Acedia

Through a web search, I discovered this wonderful summary of the sin/condition of acedia. Acedia is something I became aware of a couple years ago, and then promptly forgot about it. Somehow it was brought to mind again, and a quick read through several sources is indicative of the fact that I need to pay more attention to it.

From Evagrius’ Praktikos (12):

The demon of acedia which is also called the ‘midday demon’ is the worst of all. It attacks the monk at about the fourth hour and lays siege to the soul until the eighth hour.

First he makes it seem as though the sun hardly moves or has stopped, and the day goes on for fifty hours. Then he makes the monk fix his eyes continually on the window, to leave his cell, to watch the sun to see if it near the ninth hour, and to look about him to see if a brother is not coming. Then again he inspires in him disgust for the place where he is, for the life that he leads, for manual work. After that he puts into his head the idea that charity has disappeared from among the brethren, and there is no one to console him.

If it happens during this time that someone offends the monk, the demon uses this too to increase his distress. He prompts him to desire to live elsewhere, in a place where he can find what he needs more easily, follow a less arduous calling and one which brings greater success. He then suggests that it is not the place which pleases the Lord; according to the Bible God can be adored everywhere.

On top of all this, he recalls to the monk’s memory his family and the life he led in the world. He puts into his head the idea that life lasts a long time and asceticism is very laborious. In short he does all he can to persuade the monk abandon his cell and run away from the struggle.

No other demon follows this one. If the soul triumphs a state of peace and inexpressible joy comes over him.

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~ by Rob on June 3, 2008.

One Response to “Acedia”

  1. […] Acedia, again So, the word “despair” has been playing around in my mind of late.  So today, I decided to do a little bit of reading, if possible, on the theological virtue of hope.  Being at work, most of the sites that casme up on google were banned under the title “religion”, so I went to about the only link available to me.  I obviously haven’t read that much of it, but it seems like a good little book by Josef Pieper, called Faith, Hope, Love.  I landed on page 99 and read on through page 123.  What particularly captivated me was the discussion of acedia, as “the root and origin of despair is the slothful sadness of acedia” (pg 122).  Acedia is a little diddly that has captured my attention previously.  […]

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