New pope’s ‘yes’ is but the latest in a series

It is fitting that our annual special section on vocations is published with this issue of The Catholic Post that arrives so near the election of a new pope.

Soon after he receives the required two-thirds of the votes necessary to become the 266th successor of St. Peter, the choice for pope is asked: “Do you accept your canonical election as supreme pontiff?”

When he answers “yes” in the quiet of the Sistine Chapel, it will seem in the eyes of the waiting world to be the most important affirmative in the new pope’s life. And it is no doubt momentous.

But as a cardinal, as a bishop, as a priest, and as a seminarian, the new pope’s life has surely included a series of bowing to the will of God and accepting the changes and responsibilities the powerful word “yes” brings.

The two seminarians and the postulant we meet in our vocations section speak well of what that “yes” has already meant in their lives, and what it will mean in the future. “It is not just about what natural gifts a man has, but the Lord’s calling,” writes Deacon Scott Potthoff. “If he wants a man to be a priest He will give him all he needs.”

Seminarian Chase Hilgenbrinck re-tells how his “yes” to God led him from the professional soccer field to the seminary, and candidly acknowledges the anxiety that being called to change brings. And Franciscan postulant Darlene Santibout, raised as a Buddhist, has had many “yeses” in her young life, including joining the Catholic Church in 2001.

Our diocese’s vocation prayer is “Lord help me to want to be what you want me to be.” For one man unknown at this writing, the Lord is asking that he be our Holy Father. His “yes” will be dramatic and life-changing for many.

But so is every “yes” to God’s will. Of what is God asking us? — Thomas J. Dermody

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