I learned another new…

I learned another new word this week (this doesn't happen so often these days, because I am lazy about looking up words I don't know, so when I do find a cool one, I'm very excited) -- acedia. I'm just going to quote Wikipedia in full here -- this was from a list of the Seven Deadly Sins, which I was looking up to help Lori with a story, not because I wanted to see which ones I hadn't committed yet or anything like that:

Acedia (Latin, acedia) (from Greek ακηδία) is the neglect to take care of something that one should do. It is translated to apathetic listlessness; depression without joy. It is similar to melancholy, although acedia describes the behaviour, while melancholy suggests the emotion producing it. In early Christian thought, the lack of joy was regarded as a wilful refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created; by contrast, the apathy was regarded as a spiritual affliction that discouraged people from their religious work.

When Thomas Aquinas described acedia in his interpretation of the list, he described it as an uneasiness of the mind, being a progenitor for lesser sins such as restlessness and instability. Dante refined this definition further, describing acedia as the failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind and all one's soul; to him it was the middle sin, the only one characterised by an absence or insufficiency of love.

I think that's just fascinating. I'm particularly interested in the part about acedia as a 'wilful refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created' -- I think about how miserable daily life was for many Christians in Thomas Aquinas's time, just in terms of their physical comforts. The life of my body is so much more comfortable than theirs -- and yet they still thought it was a deadly sin, to willfully refuse to enjoy life.

I've really enjoyed life today, by the way. Some kid-watching, some reading, some knitting, some laughter with Kevin at baby antics, some good food (leftover takeout from Sticky Rice, mmm...). All in reasonable and pleasant proportion. I need to have more days like this.

2 thoughts on “I learned another new…”

  1. I don’t know how to find peace and contentment in my life anymore. This has been ongoing for two years now. I’m lost. I don’t know what to do. I’ve contemplated suicide just to end my own suffering.

    1. Mary Anne Mohanraj

      I’m sorry; I don’t know who this is, but there are resources to help you. Please consider talking to a therapist, or calling a suicide hotline. Call 1-800-273-8255, if you’re in America.

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