Day 4: 19th May – Paying attention to all that is:
From Laudato Si:
‘We are speaking of an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next…’#226
‘An integral ecology includes taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation…’#225
Consider the lilies of the field…
When we consider all that is around us with ‘serene attentiveness’, we can truly accept the otherness and uniqueness of everything, allowing all else to live according to its way. We are in effect paying attention to difference, learning to see what is really different to ourselves. We are learning to see the world in all its uniqueness, as it really is. The whole of us – sensory, rational, and conative – is involved. For John Feehan this kind of attention invites us to ‘drop everything for a time’ and to follow in a particular direction, ‘along this other dimension that takes us through and beyond time.’ For Simone Weil such a level of attention – absolute attention – is prayer.
It is interesting to note that lilies in a Middle Eastern context are not flowers one might put on the altar; instead they are the weeds of the wayside, the Palestinian equivalent of dandelion and daisies. So in considering the lilies we are being invited to consider the weeds on the edges of our cultivated fields.
Let us be ever mindful of the invitation to pay attention to all that is around us. As COVID-19 continues to impact on our lives may we use the extra time we now have to practice the art of paying attention.
All of the previous Laudato Si’ daily reflections can be found in our Resources Section under Social Issues.
Margaret Twomey rsm