Sunday, December 13, 2015


Reading about Acedia. Acedia is sometimes translated as sloth. Yet that is not quite it. A lack of energy or motivation about spiritual pursuits is part of it. Yet St Thomas talks about a sadness. That is we are actually sad about the thought of becoming more holy. Then he gives an answer. He says we need the incarnation. We need to contemplate the fact that God became man so man can partake in God's nature. When we think about sharing in the divine love we can think it is impossible or we can think it would not be that much fun. The incarnation is God's answer to both those objections. It is possible because God is merciful. It is desirable because God is beautiful. Both these are communicated most powerfully through Jesus.

We need to be constantly reminded that our faith is not about a bunch of rules. It has rules but they are in the service of the greater good. Christmas is the time we think about that greater good. It is the time of Emmanuel, God is with us.

Acedia leads to us pursuing lesser goods. St Thomas talks about divine beatitudes and animal beatitudes. Animal blessings are just those that we get from being animals. We enjoy food and sex and music and athletics and walking in the sun. These are all good things we can enjoy because we are animals. Yet we are more than that. We are spiritual beings as well. We need to pursue God.

Christmas is a time where you see that very clearly. We have lots of lesser pleasures that are available. Our Catholic school has a Christmas concert. Do we sing about the incarnation or do we sing about Santa Claus? Happily this year teachers and principals had the courage to choose the former. What about our Christmas lights? Or Christmas cards? Or Christmas hampers? Are they just nice or do they call us to heaven?

Today is Gaudete Sunday. We are to rejoice. What are we to rejoice in? The fact that we are called to be holy. We are made for love and we can become united with a God who is love. There is a false humility where we tell ourselves that is not for us. That we are just plain folk and would never expect to be capable of heroic virtue. Like most false humility it is disguised pride. It rationalizes our failure to cooperate with the grace that will lead us there. So let us rejoice that God wants to take us all the way up. He wants to draw us to Himself. To experience an intimate and powerful union with our Heavenly Father. That is the dignity of our vocation. Pursuing anything less is acedia. 

No comments:

Post a Comment