With the rather long break from these reflections, it is good to look at the map and get our bearings once again. To mark our bicentenary year, I have been exploring our founding vision and how, by living this God-given charism for 200 years, we have responded with a distinctive spirituality. Thus, I have been asking the question, “What is the Oblate spirituality which is expressed and lived by many several; categories of members of the large Mazenodian Family in different ways?”

The core of our spirituality is expressed in our Oblate Rule of Life, which we are using as the basis of our reflection. Until now we have focused on the first 5 constitutions. I invite you to go back to some of the earlier entries on the website to refresh your memory.

We can approach the question from a different perspective. In 1976 a group of Oblate missionaries from all over the world gathered to reflect on their LIVED EXPERIENCE of the Oblate charism and to put its central elements into words. Here are the first five statements of their summary:

a) Above all we recognize the ascendancy over us of the living CHRIST, who wants to liberate the world with our assistance, providing we first of all accept that he liberate us.

b) We wish to EVANGELIZE, that is to say, to make him known, he who became fully man to save us completely and fraternally; remembering that our Founder gave priority to the preaching of the Gospel for conversion, we want to witness by our lives the joy of the Good News.

c) It is to the POOR that we want above all to bring the message of liberating joy: to the most humanly destitute, to those whose situations cry out for justice before God; in no way does this exclude our wanting to share this message with all who are in pressing need of these good news, even if they are not materially deprived.-

d) We receive our mission from the CHURCH and fulfil it within her, a body of believers where Christ’s grace is made present and effective.

e) To this end we live in COMMUNITY, a human group where we fortify ourselves reciprocally in faith through charity, with mutual enrichment from our discovery of God and Christ living and acting in us and in the world.

Statement of the OMI Charism Congress, 1976.


“Talking about peoples lived experiences is a powerful way to mobilize them.”   C. Lake

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It is good to be back here – I hope Frank, that you had a good break.

    I look at the title and a small groan escapes me – ‘getting our bearings’ on the journey indeed. I do feel as if I have been wandering a little aimlessly, or perhaps to be more truthful, standing still in the middle of a vast emptiness with no bearings at all. The past month and a half has most likely been good for me but not what I would have chosen for myself. It began with my looking for something with which to ‘fill’ myself and knowing that would at best be a delaying tactic on my part. I no longer have the time or the inclination to try to play that game with God (as if I could manipulate him in some way!)

    I look at the words that I have read now several times and can find both ways that they seem to describe my being and while at the same time being able to say this is not my reality for it is not perfectly the same. Always it seems there are little questions and doubts that I need to stand in for there is also at the core of my being a small quiet voice that reminds me that I am exactly where I need to be. The words trust and surrender come to mind – they have been floating in and out of the edges of my consciousness for a few days now. I am reminded of Peter saying to God at one point that he would love to walk away with the others but where would he go. It is a bit like that where I am now.

    This morning I do sit with these words, I hang on to them – not because they fill me but rather because they do seem to remind me of where I am and why I am. Not sure about the ‘bearings’ part but they are something to hold onto not so different from an unconscious touching of the small cross that I wear, a centering in a way.

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