Sloth, laziness, boredom—these are problems that can sap our energy for doing what needs to be done. St. John Cassian remembers the wise words of an experienced monk who told him that running away from laziness will never work.
When I was beginning my stay in the desert, I told Abbot Moses, the chief of all the saints, that I had been terribly troubled yesterday by an attack of laziness, and that I could only be freed from it by running at once to Abbot Paul.
“You have not freed yourself from it,” he said, “but rather have given yourself up to it as its slave and subject. From now on the Enemy will attack you more strongly as a deserter and runaway, since he has seen that you fled at once when overcome in the conflict—unless, when you join battle with it the next time, you make up your mind not to dispel its attacks and heats for the moment by deserting your cell, or by the inactivity of sleep, but rather learn to triumph over it by endurance and conflict.”
So it is proved by experience that a fit of sloth should not be evaded by running away from it, but overcome by resisting it.
–St. John Cassian, Institutes, 10.25IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
When I feel bored or depressed, do I just sit around? Do I run away to find something amusing? Or do I manage to go on with what I know I have to do anyway?
Lord, strengthen me for your service by the power of your Holy Spirit, and let me know your joy so that I may reveal it to others.
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