As we find ourselves adjusting to a “new normal,” I find it ironic that our next capital sin to unpack is acedia or sloth. I have often spoken about this being a predominant sin or vice of our current culture. It is difficult to detect and can slowly lead to apathy. Acedia is a form of depression or sadness caused by neglecting one’s faith and moral life. The neglect is intentional because one gets too absorbed in work, activities, and distractions which devour our time. These take precedence over the need to nurture one’s friendship with God—in sum, it just doesn’t matter. The fact that everyone’s daily life and routine has to change forces us to see the world differently and ask ourselves the hard questions about life.
What are you doing now that you are no longer commuting to work? You have extra time but can’t attend Mass. Your children are home and may or may not have school work to do. You don’t have to rush off to the next business meeting or go out of town. In sum, life has slowed down and everyone is adjusting to the “new normal.” As I see it, these situations enable us to slow down, reset and rediscover what truly matters. The sin of acedia prevents you from experiencing and living the beautiful virtue of hope. Hope enables us to desire God above all things and to trust Him for our salvation. Let’s take a look at the manifestations of acedia and see how each of them prevents us from anchoring our lives in God. St. Thomas Aquinas identified five means.
As you are experiencing this disruption in your life, I encourage you to view it as an opportunity to more fully anchor every aspect of your life in Christ and set your gaze on eternity—as our true destiny is Heaven and the kingdom of heaven begins now.