In the heat of midday, as the monk tires and begins to feel that the commitment to desert solitude was a terrible miscalculation, the demon of acedia whispers despairing and exculpatory thoughts. “Did God intend for human beings to reach for the heavens?” “Does God really care whether we pray?” “Is it not unnatural to seek solitude and chastity?” According to another ancient writer in the Evagrian tradition, the noonday demon “stirs the monk also to long for different places in which he can find easily what is necessary for his life and can carry on a much less toilsome and more expedient profession. It is not on account of locality, the demon suggests, that one pleases God. He can be worshiped anywhere. . . . Thus the demon employs all his wiles so that the monk may leave his cell and flee to the race-course.” Are these temptations that afflict the monk as strange or alien as the unfamiliar Greek word, acedia? I think not. Let me update the whispering voice of sloth: “All things are sanctified by the Lord, and one could just as well worship on the golf course as in a sanctuary made by human hands.” Or: “God is love, and love affirms; therefore, God accepts me just as I am. I need not exercise myself to change.” Or: “We should not want to put God in a box, so the Christian tradition must be seen as a resource for our spiritual journeys, not as a mandatory itinerary. I can pick and choose according to my own spiritual needs.” http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0308/articles/reno.html

source: R. R. Reno, Fighting The Noonday Devil tags: Sloth