Monastic Vows for Benedictine Monks

Benedictine monks are Catholic men who seek God together as a community. Saint Benedict provides a Rule for monks to give monastic life structure. Benedictine monasticism simply complements a monk’s own ambition: his goal of glorifying God in all things. Modern-age monks, like monks before them, embrace Benedict’s Rule as their guide to monastic life. A monk’s first duty is prayer, and the works of virtue that follow upon it. Living together in community, monks make three vows:

Stability – a commitment of allegiance to this one monastery and its monastic family. The vow of stability to a monastery allows for quick and substantial growth in purity of heart, charity, and union with God. St. Benedict ties growth, through God’s grace, in the love of God and neighbor directly to stability in his 4th chapter, stating, “the workshop where we are to toil faithfully at these tasks is the enclosure of the monastery and stability in the community” (4:78). Saint Benedict says, “It is love that impels them to pursue everlasting life; therefore, they are eager to take the narrow road of which the Lord says: ‘Narrow is the road that leads to life’ (Matt 7:14). They no longer live by their own judgment, giving into their whims and appetites; rather they walk according to another’s decisions and directions, choosing to live in a monastery and to have an abbot over them. Men of this resolve unquestionably conform to the saying of the Lord, ‘I have come not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me’ (John 6:38)” (RB 5:10-13).

Conversion of life – (Conversatio Morum) a commitment to live in a monastic manner, following the Gospel according to the insights of Saint Benedict. Through the vow of conversion, the monk embraces the essential aspects of monastic Christianity: dedication to prayer, celibacy, sharing of material goods in community, a life of simplicity.

Obedience – a commitment to give order to their pursuit of God by working under the guidance of a wise Abbot, who acts as “father” of the monastic community.

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