“When he is to be received, he comes before the whole community in the oratory and promises stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience. This is done in the presence of God and his saints.”
-Rule of St. Benedict 58:17-18a
The vows of a Benedictine monk
The monastic vows set forth by St. Benedict in his Rule are unique to the modern Church. Many believe that all religious and consecrated person take the Evangelical Counsels: poverty, chastity, and obedience, but these are more recent expressions of the radical call that Christ challenges his disciples to follow in the Gospel. The vows of a Benedictine monk most definitely include the Evangelical Counsels, but take on a rich and beautiful expression in Benedict's Rule and the way of life it has inspired.
Obedience means "to listen intently," and this vow is undertaken in a spirit of faith and love in following Christ who was obedient to the will of the Father. It requires that a monk listens intently to the voice of God as it is manifested in the Sacred Scriptures and the teachings of his superiors.
This vow binds the monk in both body and spirit to the community of his profession for the rest of his life, where he serves under both a Rule and an Abbot.
Conversatio Morum or “Fidelity to the monastic way of life”
Conversatio Morum encompasses all aspects of the total self-offering of the monk to God. Under this vow are included the evangelical counsels: poverty and chastity, which commit the monk to a renunciation of personal possessions and embracing celibacy for the sake of the kingdom.