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Attentiveness

“Most of us do not think we are in a constant battle. Most of us, rightly so, recognize the ugliness of evil when we see it on full display, for example, in the horrible events of the news. However, most of us miss the daily evil of the enemy because we think certain things are benign and miss the malevolence behind them. The thoughts we are pummeled with on a daily basis that cause so much distraction from what is truly important are of the enemy. That is why Christ, St. Paul, other Epistle writers, Church Fathers, saints, and modern teachers, all teach about the importance of prayer, mindfulness, watchfulness, breathing, and why so much of what they said and did was all about spiritual warfare that begins with the battle within. We are what we pay attention to because what we are attentive to in our thought comes out in our actions. That is why the Holy Spirit our comforter and helper, is always guiding us within to Christ.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“The reduction of the world and its “history” are the tools of those who lack the imagination and patience to find the truth. The Fathers tell us to “pay attention.” This is true with regard to the heart, but it is also true with regard to the world around us. Attention does not solve the mystery, but it at least acknowledges its presence and gives rise to enough wonder to make understanding possible at some point….The same reductionist model being applied to the present serves the forces of our own misery and the suicide of our culture. Any society that manages to believe the story that giving birth and nurturing children is less than the most challenging, fulfilling and noble activity of human beings does not deserve to survive. It is the society of the anti-Christ.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“When you experience stressful situations, learn to pay attention to what you’re paying attention to…If your attention is hijacked by rumination, or if your thought life gravitates toward negativity, self-pity, and anxiety, this will drag you down and invite symptoms like depression and brain fatigue. But if your thoughts are filled with peace, gentleness, and love, you will feel better and have a positive impact on those around you. Again, pay attention to what you’re paying attention to.” (Robin Phillips)


“When it comes to practicing with a prayer word or phrase such as the Jesus Prayer, the basic instruction couldn’t be simpler: at the time of prayer let go of all other concerns, recollect yourself, and begin to repeat silently the prayer word. Whenever you become aware that your attention has been stolen, gently return your attention to the prayer word. Thus begins a journey to the depth of the present moment that can never be fully fathomed…During the course of the day, if you have any free minutes, use them to read some chosen prayers, with attentiveness, or read some selected passages from the Scriptures. And through them, once again, strengthen your spirit, which has become tired through constant activity in a busy world.” (Martin Laird, St. Ignatii Brianchaninov)


“In our reading [Colossians 4:2-9], Paul goes on to identify three characteristics of forceful prayer. First, it is vigilant. That is, it is awake, alert, and on guard against diversions. Distractions in prayer are born of inattentiveness. The mind forgets its intention of presenting its supplications to the Throne of God. When we notice this mental meandering, we must strongly and immediately return to our single-minded focus on God’s mercy.” (Fr. Basil)


“The meaning of the Greek word for obey (hupakouo) begins with the idea of listening attentively…To establish a solid and fruitful relationship with God and build himself up spiritually, a Christian must be attentive to himself. He needs a permanent attitude of vigilance (nepsis) to avoid evil thoughts (including diverting thoughts) and must remain attentive to God in undistracted prayer so as to develop a solid and fruitful relationship with God, which also builds him up spiritually by uniting him with the One God.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Ephesians 6:1-4, Jean-Claude Larchet)


“The inner always manifests itself in the outer, meaning who we are inside comes out in our behavior. Listening attentively to another person and being fully present for him or her is an act of love. To be this type of listener means we have to learn to listen. It begins with our interior life and cultivating stillness and silence to shut out the world’s noise and hear God; that is to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts. Our union with God in this manner, if it is true and sincere, will always result in us being more like Him to others, which begins with the compassionate action of attentive listening.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“We learned the importance of silence when working with people who are going through a personal crisis; people need an attentive ear to hear their problems, not advice or judgement.  It requires a focused, concerted effort, one that can only be successfully developed through training and experience.  We discovered quickly that there was more to being a compassionate listener than just owning a pair of ears.” (Deacon Michael Schlaack)


“Being attentive to the state and needs of other people, without being intrusive, is basic to our life in Christ. Listening closely to the voices of those we encounter, while observing their faces and body language, provides clues to their spiritual and psychological condition, perhaps especially at this time of year when so many are so vulnerable. It may help us get in touch with our own sense of loneliness and our need to find fellowship and love among those who are closest to us. The most effective care and support we can offer others comes from the depths of our own experience, especially when it involves suffering.” (Fr. John Breck)


“The ability to listen is the core of interpersonal relationships. It is not so much the words we speak or the deeds we do that help the elderly, hospitalized, or shut-in, but it is our presence and our “being there”. It is a great gift to be able to be attentive and receptive, and to listen with personal concern. Many times we are merely spectators and listen lazily due to inattentiveness. We judge others according to our own value system. While we are “listening” we classify people as types. Sometimes our “listening” is actually our “waiting” for our turn to speak.” (Sister Elizabeth)


“The essence of any striving towards the Lord is attentiveness. Without attentiveness, all of our labors become fruitless — dead. He who desires to be saved must strive to maintain attentiveness in himself not only in solitude, but also in the midst of distraction into which circumstances sometimes hurl him against his will. May the fear of God outweigh all other feelings in the scales of his heart. Then it will be easy to preserve attentiveness to himself.” (St. Ignatii Brianchaninov)

“When Christ our God is tempted in the wilderness, He encounters repeated gimmicks from Satan, who plies his familiar trade of sowing doubts. “If You are the Son of God” (Mt 4:3, 6) is one example; “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me” (vs. 9) is another. The devil’s approach is always based on the insertion of an “if” – it is entirely hypothetical, fully conjectural, and certainly destructive…We must pay attention when the subtle, conditional if is offered, avoiding anything that appears devious.” (Dynamis 1/27/2020)

“We have become so inattentive to the work of our salvation, that we misinterpret many other words in Holy Scripture as well, all because we do not seek the grace of God and in the pride of our minds, do not allow it to dwell in our souls. That is why we are without true enlightenment from the Lord, which He sends into the hearts of men who hunger and thirst wholeheartedly for God’s righteousness or holiness.” (St. Seraphim of Sarov) “We must always be attentive to the assaults of the devil; for can we hope that he will leave us without temptation, when he did not leave alone our Founder and Source of faith and Perfecter, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself?” (Saint Seraphim of Sarov)

“The verb “to gimmick” describes actions designed to alter or influence outcomes by diverting our attention. As we read the scriptural accounts of various temptations, one thing becomes clear: the devil uses gimmickry. He takes something which we trust – the word of the Lord – and uses it for his own devious and destructive ends. This record of deception is long-standing, although often ignored.” (Dynamis 1/27/2020)

"Routine helps us to make life easier, but at the same time can be a very real danger. Statistics show that new drivers have relatively few accidents because they concentrate so hard and obey all the rules. It is when driving becomes routine and the rules are no longer religiously followed that accidents happen. This is also true in our spiritual lives as well. Even things as basic as the Ten Commandments seem so obvious and routine that we cease to give them our full attention. Slowly, without even noticing, we come to the point where we neglect them entirely. God continues to speak to us but we have long since stopped hearing. It is not that God does not speak to us in the modern age, but that because of inattentiveness, we have stopped listening.” (Rev. Andrew Demotses)

“Even now, in this present existence, our God and King still communicates with us through the Holy Spirit. He speaks to our human, spiritual capacities, for He made us as creatures who are both spiritual and physical…The Spirit’s quickening presence remains essential if we are to understand and obey Christ our Lord. Apart from the Holy Spirit, we would remain in darkness and confusion. Therefore, let us be attentive and heed the Holy Spirit whom Christ sends…Attentiveness and watchfulness are precious gifts of the Holy Spirit.” (Dynamis 5/17/2018, 5/6/2018)

“People should hear and see how God's righteousness is done from the heart's desire. The knowledge of God can only be acquired with an attentive heart.” (Bishop Joseph)

“…our Lord is active in every aspect of our own life. He may act through a conflict we are now facing, or a persecution we must endure for Christ, or an exile we must endure far from our homeland or family of origin. During our travels and while we are at home, in formal interviews and small talk, in planned meetings and chance encounters, God works on our dispositions and understanding. Nothing in this world remains outside His purview. The way of the Lord is to be everywhere present, filling all things. Let us be attentive to what He is doing and saying at every moment.” (Dynamis 5/6/2018)

“…true prayer is both mother and daughter of tears. Contrition and compunction are its regular companions. Compunctious prayer is based on an attentive life attentive to the ever-presence of God in our life, to the purity of our heart, to the genuine humility of our spirit, and to the mystery of death which we must ever remember and contemplate.” (Monk Moses)


#RevAndrewDemotses #Dynamis #BishopJoseph #MonkMoses #StIgnatiusBrianchaninov #SaintSeraphimofSarov #OrthodoxStudyBible #JeanClaudeLarchet #SacramentalLivingMinistries #DeaconMichaelSchlaack #FrJohnBreck #SisterElizabeth #FatherStephenFreeman #RobinPhillips #MartinLaird #StIgnatiiBrianchaninov #FrBasil

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