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Tenth National Retreat for Benedictine Oblates

The tenth National Retreat for Benedictine Oblates will be held at Douai Abbey
2nd to 4th October 2020
Led by Abbot Christopher Jamison OSB

BOOK REVIEW:

Life with St. Benedict’ by Richard Frost (Bible Reading Fellowship)

ISBN: 9 78057 468130

Richard Frost is a Reader in the Church of England and an oblate of the Benedictine community at Alton Abbey in Hampshire. His recent book provides reflections on the daily readings from the Holy Rule and is prefaced by an excellent short introduction to Benedictine Spirituality and a useful glossary.

The subtitle to this volume is ‘The Rule re-imagined for everyday living’ and that is exactly what the author has achieved in his reflections on each daily reading from the Holy Rule, which explore relationships, the workplace, our own church and our attitudes and actions towards others in a modern context. The reflections also include searching questions for the reader to think about and there is also a short prayer at the end of each section.

He also provides an opportunity for the reader to work through the 150 psalms in order over the four months of reading the Holy Rule.

Overall this is an excellent introduction to the Holy Rule and the author bridges the gap between a 1,500 years old spiritual document and modern lives. It helps the reader to get into the habit of trying to apply St Benedict’s teaching to their own life, that process of daily reflection which is so essential to our progress on the Benedictine way. It is therefore an ideal volume for the novice oblate and all who are beginning the Oblate life. I certainly wish Richard Frost’s book was available when I took my own first steps towards becoming an oblate. It is also an ideal volume for the busy oblate of whatever experience!

The book is available from Christian bookshops and BRF. Richard writes a blog at www.workrestpray.com and is available to lead Quiet Days based on the themes of the book.

NEIL ZOLADKIEWICZ (EALING ABBEY)

9th UK OBLATES NATIONAL RETREAT AT BELMONT ABBEY:

On October 14 2019, 23 oblates from across the UK assembled for the annual UK Oblates retreat, which took place over three days at Belmont Abbey near Hereford. Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel and Brighton diocese (and himself an oblate) was meant to lead the retreat but sadly he was ill. Father Alexander George, from the Abbey, though originally from Downside, agreed to lead the retreat at very short notice.

Father Alexander gave four talks on the nature of Benedictine Spirituality, Community Life, Silence and Prayer. All the talks were highly comprehensive, challenging, encouraging and ultimately uplifting.

He was able to link the daily experience of a monk to that of the oblate, showing an acute awareness of the daily challenges of leading the oblate life, suggesting that we are all seekers of God and we all need space to grow through solitude and silence. He also suggested that community life is an art form and has its own challenges, connecting these to those the oblate may face in the workplace, marriage, relationships and friendships. In his talk on prayer he clearly delineated the differences between intercession, meditation, contemplation and mysticism and in his talk on Silence, the differences between silence of speech, of thought, of the will, of desire and of the unconscious. Silence is God’s language and therefore we should speak only out of silence and act only out of stillness.

The retreat also gave oblates the opportunity to share their Benedictine charism with each other and we were given a very warm welcome by the community and several oblates who lived locally.

The 2020 Retreat will take place at Douai Abbey in October. Please see the UK Oblates website for details in the New Year.

Neil Zoladkiewicz (Oblate of Ealing Abbey)

Treasurer of the UK Oblates Team.

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