The Oblate charism, the happiness of serving others, was a dynamic component of my attraction.
From this, I also quickly noticed the community aspect of my parish priests. It was clear that there was a profound sense of brotherhood among them.
Community life seemed to strengthen the priests in their daily tasks.
I also got the strong impression of family. I saw how the priests rather effortlessly, but at the same time genuinely and naturally, connected with parishioners. At the same time, the Oblates who could laugh with the youth, play hockey and soccer with them.
They would say the Mass and preach with utmost reverence and sanctity. There was something truly worth imitating about them.
The joy of living in community life radiates for me today. I have the blessing of living out my call, growing in faith and doing ministries with eight pre-novice brothers. I find this to be truly special. St. Eugene envisioned his Oblates similar to the apostles, living together, growing stronger together and then working and preaching the Gospel together. The invitation to discipleship is lived out in a community, as one family.
I see this theme greatly cherished by all Oblates.
Another appealing aspect was their dedication to serving the poorest and most marginalized in society. The attraction was emulated by working at a local homeless shelter. There is something truly beautiful about helping my brothers and sisters in Christ who will never be able to thank me. Pure joy, for me, is found in serving those who, most of the time, nobody else would dare. This devotion is forever enshrined in our motto: “He has sent me to evangelize the poor. The poor are evangelized.”
Our mission starts with Jesus from whom all of us, unconditionally, receive our strength, and then with the help of Mary we go and preach the Gospel to the poor.
Additionally, correspondently to every Oblate, I have a desire to share the Gospel and to serve those who are poor in spirit, teaching all of God’s children about our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that this flame, which will grow in the years to come, will reflect the passion and concern for the mission all Oblates commonly share.
As our founder said, “Charity is the pivotal point on which our whole existence evolves.” As Oblates, our lives revolve around the other.
The Oblates of Mary Immaculate offer themselves to our Mother Mary. There is something special about knowing that Mary, the Mother of the Church, watches over us as we pray and do our ministries. What an incredible blessing it is, not only as members of the Church, but as Oblates, to have Mary interceding for us, and, if I dare say, spiritually guiding her priests and brothers wherever the mission takes them.
(Tomasz Machnicki is a prenovice in the Oblates’ pre-novitiate in Buffalo. Presently in his first year of philosophy at D’Youville College, it is a two-year program of active discernment living in community.)