The Call To The Monastic Life
Over the centuries young men have answered the call to follow Christ. Today is no different then any other time and still young men hear and respond to the inner voice of Jesus to “Come Follow Me”.
Being a monk is a vocation. It is God who calls men to monastic life: we do not give our vocation to ourselves.
But how do we know if we have a monastic vocation? First and foremost, it is discerned by our heart’s desire. God alone enters deep into our heart and sows the seed of a desire to follow him in a life of a closer friendship with him. When a man feels drawn to monastic life, he needs to discern whether this desire is truly a call from God. He must ask God to enlighten him in prayer and talk to people who know him well. If the desire persists, he may contact the our Vocation Director.
God alone enters deep into our heart and sows the seed of a desire to follow him
Because we live and move in Christ, we begin each prayer service by chanting together as one person, “Come quickly to my aid!” This points to our unity as a monastic family, as opposed to a loose collection of individuals who hang out together…. with little or no awareness of what we really want to live for.
Each monk shares responsibility for this unity. We do this by seeking to remain faithful to our Benedictine charism, and its capacity to provide our brothers with the conditions needed for the emotional and spiritual growth that makes for deep peace and happiness.
There is a long probation period between a candidate arriving at the monastery and joining the community for life. This probation takes place in the “Novitiate”, under the direction of the Novice Master. It is also a formation period, when a novice studies the Rule of St Benedict and monastic tradition. Above all, it is a time when he continues his vocational discernment started before entering the monastery. The sign that a novice really has a vocation is that he is happy in the monastery and comfortably fits into the daily monastic schedule of work and prayer.
This period is punctuated by high points: Part of the Benedictine Habit is given on acceptance into the community, This “Clothing” as it is called when the candidate receives the Tunic and belt, along with the taking of simple vows for three years. After this period of instruction and discerning further his vocation the candidate then takes First Vows binding him to the Community for another three Years. It is only after spending at least six years in the monastery that the candidate definitively commits himself to being a monk by his solemn profession, then the full habit of the community is given which consists of the scapular with cowl.
The Monastery is a School of the Lord — From the Rule of St. Benedict