by Sarah Miller, oblate candidate, 2016 (pictured, right, on a recent trip along the Oregon coast)
When I applied to be an oblate of Holy Wisdom earlier this year, I thought my year of formation would be like this: I would get to read good books, chit chat over a meal, but could basically keep to myself and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Holy Wisdom grounds. I hadn’t yet learned the priceless value of community.
Although I had never experienced being part of a close-knit community, I now know it is something I have wanted and have found as an oblate candidate. I feel like this is a place where I can belong. People are accepted and nudged to become a part of the world to share their talents and gifts. Being around oblates makes me feel that there is a place in the world for people who are gentle and thoughtful.
As an oblate candidate I am learning that serving is essential. We serve others as Christ serves us. Reading Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, by Joan Chittister, OSB, has helped me realize that I have gifts and that I am compelled to be a part of the world. Thank God that I have found the Rule of Benedict and the oblate community to guide me in becoming a part of the world without being destroyed by it and to help make reality better. I love how the Rule blends the outer world with inner contemplation and says that our work does make a difference.
Coming to Holy Wisdom and realizing that I have an entire year to process the Rule, learn more about myself and bond with other candidates has been such a relief. Becoming an oblate isn’t something that happens overnight. Learning and living the Rule is not about checking things off a list. There is no rush to become more spiritual or become a better version of myself. The year of formation works the way sand in an oyster shell works; through time and persistence something beautiful is produced. I do not have to meet a deadline or feel “less than” because I am not at a certain level. The Rule lets me dive in, contemplate and experience life with other oblates. It is a refreshing relief to be in such an open and comfortable environment.
In addition to learning about community, this year of formation has taught me to treat the present as holy. I see every new experience as something worthwhile and amazing; whether it’s getting on plane and flying across the country, or walking down the street and admiring the sun shining through the trees. I am hopeful and excited about the rest of my journey.
Thank you for sharing so clearly and to the point how community and the present moment are such great discoveries for you. Your joy is also clearly present. I think we humans really need both aspects to be whole and who God wants us to be. I share your relief and enthusiasm to be a part of the Oblate community at HWM. Class of 2014