An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

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1) Prayer of self-offering. Oblation is "an offering of ourselves, our lives and labors, in union with Christ, for the purposes of God" (BCP, p. 857). Christian oblation is based in Christ's one offering of himself for our salvation. The BCP states that oblation is one of the principal kinds of prayer.

2) In reference to the eucharist, oblation has a broad and generic meaning as well as a narrow and technical meaning. In both cases, oblation is a kind of offering. In the broad sense, oblation refers to any offering-money, bread and wine, self, soul and body-made at the eucharist. The people's offerings are presented to the deacon or celebrant and placed on the altar for consecration (BCP, p. 361). The elements of bread and wine, consecrated at the eucharist, are identified with Christ's self-oblation. At the Last Supper, Christ identified the bread with his body and the wine with his blood of the new covenant. Christ's sacrifice is made present in the eucharist, uniting us in his one offering of himself (BCP, p. 859). The term "oblations" has at times been applied to money (alms) or other gifts that are presented at the eucharist. However, the Prayer Book rubrics distinguish the oblations of bread and wine from such other gifts. The "oblations of bread and wine" may be presented by the newly baptized or their godparents at the baptismal eucharist (BCP, p. 313), and by the persons newly confirmed at the eucharist in a service of Confirmation (BCP, p. 412). One of the offertory sentences provided by the BCP is the bidding, "Let us with gladness present the offerings and oblations of our life and labor to the Lord" (p. 377). In its more technical usage, the term refers to the section of the eucharistic prayer dealing with offering. The oblation comes after the memorial (anamnesis) and before the invocation of the Spirit (epiclesis) in eucharistic prayers A, B, and D of the 1979 BCP. For example, eucharistic Prayer D prays to God the Father, "offering to you, from the gifts you have given us, this bread and this cup, we praise you and we bless you." This prayer of oblation immediately follows the memorial prayer, "Recalling Christ's death and his descent among the dead, proclaiming his resurrection and ascension to your right hand, awaiting his coming in glory . . ." (p. 374). See Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.