Really great book about the history of and effects of acedia often thought of as despondency, melancholy, etc The understanding has changed over the centuries but it is worth ferreting out Acedia can manifest in so many different ways The author gives a thorough history, including a big slog through Thomas Aquinas s philosophy, but stick with it, because it s worth it i.e don t let acedia prevent you from finishing this book One of the cures for acedia is perseverance He provides discussion about acedia in various walks of life religious, priestly, married, single It s written by a Roman Catholic abbot and beautifully translated, but I think the material is universally relevant I borrowed this from the library but will be buying it for my shelf to read again. When I received the book The Noonday Devil, I wondered what kind of fiction title this would be This would be a case of judging a book by its cover, as it is in fact a non fiction title that deals with the subject of acedia What is acedia Acedia is a sin or an evil that is actually hard to define Many people incorrectly equate it to sloth, but it is muchthan that In the days of Cicero, it was defined as a lack of care, because people who suffered from this evil did not bury their dead, but the Christian monk Evagrius defined it as a relaxation of the soul Evagrius plays heavily in the first chapter, as his treatise On the Eight Thoughts of Wickedness is focused on He has eight wicked thoughts in his treatise that the Christian must defeat, because he compared it to the eight nations that the Israelites had to defeat on their exodus from Egypt Also in the first chapter, we see the five principal manifestations of acedia, and the five remedies for acedia There is also a very brief section, which highlights four others who spoke wrote on the subject of acedia.Chapter Two is devoted primarily to St Thomas Aquinas In this chapter, we learn of two new definitions of acedia Sadness about spiritual good and Disgust with activity He then goes on to tell us about the sins that spring forth from acedia and the definitive way to defeat acedia It s pretty bold to claim that you have the definitive answer on defeating this sin, but when you learn what it is the Incarnation or Jesus, because we couldn t do it on our own, then it makes perfect sense The last two chapters of this book deal with acedia in the Christian life, and thenspecifically in the lives of religious, priests, and married couples As I fall into the last category, I read and re read this particular section Abbot Nault explains that acedia can manifest itself in marriage by choosing not to give one s self fully to one s spouse and focusing on one s self and not the spouse by not being open to children by seeking something outside of marriage that one feels they are not getting from marriage and lastly by seeking sexual novelty and not realizing that the sexual act is meant to further unite the couple in marriage.This book was a very profound and eye opening read Nault does a wonderful job of not only presenting the history behind this evil, but ways to combat and defeat this evil as well Overall, I found the book to be a bit on the scholarly side that takes several readings to fully grasp the message One of the biggest lessons I took away from it was that we often confuse sloth for laziness, but it can also manifest itself in the form of being busy just for the sake of being busy Let this be a lesson to me that just because I am not being lazy does not mean that there are not better uses of my time If you are looking for an enlightening but challenging read, then I recommend this work. The Noonday Devil Is The Demon Of Acedia, The Vice Also Known As Sloth The Word Sloth, However, Can Be Misleading, For Acedia Is Not Laziness In Fact It Can Manifest As Busyness Or Activism Rather, Acedia Is A Gloomy Combination Of Weariness, Sadness, And A Lack Of Purposefulness It Robs A Person Of His Capacity For Joy And Leaves Him Feeling Empty, Or Void Of MeaningAbbot Nault Says That Acedia Is The Most Oppressive Of Demons Although Its Name Harkens Back To Antiquity And The Middle Ages, And Seems To Have Been Largely Forgotten, Acedia Is Experienced By Countless Modern People Who Describe Their Condition As Depression, Melancholy, Burn Out, Or Even Mid Life CrisisHe Begins His Study Of Acedia By Tracing The Wisdom Of The Church On The Subject From The Desert Fathers To Saint Thomas Aquinas He Shows How Acedia Afflicts Persons In All States Of Life Priests, Religious, And Married Or Single Laymen He Details Not Only The Symptoms And Effects Of Acedia, But Also Remedies For It Fascinating Acedia is central to the modern condition I don t think this book explored it enough as a source of disenchantment for the modern condition It explored it fully as a problem within religious context, but it could be expanded beyond that This book was an excellent start to understanding the nature of acedia Perhaps others might explore how acedia is there in our secular lives and how it springs up in modern literature, probably unbeknownst to the authors themselves. This theological presentation of the ancient monastic sin of acedia began as a doctoral dissertation It assumes a significant amount of familiarity with theological terms When it addresses the contemporary manifestation of acedia, its primary audience is monastic Implications for the lay reader are not well developed. Of all the books I ve