I am considering monasticism. I have noticed that when I stay in a monastery or during a retreat I am able to subdue my passions through prayer and fasting. When I am back in the world, I find myself unable to pray nor fast and preoccupied with work and activities. The old man becomes strong, the flesh, the ego, and all my desires become hard to subdue.
I am torn between two viewpoints:
- That anyone considering monasticism should prepare himself before coming to monastery by living a monastic life in the world.
- For some people, passions are overcome only within a monastic community.
The monastic life is not meant to be a refuge from the world lusts nor a hiding place. I wonder if you want to live in the monastery to flee from the lust of the flesh. Where would you escape to when you are tempted in the monastery? It is well known and documented in books like 'The Paradise of the Monks' that monks are tempted way more than those living in the outside world. The more you want to be with God; the more will Satan tempt you; and do his best to defeat this urge in you. Having said this, I want also to affirm that the spiritual atmosphere in the monastery helps a lot in fighting temptation.
Monasticism is a way of life. You have to feel ready for the life of prayer and solitude; not for a temporary time, but for life. You should consider monastic life for its own sake and not as a means of escaping from the world.