Our monastic vocation begins with listening to the voice of God speaking to our heart. As Saint Benedict asks, What, dear brothers, is more delightful than the voice of the Lord calling to us? The constant task is to listen to and follow the Holy Spirit as it guides us to our goal. This listening to and following the voice of God is what we mean by discernment.
God made us creatures with attractions and desires, the erotic impulse. Naturally, then, our desires and attractions can indicate what God’s will for us is. We just need to take care to distinguish between the movements that are of God from desires that come from a self-centeredness or even from fear. If you feel drawn to the monastic life contact the vocation director of the monastery. He can help you to discover the working of God in your life and the nature of the attraction you experience. Saint Benedict, wise master that he is, cautions us: test the spirits to see if they are from God. When we test the spirits that move us we learn what is really in our hearts.
When you feel drawn to monastic life at New Melleray you begin to test the spirit that draws you by visiting the monastery and by conversations with the vocation director. Honesty, openness, and trust are the best assurances that your conversations will be vehicles of the Holy Spirit. The various stages of entry into the monastery are experiences of continuing discernment undertaken in great freedom of spirit.
Basic Qualities of a Monastic Vocation to New Melleray
A man who joins the monastic community at New Melleray will have a strong desire to be a monk. He will be a practicing Catholic male between 20 and 45 years old. He will be single, in good health, and free of debts and of family obligations. He will have the equivalent of a high school education and will show evidence of stability in the workplace or in the pursuit of some professional or academic goal. He will have the desire and the ability to live chastely, that is, without exclusive relationships and the genital expression of his sexuality.
Click here to download the Vocation brochure (pdf).
Read more about the stages of growth in Cistercian monastic life…