what is rest? what is sloth?

You have no idea how much time I now spend within my own blog trying not to repeat myself. It would be easier if I ordered myself differently, or if I was less paranoid about having only five thoughts (thanks, Scott Cairns!), because then I could quickly retrieve what I was pretty sure I’d already […]

What we repeatedly do

Is it not a good jest that when God gave us work to do as punishment for our disobedience in Eden, it was work that could never be finished, but only repeated, day in and day out, season upon season, year after year? Acedia & Me p195 Early this morning, in my first swim toward […]

Widening the circle

[A]s the public sphere becomes increasingly chaotic and threatening, what we think of as freedom consists of retreat and insularity. Acedia & Me p125 I’m interleaving my thinking about Acedia & Me with reading Quiet, by Susan Cain. I just finished Cain’s discussion of how highly-reactive (-sensitive) people are often introverted — to damp down […]

Follow *whose* heart?

Morning, check. But still, the subtleties of decision within routine-! Study first, then write? Write first, then study? Read before everything else? Surely not that… except for reading the newspaper… and then whatever else fits within the waking-time. You see the slippery edges of difficulty here. [O]f all evil suggestions, the most terrible is the […]

Gaining wisdom, or wearing down?

How does repetition turn relationships stale and lifeless[…]? What is it about repetitive acts that makes us feel that we are wasting our time? Although it is easy to dismiss our daily routines as trivial, these are not trivial questions, any more than sloth is mere laziness without spiritual consequence. Acedia & Me p186 (boldface […]

In hope we were saved

Acedia’s genius is to seize us precisely where our hope lies, to tear away at the heart of who we are, and mock that which sustains us. —Acedia & Me p44 For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as […]

I have a worthy cure

Now that I’m flipping pages, skimming back through my penciled underscores, I see that I indeed absorbed my remedy in part while reading Acedia and Me. [quoting Evagrius] “What heals acedia is staunch persistence…. Decide upon a set amount for yourself in every work and do not turn aside from it before you complete it.” p100 Man, […]

Distractibility gets everyone eventually

I expect that Ms. Norris found profound reassurance in reading ancient struggles with distractibility, given that I find comfort in her comments, particularly her choice of quote: [quoting desert father (“abba”) John Climacus] “Tedium reminds those at prayer of some job to be done, and searches out any plausible excuse to drag us from prayer, […]

Paint it black?

I find it interesting in myself that, while ostensibly studying acedia, I collected quite a few of Norris’ observations about depression. This has more to do with my nods of recognition than any current resonant thrum—thanks be to God!—but today I want to fan these observations out in front of me and talk a bit. Imagine […]

Prescribing a remedy

Fighting acedia with a focused, intentional stability was considered [..] vital in maintaining a good relationship with God and one’s fellow monks[…]. [One elder] counseled, “Go, eat, drink, sleep, do not work, only do not leave your cell.” […A]nother elder advised, “Don’t pray at all, just stay in the cell.” —Kathleen Norris, Acedia and Me, […]