3 Signs of a Cistercian Vocation
Like any vocation, a Cistercian vocation contains its share of mystery. Few (if any) know for certain that they are called until they begin the search and take some risks. But it is a mystery well worth seeking and answering. Below are a few simple principles to keep in mind that may be signs of a Cistercian monastic calling:
I feel drawn to a simple life where there are other people who have the same Christian values.
A joy-filled community following the Gospel is one of the most convincing witnesses to the presence of Christ. Community affirms the person, giving to one another what rank, education, or position cannot; the promise of love and the support to grow in love.
I am happy at this moment in my life
Sensing a personal happiness now is an important starting point in discerning a vocation. Monastic life must be seen as it really is, not as someone, hopes, imagines, or likes it to be. Monasteries are not "perfect" places for superhuman people who desire to be wrapped in an aura of mysticism and bide their time expressing their creativity. Community, work, and prayer have realities that cannot be avoided and circumstances that need to be seen in the light of their ordinariness. Monasteries are the wrong places to run away from an unhealthy and unhappy situation. The structure becomes too confining and burdensome for a run-away.
I want to dedicate my life to God
As often as monks are questioned on why they joined the monastery, total giving of oneself to God is expressed as the primary reason. This seems indispensable. Accompanying the total gift of self to God is the yearning to give everything for all people everywhere.
Ultimately, the best way to test a vocation is to visit, experience, listen and pray. Be assured that the One Who Calls also give the Grace to respond to the call!
Anyway, that is what we think. But what do you think?