The freedom to choose and exercise our will is what makes us human beings. No other creatures on this earth have this capacity. Our world is increasingly made up of choices–about what we buy, eat, watch, listen, read, etc.–I mean, really, how many options do we need to have for our coffee in the morning? Yet, an unintended consequence of all the choices around us, is we become overwhelmed, and an inertia slowly develops that gradually paralyzes us and eventually decreases our ability to make any choices.
The unnamed evil of our times is acedia, or sloth, which is not mere laziness, but truly a kind of discouragement, torpor, or despair, a sense of purposelessness and powerlessness.
–Fr Jean-Charles Nault, OSB
The Noonday Devil
This impacts our spiritual life as well. Those same feelings hinder us from being and doing what is necessary to grow in holiness. This is particularly true when we inevitably stumble and fall in our attempts to grow in virtue, because it is very easy to become discouraged, or to just give up. But we must persevere.
We persevere by trying again, and doing something, to grow closer to God. When we exert our will, our soul is reminded that it has power, and is capable of choosing. And each time we do something, we are strengthened in our capacity to everything, and our soul is encouraged and restored in its ability to become who we were created to be.
And this is the essence of our daily struggle, to overcome the acedia induced by our world and to exercise our wills wisely and well so we can embrace the life of purpose, peace and abundance that God desires for each of us.
Know of my prayers that you choose to do something to come to know, love or serve God today, and hope to see you on the Way tomorrow.