Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I am 19 years old and I have a desire for monasticism. It is to the point that I bought a kolonsowa [cowl] and galabia [monastic black robe] from Egypt and I wear them in my room when I pray, and even when I sleep. Doing this reminds and helps me keep my chastity and to always be thinking about being a monk. I love to listen to tasbeha and to sermons by bishops or monks from the monastery I would want to join. My question is, how do I know that this desire is genuine? Also, is it wrong for me to be wearing the monastic garb in my room?

In successful pursuit of the monastic life or any other venture, you must be under strict guidance of your confession father. It is not enough to only seek the guidance of monastics, other clergy, or anyone. Monastics have found their absolute joy in the monastery just as much as happily married men will proclaim that their happiness is a result of marriage. Each of these assertions is true because each has traveled and found the journey specifically intended for him. However, your father confessor ought to know you very well and is the best one to guide your thoughts and desires. It is unlikely that your father confessor is aware that you are dressing in the monastic garb at this point, and would probably not allow it because this step is not the right one to take at this time. Even novices at monasteries do not wear the monastic garb until they are officially consecrated. Obedience to one's confession father is far more important than garments. You must complete your studies and experience work in the real world. If you experience success and fruitfulness in your life while in the world, you will continue to be successful in your future should your path of salvation result in monasticism, marriage, celibacy, or service. The monastic life is not the goal in itself. The goal is a life with Christ. This can be accomplished through monasticism as well as through marriage, a life of celibacy, or as a consecrated servant for the service in the world. It is too early to tell. Having said that, only your father confessor can determine the steps to take at this time. May the Lord reveal His will for you.
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