“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.” ~ Brian Tracy
Living as a Christian in a world steeped in sin is extremely difficult to do. Why? Quite simply, because the world constantly attempts to knock us off balance. As Christians, we are called to “walk the narrow road” to the Kingdom of God. That road is fraught with peril which is why the Lord instructed us to keep our eyes fixed on Him.
We all know how difficult that is to do, however, when we are being distracted by the noises of the world.
Noise is a perfect distraction. There are times when I am celebrating Mass and lose my focus. Generally, I have most of the prayers, especially the Eucharistic Prayers, committed to memory. When I am “saying Mass”, I am usually praying the Mass. I am reciting the prayers by memory and from the heart. It helps me to focus on the amazing miracle that is taking place in front of all of us: the bread and wine changing into the Body and Blood of Christ.
I can be in incredible focus, praying the Eucharistic Prayer, when, all of a sudden, a harsh, shrill scream comes from a child in the congregation. Perhaps the scream was preceded by a loud “thump” indicating that the child slipped and fell in the pew or on a kneeler. Immediately, even as I am continuing my prayer, my mind begins to consider the situation. Is the child hurt? How badly might the child have been hurt? Is there anyone there to provide assistance?
All this is going on while I am continuing to pray. Many people do not know; but, there is a requirement that once the Eucharistic Prayer begins, the celebrant cannot stop for any reason until after the Great Amen. So, I have to go on. But, now, I go on distracted. What usually happens in those moments is that I begin to scan downwards to the Roman Missal on the altar because I know what will happen next: I will lose my place in memory and need to read the words in the book until I can focus myself again.
This is just one small example. The external distraction of noise can cause one to lose focus. Imagine what can happen with bigger, internal distractions. Bigger “distractions” that draw our attention away from the narrow way include envy, pride, selfishness, anger, hatred, and bigotry. The list goes on and on. These things, the things of the world, do all that they can to impede our progress as Christians.
Distractions, big and small, often take our focus off of our goal. Living the faith would be so easy if we were in heaven. There, it would be nothing but a celebration of God’s love. Here, on earth, it is a constant struggle. If we are going to make any progress at all, we need to do everything possible to remove as many distractions from our lives as we can.
FAITH ACTION: Examine your plans and priorities. Are they consistent with your faith? If not, make the adjustments that you need in order to remain balanced.