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Distraction

“A strange illness has appeared in our days – the passion for distractions. Never before was there such a desire for distractions; people have forgotten how to lead a serious life for the good of others; they have no spiritual life and are bored. They exchange the profound content of a spiritual life for distractions! What madness! It is here that pastors must deploy their strength: they must re-introduce into life its lost meaning and give back to the people the knowledge of the true purpose of life.” (St. John of Kronstadt)


“When you experience stressful situations, learn to pay attention to what you’re paying attention to,” he said. “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.” That simple but profound bit of advice—pay attention to what you’re paying attention to…the capacity for attention is like a muscle that grows stronger or weaker based on how we use it.” (Robin Phillips)


“What is important is how we meet distraction…How we meet distraction (not whether or not we experience distractions—this is a given) is what heals and transforms as we move deeper.” (Martin Laird)


“The opposite of an attentive life is the distracted and destructive life which most people today lead—people who are heedless of the purity of their heart and life….Susceptible as we are to distraction, deception, and delusion, conversation and union with God are necessary if we would seek purity of heart. The aim of prayer is to concentrate our hearts on God until we are one: “I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one” (Jn 17:23).” (Archbishop Averky Taushev, Dynamis 10/22/2021)


“Prayer stirs up Satan, for there is nothing more hateful to him than that we should ask for and receive the blessings of God. To interrupt and spoil our prayer, the devil has the “darts” of distractions, wayward thoughts, and disturbing remembrances along with the moods of boredom, restlessness, and coldness of heart. So the words of Paul about “watchfulness” are of vital importance to our prayer life. Let us resolve to “put on the armor of God” and to be alert, watchful, and steadfast in prayer. Then, by the Spirit, we will turn away from evil and turn to the God of grace, the God who is ever ready to hear the prayers of all who call upon Him with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).” (Fr. Basil)


“When we think about cell phones, we think about how connected we are, nowadays, to a wide community through the internet. We might think that our age poses a unique challenge for the Christian soul. We are connected with all kinds of news, events, and other people’s passing thoughts, in an instant, and constantly, in a way that human beings never experienced before. However, the problem of the distracted mind was quite well known to the Fathers and saints of our church, since ancient times. The distracted mind is nothing new. Passing thoughts, called logismoi, are not important, yet they can spoil our peace.” (Presvytera Elizabeth Tervo)

“One of the things that will make somebody valuable to employers now and even more so in the future is one’s ability not to succumb to distractedness. Our addiction to everyday devices, social media, aps, mindless entertainment (two words that show the shallowness of this age) and everything else on them is giving rise to greater distractibility and inability to focus. Distractedness is as old as time. It just has a different form today than in days past. The Enemy has used it (logismoi) as a tactic for time uncounted and our salvation depends much on our ability to focus on God and live a prayerful and devoted life to Him that helps us keep our mind in order and resistant the types of attacks that try to capture our mind (and then body and soul to follow) away from Him.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“If you let a whole train of logismoi start from that one thought, or even if you try to think out reasons why it is not a good thought, it is much more difficult to let it go. You may start with: ‘I need to weed the garden’ and continue with: ‘What is the weather today?’ ‘Will I have time in my schedule? ‘Nobody is helping me with the weeding.’ By now not only are your thoughts getting involved, but you’re also becoming resentful! It’s harder to bring your mind back now. How much easier it would have been to ignore the weeds in the first place!” (Presvytera Elizabeth Tervo)

“St. Paul reminds the Christians in Corinth that we are not ignorant of Satan's devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). Let's use this knowledge to practically guide us in not reacting to attacks...We can be aware of these logismoi (thought darts) and quench them with watchfulness and prayer, and then respond in a God-pleasing and family-edifying way.” (Bishop Thomas)

“St. John Cassian (Philokalia I) tells us that St. Anthony the Great considered the most important gift to be discernment (diakrisis), which is the spiritual perception of that which burdens the heart of the one who has infirmities. Discernment is accomplished through the practice of "disclosure of thoughts" (logismoi) and of the impulses and passions that have occurred in his life; love of others and taking on the burden of the disciple: “To one is given through the Spirit … gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits. (1Cor 12:8-10) “… it is this virtue that teaches a man to walk along the royal road, swerving neither to right through immoderate self-control, nor to the left through indifference and laxity.” (Fr. George Morelli)


“Martha’s problem was not serving [Luke 10:38-42], but being “…distracted by much serving…” (Lk. 10:40). A danger in all worthwhile activity is letting that which seems to be urgent crowd out the truly important focus of our life. The telephone, emails, texts, social media, and other means of rapid communication breach the walls of our homes with constant and sometimes imperious demands. Who does not know the reality of piles of unanswered mail, unread books, prayerless days, and sleepless nights – all because of allowing oneself to become a slave to the urgent?” (OCPM 8/15/2017)

