Am I called to be a religious brother?
Spend at least 20 minutes daily in silent prayer, listening to God’s voice. Attend daily Mass when possible. Try praying the Liturgy of the Hours, which is a key part of all religious brothers’ prayer lives. Ask God for the grace of chastity, poverty, and obedience
You can’t discern the vocation of brother without meeting religious brothers! Ask to spend a weekend at one of their households or monasteries, or look for any discernment retreats they are hosting. Spend some time working with them and seeing their way of life from the inside.
Find a priest or brother to be your spiritual director, guiding you through the discernment process. Read about the vocation to religious brotherhood. If possible, start a discernment group or household with other young men.
Steps to Becoming a Brother
There are a number of steps before one makes a profession of perpetual vows as a religious brother. Many communities have an initial inquiry or aspirancy stage, where one regularly visits the community and meets with the community’s vocation director.
Then, during the stage called postulancy, a young man more formally discerns entering religious life. Living with the community and learning about the charism, he asks, “Am I called to become a novice?”
During novitiate, a man usually begins wearing the religious habit of the community. He takes on the daily life a religious brother, and discerns taking his first vows while receiving one or two years of formation.
After completing novitiate, a man can petition to make his first temporary vows. Depending on his community’s rule, he will make different vows, but the most common are chastity, poverty, and obedience. At this point, the brother is a full member of the community. He usually renews these temporary vows for 3-5 years.
After several years, he can make perpetual vows, which remain in force for his entire life. In some sense, perpetual vows don’t even expire at death; in heaven, a religious brother becomes only more deeply consecrated to God.