Continuing his discussion of attentiveness in Chapter 1 of The Attentive Life, Leighton Ford notes that we’ve been told to “pay attention” since we were children, as if this were the simplest thing in the world. In reality, he asserts, attentiveness is a most difficult concept to grasp and a very hard discipline to learn. We’re distractible people in a distracting world. Mr. Ford states why attentiveness is essential:
“Yet attentiveness, as I have come to see, is most critical for us to find the way to clarity of heart, and clarity is the path to seeing God, who is the source and end of our longing.”
Paradoxically, the author adds, attentiveness may be the opposite of “fixing our attention”, because it involves letting go of our natural need and desire to control. We must open ourselves to what God is telling or showing us. Indeed, Augustine once defined sin as incurvatus in se– curved in on oneself. In other words, sin may be defined as inattention. Quaker writer Douglas Steere explains:
“For prayer is awakeness, attention, intense inward openness. In a certain way sin could be described . . . [as] anything that destroys this attention.”
Today’s question: What do you thing of Augustine’s definition of sin? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the Annotated Bibliography of Gods at War