Photo: Dan Valenti
Brother Bogdan Lesko, MIC, came to his priestly vocation in what he calls "a roundabout way." In this manner, though, Our Lady led Br. Bogan directly to the Heart of God.
by Br. Bogdan Lesko, MIC
Even as a boy, I felt God was special to me and I was special to Him. I must be honest and say, however, that as a Catholic I was nothing special. I went with my family to Mass every Sunday, but that's about it. Gradually, though, when I was about 14, something began to build.
God tried to lead me directly, but I took the roundabout way. When studying for my final exam at the Catholic University of Lublin in Poland, I became distracted. I failed the exam, and the school asked me to leave. I felt devastated, but it turned out for the best. I can now see Our Lady's gentle hand in this.
My first concern was finding a place to live. Before leaving campus, I checked out a bulletin board for advertised apartments and saw a recruitment poster for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. The poster asked: "Do you have a vocation?"
That struck me. I called the Marian house in Lublin, and the Marians invited me to pray with them. Then I landed a new apartment — directly in front of the Marian seminary! I had a girlfriend and didn't think about a vocation, but everyday I would see the seminary. I pursued my studies and eventually earned a master's degree in psychology.
I was going on 24 and became aware of something missing. A few years passed, and then I had a moment where I understood I needed God in my life. Living so near the seminary, I saw lots of Marians. I could see they had special relationship with God. One day it hit me: I realized I wanted that, too. This was my first "serious meeting" with God.
Soon after, my heart began to change and with it my life. I was then 29. After serving one year in the Polish Army, I went to work in a nursing home caring for old people. The desire for God became stronger.
My decision to become a Marian couldn't have happened without help from the Blessed Mother. Thanks to Mary, I met God. He became an actual presence in my life in a way I hadn't known before. I began seriously considering a vocation.
At first, it wasn't important that the Congregation was focused on Mary. I wanted God. But after I joined the Marians, I began to discover the importance of Mary in my life.
I learned about her. She became my model. She heard the word of God and said "yes." That's what I'm doing — what Mary did. She dedicated her life to God, and I'm dedicating my life to God. There's much similarity.
When she said "yes" to God, she was 14. That's how old I was when the notion of living for God first entered into my heart. Since then, I've been trying to pattern myself after Our Lady.
Because I cultivated a strong relationship with Mary, I began to get a strong relationship with Jesus. At first, my relationship to Mary was stronger, but now it's evened out.
"To Jesus through Mary, and to Mary through Jesus" — that's how I like to put it.
Please help the Marians to educate the priests of tomorrow.