Attention

Attention is the first teacher of truth and consequently absolutely necessary. Attention rouses the soul to study itself and its longing, to learn their true character and repulse those that are unholy. Attention is the guardian angel of the intellect, always counseling it this: be attentive. Attention awakens the soul, rouses it from sleep…. Attention examines every thought, every desire, every memory. Thoughts, desires, and memories are engendered by various causes, and often appear masked and with a splendid garb, in order to deceive the inattentive intellect and enter into the soul and dominate it. Only attention can reveal their hidden form. Often their dissimulation is so perfect that the discernment of their true nature is very difficult and requires the greatest attention. One must remember the saving words of the Lord: “Be wakeful and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” He who is wakeful does not enter into temptation, because he is vigilant and attentive.

St Nectarios of Aegina. Translated by Constantine Cavarnos. Modern Orthodox Saints, volume 7, page 180. Excerpted from St Nectarios’ book Know Thyself, pp 190-191.

Besieged from within and without, assailed by enemies self-made and other, attentiveness is necessary to us for our survival. Fortunately, we have a Helper to call upon, One who instructs us and helps us to keep vigil.