Stephen

StephenI first heard of Compass through my spiritual director. He had suggested that I consider enrolling on the programme. Amidst my discernment, I had begun to consider the possibility of religious life more fully. Thus, I accessed the website, reflected for a brief time on the prospect and then made contact with Fr. Luke.

The programme has been a true blessing for many different reasons, some of which I will only be able to mention briefly. The journey through Compass has opened new vistas on ways of living out consecrated life with insight from those who have encountered the life for a committed time.

This increasing depth has run in parallel with my own personal search for vocation by entering more fully my relationship with God and grasping greater knowledge of self. Compass has allowed these profound personal searches to take place in a safe, relaxed and comfortable experience of community and Church. The solidarity of sharing the journey with other young Catholics, facilitated by the more mature leadership of Fr. Luke and Sr. Anne has enabled an increasing sense of interior purpose in looking to respond openly to God’s promptings. This experience is set within the dual context of our Compass community as a subset of the monastery at Worth. The continual engagement with the monastic community through following the rhythm of prayer has enabled the journey to be rooted in the most important source of discovery and revelation.

The privilege of having exposure to religious of many different congregations and traditions has served to enhance my understanding of Church and broaden the sense of vocation. Meeting members of different orders has been exciting, thought provoking and inspiring. In this way Compass has felt very much like the Church coming to ‘us’ in the Compass House at Worth, whilst as individuals we have been glimpsing ways in which we may step out into the Church enlightened by our encounter. The clear structure to the programme and the particular weekends has meant that whilst the time together is often mentally quite tiring the outcome is much fruitful reflection upon expert input. In particular I found it great use to spend a weekend considering each of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. The careful and gentle presentation of these dimensions of consecrated life has allowed me to consider more carefully my prospective response and the personal path that may unfold.

Only now as I begin to reflect more fully on the path that this last nine months has taken do I realise quite how immense it has been. Undoubtedly, this experience has left me with much to digest, to integrate and to reflect upon as I continue to listen for the Spirit’s promptings. I’m aware that in terms of my discernment I have a found a space in which I seek to allow much of this insight to keep feeding my search in a holistic way as I seek to draw many different strands together. Most of all I find myself assured by the knowledge that God is at work within and that although I cannot see a next definitive step, this is the best place for me to be. In this way I can trust through openness and generosity of spirit.