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My youngest daughter simply has no concept of time, and when I say “wait, Katherine.” She immediately responds with “Daddy, are you coming!” It just doesn’t register with her that “”wait” means “wait.”

Ah the attention time span of youth!

Actually, there is more at work here than a mere inability to appreciate patience. Children are notorious for being unable to think beyond their own immediate needs. They haven’t developed that sense of appreciation of others around them. That’s why you’ll have absolute meltdowns if another child picks up their toy. The ear piercing screams of “MINE!” rattle the windows.

It all flows from the lack of development of the soul that is the natural state of many children. But that isn’t surprising nor unusual. It is why we have to train our children. Be an example to our children. And direct our children. They need teaching. As my grandmother use to say, they need “raisin'”

In grown ups, when we see them displaying the attributes of children, we say they are being childish. And the underdevelopment of the ability to be both patient and attentive leads adults to make foolish choices and sometimes disastrous decisions in their lives. To be sure, there are many physical conditions that lead to our “childish” behavior, but there simply is no substitute for exploring the spiritual dimensions and weaknesses that lock us away in an immature state of life.

In our Gospel Lesson today, our Lord Jesus uses the word “watch” at least four times in our passage. The word is in the imperative voice which means this isn’t a suggestion but a command. He is teaching His disciples to stay awake to the times and seasons around them so they will know how best to live a consistent and faithful life. He has been speaking to them about impending troubles with His arrest and execution, and the aftermath of that event for them and their ministry to the world. He has also been teaching them about troubles to come on Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans years after His death, and even His own Second Coming. But the command in each of these wise insights to His disciples are the same: “WATCH!”

Being attentive to priorities isn’t as easy as it may sound. Staying awake to the central focus of our lives takes active and purposeful focus that requires a constant exercise of discipline. And, let’s face it, we humans are easily distracted by immediate circumstances. But distractions lead us to immature choices.

Today, what disciplines in your spiritual life help you to stay focused on the priority of your relationship with God? What distracts you from that priority? As we move into the spiritual treasure house of the Great Lent, we are invited to a spiritual “spring cleaning” of our own lives by a myriad of spiritual tools to wake us up to our deepest and most pressing need. We will be given, freely, a wake up call to re-focus on that which is most central to our lives AND most necessary to make sure all the other priorities of our lives are well taken care of and attended to. Without that constant work of watching for what is most important, all the rest of our lives will be a bundle of confusion.

Today, WATCH. Stay focused. Be Orthodox on Purpose!

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