Monks take three vows: obedience, stability and conversatio morum. These are solemn promises, made in the presence, not only of the Abbot and community, but - as St Benedict reminds us - of God and his Saints. The vows are the monk’s way to God; when a monk embraces the vows and seeks to make them his own, we believe that they work as channels for grace so that, over a lifetime of monastic observance, the monk is - with the help of God - transformed into the image of Christ.
A key virtue, for a monk as for any Christian. We embrace the vow of obedience so that we can become like Christ, who came not to do his own will but the will of the Father who sent him. In preferring to seek the good of others before our own good, we aim to share in the love of Christ, who gave himself up as a ransom for many. Our vow of obedience binds us in the first place to accept the tasks the Abbot assigns to us, but, as St Benedict reminds us, our obedience will be perfect when we freely choose to obey not merely the Abbot or other superiors, but all of our brethren, for the love of Christ.