Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

attention

17 Entries

Always have attention, prayer and study to be cultivated and elevated. REF:Elder Amphilochios of Patmos +1970



'Be attentive to yourself,' says Moses (Deut 15:9) - that is, to the whole of yourself, not to a few things that pertain to you, neglecting the rest. By what means? With the intellect assuredly, for nothing else can pay attention to the whole of yourself. Set this guard, therefore, over your soul and body, for thereby you will readily free yourself from the evil passions of body and soul. Take yourself in hand, then, be attentive to yourself, scrutinize yourself, or, rather, guard, watch over and test yourself, for in this manner you will subdue your rebellious unregenerate self to the Spirit and there will never again be 'some secret iniquity in your heart.' St. Gregory Palamas, Philokalia, Vol. 4

'Be attentive to yourself,' says Moses (Deut. 15:9 LXX) - that is, to the whole of yourself, not to a few things that pertain to you, neglecting the rest. By what means? With the intellect assuredly, for nothing else can pay attention to the whole of yourself. Set this guard, therefore, over your soul and body, for thereby you will readily free yourself from the evil passions of body and soul. Take yourself in hand, then, be attentive to yourself, scrutinize yourself; or, rather, guard, watch over and test yourself, for in this manner you will subdue your rebellious unregenerate self to the Spirit and there will never again be 'some secret iniquity in your heart' (Deut. 15:9). If, says, the Preacher, the spirit that rules over the evil demons and passions rises up against you, do not desert your place (cf. Eccles. 10:4) - that is to say, do not leave any part of your soul or body unwatched. In this way you will master the evil spirits that assail you and you will boldly present yourself to Him who examines hearts and minds (cf. Ps. 7:9); and He will not scrutinize you, for you will have already scrutinized yourself. As St. Paul says, 'If we judged ourselves we would not be judged' (I Cor. 11:31). St. Gregory Palamas(Those Who Practice a Life of Stillness no. 9)

'Be attentive to yourself,' says Moses (Deut. 15:9.LXX) - that is, to the whole of yourself, not to a few things that pertain to you, neglecting the rest. By what means? With the intellect assuredly, for nothing else can pay attention to the whole of yourself. Set this guard, therefore, over your soul and body, for thereby you will readily free yourself from the evil passions of body and soul. Take yourself in hand, then, be attentive to yourself, scrutinize yourself; or, rather, guard, watch over and test yourself, for in this manner you will subdue your rebellious unregenerate self to the Spirit and there will never again be 'some secret iniquity in your heart' (Deut. 15:9). St. Gregory Palamas (Those Who Practice a Life of Stillness no. 9, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 338-339)

...adorn your thinking power with a constant attention to God, prayer and knowledge of divine truths; the desiring power - with total self-denial and renunciation of all self-indulgence; the excitable power - with love. If you do this, then, I assure you, the light of your mind will never be dimmed and wrong thoughts will never find place in you. Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare

Abba John Cassian related with regard to another old man living in the desert, that he had asked God to grant him never to become sleepy during a spiritual conference, but, if someone uttered slanderous or useless words, to be able to go to sleep at once, so that his ears should never be touched by that poison. This old man also said that the devil, enemy of all spiritual instruction, works hard to provoke useless words.

He used the following example, "Once when I was talking to some brothers on a helpful topic, they were overcome by sleep so deep, that they could not even move their eyelids any longer. Then, wishing to show them the power of the devil, I introduced a trivial subject of conversation. Immediately, they woke up, full of joy. Then I said to them with many sighs, ‘Until now, we were discussing heavenly things and your eyes were heavy with sleep, but when I embarked on a useless discourse, you all woke up with alacrity. Therefore, brothers, I implore you to recognize the power of the evil demon; pay attention to yourselves, and guard yourselves from the desire to sleep when you are doing or listening to something spiritual.’" The Desert Fathers



Attention is the first teacher of truth and consequently absolutely necessary. Attention rouses the soul to study itself and its longings, to learn their true character and repulse those that are unholy. Attention is the guardian angel of the intellect, always counseling it this : be attentive. Attention awakens the soul, rouses it from sleep... Attention examines every thought, every desire, every memory. Thoughts, desires, and memories are engendered by various causes, and often appear masked and with splendid garb, in order to deceive the inattentive intellect and enter into the soul and dominate it. Only attention can reveal their hidden form. Often their dissimulation is so perfect that the discernment of their true nature is very difficult and requires the greatest attention. One must remember the saving words of the Lord: "Be wakeful and pray that ye enter not into temptation." He who is wakeful does not enter into temptation, because he is vigilant and attentive. "Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina", Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187

Batiushka said regarding condemnation and criticism of other’s faults and sins: “You need to pay such close attention to your own internal life, that you not focus on what is happening around you. Then you will not condemn.” Counsels of the Venerable Elder St. Amvrossy of Optina

Have you realized that the world and worldly cares do not hinder in fulfilling God's commandments, when there is zeal and attention? That silence and retirement from the world are useless, if laziness and negligence prevail?" St. Simeon the New Theologian (On Faith, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart ; Faber and Faber pg. 147):

Keep your attention within yourself (not in your head but in your heart). Keep your mind there (in the heart), trying by every possible means to find the place where the heart is, in order that, having found it, your mind should constantly abide there. Wrestling thus, the mind will find the place of the heart. This happens when grace produces sweetness and warmth in prayer...with God's help, you will learn...from your own experience, by keeping your mind attentive and in your heart holding Jesus, that is, His prayer -Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me! One of the holy fathers says: 'Sit in your cell and this prayer will teach you everything.' " St. Simeon the New Theologian (Three Methods of Attention and Prayer, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pgs. 158-159)

No Christian believing rightly in God should ever be off his guard. He should always be on the look-out for temptation, so that when it comes he will not be surprised or distrubed, but will gladly endure the toil and affliction it causes, and so will understand what he is saying when he chants with the prophet: 'Prove me, O Lord, and try me' (Ps. 26:2 LXX). For the prophet did not say, 'Thy correction has destroyed me,' but, 'it has unheld me to the end' (Ps. 18:35 LXX) Ilias the Presbyter, Philokalia, Vol. 3

Strive to pay more attention to yourself and not analyze the affairs, actions and appeals made to you by others. If you find no love in them, it is because you yourself have no love within you. Advice from the Holy Elder St. Leo (Nagolkin) of Optina

The beginning of evil is heedlessness. Abba Poemen

The devil, with all his powers, "walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (I Pet. 5:8). So you must never relax your attentiveness of hear, your watchfulness, your power of rebuttal or your prayer to Jesus Christ our God. You will not find a greater help than Jesus in all your life, for He alone, as God, knows the deceitful ways of the demons, their subtlety and their guile. St. Hesychius the Priest

The soul of prayer is attentiveness. As the body without a soul is dead, so prayer without attentiveness is dead. St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

Those who live without paying attention to themselves will never be made worthy to be visited by grace. Advice from the Holy Elder St. Leo (Nagolkin) of Optina

What is meant by those who sing with their "heart to the Lord?" It means: undertake this work with attention, for those who are in attentive sing in vain, pronouncing only words, while their heart wanders elsewhere. St. John Chrysostom





Redeeming the Time

↑ Grab this Headline Animator





We confidently recommend our web service provider, Orthodox Internet Services: excellent personal customer service, a fast and reliable server, excellent spam filtering, and an easy to use comprehensive control panel.

St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas