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Acedia

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So like people dying of thirst in the desert, we stagger exhausted and aimless through our days. Preaching, teaching, training, counseling, and administrating become intolerably burdensome because we have somehow forgotten why we are doing them. This weariness comes close to what medieval theologians called the deadly sin of sloth or acedia. Simple fatigue says, “I know I should be doing this, but I just can’t seem to generate the energy.” Acedia says, “Why? What difference does it make?”

“Acedia is all of Friday consumed in getting out the Sunday bulletin,” says Richard John Neuhaus in Freedom for Ministry. “Acedia is three hours dawdled away on Time magazine, which is then guiltily chalked up to ‘study.’ Acedia is evenings without number obliterated by television, evenings neither of entertainment nor of education, but of narcotized defense against time and duty. Above all, acedia is apathy, the refusal to engage the pathos of other lives and of God’s life with them.”

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