The Eucharist: A Compass For Life


My family loves snorkeling and diving in the Florida Keys. We know some
incredible dive sites, including an underwater statue of Christ called
“Christ of the Deep,” sunken shipwrecks, and stunning coral reefs. Some
of these places are five to ten miles offshore in open, unmarked seas.
We find these amazing underwater treasures using a GPS [global
positioning system], which pinpoints the exact location of the dive

I’ve often thought how nice it would be to have a
personally programmed, internally wired GPS system that could help me
navigate my life. [Biographical note: I’m somewhat notorious for being
an airhead when it comes to directions. I’m one of the only people I
know who can get lost driving to McDonalds…even with the Golden
Arches in sight!]  While most of you are not as directionally
challenged as I am, I’m sure many of you would love to have a
personalized GPS that could pinpoint who you are, where you’re going,
and what your purpose is in this life.

Discovering our vocation and life purpose is a critical concern for
single people. In his book Single Focus, George Barna, founder of the
Barna Research Group, writes: “about half of single adults, regardless
of their faith commitment, say that they are still searching for the
meaning and purpose of their life” (p. 112).  Unfortunately, this
journey of discovery can be as difficult as trying to find the “Christ
of the Deep” dive site without a GPS or compass fix. Many singles
attempt to find their life path without directional assistance, and end
up feeling stressed, burdened, or lost in murky waters.

Our Heavenly Father did not leave us helpless on the journey of
discovering our life purpose. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to offer
us a roadmap with lost-proof directions for our lives. It’s a
navigational tool we often take for granted or forget to use, but the
Eucharist, God’s supreme gift to mankind, is an indispensable GPS for
single Catholics seeking to discover their life purpose. 

Finding our identity in Christ

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “the Eucharist is the
source and summit of the Christian life” (section 1324). For us single
Catholics, this means that the Eucharist is the focal point, the
foundation, and the purpose for everything that we do, everything that
we are, and everything that we will become in this life.

It is through the Eucharist that Christ most fully reveals Himself to
us, and in turn teaches us who we are–the sons and daughters of God,
and sharers in the divine life. The Eucharist is a life compass because
it joins our lives right now, in time, with our eternal destination:
Heaven. The Catechism states: “[T]he Holy Sacrifice identifies us with
his Heart, sustains our strength along the pilgrimage of this life,
makes us long for eternal life, and unites us even now to the Church in
heaven” (section 1419).

Made for Communion

Each human being possesses a deep, ravenous hunger for something more
in life. While we all share this same thirst for meaning, for love, and
for a desire deep within our hearts to be fulfilled, we all choose
different ways of trying to fill the void. Some will turn to fame,
fortune, sex, alcohol, drugs, or some other addiction. Others will try
to drown out their souls by overdosing on media noise, or just by
getting caught up in the overloaded busyness of life.

No matter what we try to fill ourselves with, the truth is that all of
us are searching for something more, something deeper. That’s because
this desire in our hearts is for our Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ,
to come and dwell with us and in us. St. Augustine once wrote: “You
have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until
they rest in you.” Jesus is the answer to our hunger for meaning,
purpose, and fulfillment in life, and He is most fully united with us
in the Eucharist. Pope John Paul II wrote in his Encyclical on the
Eucharist: “The gift of Christ and his Spirit which we receive in
Eucharistic communion superabundantly fulfils the yearning for
fraternal unity deeply rooted in the human heart” (paragraph 24).

Thus, if we want to have a purpose-filled life, we must turn to the
source and summit of all life–Jesus Christ. When we’re going through
hard times in our jobs or relationships, dealing with some form of
temptation, or just feeling the need to be near a good friend, we
should turn to Jesus in the Eucharist to be our soul fuel.

Our understanding of the powerful reality of Christ’s real presence in
the Eucharist will transform our entire way of thinking and living. Our
career choices, moral decisions, relationships, daily thoughts and
actions will be transformed when we understand that the King of the
Universe wants to dwell in our souls and bodies each day. St. Irenaeus,
an early Father of the Church, wrote: “Our way of thinking is attuned
to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of

As we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi (Feast of the Body and
Blood of Christ) this month (on Sunday, June 10, 2007), seek union with
Christ in the Eucharist as a prayerful step in discerning His will for
your life. Since you know who you are (a child of God and heir of His
Kingdom), and you know where you are going (Heaven), you already have
the two pinpoints for your compass fix. Armed with these directions,
your discernment of what work God has called you to accomplish in this
life will become much, much easier.

“I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and
he who believes in me shall never thirst … Truly, truly I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the son of Man, and drink his blood, you
have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has
eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:35,


Stephanie is the coordinator of

NextWave Faithful

™, a youth and young adult division of

Family Life Center International

She has been a frequent guest on several Catholic programs, including
EWTN Radio's Faith & Family, which she currently co-hosts with her
father, Steve Wood, and EWTN Television's Life on the Rock and The
Journey Home.

Stephanie hosts the first worldwide radio show for Catholic youth,

NextWave Live

, which airs weekly on the EWTN Radio Network.She also
writes a monthly


for teens and young adults. She can be reached at


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