LOVE PAYS ATTENTION
- From: "Trudie" <hildigard8@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 10:57:55 -0600
LOVE PAYS ATTENTION
"Attention is one of the most powerful forces in the world."
1. God LOVES US BY PAYING ATTENTION.
"The LORD bless you & keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you & be
gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you & give you peace." Num
Are not 2 sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not 1 of them will fall to the
ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your
head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many
sparrows. Matt 10:29-31 NIV
God's attention is an incredible gift.
2. Jesus SHOWED US HOW TO DO IT, OVER & OVER AGAIN.
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. John 9:1 NIV
Jesus turned & He faced him. He would stop & focus.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up & said to him, "Zacchaeus, come
down immediately. I must stay at your house today." Luke 19:5,6 NIV
Jesus knew who he was.
He also saw a poor widow put in 2 very small copper coins. "I tell you the
truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All
these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her
poverty put in all she had to live on." Luke 21:2-4 NIV
Jesus noticed this. Jesus noticed the little things. That's what love
does. Even irritating people have a purpose.
3. LOVE OTHERS BY ATTENDING TO THEM.
A. love listens
B. Love remembers
My dear brothers, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak & slow to become angry. James 1:19 NIV
"A button for your mouth"
Remember the best, forget the rest.
Love pays attention to people.
4. LOVE GOD THROUGH STILLNESS & RECEPTIVITY.
"Be still, & know that I am God" Ps 46:19 NIV
We have to be receptive. We may need to get rid of some distractions.
A couple spends their 1st year of marriage w/o TV to improve their
Key truth: to improve our communication w/God we have to eliminate
Questions for Discussion & Application
1. Do you know anyone who is often "not present" when you are trying to
communicate w/him/her. How does that make you feel?
2. Who looks into your face as a mirror for their soul?
Share some specific times in the life of Jesus when He stopped & looked at
someone, noticing something. How many instances of this can you brainstorm?
3. Who in your life needs your undivided attention right now?
4. Have you ever caught yourself talking when you should have been
listening? What did you do next?
5. Do you notice God speaking to your heart very often?
6. What can you eliminate from your day in order to focus more on hearing
December 26th - St. Stephen the Deacon
"Now Stephen, full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and miracles
among the people.
"Now there arose some of that which is called synagogue, of the Libertines,
and of the Cyreneans, and of Alexandrians, and those of Cilicia and Asia,
disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the
spirit that spoke ..
"Now hearing these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed with
their teeth at him. But he being full of the Holy Ghost, looking up
steadfastly to Heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right
hand of God. And he said: Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of
man standing at the right hand of God.
"And they, crying out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and with one
accord rushed violently upon him. And casting him out of the city, they
stoned him and the witness laid down their garments at the feet of a young
man, whose name was Saul.
"And they stoned Stephen, invoking and saying: Lord Jesus, receive my
"And falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, saying: Lord, lay
not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep in
the Lord" (Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59).
Comments of late Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira: (died 1995)
The text is so beautiful that almost every phrase deserves a commentary. The
scene develops in successive steps, each one with its own character.
The first step presents St. Stephen as doing wonderful things. The
imponderables of the language of Scriptures transmit the picture of a
virginal man, and then the text adds that he was full of grace and strength.
To describe St. Stephen, the Holy Ghost utilized the same expression - "full
of grace" - that the Archangel Gabriel used to greet Our Lady, which is a
great honor for St. Stephen. He was a man with the plenitude of strength,
and also the plenitude of virtue and grace that acted in him.
In the second step, we learn about the people to whom he was preaching. He
was working his miracles in the midst of those apostate Jews. Jerusalem was
a convergence point for Jews from many parts of the world. This is why
Scriptures specifies the different synagogues of peoples - the Libertines,
Cyreneans, Alexandrians, and so on. Witnessing the miracles of St. Stephen,
these people hated him and began to resort to chicaneries and sophisms in
order to embarrass him.
In the third step, we see his disputation with the Jews. He responded so
well to his adversaries that the polemic begun by the Jews backfired on
them. They became confused and dumbfounded. Prior to this, they could not
support his miracles, and after he argued, they could not support his superb
argumentation. Their hatred increased to the degree St. Stephen manifested
the admirable aspects of his soul.
In the fourth step, that hatred increased and the people who opposed St.
Stephen began to gnash their teeth in fury. What was the object of that
hatred? It was goodness, in and of itself. They hated the good because the
good is good, and not for any other reason. A person who does not understand
reality would say: "No, they didn't like him because he made this or that
small error when he was explaining his topic, or he lacked the skill to
address a particular matter." Such a person has an erroneous interpretation
Those Jews understood perfectly what St. Stephen was saying and doing. They
saw that those things were marvelous, and they hated those things because
they were good. The nature of evil is such that it attacks good because it
is good. This is the perfidy of evil. This is the essence of its iniquity.
The more good and truth manifest themselves, the more the sons of darkness
That was the same people who had preferred Barrabas to Our Lord, and had
called for His death. This is the iniquity of evil and the malice of sin.
This malice is different from that of a person who commits a sin. This kind
of malice comes from one who has rejected the good and loves the evil that
In the fifth step, after closing the polemic, St. Stephen raised his eyes to
Heaven, and gave testimony to the divinity of Our Lord, Whom he was seeing
in a vision. He spoke in a way that left no room for doubt that he was
speaking the truth. His words reflected the Holy Ghost Who was filling his
soul. He was experiencing a mystical ecstasy, and this supernatural reality
was made apparent to those around him.
Someone could object that it would have been more prudent and efficacious
for St. Stephen to have fled the challenge. He would have lived longer and
perhaps converted those men. The answer is that St. Stephen was filled with
the Holy Ghost when he responded as he did. Therefore, he acted correctly.
Also at the beginning of the disputation, it was not certain that the mob
would murder him. If those people had corresponded to grace, they would have
converted. He acted as he did to convert them. He showed them ever greater
wonders. He was trying to touch those souls and conquer them for the good.
But they refused all those graces. As the episode reached its apex, they
made the decision to stone him. He used the perfect method of apostolate: he
tried to illuminate their intelligences and move their hearts.
The sixth step is the murder. Those present pretended to be shocked by the
supposed blasphemous words of St. Stephen, and covered their ears. At the
same time, they decided to kill him. They left their mantles next to a man
called Saul, who would be the future St. Paul according to many
interpreters, and went to stone the Saint.
Like a second Lamb of God, he stood alone, looking up toward Heaven, blood
pouring from his wounds, but serene and saying the prayer: "Lord Jesus,
receive my spirit." You can imagine the impression this made on the
Then, as the stones continued to hit him, he fell onto his knees and asked
Our Lord to forgive those criminals. Finally, "he fell asleep in the Lord."
Everything was finished. His body was covered with blood and wounds, but on
his face was a tranquil expression. He had entered into the sleep of the
just. His martyrdom was consummated, and his soul flew to Heaven. We see a
scene truly worthy of being the first martyrdom of the Church, described
with the inspired language of Scriptures.
I wish I could persuade spiritual persons that the way of perfection does
not consist in many devices, nor in much cogitation, but in denying
themselves completely and yielding themselves to suffer everything for love
of Christ. And if there is failure in this exercise, all other methods of
walking in the spiritual way are merely a beating about the bush, and
profitless trifling, although a person should have a very high contemplation
and communication with God.
-St. John of the Cross
8 Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)
Mary and Joseph Prayer:
O Jesus, Lamb of God, may the prayers of Mary and
Joseph help us to stay close to you all the days of our lives,
growing ever deeper in our understanding and
appreciation of what you have done and will continue to do
for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.