Focus is necessary and important in many areas of our lives. It is needed not only in our daily lives as we navigate our usual tasks but also in our spiritual lives. In fact, most of the spiritual masters and saints will point out that our internal, spiritual lives need to be focused before our external life. And, that if our spiritual life is correctly ordered all else falls into place.
So what is the “one thing” spoken of in such seemingly vague terms. It’s easy, but it took me almost twelve hours to realize what it is, even though I really already knew. It will take me and probably most of us our entire lives to keep the focus on the one thing.
It is Christ. He is all that is necessary. All the rest must be detached from or it pulls us away from him. St. Ignatius talks about detachment frequently in the Spiritual Exercises. At first, I struggled with the difference between detachment and not caring. At first glance they appeared similar and while I certainly want Christ to be the center of my life, I was not ready to not care about my family and friends whom I love. The more I learned and prayed, I realized it is not about not caring but rather, trusting that those we love are loved by God and he wants what is best for them just as we do.
Julian of Norwich gives this image of keeping focused on Christ. She pictures him on the cross, her eyes on him while all around are the world’s temptations and troubles. She reminds us that if we but keep our eyes on him, if we focus on the one thing, “all will be well.”
It is my prayer each day to keep focused on him and not on the world. It is a daily struggle because I like to be in control and fix things. But that tendency is really a lack of detachment and trust. What do you hold onto? It is different for each of us but in detaching we gain far more; we learn to trust God and focus on the one thing. We gain Christ.
©Deanna Bartalini, 2017