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'The Lord Was Hitting Me over the Head with a 2-by-4'

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By Marc Massery (Nov 12, 2018)
Throughout his adolescence, Br. Tyler, MIC, served at the altar at his parish, but he only ever thought about the priesthood in passing.

"I was scared of it at the time," he said. "I imagined that it would be something for someone who was overtly pious."

But getting to know his parish priest helped change his overall attitude toward the priesthood. "We spent some good time together, and he kind of humanized the priesthood for me," he said.

Tyler went away to college to Philadelphia University where he studied architecture and played baseball. There, he took his faith more seriously. He started attending a non-denominational Christian men's group, which forced him to take more ownership of his Catholic faith. "I had to wrestle with the Real Presence, the need for Confession, Marian devotion. ... Suddenly my room was turning into a Catholic bookstore," he said.

His sophomore year of college, he went on a vocation retreat sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. "There were more seeds planted that time. I met some great guys, some great priests. ... but I wasn't ready to commit at that point," he said.

From that time on, the call to the priesthood didn't go away. He said, "It continued as a gentle echo, an invitation from the Lord saying, 'What if?'

During his final years at college, his call to consider the priesthood became much clearer. He started asking his friends, including his non-denominational friends, for prayer as he discerned entering Catholic seminary.

After school, though, a friendship with a young woman turned into a relationship. "I thought, 'Maybe this is what the Lord's inviting me to do,'" he said. "But in the midst of discerning that relationship, I did some pretty selfish things." As a result, he became confused and started wondering why he couldn't seem to put his whole heart into his discernment of marriage.

As his relationship hit a breaking point, he and his girlfriend took a break from dating. "During this time, I basically had a moment where I was in the fetal position in my room in the dark, thinking, 'Lord, I'm messing up this relationship horribly. I'm just wrecking this girl's heart. What am I supposed to do?' I just cried out in the midst of my sinfulness and selfishness and said, 'Lord, tell me what you want to do with my life,'" he said.

Finally, with tears in his eyes, he gathered the courage to open up his heart to say "yes," as Our Lady did, to whatever the Lord was calling him to do. "That was the first time I was really open to His answer about the priesthood," he said.

A wave of peace overtook him when he seriously considered becoming a Catholic priest. "It was like the Lord was hitting me over the head with a 2-by-4," he said.

So, he entered his diocesan seminary. But once there, he received a "call within a call" to join the Marians.

"I met a seminarian who was deeply in love with the Blessed Virgin Mary. I could see that in his character and in his actions," Tyler said. With encouragement from this seminarian, he consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary through St. Louis de Montfort's Preparation for Total Consecration.

During his second year of seminary, he realized that he was still healing from the wounds of his sins of impurity. While reading the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, he said, "I just had really powerful encounters in Adoration with our Lord healing the wounds from my past."

During his third year in seminary, one evening while he was in his room, he felt in his heart the Lord calling him to go to the chapel where He would reveal something to him. There, Tyler prayed a familiar devotion, the Rosary, and then a newer devotion, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, with the assistance of a how-to pamphlet. The closing prayer of the Chaplet made such a powerful impression on him that he flipped to the back page to see where it came from.

He said, "I saw Marian Press with the Marian logo. When I saw that logo, the Holy Spirit was saying to me, 'This is what I want to show you, Tyler.'" A deep sense of joy entered his heart, and he immediately went on his computer to learn as much as he could about the Marians.

He said, "I was elated. I thought, 'This is it!'"

He joined the Marians in 2015 and hasn't looked back. "From that moment on," he said, "our Lord and Our Lady kept reconfirming this call to the Marians in my heart."

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Sonia - Nov 12, 2018

Thank you very much for sharing this. This is personally so encouraging.