An Oblate of The Church of Conscious Harmony, consents to journey deeper into Christ, what theologians call Theosis, what Jesus called “abiding with him,” and what St. Paul called “union with Christ” or “putting on the mind of Christ.” Participation as an Oblate is a declaration of intentional relationship to the Divine Mystery that is God and to all creation. To become an Oblate, a vow is taken, renewable each January. The vow is born of a personal hunger and commitment for transformation into Christ and a wish to live a committed life in service of this aim. In making their vow, Oblates commit themselves to God and to living the Oblate Rule of Life so to actively participate in the spiritual journey while engaging the transformative process as “monks in the world.” Oblates participate in The Journey School programs by receiving the weekly email and participating in a Journey Group, (with the option of having a Work Partner and participating in the Gurdjieff Movements). The vow is to God alone, yet lived out through and with the Church community.
The Oblate Rule of Life
- Twice daily Centering Prayer practice: A twice-daily practice of 20-30 minutes of Centering Prayer is the foundational and essential practice for consenting to God’s love, presence and action.
- Daily reading of Scripture: Reading Scripture in the manner of Lectio Divina is a foundational daily practice. Using a daily liturgical reader, such as Give Us This Day or Magnificat is suggested.
- Daily study and application of the ideas of the Work of Inner Christianity: Ordinarily, this will mean reading a selection from Maurice Nicoll’s Commentaries. However, there are many other resources from enriching Work teachers such as G. I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, J. G. Bennett, Beryl Pogson, Jeanne de Salzmann, et al.
- Daily conscious movement (e.g., tai chi, yoga, walking): As incarnated beings, love of God with our whole being must incorporate our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Care and movement of the body are a means of being fully human and integrating the energetic movement that can arise in the body through contemplative practices.
- Weekly immersion in a Eucharistic worship service: The Eucharist provides an opportunity to see ordinary matter in an extraordinary way, inviting us to perceive the mystery of Christ everywhere and in everything. It is an unbroken transmission of God’s love for us and Presence within all creation. Oblates can participate in Eucharistic worship at The Church of Conscious Harmony on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings. Those who are traveling or live out of town are encouraged to partake in a local Eucharistic service or the Church’s online offerings.
- Meeting with the Minister or Abbot/Abbess at least annually: We recognize the value in maintaining contact and opening ourselves in vulnerability to how we’re doing with the Rule of Life and the spiritual journey.
- Sunday Seva or Youth Educational Service (YES) program service: Service to the community and one another is an expression of love for God and one another. Oblates are expected to participate in a Sunday Seva team or YES program service to the Church community. For those who reside outside of the Austin area, the Oblate selects an area of regular service to their local spiritual community.
- Commitment to attend a multi-day Centering Prayer retreat: Extended time away from the demands of day-to-day life in the silence with others is a foundational experience in the contemplative life. Oblates are encouraged to attend a 10-day retreat, but any multi-day Centering Prayer retreat will open us to receiving untold gifts of spiritual and psychological enrichment.
- Attendance at the annual weekend Oblate retreat: The annual Oblate retreat provides time away for inspiration and community building. Typically, the retreat will begin on Friday evening and conclude by 5:00 pm Saturday.
- Tithing: We give freely and receive joyfully. Tithing is an expression of valuation, gratitude and reciprocal maintenance for the spiritual sources which feed us. The practice of tithing brings God into our relationship with money, and through it, we acknowledge in faith that God is the true source of our supply. Historically, the word “tithe” meant a tenth. Today, we understand the amount of tithing to be a spiritual practice between ourselves and God. For some, this might mean a tenth of their income. For others, this might mean much more than a tenth of their income.
The Oblate Circle-of-Devotion
Those in the Oblate-Circle of Devotion have been practicing the Work of Inner Christianity for many years and wish to move deeper into the stillness and simplicity of silence and prayer, perhaps in expanded solitude. They commit themselves totally to God and to living a personalized expression of the Oblate Rule of Life, tailored to their own choosing, as directed by the Holy Spirit and supportive to their life state and stage. The intention of the Oblate-Circle of Devotion is to affirm that the spiritual journey leads many to a deep interior quiet, where all of life becomes prayer and prayer becomes life in self-emptying, love for all and everything. Commitments to the Oblate-Circle of Devotion may be discerned in conversation with the Abbess.
For questions about the Oblate program, contact the church office.