My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
THE CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL COMPASS IS THE LORD HIMSELF
"Now may the Lord DIRECT YOUR HEARTS
INTO THE LOVE OF GOD AND INTO THE
PATIENCE OF CHRIST" (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
"Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and
the life. No one comes to the Father except
through Me" (St. John 14:6).
A compass is a device used for navigation, location, and direction. People use it to find their way and prevent becoming lost. For centuries, the compass has been considered one of the most important instruments for navigation. Knowing what direction to take to arrive at your destination is extremely important to all of us. Even animals, such as certain types of ants, fish, and birds, use the Sun as a compass to help them find direction. Other animals, like pigeons, are able to navigate using the earth’s own magnetic field. It is said that their brains function like an internal magnetic compass.
Today, however, we use the more advanced technological system which is known as the "Global Positioning System or GPS, which is a satelite-based radionavigation system. Both the compass and the GPS system are necessary for us to find our location or to find direction.
Spiritually speaking, the Orthodox Christian living in the world tends to lose his way and, therefore, needs a ‘spiritual compass’ or a ‘spiritual GPS’ to find his or her way back to God. Life in the world is difficult and challenging for everyone. There are so many problems, issues, and challenges of all kinds that people are preoccupied with and absorbed by. There are many distractions and conditions which cause a person to deviate and to change their course. There are illnesses, accidents of all kinds, marriage and family issues, professions which take control of one’s life, making wrong decisions, death of a loved one, etc., which can lead a person to take a different path and choose a more worldly path.
Losing one’s way is not unusual at all. Losing sight of God and communion with Him is a very serious concern. This is the time that we need that spiritual comass to direct us back to Him. Our risen Lord Jesus Christ says, "I am the way," and so naturally we turn to Him and we seek His guidance and our return to the right path that leads to salvation and His Kingdom. Our Savior is never far off nor too busy to help us find our way. We know that this is true, because He has said so over and over again. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall snatch them out of My hand" (St. John 10:27-28).
The Orthodox Christian believer needs no man-made instrument to find his way back home. Our Lord the Holy Spirit is always with us, guiding us to our true destination, His Eternal Kingdom. God awaits for our return, as in the case of the Prodical Son. Who needs a compass or a GPS when the Creator Himself has made it possible for us to be saved and gain eternal life? I believe that His Cross, which is shaped in such a way that it points us and directs us from Earth to Heaven.
A compass or a GPS may be useful, but they are not perfect instruments. People who use them have still gotten lost or even misdirected. Our Almighty and Merciful God is perfect and, beyond that, as our Heavenly Father, He wants all of us to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. We believe that spiritual compass is found in every person, inasmuch we were created in the image and likeness of God. Naturally, instictively, and through faith we are drawn to our Savior. He is our divine magnet whose power is pulling us closer and closer to Him.
Don’t be frightened if you, for a time, lose your way. Our Savior will make sure that you are found just like the lost sheep. "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays, it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, REJOICE WITH ME, FOR I HAVE FOUND MY SHEEP WHICH WAS LOST! I SAY TO YOU THAT LIKEWISE THERE SHALL BE MORE JOY IN HEAVEN OVER ONE SINNER WHO REPENTS THAN OVER NINENTY-NINE JUST PERSONS WHO NEED NO REPENTANCE" (St. Luke 15:4-7).
The parable illustrates God’s unconditional love and forgiveness FOR THE REPENTANT SINNER. God neither holds nor pulls anyone by force. We are free to make our own choices and to faithfully follow our Redeemer and Good Shepherd. But even if we make the wrong choice or decision and end up "to a far country", and there "waste" your "possessions with prodigal living" among people who care not about you and come to your senses, it is still NOT too late to return home to your loving Father Who awaits your return. It is very important, however, to repent and to say, "I will arise and go to my Father and I will say to Him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before You, and I am no longer worthy to be called Your son. Make me like one of Your hired servants" (St. Luke 15:18-19). "But when he was still a great way off, his Father saw him and HAD COMPASSION, AND RAN AND FELL ON HIS NECK AND KISSED HIM…AND THE FATHER SAID TO HIS SERVANTS, ‘BRING OUT THE BEST ROBE AND PUT IT ON HIM, AND PUT A RING ON HIS HAND AND SANDALS ON HIS FEET, AND BRING THE FATTED CALF HERE AND KILL IT AND LET US EAT AND BE MERRY; FOR THIS MY SON WAS DEAD AND IS ALIVE AGAIN; HE WAS LOST AND IS FOUND" (vs 20-24). This parable said by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who celebrates the return of his son, just as He always longs for the return of every sinner to His loving and forgiving fatherly embrace.