The first section of chp 7 in Kathleen Norris’ Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life
is relentlessly profound. Today I want to clip a few lines of hers about human nature and apathy (acedia) and ask for your response.
“If the Church has made too much of the sin of pride, which seduces us
into thinking too highly of ourselves, it has not made enough of the
sin of sloth, which allows us to settle for being less than we can be,
both as individuals and as a society” (113).
Not achieving what God has called us to do — a sin of omission — assaults the gravity of being made as Eikons of God.
“Many people who would not dream of relying on the understanding of literature or the sciences they acquired as children are content to leave their juvenile theological convictions largely unexamined” (114).
My comment: many choose, out of acedia, to dwell in perpetual spiritual adolescence.
“… the more that society’s ills surface in such evil ways, the less we are able, it seems, to detect any evil within ourselves, let alone work effectively to fix what is wrong” (115).
” ‘I can’t pray that,’ I have heard pastors say of the cursing psalms, or the confessional ones, which admit to loving lies more than truth, to resenting others or desiring revenge. We’re not like that. We’re good people,” these folks say of themselves, “or good enough, having willed away the prejudice, tribalism, and violence in our hearts. We are at a loss to explain their presence in the world around us” (117).
I wonder aloud here: Is our incredulity about racism perhaps an indicator of our own self-righteousness?
Sorry to be so sober with friends. We need these words.