the bedrooms at Holy Wisdom Monastery for retreatants to read while they are here. She lives in Wauwatosa, WI with her husband, children, and dog.
Learn more online about Oblates of Holy Wisdom Monastery.