The generic term for all things that take us in directions away from You is “distraction.” A sin by any other name is, yet, a distraction. Thinking about this leads me, inevitably, to the conclusion that what we lost in the Garden of Eden was the ability to be undistracted. Indeed, Original Sin might more fittingly be described as the Original Distraction. One might imagine that before that distraction it was meant that there be an undistracted connection between us and You, but the will with its freedom of choice so necessary for that connection to be genuine, bent to that first distraction which woke in us the tendency to be disconnected at moments when we sought our own interests.
We talk about distractions in prayer being those moments when our focus is directed away from You by something else – often towards something more in tune, momentarily, with where our heart is. Our life is like one continuous prayer to You pock-marked with stretches of potholes that catch and hold us for various lengths of time and keep us from the direction of our life’s prayer. When the progenitors of our race were distracted by the possibility of becoming equal to You despite cautions to stay within certain bounds, the undistracted connection was forever broken. When we talk about things as just a part of human nature, we’re talking about distractions. It is now part of our once-distracted nature to know such distractions and succumb to them.
The amount of focus necessary to eliminate distractions is preternatural. A good part of what makes a saint is a carefully honed ability to eliminate distractions. The lures of the senses, of the world, of the devil will forever provide us with a flood of moment-to-moment distractions. At the same time, from moment-to-momentthere is in us a subtle (because we’ve made it so) drive toward oneness with You. It is possible, at times, to so lose this drive beneath a pile of life’s distractions that the thrust of our focus becomes these distractions.Our treasure, again, is where our heart is. But, by Your grace, I believe that spark never totally dies in any of us, it just gets hidden.