compassA ship may be tossed on the seas, buffeted by storms of every sort. Its crew may be struggling mightily every day simply to keep it afloat, wearying themselves, becoming chilled to the bone. They may fear for their lives every day, and regret ever having set sail with the hopes of adventure and fame and wealth. There may be days when the supplies are running low when they fear starvation. Perhaps every now and again there may be a sunny day, with calm seas, when all is well in the world. The crew may find a moment of rest, such that they might gain some strength to again face the rigors of the voyage.

Prayer is like checking the compass every day to ensure that the ship reaches its destination. It is the hope that comes from this knowledge which sustains the crew, so that they understand that none of the trials of their voyage are in vain.


  1. Thanks Tim. This is a favourite quote about prayer: The paradox of prayer is that it asks for a serious effort while it can only be received as a gift. We cannot plan, organise or manipulate God; but without a careful discipline, we cannot receive him either – Henri Nouwen.

  2. I’ve often read that prayer is less about what we have to say to God than it is about listening to what God has to say to us. I’ve noticed it’s those very occasions when I pray despite thinking I have no time or don’t care to pray that if I do it tends to be the most fruitful.

  3. I so agree with Earl! These times call for prayer and God’s peace in our created world. What a gift we have been given!Thank you for this posting,Tim.
    Pax et bonum

  4. Thank you Tim. Your reflection reminded me of a simple little chorus I learnt as a 7year old in Sunday school. It goes:
    Do you want a pilot? Signal then to Jesus
    Do you want a pilot? Bid Him come on board
    For He will safely guide
    Across the ocean wide
    Until at least we reach the Heavenly harbour!
    Bon voyage fellow pilgrims 😀

  5. Thanks, Tim, for this reflection. Not only does this remind me to stay the course no matter what, but considering all that is happening in our world today your reflections reminds me that I must remember that God is in every storm, whether at sea, or politically on dry land…I must look for God whom I know is already there with us.

  6. Tim, thank you for this reflection. It has great personal application as we continue on our pilgrimage of life. It also evokes a vision of our church as she goes about her mission in this world. Right now we are in stormy seas, but we are assured God’s church will survive. The importance of personal prayer for the church to thrive and grow cannot be overemphasized. With Providence and prayer we can prevail against all odds. Peace.

  7. Thanks for these thoughts…. and I think I’ll pull Margaret Silf’s “Inner Compass” off the shelf to read this week. Although I’m a little late, I resolve to come here every day for the rest of this “Ignatian” month. AMDG!

  8. Great descriptions! Oceans in heaven? YES–a sea of His Divine Mercy! No more rough seas. RE: using a compass: INNER COMPASS by Margaret Silf is an intro. to Ignatian Spirituality and a manual for using our inner compasses :0)

  9. Thanks, Tim. Great analogy of the sailors and the perils of their voyage, and how important it was for their safety to continually check their compas to make sure they were headed in the right direction.


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