A Mutual Gift of Self

At Morning Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, it came to mind that the Feast of the Epiphany very much reflects the way in which we are called to live out our lives as Benedictine Oblates.

The Wise Men first have the intuition that something might be calling them. That star in the night must be pointing to something greater than itself! So their response to the calling of the star is to seek that which is its source. So on they go. Their journey must have been met by some difficulties and they may have asked themselves why they were even seeking, yet they did not give up on their journey. Through the difficult terrain they certainly had to come to terms with their own limitations and failures yet they knew that something greater then themselves was calling them.

Did they know they were seeking the face of God? I doubt it! But once they began to understand that it was the Author of Life who had called them to Himself, their response was to make an oblation (gift) of those things which we dearest to them – gold, frankincense and myrrh. After their adoration they set off to go back into the world and live out the love they had experienced by the mutual exchange of gifts between the child God and themselves.

The life of a Benedictine Oblate is reflected here in the mystery of the epiphany. Our calling is subtle, one that requires us to search and listen for that ever so subtle voice of God which comes to us in the simplest and humblest of things – sometimes even in a star. His voice is found in the ordinary and not the extraordinary! Once we feel our hearts moved by this subtle call we then set out on foot to find its source, at first not really understanding that which we might be seeking. The journey might be rocky, long and at times twisted, yet we continue on because in our hearts we know that something or more important, Someone is to be found.

Once God shows Himself to us our only response is that of offering himself something in return. But what? We quickly come to see that the only gift we can offer Him is the gift of our lives and we do so in an act of oblation. With, in and through Christ our lives become a gift, a response to the call of God. Anything less would not suffice!

But our story does not end here. Once God has accepted our gift of oblation He then calls us to go out into the world – just like the Wise Men – and proclaim the new born King by the lives we live and the new calling we have received.

In seeking God we find Him yet as oblates we are not called to keep Him to ourselves. Our response is to turn around and show His face to the world!