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The Secret to Permanent Focus on God

by Matthew Leonard
by Matthew Leonard
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A lot of people don’t believe me. Can’t say I blame them.

But it’s true.

There actually does come a point in time when a person learns how to focus on God in a way that transcends everything else…and I mean everything.

They’ve discovered the secret to the spiritual life.

As you know, prayer is the foundation of our relationship with God. And the goal of our life of prayer is to attain what St. Paul calls “constant” prayer. (1 Thess. 5)

(A few months ago, I wrote about the essence of “constant” prayer – how it’s like burning embers of love in the depths of our soul that ignite when we enter into “finite” acts of prayer.)

And this “constant” prayer is really the key to perpetual focus on God.

But there’s a problem.

While God is always present, every one of us struggles to maintain contact with Him.

And when you get down to it, this contact can really only be maintained in a couple different ways – either by thought or by love.

That said, only one of them actually works.

Think about it. We can barely make it through an Our Father without being distracted by the most ridiculous things. Trying to think only about God is basically impossible.

But it’s not just that we’re ADD.

There are also legitimate duties of life that demand our attention. You’ve got to focus on work. You’ve got to focus on kids. You’ve got to focus on football.

There’s a lot going on! And it’s downright impossible for us to pay full attention to two things at the same time.

But while constant focus of the mind doesn’t work, constant movement of the heart does.

You see, once the heart falls in love, that love continues even when your mind is occupied with something else. You don’t stop loving your spouse just because you’re focused on fixing the car or doing laundry.

That love is always present. (Unless your wife had to pick up your socks yet again.)

It’s the same in our relationship with God. It’s love that creates constant contact with Him.

The secret to permanent focus on God is to fall more deeply in love with him.

How?

It goes back once again to prayer. The more time you spend with someone as perfect and loving as Our Father, the faster (and more deeply) in love with Him you’ll fall.

But you’ve got to want it. You’ve got to make an act of the will and choose to grow that relationship.

“Prayer is nothing but a desire of the heart,” says St. Augustine. “If your desire is continuous, your prayer is continuous. Do you wish never to cease praying? Then never cease desiring.”

So take a moment and tell God that you want Him above everything else. Tell Him you love Him and that you want Him to help you increase that love…and don’t stop.

God bless you!

Matthew

P.S. I’m heading back to Italy! Join me in March 2019 for an amazing pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, Orvieto, LaVerna, and much, much more!


Check it out here!

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20 Comments on “The Secret to Permanent Focus on God

Siby Gladis Thomas
January 29, 2019 at 4:04 pm

Thank you Mathew!
Very truly said we are always distracted with our other responsibilities at home and workplace. But after reading your article, I feel I will try my best to focus on God completely and leave everything to our lord almighty. God bless!

Reply
Matthew Leonard
January 29, 2019 at 4:21 pm

God bless you, too, Siby!

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William Christie
January 29, 2019 at 6:00 pm

You sure got it right about the mind wandering. I find myself praying and suddenly realize that my mind has gone off on some tangent about a TV show I just watched. I am so embarrassed, as if God is sitting there waiting for me to remember that I was in the middle of a prayer a moment ago. LOVE is the answer because the mind is a chattering monkey. With even the best intents, we are so easily distracted by our own minds. I have actually wandered off mentally in the middle of saying the 23rd Psalm as a prayer! But I do not stop loving.

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Matthew Leonard
January 29, 2019 at 7:15 pm

Distracted by a tv show??? Welcome to the human race, William:). Happens to me all the time, too. But you nailed it…keep loving. God bless!

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Bette Wheaton
January 29, 2019 at 6:52 pm

Thank you, again, for your powerful words

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Matthew Leonard
January 29, 2019 at 7:15 pm

You’re welcome, Bette! God bless you!

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Cindy
January 29, 2019 at 8:24 pm

Matt,Your timing of this msg is perfect and what I needed at this exact time. Thank you Matt for being a faithful servant. Our God is Good all the time. God willing,I will someday be able to join one of your pilgrimages. God continue to help you grow in faith and in turn share your insight with us.

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Matthew Leonard
January 29, 2019 at 8:35 pm

So glad it was beneficial, Cindy. May the Lord give you his peace and may his love consume you! Blessings!

