All Benedictine monks take three main vows.
- Stability – the monk joins and stays for life in one particular community;
- Obedience – the monk places himself under a superior and listens to the call of God and the needs of others;
- Conversion to Monastic Life (Conversatio Morum) – the monk engages in a lifelong search for God through a communal life of prayer, work, sharing of possessions and celibacy.
We can glimpse these vows in the Rule of Benedict where he says the Rule is for “cenobites, that is to say, those who belong to a monastery, where they serve under a rule and an abbot.” (RB 2:2)
In the final chapter of his Rule, St Benedict asks us: “Are you hastening towards your heavenly home?” (73:8) Benedict promises us that if we persevere faithfully in our monastic vocation, eventually “we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love” (v. 49).
This is the goal and purpose of all monastic formation, a formation of the heart in the way of love.