How do I know
if God is wants me to be a monk?
This question can only be answered through another question:
have you seriously sought the answer to that question? The
same principles that apply to other aspects of life can be
applied to the initial discernment of monastic life.
Imagine a person is looking for a pair of shoes to wear on a
daily basis. It would be foolish for him to buy them
without trying them on to find out if they are a good fit.
The same principle can be used for exploring religious
life. A desire or even a simple curiosity about
monasticism (like visiting this web page) might be the initial
"spark". From that point a person can begin the steps to
find out if monastic life is right for him.
Firstly, one can contact the Vocations Director and discuss
questions and concerns about life as a monk. The Vocation
Director is not a recruiter; he understands that the goal is to
seek and find the will of God in your life, not the will of the
monastery - this is his goal. The initial contact is to
find out if you have the qualifications for serious discernment
of the monastic life. Returning to the shoes motif, this
is like finding out what the cost of the footwear will be and
how to pay for them.
The next step is the first major step in answering the question
"Lord, what do you want me to do?" If it is discovered
that you might have a vocation to monastic life in our
community, the Vocation Director will invite you to make a visit
to the monastery. This might be through in-person
interviews, monastic "come and see" opportunities or monastic
retreat experiences. During these visits, one "tries on"
the monastic life. If a person takes these experiences
seriously, growth in his relationship with God will always be
the result, even if his discernment does not lead him to
monastic life. If the experiences reveal that you find
peace, beauty and a sense of belonging in the monastery - then
inklings of a positive answer to the question, "Does God want me
to become a monk?" become more of a reality for