The Oblate Program
The Journey School exists as a means for individuals to make a deep and practical expression of their hunger for God and Ultimate Reality. There is a further opportunity to move deeper by becoming an Oblate of The Church of Conscious Harmony.
An Oblate of CCH consents to journey deeper into Christ, what theologians call Theosis, or simply, Love. 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. The vow is to God alone, yet lived out through and with the Church community.
The word Oblate comes from the Latin Oblatio, and conveys (1) the action of offering oneself to God and one’s spiritual community and its Rule of Life, and (2) the wish to consent more deeply to God in every dimension of one’s life.
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 fully participate in The Journey School programs by receiving the weekly email, participating in a Journey Group, and attending the Thursday evening class (with the option of having a Work Partner).
The Oblate Rule of Life
1. 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 presence and action.
2. Daily reading of Scripture
Personal reading of Scripture is a foundational daily monastic practice, for individuals and community. Using a daily liturgical reader, such as Give Us This Day, is suggested. We read Scripture through the lens of the ideas of the Work of Inner Christianity and contemplative spirituality. Reading in the manner of Lectio Divina is suggested.
3. Daily study and application of the ideas of the Work of Inner Christianity
Ordinarily, this will mean reading and engaging a selection from Maurice Nicoll’s Commentaries. However, there are many other resources from enriching teachers such as P.D. Ouspensky, J. G. Bennett, Rebecca Nottingham, et al.
4. Daily conscious movement (e.g., tai chi, yoga, walking)
As incarnated beings, love of God with our whole being must incorporate our bodies, temples of the 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.
5. 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 with and within us. Oblates 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.
6. Spiritual direction with the Minister
We recognize the value in witnessing, confessing, and opening ourselves in vulnerability to another who will individually respond to us, pray with us, and gently guide us in ways we could not do alone.
7. Seva or 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 Seva team or other similar ministry to the Church community. For those who reside outside of the Austin area, the Oblate selects his/her area of regular service.
8. 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 fruitfulness.
9. Attendance at the annual weekend Oblate retreat
The annual Oblate retreat provides time away for inspiration and focused community building. Typically, the retreat will begin on a Friday evening and conclude by 5:00 pm Saturday. Oblates coming from out of town are encouraged to stay for the Sunday worship service and enjoy fellowship with the entire Church community.
We give freely and receive joyfully. Tithing is an expression of valuation and gratitude for the spiritual sources which feed us. Tithing is also a spiritual practice between each of us and God. 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, tithing means contributing 10% of one’s income.