OUR FOUNDING VISION TODAY: ALL ARE BROTHERS, SOME ARE PRIESTS

As priests and brothers, we have complementary responsibilities in evangelizing.

CC&RR, Constitution 7

Passionate as a cooperator of Jesus the Savior, Eugene brought together the first Oblate priests in 1816 to make this ideal a reality for themselves and for the most abandoned. Nearly three years later the group realized that God was calling them to become religious. This meant that our Oblate identity was now first of all as consecrated religious – which made it possible for men who chose not to be priests to be missionaries.

The reasons for not wishing to be priests were many. One was that in those days in the rural south of France, only 29% of men were literate, while in the cities the literacy rate was 64%. Becoming a society of religious missionaries (as opposed to priestly missionaries) the door  was opened for many men who already had a profession or trade but did not did not feel called to do further studies in order to become priests. Each would bring his talents and abilities to the service of the mission in a complementary way. The history of the ministry of the Oblate Brothers throughout the world makes for inspiring reading.

Times have changed in 200 years – and today God continues to call all Oblates to be vowed religious missionaries – and to express this religious brotherhood as Brothers or priests. We have complementary roles and responsibilities in evangelizing.

Our Rule of life portrays this picture:

Oblate Brothers share in the common priesthood of Christ. They are called to cooperate in their own way in reconciling all things in him (cf. Col 1: 20). Through their religious consecration, they offer a particular witness to a life inspired by the Gospel.
Brothers participate in the missionary work of building up the Church everywhere, especially in those areas where the Word is first being proclaimed. Missioned by the Church, their technical, professional or pastoral service, as well as the witness of their life, constitute their ministry of evangelization.

CC&RR, Rule 7a

See the article “Brothers” in the Dictionary of Oblate Values: http://www.omiworld.org/en/dictionary/dictionary-of-oblate-values_vol-1_b/1030/brothers/

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“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.”   Henrik Ibsen

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One Response to OUR FOUNDING VISION TODAY: ALL ARE BROTHERS, SOME ARE PRIESTS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It has been slow going for me this morning and I have found myself rereading the end of what has been offered to us over and over. Finally I settle on the quote from Rule 7c and it is this that I sit with before being able to move. It is here that my spirit soars as I reflect on this particular piece for it speaks to me about life as an Oblate Associate.
    Is this how my life looks?

    Part of me says that the line about “especially in those areas where the Word is first being proclaimed” does not apply to me for I am here in a big city where my life is among Christians for the most part and yet I would argue that even I will realise from time-to-time that I am hearing the Word “proclaimed in a new way” than from how I have heard it before.

    I find myself wanting to take flight, to soar and there is joy within me. The joy comes from this time of reflection and recognizing a little bit better who I am. I am forever changed because of this. This past weekend I had the joy (and the struggle) of giving the Reflection. “Breaking open the Word” did not happen in an instant and I had to prepare for that by researching and learning. I first emptied myself before taking in the words, breaking them a part and chewing them up and swallowing them. They became a part of me and only then can I speak to them and share them. The ‘living’ Word.

    This is what I have done here today. This is part of what constitutes my ministry of evangelization, as much as is this morning, here in this place for it is here that I am evangelized.

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