Being a Benedictine oblate is that of being a member of a monastic community but yet at the same time living in the world. With the Camaldolese Congregation that I am a member of, oblates live according to the Oblate Rule. The Rule consists of Prayer ( liturgy of the Eucharist, liturgy of the hours, lectio divina (holy reading), Asceticism/Discipline, Work and Silence and Solitude. To become a oblate, you inquire with one of the oblate chaplains depending on which monastic house you are near. Once the application is filled out describing your reasons for wanting to become an oblate, your year of formation begins. For others, it will take a year, for others, it will be longer. The goal is still the same, of being capable and willing to live out your life according to the Oblate Rule, the Rule of St. Benedict and St. Romauld’s Short Rule. The oblation takes place at your monastic house or if you cannot make it to the monasteries, it can take place at your home parish. Oblates are affiliated with their monastic community.

Despite the importance of the Camaldolese Oblate Rule, all monasteries regardless of their individual congregations live out their existence according to the Rule of St. Benedict. The Rule written by St. Benedict is a synthesis of Christian spirituality including key elements of scripture and the fruit of the first centuries of monastic experience. Drawing on these directives, norms, and precepts found in the Gospels, the Rule wisely blends them with the historical and cultural context of its time. Thus the Rule of St. Benedict unites the purity of timeless teachings and characteristics of St. Benedict’s holiness and prudence with spiritual elements that are linked to his time and so are subject to modification as they are reinterpreted for each age.

So in the end, living out life as a Benedictine oblate is entirely up to you, the choice will be based on your current state of life. You can be a solitary/hermit as some oblates are or you can fit in some aspects such as reciting parts of the liturgy of the hours, the choice is yours. The important thing is to develop a daily schedule/horarium you can be comfortable with and developing your relationship with the Lord.