read about acedia despite its obscurity there are a few this one is the best to date The author starts with the original definition by Evagrius the Desert Father and takes it through the writings of St Thomas Aquinas on the subject He then spends some time tracing the disappearance of the term from popular and church vocabularies Finally, he looks at the implications of acedia for cloistered religious, priests, and married couples A great resource on the symptoms and remedies for acedia The remedies are so simple, they re hard. Me ha fascinado Un lenguaje llano lleno de sabidur a sobre el demonio meridiano al que mas de uno nos hemos enfrentado.Contiene un resumen estupendo y genial sobre la doctrina moral de Santo Tom s.Libro muy recomendable que ilumina sobre muchos combates cotidianos I finished reading this non fiction Catholic book today, which explores Acedia, which, although it became subsumed in the deadly sin of Sloth, is not laziness And I enjoyed reading this book, and recommend it to those weary of their lives.The author of this book which began life as a thesis has been the Abbot of a monastery in France since 2009 After a Foreward by Bishop Marc Cardinal Ouellet, our author notes in an Introduction that Acedia is rarely spoken of today, which is odd, as it still very much exists Essentially, the Noonday Devil leaves one feeling that one s life has no purpose it can manifest as both paralysis and despair, or in an excess of busywork.Chapter One discusses Evagrius of Pontus died 399 and the Desert Fathers Evagrius very well and concisely described Acedia among the desert monks, and included Acedia as one of the Eight Wicked Thoughts Our author then turns to John Cassion died 433 , Saint Benedict of Nursia died 547 , and Pope Saint Gregory the Great died 604 , who removed Acedia from his list of vices Hugh of Saint Victor died 1141 made the final list of deadly sins, where Acedia became Sloth Chapter Two covers Saint Thomas Aquinas died 1274 , and his exploration of Acedia, ending with William of Ockham died 1350 , and the disappearance of Acedia Chapter Three covers The Relevance of Acedia in Christian Life, and Chapter Four explores Acedia in the Different States of Life Religious, Priestly, Married, and Single The book ends with a Conclusion about The New Evangelization against Acedia.This book is a bit dense, but well rewards those who remain with the book. With 200 books on my to read shelf I do not add manybooks these days, although this book has been so tempting me lately Reading my friend, Matthew s, review recently has allowed me to make an exception Where i will fit it in, I do not know A few lingering thoughts from this book I enjoyed the image of the mother helping the child up and how we can not obtain eternal life, but we can ask for intercession and seek eternal life I enjoyed how even in that scenario, it was the mother providing the child what they needed So we cannot obtain eternal life from our own merits if we answer God s yes I also spent time meditating on the idea of the love coming first and how everything in this world was created by God and is good Too often we choose a lesser good than the greater and are stuck wanting.I really enjoyed this book Acedia is a hard vice to pin point This was a great introduction on the topic I plan on getting my hands on some of the desert fathers to readabout this topic that has disappeared from even the Catholic faith Maybe it hasn t disappeared but has not been talked about.I struggle with the talk of monastic life and the idea of needing to leave your cell I can grasp the concept but I guess I have not done a good job of defining my cell in life and how to stay there It is easy to say that my home with the family is my cell but I would really appreciate any insight from others regarding acedia and the married life I do appreciate Nault s attempt at the end to address parts of the married life and can see a great benefit to the words for us all If acedia merely attacks a married couple through the idea of divorce then it will be something I can always strive to be aware of in any spiritual attacks But I have a feeling there is much muchto the noonday devil when it comes to families and marriage.Update I found a passage that has helped me in my understanding of your cell It was not what I had envisioned This is from the book In God s Holy Light Wisdom from the Desert MonasticsClearly one of the pillars of the spiritual life, as far as the Desert Monastics were concerned, was a time and place for reflection A cell A place to which we can retire in order to find our way back to our best ideals, our fullest selves, our life with God A physical place, not a mental one, where we are truly alone and truly in peace The cell is the place where clamor and chaos stop at the door It s the place where we get back in touch with our best selves It s the center of our very own, private, spiritual universe.
Dom Jean Charles Nault, O.S.B., has been the abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Wandrille or Fontenelle Abbey in Normandy, France, since 2009 He entered the monastery in 1988, earned a doctorate in theology from the John Paul II Pontifical Institute in Rome Lateran University , and received from Pope Benedict XVI, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the first Henri de Lubac Prize for his thes
- 205 pages
- The Noonday Devil
- Jean-Charles Nault
- 24 December 2019 Jean-Charles Nault