Take some steps to grow in your faith

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. he has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.
Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. he has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

A journey of 451 yards begins with a single step.

Over the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed that our Sunday Scripture commentary below has changed. That’s because Father Mike Stubbs, our usual columnist, is taking a much-deserved sabbatical over the next few months. He’s beginning his time away on the right foot (or maybe the left). He’s heading off on a pilgrimage to Spain to visit the historical cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. And he’s going to walk there . . . from Sept. 2 to Oct. 10 — some 451 miles. I kid you not. Read all about Father Stubbs’ upcoming adventure in his own words on page 3 of this issue.

Because Father Stubbs and I have been friends for many years, I want to support his pilgrimage. Therefore, I’ve decided, quite selflessly, to walk in solidarity with him. I solemnly pledge, here and now, to walk 451 yards — that’s right, the length of over four-and-a-half football fields — as a morale booster for him. And just to show him that it can be done, I’ll be walking this distance
all in one day, rather than spreading it out over the course of five weeks. They don’t call me “Iron Man” Goldasich for nothing.

Seriously, I’m very impressed with what Father Stubbs is doing. If you know him, though, it shouldn’t surprise you. He has approached this as he tackles life in general: with prayer, careful planning and a steely determination.

When I first read the following paragraph, I couldn’t help but think of Father Stubbs:

Once a successful businessman was asked how he was able to accomplish so much in his lifetime. He replied: “I dream. You see, I turned my mind loose to imagine what I wanted to do. Then I went to bed and thought about my dreams. In the night, I dreamt about my dreams. And when I arose in the morn- ing, I saw the way to make my dreams real. While other people were saying, ‘You can’t do that; it isn’t possible,’ I was well on my way to achieving what I wanted.” (Found in Brian Cavanaugh’s “Sower’s Seeds That Nurture Family Values: Sixth Planting.”)

Father Stubbs is living proof that dreams can come true . . . with prayer, planning and determination.

I consider late August a time for dreams. The beginning of a new school year always stirs something deep inside me: a desire—a dream—to be more than I am now, to grow, to learn some- thing new. In a sense, it’s an annual call to go on a pilgrimage.

Although most of us can’t duplicate what Father Stubbs is doing, we can
all go on a journey into our hearts and minds and souls — our inner space. Just as a physical pilgrimage stretches a person’s muscles and increases stamina, so our inner pilgrimage can help us to develop intellectually and mature spiritually.

The best news is that you can start right away, with no training. At this time of year, most parishes are gearing up for fall programs. Check your bulletin to see what educational opportunities are being offered. These can range from Catholic book clubs to Bible studies to retreats to presentations on various faith topics. Don’t forget to look as well at the calendar section on page 13 of each issue of The Leaven for a listing of many other offerings around the archdiocese.

If you’ve not delved deeply into your Catholic faith since you received the sacrament of confirmation, get involved with your parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program. Perhaps you could sit in on the classes as a refresher course or maybe even of- fer to become a sponsor for someone in the class who is thinking about becoming a Catholic.

Naturally, there’s always the good old standby of simply sitting down with a spiritual book, newspaper or magazine and regularly reading on your own. I was delighted to come back from vacation and discover a foot-high stack of new books waiting for me on my Leaven office chair. Some were books that I’d ordered; others were sent to me for possible future reviews. (I had to hide them because I knew that the temptation to dip into them was so great, that I might not focus on getting this column written or on proofreading the other pages of this issue.)

Spend a little time dreaming. Imagine something that you’ve always wanted to learn about, especially with regard to your faith. Then make that dream a reality by adding prayer, planning and determination.

OK, I’ve got to get cracking on my 451 yards of inspiration for Father Stubbs. I intend to start right after I take a quick little peek at that stack of brand- new books.

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