St. Benedict sums up the entire vocation of a monk with two simple words, Seeking God. According to the father of Western monasticism, a monk must also love the Divine Office, the virtue of obedience, and also be willing to accept trials and humiliations. These four characteristics make up the essential signs of a monastic vocation, which are encompassed in the three vows every monk professes: Obedience, Stability and Conversion of Life.
Discernment is the process of prayerfully applying the objective criteria for a monastic vocation to the internal inspirations one receives from God. To follow God’s will is the call of all Christians; to seek God above all else, above even himself, that is the vocation of a monk.
A consecration to God once made should not be broken. The monastery provides a long process of formation to purify motives and move the soul towards God. A period of observation of monastic life for 3 months and a postulancy of 9 months precede a one-year novitiate. Then a simple profession of three years is made before solemn profession, which is the monk’s total consecration.
Some monks are also called to the priesthood, to assist the Abbot in his paternal care of the monks, to act as Alter Christus in the Liturgical Sacrifice of the Mass, or to assist in the pastoral activities of the monastery.