Before I began formation with Holy Cross, I was talking with a friend who lived at Moreau Seminary. He was nearing the time when the community would invite him to profess forever the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience – the time when he would promise to be a part of the Congregation of Holy Cross for the rest of his life. When I asked him if he felt ready to make this commitment, he explained that while everything seemed “right” in his discernment, he was still waiting for “the final yes”.
Over these years, I have thought a lot about this “final yes”. What would it look like? How would God let me know? When would I be sure that religious life in Holy Cross is really my vocation?
As I sat with these questions, everything seemed “right” in my discernment too. I love Holy Cross. Diverse experiences during these years of formation have confirmed my attraction to the ministries of teaching, pastoral ministry and service in the international missions. The faith and witness of so many priests, brothers and men in formation have inspired me, and I have found myself drawn into the community. I feel a deep sense of call to priesthood. And, my journey with Holy Cross has helped me to grow in my relationship with God. But what about the “final yes”?
As is so often the case, God’s response surprised me. God simply kept inviting me to continue on the journey. God just kept calling. God patiently kept inviting me to trust. Slowly, I began to understand. Now, finally, I want to say “yes” – “yes” to our Church, “yes” to the family of Holy Cross, “yes” to the priesthood, “yes” to a life of service to God’s people, and “yes” to the ongoing challenge of surrender to the unknown.
Saying “yes” is not easy in a culture that touts personal freedom as the paramount good, chanting “keep your options open” as its mantra. So often we prefer to say “maybe”, “later”, or even “no”. And, saying “yes” promises little certainty about the future. As my life in Holy Cross unfolds, I will have to repeat this “final yes” again and again – in ways that I cannot now imagine. When I falter, I hope that my Holy Cross brothers will encourage me. When I find myself broken, I will trust in God’s grace. When I encounter failure, I will seek after God’s promise of forgiveness.
Repeating this “final yes” will eventually find us at the Cross. Jesus said, “yes” again and again, even as he was led to Calvary. He preached God’s boundless love even in the face of death: “Not my will but yours be done.” And it is there at the Cross – at the moment when our “yes” is perfected by the Divine “Yes” – that we realize our salvation.
Mr. Mark DeMott, C.S.C., will profess his Final Vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Saturday, August 25, at 2p.m. (ET). Joining him will be his classmates, Mr. Brian Ching, C.S.C., and Mr. Jarrod Waugh, C.S.C. The Final Vows Mass will be streamed live on the Internet at http://ndprayercast.org. Learn more about the religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the Congregation of Holy Cross.