The Oblate Program
An Oblate of The Church of Conscious Harmony, consents to journey deeper into Christ, what theologians call Theosis, or simple, 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. 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, (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
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 love, presence and action.
2. Daily reading of Scripture
Personal reading of Scripture is a foundational daily practice, reading in the manner of Lectio Divina. Using a daily liturgical reader, such as Give Us This Day or Magnificat, is suggested.
3. Daily study and application of the ideas of the Work of Inner Christianity
Ordinarily, this will mean reading and engaging The Journey School weekly email and a selection from Maurice Nicoll’s Commentaries. However, here are many other resources from enriching Work teachers such as P.D. Ouspensky, J. G. Bennett, Beryl Pogson, 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 within all creation. Oblates can participate in Eucharistic worship at The Church of Conscious Harmony on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings via online and, hopefully, soon in-person. Those who are traveling or live out of town are encouraged to partake in a local Eucharistic service or the Church’s online offerings.
6. Spiritual companioning with the Minister, Abbess, or Minister’s designate
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 companion 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 service ministry to the Church community. For those who reside outside of the Austin area, the Oblate selects an area of regular service to humanity.
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 enrichment.
9. 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 a Friday evening and conclude by 5:00 pm Saturday.
We give freely and receive joyfully. Tithing is an expression of valuation, gratitude and reciprocal maintenance 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.
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 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.