Becoming a Monk

The path to devote one’s life to God through monasticism is personalized for each person; this means that there are no two experiences alike.
The Monastery’s Spiritual Father, guided by the Holy Spirit, carefully guides you on your journey through discovering your will, what God wants from you and how He would like YOU involved in His work!
The Goal of a Monk
Union with the Holy Trinity is the goal of a monk. Through prayer the monk develops a relationship with God and this is the source of his motivation and power to replace old habits with new ones i.e. repentance. As the monk grows in prayer, his senses are more attuned to  the presence of God and eventually, as his heart is purified, he receives the gift of perpetually feeling God’s presence.
General Guide for Discerning a Monastic Vocation
  • Surrender your will to your spiritual father.
  • Take retreats at several Monasteries and speak with the Monks to learn more about the monastic life.
  • Under the guidance of a spiritual father, read books by the desert fathers, monasticism, and the lives of the desert fathers.
  • Pursue Christ and abide in Him; allow God to reveal His will in His time, as He pleases.
  • The Monastic life is heavily dependent on the grace of God. So, when you think of the future that seems dim and extremely difficult, focus on the present moment and succeed in your daily life.
  • Overcome fear and anxiety by strengthening your faith and prayer.
  • When we look for God’s hand, we will see it working in our lives; through this, our faith is strengthened, and fear subsides.
  • Entering the Monastery is only the beginning of the road. Becoming a monk is part of the beginning and is not a goal. Each day is a new beginning.
Three Types of Callings
To three kinds of callings according to St. John Cassian are:
  • A call from God
  • A call through man
  • A call coming from compulsion
A Call from God
A calling is from God whenever some inspiration has taken possession of our heart, and even while we are asleep stirs in us a desire for eternal life and salvation, and fills us with a zeal to follow God and cleave to His commandments with life-giving contrition: as we read in Holy Scripture that Abraham was called by the voice of the Lord from his native country, and all his dear relations, and his father's house; when the Lord said:
Get you out from your country and from your kinsfolk and from your father's house. Genesis 12:1
And in this way we have heard that the blessed Antony also was called, the occasion of whose conversion was received from God alone. For on entering a church he there heard in the Gospel the Lord saying:
Whoever hates not father and mother and children and wife and lands, yea and his own soul also, cannot be my disciple; and
if you will be perfect, go sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me:
And with heartfelt contrition he took this charge of the Lord as if specially aimed at him, and at once gave up everything and followed Christ, without any incitement from the advice and teaching of men.
Call through Man
The second kind of calling is that which we said took place through man; when we are stirred up by the example of some of the saints, and their advice, and thus inflamed with the desire of salvation: and by this we never forget that by the grace of the Lord we ourselves were summoned, as we were aroused by the advice and good example of the above-mentioned saints, to give ourselves up to this aim and calling; and in this way also we find in Holy Scripture that it was through Moses that the children of Israel were delivered from the Egyptian bondage.
A Call Coming from Compulsion
The third kind of calling is that which comes from compulsion, when we have been involved in the riches and pleasures of this life, and temptations suddenly come upon us and either threaten us with the peril of death, or smite us with the loss and confiscation of our goods, or strike us down with the death of those dear to us, and thus at length even against our will we are driven to turn to God whom we scorned to follow in the days of our wealth. And of this compulsory call we often find instances in Scripture, when we read that on account of their sins the children of Israel were given up by the Lord to their enemies; and that on account of their tyranny and savage cruelty they turned again, and cried to the Lord. And it is of such that the Psalm speaks: When He slew them, then they sought Him: and they returned and came to Him early in the morning: and they remembered that God was their helper, and the most High God their redeemer. And again: And they cried unto the Lord when they were troubled, and He delivered them out of their distress.

(Source: Conferences by John Cassian)

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