Acedia: The Noonday Devil
Or, How to avoid instability, distraction, discouragement, depression and swirling thoughts
A post on waging war on the demon of acedia, as much as for myself as for any of my readers…
According to Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B, the desert fathers of the early centuries of the church said that there are five principal manifestations of “the demon of acedia” . Even if the word “acedia” is unfamiliar, the concepts might not be:
A certain interior instability - “The demon of acedia suggests to you ideas of leaving, the need to change your place and your way of life” (Evagrius of Pontus).
That is, to not persevere in the state of life to which God has called you. To give up. ‘As the remedy for it, (Evagrius) prescribes perseverance, which very often consists of remaining physically in one’s cell, whatever the cost’ (Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B, The Noonday Devil: Acedia, The Unnamed Evil of Our Times, p.32).
I find this to be a very powerful observation. Acedia manifests itself in thoughts of leaving, in thoughts of running away, in thoughts of imagining a life for oneself that is better than the one that one currently finds oneself in.
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