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Becoming a Monk: Stability PDF Print E-mail

Stability -- Monks take a vow of stability to a specific monastery.

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). God uses the people and activities of monastic life to reform us into His image. His hand works mysteriously and powerfully through the people of a monastery, his dear yet faulty instruments, to mold each brother into a likeness of Jesus Christ. This process of reform occurs in every Christian vocation, but it occurs especially quickly in one defined by permanence to a place and its people. St. Benedict called his monasteries “schools for the Lord’s service” (Prol 45), for it is there that the monk will hopefully master, through its lessons, the practices of: contemplation, obedience, love of every person, oblation of self for others, and the ability to transform any circumstance into great meaning through the redemptive value of the cross. Fidelity to such an environment brings the substantial interior reward of a very strong appreciation of God’s presence within oneself, other people, and every circumstance of life. To remain at a monastery is to live in the joy that “God is love, and one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).

The exterior result of this vow is a spiritual family, the twofold abbey family of the monastic community and those thousands of lay and clerical friends associated with it. This vow establishes a holy communion between the monks, making them in a new way brothers to each other. This familial environment of support for each monk’s journey to God is fostered through common work in the abbey’s apostolates, common meals, common social time together each day, and other innumerable opportunities for fellowship.

It is the character of the uniquely monastic vow of stability that allows for these very special relationships to occur interiorly with God and exteriorly with those who walk the pilgrim journey to Him both within and around the monastery.