According to Saint Benedict, great care must be taken to see that those who enter truly seek God, that they “show eagerness for the work of God, for obedience and for trials”. The aspiring monks are helped to develop a life of continual prayer; they are taught to love the Divine Office and to find in it a large part of their spiritual nourishment; they are guided on their journey to take up the cross after the example of Christ.
People who want to enter the monastery will be led by various natural and supernatural motivation. Those aspirants will be helped by the brothers who receive them to discover the working of God in their lives and the nature of their attraction to monastic life. Several visits to the guesthouse, and possibly a time spent living in the community are often the way to arrive at such a discernment. Recently Baptised Catholics will be invited to complete their catechetical preparation.
Sometimes an attraction to deeper prayer life is first seen as a call to a more contemplative form of religious life, candidates will be asked to reflect whether God is really inviting them to the monastic life or whether he wants them to remain in their present vocation. All candidates will be encouraged to give themselves totally to God in whatever way he is calling them.
When candidate have shown positive signs of a Cistercian vocation, the superior receives them. These positive signs include: the sincere desire to embrace the life of the community as a way to union with God; the necessary physical, mental and emotional health; the “spiritual disposition” which is humility from faith, hope and love, making the candidate ready to learn and open to both the solitary and the communal dimensions of Cistercian life.
Initiation into our way of life is a continuing process of discernment and proceeds according to stages. This being so, candidates may withdraw at any time before final commitment.
- Postulant – Living with the community for a period of at least six months.
- Novice – Two years as a member of the community ‘learning the ropes’.
- Student – Three years (minimum) of continuing formation/education.
- Monk – Solemn Monastic Consecration. (permanent commitment)
A practical interpretation of the Rule of Saint Benedict, for living in a monastery today.
– Vita Consecrata: online
The Apostolic Exhortation of Saint John Paul II on Consecrated Life
– Strangers to the City: Reflections on the Beliefs and Values of the Rule of Saint Benedict
by Michael Casey OCSO
Paraclete Press, New Edition 2013
– Personal Prayer
by John Kelly OCSO (former Abbot of Kopua): available in PDF
– The Catechism of the Catholic Church: online
Praying for Vocations to the Monastic Life
On Friday evenings we gather for half an hour of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament to pray for vocations to our community. Perhaps you might wish to pray at that time with us and for us. Our prayer is:
Lord God, we are gathered here in your presence, ever-grateful that we have been called to render to you a service that is at once humble and noble, through a hidden way of life: in solitude and silence, in persevering prayer and joyful penitence.
Inspire suitable men to join us so that we may render to you more fitting praise and so play our part in the building up of the Body of Christ in New Zealand. We make this our prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Holy Mary, faithful daughter of Israel.
Pray for us.