I believe that the stages that lead to becoming a fully professing monk can be used as a model for the growth of all Christians. Read this, and try to apply it to your journey.
With the reception of three young men into the monastery’s novitiate last Wednesday and the Solemn Profession of Bro. John Paul, OSB the following day, we have received several questions related to the various stages of becoming a monk, what we refer to as the period of monastic formation. Below in capsule form is a brief description of the various stages. (For a more narrative exposition of these stages please see the Abbey’s website page on becoming a monk.)
Observer: informal initial residence with the community for about four to six weeks. The observer continues to wear lay clothing.
Postulant: a more formal six month residence with the community, to discern one’s vocation and to prepare for novitiate. The postulant wears lay clothing.
Novice: The novitiate lasts one year and one day. It is an intense year of education and work in the monastery, to discern…
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“Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”
—-C S Lewis
Not just children, but all of us need to experience brave knights and heroic courage. Every follower of Christ experiences difficult and dark times and without the encouragement of seeing others overcome adversities, we will fall utterly exhausted. With so many cruel enemies that prey upon the people of sincerity and faith, it is necessary that believers see and experience the stories of the giants of the faith.
For far too many years I neglected to acknowledge the suffering of my soul. Somehow I thought that if I lived a holy enough life, won enough spiritual victories, and just closed my eyes and prayed hard enough all things would be well. In Hebrews Chapter 11 we are given a long list of the behaviors of people of faith and there heroic lives. I have found great strength from the Fathers of the Church who withstood great afflictions to establish the Church that sustains us today. In studying the spiritual and physical afflictions of mystics Julian of Norwich and John of the Cross, I know that sufferings need not be hollow and spiritually useless. If we look closely enough, we can find present day heroes that quietly and faithfully practice their faith in our world. Their spiritual journeys enliven and strengthen my faith. Christians need to seek out and find strength in the stories of brave knights and heroic courage.
- keeping the faith (butterflyawakening.wordpress.com)