Is the Lord calling you to be a monk?
Perhaps having read the story of the Rostrevor Benedictines and having been afforded a little glimpse into daily life at the monastery some readers might find themselves asking the question: Could I be called to share in the life of this Benedictine community?
The search for God
Saint Benedict asks of the one who presents himself at the door of the monastery: Does he truly seek God? (RB 58:8).
Of course, before any of us ever set ourselves to seek God, He is searching for us: Seeking his workman in a multitude of people, the Lord calls out to him: Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days? If you hear this and your answer is ‘I do’ (RB Prologue 14-16), then maybe the Lord is calling you to monastic life and you should explore things further.
The monk’s search for God is fashioned by the gospel and is lived in response to the Lord’s call to live in communion with Him and with others in the bond of mutual love.
A Benedictine life evidently takes on the particular shape and form given to it by the Rule.
The Opus Dei (the Divine Office), Lectio Divina (prayerful reading of the Scriptures), solitary prayer, reading, study and work are all essential elements of the search for God in monastic life. Sustained by all these practices the monk strives to live every moment of his life in an awareness of God’s presence. We could say then that a monk is someone who, in response to God’s call, strives to live constantly present to the one who is Presence.
A life in communion
While the monk is a man of communion, he draws strength for his life in communion with others through a serious and regular engagement in solitary prayer. Just as he strives to live present to the Presence, so he will seek out moments to be alone with the Alone.
Conversion, stability and obedience
Essential to the Benedictine monastic vocation is the call to engage oneself with others. The Benedictine monk seeks God through community life under the guidance of a Superior. He commits himself to seek God in a life of on-going conversion lived in stability and obedience
The Lord speaks to those who listen
Listening is absolutely fundamental to the whole process of monastic living. The opening word of the Rule sets the tone for everything that follows: Listen! (RB Prologue 1). If we are to hear God’s voice we have to learn to wait in silence and in humility of heart: The disciple is to be silent and listen (RB 6:6).The monk will seek to walk humbly with God and with his brethren. Benedict sees humility as central to the monk’s whole attitude in life (cf. Micah 6:8 & RB 7).
Prefer nothing to Christ
Presence to Christ is inseparable from presence to all those who believe in Him, because we cannot separate Christ from the members of His body, the Church. For this reason the prayer of Jesus prayed on the eve of His passion for the unity of all His children is echoed by the monks of Rostrevor. At Holy Cross Monastery the community is firmly committed to pray with Christ: May all may be one (John 17). The desire for unity, peace and reconciliation is at the heart of their prayer, listening, community life, work and hospitality. The monastic community living in the bonds of mutual love by its united witness strives to be a leaven of unity in the dough of the divided Churches, a parable of communion, a sign of humanity reconciled.
There is no greater love than to give one’s life
The only way to understand monastic life is to see it for what it is essentially: participation in that unbounded generosity of Christ which led Him to give His life out of love.
The community at Rostrevor believe that a treasure has been confided to it which it is impelled to share with others. It is for this reason that it dares to promote its life with respect, with prayer and with the explicit invitation to others to accept the Lord’s call to engage themselves within it.
To any reader who feels that the Lord may be calling him we would say: if you hear God’s call, do not reject it! (John-Paul II VC 106)
And to those who are afraid of the cost involved in leaving all to follow Christ we would say: whoever follows after Christ, the perfect man, becomes himself more of a man. (Gaudium et Spes 41)
The world and the Church today long and call out for joyful witnesses to Christ. They need concrete signs of hope, disciples who are willing to follow the example of Christ who gave His life for others out of love.
Monks of unity
It is the desire and fervent prayer of the monastic community at Rostrevor that by the life we lead we may sow seeds of peace and fraternity in a troubled and fractured world and in a wounded and divided Church which need to experience the healing grace of reconciliation.
A community of hope
Over long centuries in the ancient monastic Valley of Kilbroney, from the time when the ancient well of Bronagh was opened to the fresh springs of living water which now flow at Holy Cross, God has shown Himself faithful to His people. We believe that called who has us will remain faithful to His promise to make us take root be happy and prosper in the land to which He has guided us.
And so we dare to hope that others will be led and strengthened by God’s grace to give answer to the Risen Christ’s final question and ultimate call: Do you love me? … Follow me!
We call upon those who hear this call to join us on our pilgrim way.
“Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed… Dear young people: do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ - and you will find true life.” (Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, n. 104)
Click on Thumbnails for full size image