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Liz
January 29, 2019 at 9:51 pm

Thank you for this beautiful article. I love that you shared that praying without ceasing is about the heart and not the mind…because I lose focus many times during prayer, and especially during Mass. I do have one question: I sadly just went through a painful divorce. As an at-home mom for the past 16 years, I now have to go back to work to help support our three sons. So a pilgrimage to Italy isn’t a possibility for me, at least not right now. Could you one day write an article on how to have a pilgrimage experience in your own city? I live in San Francisco, but perhaps there are others reading this who can’t make it on your pilgrimage either, but desperately need to deepen their connection with our Lord Jesus and our Blessed Mother, Mary. Thank you for your loving ministry:)

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Matthew Leonard
January 29, 2019 at 10:04 pm

First of all, Liz, I’m so sorry for the pain you’re experiencing as a result of the divorce. I promise to remember you and your family in prayer. With regard to pilgrimages, I realize not everyone can go. (I never went on one until just a few years ago.) As far as writing about how to go on a pilgrimage in your own city…I’m no expert on San Francisco, but I’m sure there are beautiful churches and shrines to which you can make a local pilgrimage. There may very well be local pilgrimage companies in your area. (There are a few in the Midwest where I live.) In reality, pilgrimages are really supposed to be about diving into the spiritual life. And you don’t have to go to Italy (or anywhere for that matter) to do that. What I like to do is find a beautiful church and just spend time in prayer there as a kind of mini-retreat/pilgrimage. Regardless, thanks for reaching out and know that you are in my prayers.

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Catherine
February 2, 2019 at 2:15 pm

Thanks for Your perspective. I love lunch dates! ? Your analogy was perfect.
Would it be possible to share the title or a buzz word so I/we can identify it quickly and not miss this topic you are covering. I look forward to reading/hearing what you have to say.
Catherine

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Matthew Leonard
February 2, 2019 at 3:23 pm

Hi, Catherine. Thanks for the kind words. With regard to “sharing a title or buzz word”…I’m not sure what you mean. Share it where? Let me know what you’re thinking. God bless you!

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lumen vidal
January 29, 2019 at 10:02 pm

Yes I agree; we are all called to a prayerful and pious life.

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Matthew Leonard
January 29, 2019 at 10:05 pm

Amen!

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Joyce
January 30, 2019 at 1:54 am

Matthew ,thank you once again for encouraging us to pray constantly, we need these reminders all the time, we can only pick up good habits by practicing nonstop,
God Bless!

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Matthew Leonard
January 30, 2019 at 3:02 am

Thanks, Joyce. God bless you, too!

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Lucy
January 30, 2019 at 8:42 am

I am blessed . Thanks Mathew

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Matthew Leonard
January 30, 2019 at 2:35 pm

As are we all!

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Catherine
January 30, 2019 at 1:21 pm

I decided to pray the rosary each day. I soon added a the Devine Mercy chaplet. In the beginning it was easy, and somedays I’ll admit, the thought, “shoot, I haven’t said my rosary!” would cross my mind at 10:30pm! I made it for about a year and a half. Some way, some how I ended up missing a day. I was crushed. To this day, I haven’t picked up my rosary. The peaks and valleys of my prayer life…why can’t I keep it together?
Feel free to e-mail.

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Matthew Leonard
January 30, 2019 at 2:29 pm

Hi, Catherine. You’re not alone. The spiritual life is not something we can just pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and force our way through. (Trust me, I’ve tried:) It’s a process of relationship that grows organically. That doesn’t mean there isn’t work involved. There is. But it’s a work of love. I’m going to be exploring this topic (and a lot of others in the spiritual life) more frequently in the coming months through a new project I’m working on that I hope to release very soon, so stay tuned. For right now, I’d say, pick up your rosary and start again knowing that God isn’t some meany up in heaven waiting to hammer you because you missed a day. He’s your loving Father. St. Therese would often fall asleep in adoration when she was supposed to be praying a rosary. One day, while in anguish over it, she heard the Lord basically say that a Father loves his child just as much awake as asleep in his lap. Make the effort to show desire, but remember that it’s relationship, not work. If you miss a lunch date with a friend does that mean you never go to lunch with them again? Of course not. It’s the same with God, only he’s more forgiving than our friends:). God bless you.

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