The Power of Focus

The sign on the wall proclaims “Midvale School for the Gifted.” Nerdly looking boy, glasses, pocket protector, lots of books, pushing diligently on the door. Door has sign, “Pull to Open.”

That’s a classic Far Side cartoon. I love it. I speak a little German. Can’t carry a conversation, but I can pick up the gist of a discussion if I know the topic. I know many of the words it takes to get around–buy beer, find the restrooms, get directions. I also know the words for push and pull. But there is this one hotel in particular where I go up to the doors leading to the restrooms and just stare at the sign.

I’ve lost focus.

Anything like that ever happen to you? You  stare at something but nothing sinks in? Or as one joke has it, “the lights are on, but nobody’s home.”

Pope Benedict XVI did a series of discussions on the early “church fathers” collected in a book by Ignatius press, “Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine.”

Discussing Origen of Alexandria, he points out when preaching on Jesus’ discourse in Nazareth, when “the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him,” Origen says, “Today, too, if you so wished, in this assembly your eyes can be fixed on the Savior. In fact, it is when you turn the deepest gaze of your heart to the contemplation of Wisdom, Truth and the only Son of God that your eyes will see God.”

The supreme danger of practicing Spiritual Disciplines is exactly that moment when you take your eyes off Jesus and practice just for the sake of practicing.

Focus is the most basic of practices for us to follow. It is essential for your spiritual development. It is essential in business. It is essential for your  personal relationships. Focus on Jesus. Focus on your customers. Focus on the others with whom you are in relationship.

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