The sextant is a nautical instrument that allows the user to determine their exact location so that a correct course may be chosen. With it one can plot a trajectory that will allow the user to arrive precisely where they want to be. Before its development while direction could be easily determined by use of a magnetic compass but the sextant allowed determining actual location.
The device does this by comparing the apparent angle of fixed celestial bodies to the location of the observer. By looking at fixed objects relative measures can be taken. This is also precisely what organizations must do before plotting a new course or correcting a current one.
Too often organizations spend a vast amount of resources plotting the strategy and planning where they want to go and miss determining their actual location. There is a world of difference planning to reach a destination that is miles away when you are in actuality just a few feet from it. For instance lets imagine school one wants to grow enrollment and so they plot how to increase the number of students. But they fail to recognize their teachers are used to very small classes, their kitchen cannot handle a larger student body, their parking is insufficient and as a direct result these new students will not get the level of service they need to stay.
Or another school that spends its time upgrading its facilities trying to outdo a school that it can not overcome and neglecting improving an area where they could make a difference. They could miss an opportunity and badly squander one. Or they could arrive at the desired location and find themselves unprepared. One final example, a school might do a special fund raiser to buy new computers only to have to replace the three years later and do it all over again.
St. Peter asked Christ, “Quo Vadis, Domine?” Where are you going Lord? Two millennia later we ask the same, for as Christians we know it is far better to follow God’s will for our lives, than to follow the wisest counsel of man.
The question inevitably arises, ‘How are we to know God’s will?’ Not all of us, indeed very few of us, will ever see Christ the way St. Peter did, most of us will find His will for us in another manner. In the famous movie, ‘A Man for All Seasons’ St. Thomas More says, “God made the angels to show Him splendor, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind.” We find God’s will precisely by using our intellect, by studying our subjects, by training our bodies so we can think clearly and by asking God for the gift of wisdom. So it is God’s will that a student studies, that a child respect and obey their parents, that we are chaste, that we are honest and diligent. Yes, and so much more. Knowing God’s will for us is seldom difficult, following it, there’s the challenge. We so often know what is needed to be done but are afraid or disinclined to do such a thing. Every student knows they should study, they know it will make them do better, enjoy life more etc., but not every student studies. Knowing must lead to action for the desired good to be achieved. When you seek God’s will for you, get yourself ready.
So this year as we pray “Quo Vadis?” let us prepare ourselves to hear and obey God’s will for us.