I have written these reflections to help oblates, both those who are just beginning and also those who are continuing to follow the instructions of our Holy Father Saint Benedict. There will perhaps be some people who will find these reflections filled with repetition and too simplistic. But one might reply that we repeat many things every day, and the most important things, the most profound things are doubtless the simplest and most unaffected. For myself, as for most people, we need repetition if we are not to forget the most important things.
Our travelling companion must be the Rule itself, and an oblate needs to obtain a copy. We begin each morning by reading the passage prescribed for that day, and then we can turn to these reflections.
Several chapters of the Rule are specifically addressed to the monks. In these cases I have tried to find relevant thoughts in order to adapt the meaning and provide practicable propositions.
I must express my thanks to Dom Guillaume Jedrzejczak O.C.S.O. for his book ‘Sur un Chemin de Liberté, commentaires de la Règle de saint Benoît jour après jour’, Anne Sigier, Montréal, 2006. I have read and re-read it for several years and each time found it a source of inspiration. Like Père Guillaume, I have had frequent recourse to the Latin/French edition of the Rule by H. Rochais and E. Manning, published by les Editons La Documentation Cistercienne, Rochefort, 1980. Father Manning wrote in his introduction that what is essential for Benedict is to be open to God’s will without pre-empting a future that is in God’s hand … and to live together in renunciation, charity and prayer (xxxvii).
As for myself, I have been an oblate for more than fifty years, but am always a beginner (ch. 73,8) and every four months I reread this Rule for the sons and daughters of our Holy Father Benedict.
Finally, I would like to express a profound debt of gratitude for the love and obedience of the Benedictine Community of Saint-Wandrille, Normandy, and its Abbot Dom Jean-Charles Nault.
Dr. Joan Greatrex
Feast of St Cecilia, 2022