“The distracted mind is nothing new. Passing thoughts, called logismoi, are not important, yet they can spoil our peace. Our brains are constantly busy. Nerve connections are made and thoughts occur to us. Some are ordinary, such as ‘My garden has a lot of weeds,’ but others are thoughts that lead us toward temptation, such as ‘So and so’s shoes are nicer than mine.’ In either case, while we are at prayer, the Fathers teach us to do the same thing with this kind of thought: ignore it! Then it will pass right out of your mind.” (Presvytera Elizabeth Tervo)

“In an intriguing story called “Satan’s Convention,” an unknown author tells how Satan directs his dark angels to lure Christians away from God. Satan says, “Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!” “How shall we do this?” shouted his angels. “Keep them busy in the nonessentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered. We must be vigilant and recognize that the devil is relentless in his pursuit to pull us away from God.” (Ary Christofidis, Ph.D)

“Make your relationship with God your top priority… Intimacy with God is no different than building intimacy with another person. You have to invest yourself. You must first truly desire this kind of relationship with Him, and that desire builds as you come to know Him. After desire comes investment—an investment of priorities, time, and sacrifice. You have to so prioritize this intimate relationship so that it gets your best efforts, your time, and your focus. Just like any relationship, you have to work at it.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“Our intimacy with God—His highest priority for our lives—determines the impact of our lives.” (Charles Stanley)

“In the atmosphere of the world today prayer requires super human courage. The whole ensemble of natural energies is in opposition. To hold on to prayer without distraction signals victory on every level of existence. The way is long and thorny but there comes a moment when a heavenly ray pierces the dark obscurity, to make an opening through which can be glimpsed the source of the eternal Divine Light." (Elder Sophrony of Essex)

“Even if your mind is constantly distracted from your prayer, you must struggle unceasingly to recall it. We shall not be condemned because our attention was distracted in prayer, but rather because we did not attempt to bring it back.” (St. John of the Ladder)

“When we speak of distraction in prayer, we do not mean pausing to meditate on certain words of the prayers we are saying. If we are moved to tears or deeper contrition by a penitential prayer, or if we are overwhelmed by a sense of deep gratitude and wonder, we should not ignore this and just push on, even if it means we will not have time to complete our set prayers...” (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“Do not let the distractions of this world and pleasures that are of a transitory nature keep you from casting your eyes toward God. It is sad how many people spend their lives in pursuit of material pleasures, job success, and entertainment but give little thought to things that are of eternal importance.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Christ adds a new dimension and a profound lesson to the parable [Good Samaritan]; He reminds us that the person who puts his belief into practice is the one who pleases God. And the fact is that most of us begin each day with the best of intentions. But we allow ourselves to become easily distracted by the business of life, and we do not see the forest for all the trees. The pressures of work, the demands of family, the desire to watch the football game, all are activities, both noble or trivial, that distract us from becoming good Samaritans.” (Rev Andew J Demotses)

“Do not let the distractions of this world and pleasures that are of a transitory nature keep you from casting your eyes toward God. It is sad how many people spend their lives in pursuit of material pleasures, job success, and entertainment but give little thought to things that are of eternal importance.” (Abbot Tryphon)

"During our set times of prayer, we can often be distracted by thoughts— conversations we had, things we are anxious about, someone who has upset us, and so on. We should not allow these distractions to make us give up praying. We must persist; otherwise we will never learn to overcome such distractions and we will end up praying less and less." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“Life is full of distractions and delusions. Something as simple as the routines of our daily schedules can lull us into missing our God-given purpose. Even the familiarity of “going through the motions” can seduce us into spiritual complacency, which if left unchecked will inevitably suffocate our potential and cause us to miss all that God has for us.” (Kasey Van Norman)

“Keeping Christ first in your life can be very difficult when you have so many distractions threatening to sidetrack your faith…Trusting in the Lord is expecting that His promise of strength will help us to rise above life’s distractions and difficulties.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 11:3, Isaiah 40:31)

“We must be intentionally mindful of what actually feeds the soul – resisting words, images, and conversations that distract us from living a life of true holiness…living a Christ-centered life is a struggle, one that we must commit to each and every day. The evil one will try to distract us with things of this world, but remember—these things are temporary.” (Fr. Tom Tsagalakis, Melissa Tsongranis)

#PresvyteraElizabethTervo #SacramentalLivingMinistries #BishopThomas #FrGeorgeMorelli #ElderSophronyofEssex #StJohnoftheLadder #AbbotTryphon #RevAndrewJDemotses #ArchimandriteVassiliosPapavassiliou #KaseyVanNorman #LifeApplicationStudyBible #FrTomTsagalakis #MelissaTsongranis #OCPM #PresvyteraElizabethTervo #AryChristofidisPhD #FatherBarnabasPowelll #CharlesStanley #StJohnofKronstadt #RobinPhillips #MartinLaird #ArchbishopAverkyTaushev #Dynamis #FrBasil

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