Submitted by Andy McIlvain
We live in the most distracted age in history. And we in the West are the most distracted.
Have you noticed how easy it is to be distracted in church or in class or in a meeting? The never-ending intrusions and interruptions of electronic devices and social media set our worlds abuzz with distraction. These among other things distract us from what is profoundly important in our lives. Distraction is the temptation to give the focus and energy needed for something important to something that is often insignificant.
In this unusual time many of us have been given the gift of time to reset and reevaluate our lives. The constant treadmill of productivity has been interrupted.
This distraction we embrace is also a serious spiritual malady. If, as philosopher Simone Weil said, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” the disease itself attacks the active and contemplative facets of our life. Attentiveness is at the heart of any human engagement therefore the absence we see today indicates a serious moral malady.
We have all experienced the distracted person: our attempts to communicate with the person in front us is spoiled by them checking a text message or taking a call. Pope Francis recently bemoaned our lack of attention to our world: “We know so little of the world our exploitative practices are destroying because we rarely have time to see the world as it is, apart from our glowing screens. And most seriously, we can have no room for God in a life with little attention. Difficulties and distractions are nothing new in a life of prayer, but our current technological entrapment has made the calm and stillness of prayer seem even more unattainable. The problem is severe.”
Our body is governed by the condition of our spiritual heart and minds. That is why pornography, alcohol and drugs for example corrupts our thinking and actions. If our mind becomes intoxicated with sin and chaos our very existence is compromised as is our walk with God. Our soul (mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking etc.) is negatively impacted. If our heart and mind is spiritually well, we become a source of blessing to the world around us. Our distraction is a sin.
So, we must be intentional to put aside distractions and focus. Take time to read
Scripture and pray. Read a long book. Contemplate your life.
The overarching truth is God has become incarnate to disrupt our disruptions. Jesus, God in human flesh disrupted human history. God disrupts our world by sending his one and only Son who was sent with a mission, a purpose, and a plan. He was sent to die and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He was sent to disrupt.
In this distracted secular age, we need it to be rooted deeply in the Word of God and focused upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
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