[The Abbot] is believed to hold the place of Christ…
– RB 3.2
Twenty years ago, in our first year here, we lived under no rule (RB 1.2), following that which struck our fancy (RB 1.8). Drawn back time and again to our Benedictine experiences of the past we surrendered ourselves and began weekly engagement with those who lived under a rule and their abbot, in their love of scripture through their liturgy. The Opus Dei (the work of God…the communal, daily liturgical prayer) drew us into the heart of Christ through daily, accountable, measured obedience. In which we found what Benedict predicted, authentic communal life in Christ, and without which we only found willfulness, pride, and disarray.
Unlike other tertiaries, Benedictine Oblates are constitutionally members of the Order, living apart from the community, yet willfully and lovingly obligated to the Rule, and hence the leadership of our abbot, who is pastor, teacher, and administrator, each of which is covered in RB 2.
The abbot – the bearer of the wisdom of Benedict – has a two-fold charge. They are to teach (instruct) and model (example) (RB 2.12), avoiding favouritism, and loving each, and for all of which they shall be held accountable by God. And for all of this we are fully, gratefully, and eternally indebted to God.