Morning, friends! This week, we are going to be talking about acedia, one of ancient Evagrius’ eight vices or ‘bad thoughts’ that preceded the more condensed “seven deadly sins” that more of us probably have some awareness of, on some level. It didn’t make it into the list of sins but it is still a force to be contended with. The ancients referred to it as “the noonday demon,” that kind of listlessness and boredom that the monks would experience as they moved through the long hours of their days, and a kind of despondency would begin to set in, a “Why am I even here? What’s the point of this?” that would leave them escaping (often into sleep) to wait out the time till the noon meal. We experience this, too, don’t we? Especially in the everyday-ness of the season of Ordinary Time, as it stretches on and on—without markers like Lent or Advent or Epiphany to invite us into something new—we can begin to feel aimlessness, lack of energy in attending to our spiritual lives, and the temptation is to give up, give in, escape into various modes of neglectfulness. If you imagine the seasonal cycles of the year as a mirror to the hours of the day, summer is high noon. The freshness of spring has worn off, and many of us are finding ourselves in the hottest part of the year. So, these summer weeks of Ordinary Time are prone to the languor and ennui of acedia. This week, we’re going to spend some time here, particularly guided by author Kathleen Norris’s account “Acedia & Me”, as we notice our own responses to this temptation toward this kind of despairing slothfulness in these long, ordinary (and sometimes extraordinary!) days. Not as one more thing to feel guilty about, but as an invitation to be present to God in the midst of the reality of our experience. So, as we begin, consider your own experience with acedia. Even if you never put that name to it, when have you had this experience of listlessness in the midst of time that seemed to drag on, and how did you respond?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2023-07-03 14:40:40 UTC