Making our journey with Christ as our compass

By Mary Morrell

Guest Columnist

North Texas Catholic

6/17/2014

One of the vivid memories of my childhood is S & H Green Stamps.

My mother collected them, like many other housewives of her day, and several times a month we would sit at the kitchen table and lick and stick them into the S & H Green Stamp book. I don’t remember ever trading them in for anything. I think the excitement was in the collecting, and the enjoyment in the time spent together.

Green stamps weren’t the only collectables from my youth. There were jelly glasses at the gas station, decent toys in the Cracker Jack box, and ceramic miniatures in a box of tea. And we collected them all.

Needless to say, I was delighted and surprised when I recently bought a box of Red Rose Tea and opened it to find a miniature ceramic compass. It brought back warm memories, but it also served a more important purpose. It answered a question I had long been asking of God.

Often times in our lives there is a call, a longing to leave the shore and head out to the deep; to leave the familiar and embrace the unknown. But every wise ship captain knows that a fearless embarking on adventure can become a foolhardy flirting with disaster without a compass.

Even in the ordinary, everyday events of our lives, it is easy to lose our bearings. Like the strange magnetic fields that interfere with a compass’ pointing true north, we may be overwhelmed with “stuff” that sends our compass reeling in different directions.

A compass can save lives.

This was the case for the young merchant marine who stopped to grab a small compass before manning the life boats with his crew after their vessel had been attacked by a German submarine during World War II. The men were able to navigate north, northwest, to the shipping lanes, where 27 of the 34 crewmembers were rescued.

Recognizing the significance of the event, the Smithsonian has the simple four-and-a-half-inch compass on display.

As Christians, Jesus serves as both true north and compass, always leading us to Himself as we entrust our journey to God, helping us to develop our interior lives and navigate the many choices that face us daily. What we may not often consider is that we can also be a compass for someone else, helping them to get back on course or helping them renew their relationship with God.

This is the purpose of discipleship.

As a person who is often directionally challenged, I have always thought about keeping a compass in my car. Now, I have one. Sure, it may be an inch in diameter, sea green ceramic with no moving parts, but, as a reminder, it points me none-the-less in the direction I should always be moving — toward God.

Mary Morrell serves as managing editor of The Monitor, Catholic newspaper of the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey.

One of the vivid memories of my childhood is S & H Green Stamps.

My mother collected them, like many other housewives of her day, and several times a month we would sit at the kitchen table and lick and stick them into the S & H Green Stamp book. I don’t remember ever trading them in for anything. I think the excitement was in the collecting, and the enjoyment in the time spent together.

Published
Back