Hello everyone my name is Antonio and I am part of unMonastery Matera together with @Rita since March, we are focusing on our project: “Making sense it’s not just design”.
However in this post I do not want to talk about this project, but to share the reflections I’ve had in these months, working as part of unMonastery.
I state that it is difficult for us Materans to separate ourselves from our existing everyday lives: work, family commitments, they are always “behind the door” and it is difficult to be absolute in living the life of unMonastery as other unMonasterians do from morning to night.
But one day when @Ben asked me to apply for the extension of the unMonastery I spent time reflecting on my presence in the place. And questioned if I could still continue to call myself an unMonasterians or not.
At this time I don’t feel like an unMonasterians because the people of the unMonastery and I live differently this experience.
In my answer to the proposal set out by Ben, I found myself going to the root of the unMonastery experience, studying the example of the Benedictine fathers I discovered a figure: the “Oblates”.
The Oblates are laymen who live outside the Monastery but they have a close bond with it and they practice and spread the spirituality of the Benedictine Rule.
"The Oblate is a Christian, or layman or priest, who, living in their environment family and social, and he found in the Rule of St. Benedict the orientation of life that encourages them to develop their call to evangelical perfection in order to look better, serve, glorify God. " "The Oblation is the act recognized by the Church with which the Christian is offered to God and becomes part of a monastic community in a real way, though not in the same way as the monks. In this way, the offeree agrees to a constantly renewed baptismal consecration according to the Benedictine spirituality " (Statuto degli Oblati Benedettini Secolari 1,1). “The Oblates in the monastic community recognize the primary reference point of their spiritual journey, and the community recognizes Oblates in an articulated expansion of their own charism, in a relationship of reciprocity and complementarity” (Statuti, al n. 7).
In this sense, I do not want to create a category or a label (which I do not like in any case), but it is a way to improve the prototype by sharing personal experiences in the unMonastery. unMonastery is a prototype, and we are living it every day so it is important that we share our experiences and our reflections so we can improve it.