The battle to focus

In the course of our daily lives, in many different ways, words are foisted upon us in which we have absolutely no interest.  This past Tuesday (all within a two-hour period) I was forced to endure the television playing in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, the radio blaring in the auto parts store, and the protracted cell phone conversation of the guy directly behind me in line at the post office.

I wonder if the habitual blocking-out of these undesired words makes it more difficult for us to concentrate on words that we really do want to hear.  For example, when we’re at Mass, do we find our mind wandering while the priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer, or while Sacred Scripture is being proclaimed in the Liturgy of the Word?

If we struggle with the latter, perhaps these words of St Caesarius of Arles will motivate us to try harder to remain distraction-free while the Word of God is proclaimed:

…just as we take care when we receive the Body of Christ so that no part of it falls to the ground, so should we likewise ensure that the Word of God which is given to us is not lost to our souls because we are speaking or thinking about something different.  One who listens negligently to God’s Word is just as guilty as one who, through carelessness, allows Christ’s Body to fall to the ground.

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