Is not removing a distraction before praying a sin?

If so, is it a mortal or venial one? I am easily distracted during prayer and this means that I also tend to get irritated with the things that wouldn’t distract me from the rest of my day, but nevertheless distract me from prayer. If I initially don’t remove a distraction because it would be too troublesome or I am just tired of doing so before prayer and aggravated about it constantly being highlighted during prayer, is it sinful? If so, is it mortally sinful?

You should discuss this with your pastor and get spiritual direction because what you describe is no sin at all. That you think it is points to possible conscience formation issues that your priest can help with.

Thank you very much, 1ke. I will look for a good spiritual director.

Reading between the lines of what you’re saying, I can relate - I have a mind that didn’t come with an “Off” switch and sometimes I just have so much to try and clear out to be able to concentrate on prayer! :bounce: :whacky: I have ADD but I’m sure many non-ADD people have the same struggle to varying degrees.

The only sin I can see in myself - and please don’t use this to beat on yourself with because you sound a bit on the scrupulous side - is just that it can become easy to slide into not prioritizing prayer and structuring life. I am constantly struggling with this! :frowning: But do not despair! God Himself wants to help us with anything that hinders us. He loves us - never forget that! So if you’re wrestling with those distractions or that sluggish feeling, send up a little prayer right then and there asking for help.

And don’t expect instant results - you may be blessed with immediate relief of the struggle but sometimes it’s a test of persistence. Just keep going, some days are better or worse in the spiritual life and that’s perfectly normal.

I find several Scriptures helpful - Psalm 63 comes most readily to mind as it expresses the desire to be close to the Lord. I’ll look for some more and post them when I find them :slight_smile:

Is the thing that is distracting your within your authority to remove? Could you simply go and pray somewhere else? It probably depends on a lot of details and so you should ask your priest if it’s a sin or not. If it helps, I can’t imagine any scenario where it would be sinful to have something around when you are praying other than objects that would be sinful to have around in the first place. (ie. pornographic pictures, etc.)

Thankfully, I have little trouble with thoughts besides the occasional sinful ones, and I’ve gotten decent at stopping those mid thought to get back to prayer. The issue for me, oddly enough is more of when things that I wouldn’t even notice normally, things that the body normally blocks out as irrelevant, such as the dirt on your feet or the wallet in your back pocket or your hair being out of alignment, the fan on my computer (which is where the prayers I say are available).

That was the main reason I thought it was sinful, since it was not a thought, which is often outside the control of the individual or happens without consent of will, but was instead something which shouldn’t have been distracting, but which was nonetheless.

It did actually wreck my prayer schedule for a while as you warned, but I’ve gotten back into a good schedule, which is actually more rigorous than before. I modeled it after short prayers throughout the day rather than one really big one in the morning, which is something a priest suggested to me a few weeks ago and it’s been going great so far.

What you describe is what I go through with the ADD a lot of the time - I’m not saying that’s what you have, only your doctor or someone who knows you and is qualified could tell you if you have any concerns to address in that area.

But as I also said, regular non-ADD people have distractions too. It’s understood by God that we’re not perfect and we’re going to have them. It’s best not to let them aggravate us too much, just turn our will resolutely back to prayer. St. Teresa’s Interior Castle deals with this, as do many Saints’ writings. And you are absolutely doing the right thing following the advice of your spiritual director. :yup: :gopray:

I was thinking of the exact same writing!

We all struggle with distractions in prayer. And the concern that these distractions are themselves sins is yet another distraction. As others have discussed, a good spiritual director will help you work through these concerns.

So very very true! :rotfl: That dumb old devil knows how to try and trip us up - let’s not let him have the satisfaction!

I believe that I have ADD as well. Both, of my adult children have been diagnosed with it, and I surely have the symptoms. I can not multi-task, I must turn off all distractions to focus.

However, my mind always wanders. I have a difficult time with the rosary. Although, I attempt to say it daily. When I find my mind wandering, I apologize and try to get my mind back on the word that I am praying. I wish that I could learn mindfulness when I am praying. I have a hard time shutting other things out of my mind.

Perhaps, the devil wants us to give up because we are distracted. So, that makes me all the more determined. It is hard to de-clutter my brain. However, God know what is in my heart.

I remember a priest once saying, ‘If you are distracted by something while praying, deal with the distraction then continue praying.’

Ah, yes, those “internal distractions” ! Some time ago, I made a group for Catholic ADD adults on CA. If you’re interested, here’s the link - forums.catholic.com/group.php?groupid=648 Distraction in prayer is a frequent topic, and we’re just a fun bunch. :grouphug: Hop on over :bounce:

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