If a priest asks to be received into the monastery, let consent not be granted too readily; still, if they urgently persist in their request, let them know that they must keep the whole discipline of the Rule, and that nothing will be relaxed in their favor, that it may be as it is written: "Friend, for what have you come" (Mt 26:25)?
It may be granted them, however, to stand next after the abbot or abbess, and to give the blessing, or to celebrate Mass, but only if the abbot or abbess orders them to do so; but if the abbot or abbess does not bid them, let them not presume to do anything under whatever consideration, knowing that they are under the discipline of the Rule, and let them rather give examples of humility to all. But if there is a question of an appointment in the monastery, or any other matter, let them be ranked by the time of their entry into the monastery, and not by the place granted them in consideration of the priesthood.
But if clerics, moved by the same desire, wishes to join the monastery, let them too have a middle place, provided they promise to keep the Rule and personal stability.
St. Benedict's question from the Gospel of Matthew, "Friend, for what have you come?" is a question we each must consider regularly as we orient ourselves along the path we are called to follow. Whether one's vocation is religious, priestly, diaconal, lay, or some combination thereof, the soul's answer to this question looks no different than the answers of those to whom our Father Benedict posed the question in the sixth century.
A Benedictine's answer to this central question is found back in the Prologue to the Rule. We come to be formed in the likeness of Christ—as souls in which God is fully at home—by means of our vows and our communal spiritual practices that constitute a total way of living.
When we have walked a long while on a certain path, it is to be expected that challenges will arise when we are called to change course and follow a different way. We each must encounter our own dark night of the soul as our attachments to old ways of being are removed and we become acclimated to the vowed life. Our ability to persist in the face of these challenges depends on the clarity of our intention, on our firm answer to our Father Benedict's question, "Friend, for what have you come?"