Oblates: July 2012 Archives

Letter to a Novice Oblate X

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Painting by John Everett Millais

On the Call to Perpetual Adoration

My dear sons and daughters,

I think that you will find the following page from In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest, helpful. I know how much each one of you long to spend time with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and I know that this desire of yours often appears to conflict with your duties at home, in the family, and at work. In the words below, Our Lord assures us that in order to adore Him perpetually it is not necessary to be, at every minute, kneeling before the altar. The essence of perpetual adoration is perpetual adhesion to the Will of God in the real circumstances of your life, and this, as an expression of love.

Cling to the Will of God

Even here in the monastery it is not possible to dedicate to actual adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament all the time that I would want to give to it. We are, in reality, living in a construction site. There are a hundred different things soliciting my attention and clamouring for my presence. I take comfort in knowing that my desire to adore Our Lord is as good as the act of abiding before His Real Presence, provided that I am clinging to His Will, and in all things, trying to respond to His Love with love.

To Adore Is to Adhere

Mother Mectilde de Bar used to say that to adore always is to adhere always to the Will of the Father. This, my dear Novice Oblates, can be done anywhere: in the kitchen, on the ranch, in the laundry, or in the classroom. There is no place that cannot become a sanctuary of perpetual adoration, provided that we remain united by faith, hope, and love to the Most Holy Trinity present in the secret of our souls.

With my loving blessing,
Father Prior


You are always in My presence,
and when your heart is directed towards My Heart,
there is no distance between us.
My Sacramental Presence, though unique, substantial, and real,
is not the only form of My presence.
It is not possible for you to remain at every moment of the day
close to me in the Sacrament of My Love and before my altar,
but it is possible for you to adore Me at every moment
in the inner sanctuary of your soul
where I am also present
together with My Father and with the Holy Spirit.

Adhere to My will at every moment,
and you will be adoring Me at every moment.
I understand the complexities and circumstances of your life.
Be with Me by desiring to be with Me.
The desire never to leave My Sacramental Presence is,
in effect, as precious in my sight
as if you were physically before Me,
adoring Me, loving Me, listening to Me, speaking to Me.

Learn . . . how to adore Me perpetually
without forsaking the things that require your attention.
I am present intimately and in the secret sanctuary of the soul
to all who desire to be with Me,
to all who seek My Face
and all who desire to rest upon My Heart.

Give me your inability to carry out all that you propose to do,
and I will receive your incapacity
and change it, by My love,
into an offering more pleasing than the successful accomplishment
of what you propose to do.

Trust Me with your weaknesses.
Give Me your inability to do even what I have inspired you to do.
Your poverty, your infirmity, even your inconstancy
is no obstacle to My work in your soul,
provided that you abandon all to Me
with complete confidence in My merciful love.

Do what you can do reasonably,
and what you cannot do, give Me as well.
I am pleased with the offering of the one
as much as I am pleased by the offering of the other.

Let these words comfort you.
Know that I am not a taskmaster, but a friend,
and the most loving and welcoming of friends.
What friend would greet the one he loves with a reproach
rather than with a tender welcome.

Yes, I have called you to a life of adoration and of reparation,
but I call you also to humility,
to the little way of spiritual childhood,
and to a boundless trust in My mercy.
Adore Me, then, in the Sacrament of My Love as much as you can,
and when you are unable to do this,
adore Me in the meeting place with Me
that is your infirmity, your weakness, and the needs of the present moment.

To love Me is to adore Me,
and to adore Me is to love Me.
Love Me at every moment and you will adore Me at every moment.
Adore Me ceaselessly in the sanctuary of your soul
and know that your adoration there glorifies Me in the Sacrament of My Love
and in the glory of heaven,
where, one day, I will unite Myself to you forever.

From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest

Letter to a Novice Oblate IX

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My very dear Novice Oblate,

To Relieve the Poor

This morning at Matins as I read an excerpt from the writings of Saint Vincent de Paul, I was thinking of all of you, and especially of those of you who are mothers caring for children, and fathers bearing the responsibility of work and the heat of the day. In this text, Saint Vincent speaks of the service of the poor, something to which Saint Benedict calls us in Chapter Four of the Holy Rule, The Instruments of Good Works where he enjoins us to relieve the poor.

Who is Poor?

I would caution you against having too narrow an idea of who is poor. There are poverties of the heart and of the soul. There are poverties known to God alone. The poor come to us in many guises and disguises. There are "poor" in our own families, and living in our own homes. There are "poor" among our friends. There are "poor" among those whom the world judges to be comfortable, secure, and independent.

Listen to Saint Vincent

Here is what Saint Vincent de Paul says; the translation from the original French is my own:

God loves the poor and, for this reason, He loves those who love the poor, for when one really loves someone, one has affection for his friends and household.
There must be no delay in what pertains to the service of the poor. If at the hour of your prayer in the morning, you must bring medicine to someone, go about it in peace; offer your action to God, unite your intention to the prayer that is being offered at home, or elsewhere, and go forward without worrying.
If, when you return, it is convenient for you to devote a little time to prayer or to spiritual reading, so much the better! But you must not worry, nor think that you have failed when you lose your time of prayer, for it is not lost when it is given up for a legitimate duty. And if ever there was a legitimate duty, it is the service of the poor.
In no way do you leave God if you are leaving God to go to God, that is to say leaving one work of God in order to do another that is of a weightier obligation, or of greater merit. If you put aside your reading, or lose your silence in order to serve a poor person, know that in doing that, you are serving God. You must see that charity is above all rules, and all rules must be related back to charity. Charity is a great lady; one must do what she commands.


It is Thy Face, O Lord, that I Seek

I am sometimes concerned that you feel less a Benedictine Oblate when your family duties take you away from saying an Hour of the Divine Office, or doing a bit of lectio divina, or praying your rosary. The true Benedictine Oblate is one who seeks God in all things, and recognizes the Face of Christ in the hundreds of faces seen at home, at work, or on the street. Benedictine Oblates have always been devoted servants of the poor. I am thinking particularly of the patroness of Oblates, Saint Francesca of Rome, wife and mother, and of Dorothy Day, foundress of The Catholic Worker.

Unlike the monk living in his cloister, who can consult his abbot to know what must be done in a given situation, the Oblate must discern the right thing to do, relying on the Gospel; the teachings of the Church; the Holy Rule; the example of the saints; written instructions by the father of your monastery, such as this one; and the unfailing light of the Holy Ghost.

In Freedom of Spirit

Above all else, I want you to avoid the torment of scrupulosity. Once you have discerned, in good faith, that a particular course of action is right, hold fast to it in freedom of spirit, offering it to God.

You are in my prayer at the altar each day. Remember your monastery before the Lord because we too are numbered among the poor. For this, we count ourselves blessed. Only when we are poor can we reflect the radiance of the Face of Jesus.

In lumine vultus Iesu,
Father Prior

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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