Attention is one of the most important gifts we can give in a relationship. Work, presents, even time, can be of little value unless we give our attention to another. When we give it well, we give of ourselves. But why don’t we recognise its importance?
Did you notice that the title beginning this piece is spelt incorrectly? Of course you did! We seem to have an inbuilt radar for noticing when other people do things wrong. We then pick them up on it – even if we don’t say anything. Our attention exudes criticism not love. But imagine if we used that attentiveness positively. Maybe ‘Johnnie’ is playing up and you notice he does this just after his father has returned to a mine shift – then you can take steps to deal with his need. Or Susie is ‘out of sorts’ because she has probably picked up on grandmother’s serious illness – which no-one is telling her about. Or your spouse or partner gets cranky regularly – is that when they are tired? All these are little things but they are the small attentivenesses that transform a relationship.
In the Gospel Jesus tells a strange parable about a master returning from a trip. His steward has been waiting, not knowing when he would return but attentive all the same. When the master returns he is so impressed at how ready everything is, he takes over and serves the steward. Would this happen? Of course not. But by using such an absurd example, Jesus shows how much value God puts on attentiveness. God wants us to notice the good things in our lives and thank him. When we do this, our eyes are opened even more the love of God in which we live and move and have our being.
Loving God, open our eyes to your Spirit at work in the people around us – the love of our families, the kindness of friends, the politeness of shop assistants. In turn, may we be attentive to them, showing your love. We ask this is Jesus’ name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb