How is God Calling You to Live Your Life?
Discernment is the prayerful process of coming to know how God is calling you to live your life. It is a journey that involves you and God and the larger faith community, and is ultimately about making the best decision possible - one that will lead to a sense of purpose and meaning and in your life. In the end, what is important is not that you join the Oblates, or some other religious order, or that you get married. What is important is that you find the way of life by which you will grow to be the person God wants you to be.
This is a video about "Reflections on Conversion".
Becoming a Missionary Oblate
Most Missionary Oblates inquired about religious life or priesthood because we felt some sort of attraction to the idea of a serving God as a brother or priest. We felt deeply that we were being invited to a deep relationship with God, the Church and the world...
If you’ve experienced something similar, it’s possible that God is calling you to a vocation as a brother or priest. One of the questions people ask when considering a vocation is, ‘what do you have to do become an Oblate priest or brother. What follows are the basic steps.
The Steps Involved
Step One: Meet with local Oblate brother or priest
If you are actively thinking about religious life or priesthood, or if you’re simply curious, feel free to contact our Vocation Director, Fr John McFadden, OMI. He will be happy to speak with you.
Initially it is a good idea to meet and talk with a local Oblate brother or priest. He will be able to provide you with information and advice as to how to go about making a decision (the process of discernment). He will also be able to share with you his own vocation story.
If you don't know an Oblate living near you, then contact Fr John, who will arrange to visit you, or have an Oblate in your area get in touch with you. Fr John is there to help you with your discernment with the hope that the best decision possible will be made both for you and the Oblate community.
When the Apostles first met Jesus and were curious about His mission, Jesus told them to come and see. With this in mind we offer a number of different discernment opportunities throughout the year where you can talk with Oblates and others like yourself who are searching for God’s will in their lives Please feel free to contact Fr. John at any time if you are interested in help with beginning the process of discerning your vocation or have any questions about the process:
Step Two: Apply to the Pre-Novitiate Community
If, after this first step, you feel a growing interest or attraction to the Oblate life, you can apply to the Pre-Novitiate Community. This period is a time of orientation and a chance to try our Oblate way of life to see if it fits. It will give you the chance to meet, work and live with Oblates first-hand, and also tan opportunity to undertake some preliminary studies while resident in our Formation House in London
Step Three: Explore Oblate Life and Spirituality
If, during this time of trying on Oblate life, you decide, through prayer and discussions with the community to further explore life as an Oblate, you apply to enter what is called the Novitiate year. This year is at the heart of the Oblate formation process, focusing on our spirituality, the life and charism of our founder St Eugene de Mazenod, our history and traditions, and the vows we profess.
Novitiate is a time set aside for prayer and personal growth in faith, under the guidance of the Director of Novices and a Spiritual Director or Mentor, whose role is to "walk with you" on your journey towards becoming an Oblate. During this year some feel called to become Oblates – they have a sense of peace and being at home - while others find religious life is not for them and decide to leave. For those who, in dialogue with those on the Novitiate Team, ask to become Oblates and are accepted, the year concludes with the first formal commitment to the Order, the making of First Vows. These temporary vows include the profession of poverty, chastity, obedience and perseverance for one year.
Step Four: Start Studies for Priesthood or Brotherhood
Once you have made this public commitment to live out the vows for a year, you take up your studies for priesthood or brotherhood. Our students normally take their theological and pastoral studies at a Theological Institute in London or at our International Theological Institute in Rome
Every year, in dialogue with the Oblate community, you will be invited to renew your vows for another year. After three years, you may apply to make your Final Vows, which makes you a full member of the Congregation. In addition to studies, you will be (whether for priesthood or brotherhood) given a variety of ministry experiences to develop skills and prepare you for missionary life. For those becoming priests, ordination to Diaconate comes after Final Vows, and is followed by ordination to the Priesthood.
If you seek to live your Oblate life as a Brother, the formation process may vary in terms of the studies you pursue. This can include social work, catechetics, teaching, and the whole array of professions and trades that might be needed in furthering our mission to serve the poor with their many faces.
Kneeling before the Cross on Good Friday in 1807 St Eugene de Mazenod, the founder of the Oblates, experienced something that changed his life. On that day Eugene became profoundly aware of his own sinfulness and at the same time, of the deep mercy of God. This powerful experience would lead him to commit his life to Jesus Christ, and to share the good news of the Gospel so that others might have the chance to encounter this same transforming love of God.
Eugene chose priesthood as the vehicle for his ministry, and it was to the forgotten people of southern France, that Eugene directed his energies. He would reject a comfortable diocesan position and become a priest of the poor. He went on to work in the rural areas, with labourers, prisoners, and young people.
How We Live
Early in his ministry, St Eugene realized that a community would be necessary for mutual support and to ensure a significant impact with the ministry. The mission is what draws us and it is community that nurtures us.
Community is God's gift to us, and through us a gift to all people. Among other things it signifies the communal life to which all of humanity is called. Community is good news for the Church and for the world and it is in this sense that community is itself already a form of mission.
From the youngest and newest members to the oldest and most experienced, Oblates live in community wherever possible. In Oblate life, community means a unity and a communion of life and heart with our brother Oblates. We work at that!
In the more remote areas around the world, you will find Oblates living alone. Even so, our love for the community causes us to gather regularly to support one another and to pray and celebrate as brothers.
The community allows us to be ourselves, encourages us to develop our talents, invites us to share these gifts, and supports us in ministry. Because our faith is strengthened in the community, we are able to minister more effectively.
As Oblates, we want our communities to be real centers of life and hope, which speak to our brothers and sisters around the world. By living together in spite of the difficulties involved, we believe that Christ wants us to show that his unifying love and spirit are stronger than all the forces of disruption, and that the liberation of people has already begun.
Our founder, St. Eugene de Mazenod, looked upon the world of his day and saw people whose lives had hardly been touched by the message of Christ. Today, we continue to see people who have not experienced fully the love of the risen Lord. We share our Founder’s faith vision and his confidence, and we accept again his mission as our own. WE ARE MISSIONARIES. Our motto is: He sent me to evangelize the poor; the poor are being evangelized.
So, we strive to seek out, befriend and respect as sisters and brothers, the abandoned poor with their many faces: weak, unemployed, illiterate, victims of addictions, sick, marginalized, immigrants, minorities – not only the materially poor, but also those who are poor in spirit, those who do not know the name of Jesus Christ.
Our mission invites us to a team approach, to collaboration with laity and other religious communities, to formation of lay leaders who will serve the needs of others, to become a part of the lives of those to whom we minister.
But first, our mission asks us to be men who have experienced in our own lives the loving kindness of God. To be men who are driven on by this love to risk our lives for the sake of his Gospel.
This is a video about our Oblate Mission.