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The Rosary, Suffering, and Following God's Will

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By Br. Jeff, MIC

Even though my parents were always holy and devout Catholics, I used to live the life of a worldly teenager. This changed after a series of heartbreaking tragedies, and for a couple of years, I alternated between despair and agony. This dark time in my life revealed to me that nothing on earth can fill the emptiness of a soul in great pain.

As I tumbled through this hellish pit of desolation, one day I saw my brother praying the Rosary — a practice that I had never seen him do before. I mocked him as brothers often do. Then he gave me a stinging glare of anger. This was a moment of grace, because I could see how important it was to him. Later that day, I researched the practice of the
Rosary and read the promises that came with that prayer.

Over time, the Rosary became a great consolation, and I felt the Blessed Mother fill my soul with peace. I learned that God strikes the soul to heal it of the wounds of pride — for in pain He struck my attachment to the world out of my own soul.

Many other graces have accompanied me since high school through the Blessed Mother's hand, which culminated in a late call to the priesthood. It was something I wanted no part of at first. I knew that a priest is a victim mediator between God and man — someone who must bleed with Christ to save souls.

So throughout college, I resisted this call. My resistance caused fatigue, which led to emptiness.

After fighting with God for some time, I told Him, "Fine but you will have to tell me where." Then, I went to a conference featuring Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, the Marians' vocation director, and as he spoke, a spiritual fire burned within my soul. I did not know where this grace came from, but even then I resisted.

After Mass one day at school, I ran into Fr. Donald again. I asked him what he was doing, and he said he was taking potential candidates for the Marians on a retreat. I walked away from Fr. Donald as fast as I could.

After graduation, I worked in a number of jobs. Every job I took was unfulfilling. The Lord allowed me to experience the emptiness of this world. He showed me sign upon sign, until He finally broke me like Jonah. I opened up my soul, and He gave me peace to follow His will.

I finally joined the Marians in 2015. I'm still stubborn, but the Lord always provides. I find strength through His great love, and the loving care of the Blessed Mother. 

Brother Jeff, a Marian seminarian, spent this past year studying in Steubenville, Ohio.

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