In a recent period of prayer, I was mindful of a question of Pope Francis: “Is the Church still capable of warming hearts?” I turned this question in prayer towards God, asking: “Are You still capable of warming our hearts?” In pretty quick fashion, the Lord revealed that indeed He is capable and desirous of warming our hearts. The problem is our hearts are so full of other things, and we seem to suffer from a spiritual ‘attention deficit disorder.’
When we pay close attention to Christ, we see that His entire life was focused on the Father; His work, His Love, His will. Just read John Chapter 5:19-30 as a good example. Jesus’ life and ministry were an orchestrated effort to fulfill the Father’s will. This was the work of Jesus, and this was the source of Jesus’ joy.
Likewise, we are to keep our attention fixed on Jesus. I read recently of an experience in the life of St. Catherine of Siena that speaks to this same reality. St. Catherine experienced many revelations, many mystical experiences. Her life was one long, sustained conversation with God. However, during one of her visions, she was ‘distracted’ by a Dominican friar, and she very briefly shifted her attention from God to this passing friar, and then back again to the revelation. Her confessor, Blessed Raymond of Capua relates that the Saint later shared with him how she received a vision of St. Paul, who reprimanded her for taking her attention away from God.
Knowing that God does desire to fill us with His blessings and goodness, we are to give regular and prayerful attention to Jesus, just as we do those relationships of this life that are most important to us. As St. Paul says in the Letter to the Hebrews: “Keep you eyes on Christ.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Lent is a perfect time to renew our relationship with Christ. This season is also a good time to prayerful review our patterns of life. How easily distracted are we in prayer? How much time do we give to God? How do I spend my day? Do the relationships I keep, the things I read or watch on TV, my use of the internet, the music I listen to enhance my relationship with God?
Christ is our Life. Christ is the Light of the world. Christ is the Way to the Father. When we give Christ our regular attention, He will warm our hearts and lead us to be light for others.