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Friday, 4 December 2015

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity

Katherine Hedderley writes in the Parish Newsletter for St Martin-in-the-Fields:

'This Sunday is the launch of the 89th BBC R4 Christmas Appeal with St Martin-in-the-Fields, supporting those who are homeless in London through The Connection at St Martin’s and those who
are vulnerable around the country through the Vicar’s Relief Fund. The theme this year is ‘Pay Attention’ inspired by the French Philosopher and activist Simone Weil, who said ‘Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity’. In the exhibition in the Foyer at St Martin's you are invited to say what you will be paying attention to this Christmas, encouraged to be attentive to those who are most vulnerable and the things that really matter.

Simone Weil goes on to say in Gravity and Grace: Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love. Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer. If we turn our mind toward the good, it is impossible that little by little the whole soul will not be attracted thereto in spite of itself.'

Here is my meditation on this theme:

Prayer is attention paid
noticing the beauty
and interest
of pattern
and content
in ordinary occurrence

Attention paid
is giving
and receiving –
giving notice,
interest, recognition
and receiving
the gift
of the world’s being

Being at

Being at-
standing in
the broken middle
receiving the
beauty and
terror of
the world’s being
the generative words,
‘let there be.’

Click here, here, and here for my earlier posts on the theme of paying attention.


'I See You' - Official Song of BBC Radio Christmas Appeal 2015

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