To become a monk, one has to make a deep commitment to their spiritual path. They should sacrifice their possessions and lead a simpler life. A monk is a person who secludes himself from society and concentrates on religion.
Almost all religions have monasteries. However, the predominant ones are Christian and Buddhist monks. Becoming a monk is not an easy journey. It requires years of dedication, devotion, training, and transitioning.
Monastic life is simple that demands a person to shun the worldly pleasures and live a celibate lifestyle. A monastery is a place where monks and nuns live. Monasteries restrict access to the outside world. Before knowing how to become a monk, one has to know the religion well and then practice it.
How to Become a Monk in Steps
Step 1: Visit a Christian Monastery
To become a Catholic monk, one has to visit the monastery first. Monasteries allow entry for devotees. You can even stay for a few days if the monastery permits. This visit will help you to know the daily life of a monk in the monastery and what is expected of them.
Step 2: Become a Novice
Once you have decided to devote your life to religion and embrace spirituality, you can express your interest in becoming a novice. Becoming a novice is the first step in becoming a Christian monk. A novice is taught every aspect of monastic life.
Step 3: Become a Postulate
Once you have passed your novice hood, you become a postulate or intended monk. You can prove yourself a good monk in this stage. Remember that the expectations set for you by the monastery will be higher. Postulates attend the community prayers, recreation, and study the aspects of monkhood.
Step 4: Taking Temporary Vows
If a novice wishes to devote himself to monastic life, the monastery will consider his application before he can take up a monk job. As a postulate, one has to take “temporary vows.”
This is to commit oneself to the beliefs and lifestyle of monastic life. One has to reject material belonging, involve in deep devotion to God. This is a temporary commitment and is for three years.
Step 5: How to Become a Catholic Monk
After three years, you will be invited to join the monastery. You will have to make final monastic vows for life. After solemn vows, you become a member of the monastery. You will have the right to discuss and vote on issues concerning the monastery.
[Also Read: Steps to Become a Nun]
Monastic Training & Requirements
There are some basic requirements for becoming a monk(1). These requirements will change from community to community. A candidate must be male, single, Catholic for at least three years and should have received the sacrament of confirmation. He should be secluded from all binding obligations to his family and should not have any debt.
A candidate should be strong both in physical as well as mental health. He should have no mental illnesses that can affect the monastery’s function. To become a monk, one has to be ready for the life of celibacy. Some communities have age limits. Late vocations are accepted but only after a long trial period(2).
How Does a Day in the Life of a Monk Look Like?
Monks generally work during the gaps between the fixed times of prayer.
- The day begins at 6.00 am with the service of vigils. During vigils, the monks sing psalms and canticles from the Holy Bible. They are given half an hour’s break for private prayer.
- Vigils are followed by Lauds at 7.05 am. During Lauds, the monks merrily greet the dawn and ask God for his blessing.
- Around 9.15 am, the monks carry out their jobs. It may be teaching or looking after a local parish.
- Around 1.10 pm is the Midday Prayer. During the midday prayer, the monks pause the day to remember God. Following the midday prayer, the monks take a lunch break. They sing grace together and then eat in silence.
- Monks continue their job and then attend Vespers. After Vespers, again, half an hour break is given so that the monks can pray private or mediate.
- Around 6.45 pm is the time for supper. The reading is lighter and entertaining. It can be a piece of literature from history or travel writing after supper is the time to relax with the monastic family. This is probably the only time of the day; monks get time to talk with each other.
- Around 8.00 pm is the time for Compline. This is the last part of the day. After Compline, there is silence in the monastery until next day breakfast. Monks can either go to bed or continue their work. Every monk has his room.
How Do Monks Make Money for Living?
As mentioned above, throughout the day, the monks work apart from the fixed time for prayers. Monks carry out works like farm work, social work, binding books, brew beers, prepare wine, etc. as the monks have sworn themselves to a life of celibacy, they have only a very few material possessions.
If you have decided to dedicate your life to serve God and live a life in prayer and contemplation, then you can become a monk. Becoming a monk is to choose a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience.