Recently, I've posted a couple of writings about becoming Catholic and my ongoing journey into the Catholic Church. In response, one Catholic expressed to me "Your spiritual journey is just beginning."
I actually heard something similar from a co-worker last autumn when I began formal RCIA Catholic studies through a weekly class. This got me thinking and I would have to disagree that my spiritual journey is "just beginning" -- even in the Catholic faith. You see, I've been attending the Catholic Church since 2015, and my wife is Catholic. Even my journey into the Catholic Church isn't "just beginning." What really caught my attention was the use of the words "spiritual journey." God brought me into his earthly creation 20,031 days ago
-- nearly 55 years ago -- and I feel that I've been on my "spiritual journey" all of that time. Today, I'd like to share with you pertinent points of that journey.
I was born into a Christian home, with a Baptist mother and a Catholic father.
1971 (age 6):
I started attending Sunday school at church.
1973 (age 8):
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord during Sunday school at church.
1977 (age 12): I was baptized
into the Baptist church.
1979 (age 14):
I was awarded a certificate for completing Bible coursework through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
1984 (age 19):
I began involvement in Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of Montana, assisting in worship leading by playing guitar.
1985 (age 20):
I became an advocate and spokesperson for World Vision International, a global Christian humanitarian organization.
1986 (age 21):
I completed reading the entire Bible for the first time.
1988 (age 23):
I began attending a non-denominational church. Also, I became paralyzed
following a mysterious illness and God answered my prayer to be healed.
1989 (age 24):
I completed my senior thesis on eschatology -- the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind. Also, began involvement in leading Sunday school lessons.
1990 (age 25):
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion.
1990 (age 25):
I declined an opportunity to become a youth pastor at a Baptist church in North Carolina to be a fifth grade teacher
and high school track coach at a Montana christian school.
1991 (age 26):
I wrote a devotional book
aimed at Christian athletes.
1992 (age 27):
I began teaching a junior high Sunday school class in a non-denominational church.
1993 (age 28):
I joined the worship team at my church as a guitar player, which I would then do for several years.
2003 (age 38):
I endured a lengthy candidacy process to become the Director of Spiritual Life at Dalat International School in Tanjung Bungah, Malaysia. After being selected for the position, I forewent relocating to Malaysia due to a sudden cancer diagnosis of a close relative in the U.S.
2006-2011 (age 41-46):
By God's strength and guidance, I ran solo across states and countries
promoting youth health and fitness, sharing my Christian faith as opportunities allowed and speaking at countless schools.
2012 (age 47):
I met regularly with a pastor to help spiritually guide me through a difficult divorce
2015 (age 50):
I began attending a Catholic church in Indiana.
2016 (age 51):
I completed protocol training
through the Catholic church and began volunteering at church-related activities. I became engaged to Kelley.
2018-2019 (age 53-54):
Following a 30-month process
, I received a Declaration of Invalidity from the Catholic diocese. Kelley and I attended a Pre-Cana seminar in preparation for marriage, as well as pre-marital sessions with a priest -- ultimately exchanging wedding vows in the Catholic church. We then continued to volunteer at church activities as husband and wife.
2019-2020 (age 54-55):
Started in September 2019 and concluding in April 2020, I attend a weekly Catholic class known as Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
where I am learning the teachings of the Catholic church
in a more formal way. Currently, I am seven weeks away from entering the Catholic Church through a profession of faith and reception of Confirmation and the Eucharist.
Those have been the highlights of my "spiritual journey" for the past 20,031 days. As you can see, there have been significant moments along that journey. So, my spiritual journey is not just beginning. In fact, it has been underway for nearly 55 years. Nobody truly knows the depth of a person's spiritual journey except for the person actually on that journey
. For me, it has been one that has drawn me closer to God through both good and bad times. Like all journeys, there are peaks and valleys... at times the path is smooth and easy, and at other times it seems filled with rocks and potholes. God has always been by my side regardless of the path I'm on and I give Him honor and praise for each step!
From Him, Through Him, For Him (Romans 11:36),
Paul J. Staso
Click on any of the links below to see some of my adventure photos: