The oblate is a living person who has known in his or her heart what an oblation is: he and she has the desire to live in obedience to God.
Unlike the monk and the nun in their community, the oblate does not obey an abbot, for the oblate lives in the every-day reality of the world and of all human beings. The oblate is simply someone who wants to obey God as Christ did, and who has understood that he and she can root this personal wish in the concrete of a Benedictine community: because there, the only aim (and that is what one returns to constantly!) is to enter into this obedience, which the Bible calls “hearing”, and into which Christ Jesus placed all his love of the Father.
So the oblate lives like the monk or nun – yes, he and she will really live this aim of constant conversion like the monk and nun, in the very midst of his and her essential existential aim, which is to love.
He and she have been loving for a long time – their family, their parishioners, their Church… One day they are given to understand that there is now in a certain community a call to him and her to love with his brother monks, her sister nuns, like Saint Benedict taught his followers to love: from now on, that is his and her way to give themselves to God and to offer all that they are and their way of loving (oblation).
The community welcomes this desire of the oblate as a gift from God. The point of the oblature is to seal institutionally this mutual knowledge. On both sides, the persons know that there are different ways of loving, that different notes are possible in the great concert of God’s covenant. For them, it is the gift they have received from the Spirit of God. Thanks to Saint Benedict.
At the Abu Ghosh abbey, there is only one oblature for both the brothers and the sisters: because the treasure we bear together is contained in a very small vase. Thus, a master and a mistress of the oblates watch together in order to keep alive the link between the oblates and the brothers and sisters.