The life of a Benedictine monk is one of noble service of the Divine Majesty in the monastery. From early morning to evening, the monk is called to serve God. There is no aspect of his life that is not included in the service of God, for in the monastery everything is sacred. There are however privileged moments in which the monk finds himself more explicitly involved in God’s Work, namely when he is at prayer. A very substantial part of his life consists in praising God, using the very words God has given us in the Psalms. In the name of the Church, in the name of all who do not pray, or do not pray enough, the monk offers to God the prayer that pleases Him, and he does so using the sacred chant of the Church. “Amantis est cantare”, said St Augustine: “The one who is in love sings…”, he chants to his heart’s delight the praise of his Creator.
But this prayer, far from creating a dichotomy between the Divine Office and the rest of his life, permeates everything else he does, in such a way that, from Office to Office, the Divine Light illumines every other moment of the day; each kind of work, from learning Latin to doing dishes, from cultivating the garden to studying theology, from welcoming guests and giving retreats to sweeping the corridors: everything is offered as praise to the Divine Majesty.
So how do you know you are called? St Benedict tells us in the prologue of the Rule: “The Lord, seeking his workman among the multitudes to whom he thus crieth, saith again: What man is he that desireth life and would fain see good days? And if hearing him thou answer, ‘I am he,’ God saith to thee: If thou wilt has true and everlasting life, keep thy tongue from evil and thy lips that they speak no guile. Turn away from evil and do good; seek after peace and pursue it. And when you have done these things, my eyes will be upon you and my ears open unto your prayers. And before you call upon me, I shall say to you, ‘Lo, here I am.’ What can be sweeter to us, dearest brethren, than this voice of our Lord inviting us? Behold in his loving mercy the Lord showeth us the way of life.”
And so the call is open to all and is an appeal to generosity and love. “If any man will follow me, let him take up his cross daily and follow me,” says the Lord. “If you will be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven, and come follow me”. Such a call is perceived gently in prayer and appeals to the soul both sweetly and powerfully as being an ideal worthy of the demands it has on the soul: the desire to leave all things to serve God alone becomes the monk’s passion.
Should you hear that voice and sense that perhaps monastic life is for you, be generous; don’t turn a deaf ear, but rather open yourself to what God may have in store.
Should you feel God may be calling you to Notre Dame Priory, contact Father Prior using the button below, telling as much about yourself as you wish to disclose. But above all, pray, and pray again, for the light and the courage, and even more, the love of Christ to fill your mind and heart and make possible what may seem hard to nature.
And never forget to entrust your vocation to Mary Immaculate. She reigns here, and she is your Mother.