This strange expression comes from Father Adolfo Nicolas, an ex-Father General of the Jesuits. Spontaneously we would say that concentration is the opposite of distraction. No matter how much we try to concentrate, our thoughts and ideas go in different directions, and in spite of ourselves, our minds are filled with distractions. We complain about being distracted during prayer. But aren’t we also distracted in many other areas of our lives, in our work, in our mission? In the end aren’t we all absent minded in the presence of the Lord? Because everything that separates us from God is a distraction. The distinctive feature of all authentic spiritual figures, including Angélique, is that they are “centered” on the essential. They recognized the fire in the person of Christ that attracted them: without distractions, without wasting their energy, they consecrated themselves totally to Him. When we become religious, distractions are more subtle. Even when living an honest and charitable life, I can be distracted by an ideology, by rigid convictions, wanting to be popular and appreciated, and even by a mission when I make it my own personal affair. In effect, the greatest source of distraction is my ego! The period of lockdown that we are all going through involves being cut off from distractions in a certain way. We are being brought back to our “center”, to what is essential. We are re-centering ourselves; we are consecrated to what is most precious in our lives. And we recognize little by little that our religious consecration is a total commitment, centered on Christ. We then come to understand that consecration is indeed the opposite of distraction, the opposite of what scatters us in our lives. During the month of June, may all of our attention and desire be concentrated on the Heart of Christ.
Sr Anne Chapell