The Invitation

Has God called you to live a monastic life? Though all Christians are called to serve Christ, God calls certain people to serve within the Church as monks. If you feel that God is inviting you to live your vocation as a religious monk, we’re here to help clarify that invitation.

All human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. Each person works with the Spirit to discern what particular lifestyle would facilitate the unfolding of this image into likeness. Christ invites us to a process of inner transformation, and not imitation so that gradually we come to be as kind and compassionate as He is. This is called spontaneous right action.

Paul Wilkes recalls pondering this matter of exploring which lifestyle is most conducive to transformation. On a whim, he pulls a book off his shelf --- a novel he has written. Wilkes opens with a passage that describes an earnest but conflicted man who has spent months in prayer and fasting, yearning to discern whether to live the monastic way.

After so many women in his life, the man finally meets a vibrant and wonderful woman he thinks to be “the one.” Suddenly he finds that his meticulous discernment has been tossed to the winds. In this particular section, he speaks of “seeking God’s Face,” but the woman tells him instead to look into her face. In agony, he says, “I’m searching for God’s will. I want to do what God has planned for me.”

He doesn’t understand that in the Bible, the Aramaic word meaning longing, yearning, and desire” has been translated as “will.” So he is searching for what God yearns for in his life.

The woman puts her hands on his cheeks and looks deeply into his frightened eyes. “God wants what you want,” she whispers.

The same goes for you. Christ invites you and leads you to the environment best suited to inner transformation. In the end, this will be your choice. It will be the destination where your soul and spirit have been longing that you might go deep, not on occasion but again and again, and then again.

Is the Cistercian Monastic Life for you?
Recommended Readings

Intrigued by the monastic lifestyle? We’ve recommended readings to help you gain a deeper understanding of the community and discernment.