Acedia: The Noonday Devil

Acedia: The Noonday Devil


(cough) my gosh!
I’ve been coughing like a vampire. Right? Because vampires are in coffins— dumb.
Dumb! Stupid! Hi my name is Fr Mike Schmitz and this is Ascension Presents. So, I know that lot of us … a lot of people struggle with procrastination and when I say procrastination you probably know what I know. It’s that procrastination does not mean I am doing nothing. Procrastination doesn’t mean I am doing nothing. Procrastination means I am doing everything except for the one thing I am supposed to be doing. Doesn’t it? Right, that’s it. If that’s you, then you are struggling with something that’s bigger than simple procrastination You’re struggling with something that virtually every Christian has struggled with all the way back to the time of Jesus and from then on. In the early Church, so after, actually maybe 300 years after Christ, in the early Church, you had some people when Christianity became like the religion of the Roman Empire you had some people who were called to enter into the wilderness literally who go into the desert and live in a little hut. They were hermits and they just devoted their lives to penance and they devoted their lives to prayer, and those desert fathers and mothers, they call them desert fathers and mothers, they discovered what they
originally termed like the seven deadly sins, right? So you have gluttony, and you have lust, and you have anger, and you have greed, all these kinds of things, like the seven deadly sins. The desert fathers and mothers would say
that you know, in the course of your Christian life, in the course of being out there in the desert virtually, you know, everyone’s gonna experience
some of the deadly sins. But there was one of the deadly sins,
one of those things that comes against every person that came against every one of them and
that was what they called acedia, A-C-E-D-I-A, acedia. And later on, Saint Thomas Aquinas called it sloth or slothe. They called it the noon day devil.
Why would they call the noonday devil? Imagine living in a hut in the desert. So you get up in the morning and you do your morning routine, it’s cool in the morning, it’s nice out, but all of a sudden, at ten o’clock or so the sun’s
right above and from that roughly ten o’clock until two o’clock it seems like the sun’s not moving, the cool of the morning has passed,
and night’s not here yet where you get to have your meal and you
get to kind of relax. It’s just stay in your hut and pray. And it seems like nothing’s changing,
nothing’s happening. This is essentially the—I mean, if you really want to get down to it— this is a microcosm of a midlife crisis. I mean think about it, if you’re in your mid-life, what happens? The eagerness, the excitement, all the anticipation, the hope, the promise of youth is gone. And yet the rest and the fruits and like that ability to enter in to a certain kind of a sage stage in your life is not yet here. But I’m right in the middle of this, and I just want a different life than the life I have right now. This is the deadly sin so many people come against in their midlife—it’s the noonday devil—acedia. Now, when St. Thomas Aquinas started calling it slothe, What happened was, people would say, “Oh, slothe is kind of a slowness to respond to the things of God.” Right? So I’m called to pray, and I just didn’t really want to do it. Or I’m called to enter into God’s joy of just following after him, but I kinda don’t want to do it.
And so we saw it as like laziness. But acedia is different,
it’s more precise. It’s not laziness. A person can be a workaholic and still have slothe,
still have acedia. Because why? Go back to the beginning of this video. Procrastination comes from not from doing nothing It comes from “I want to do everything except for the one thing I’m supposed to be doing.” That’s what the desert fathers and mothers called “acedia.” I mean, I’m supposed to be sitting here in the hut but I have all these thoughts, like, “Maybe I should go back into the city and serve the poor. But I’m supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be here, but maybe I should go and gather firewood. I’m supposed to be here, but maybe I should go and do something else.” And the temptation is: I want to do anything but the one thing I’m supposed to be doing. Is that you right now? Because a lot of times in the Christian life, that’s where we find ourselves. I’m doing all this stuff. I’m praying all these prayers. I’m doing all this activity. The question we have to ask is: What is it that I’m supposed to be doing? Because I could stop or pause and just pump the breaks for a second and say: Am I doing all this stuff, all this extra activity in lieu of, or in place of, the one thing I should be doing? You know, at some point in our lives,
everyone of us gets to a season where we want to bolt, where we want to take off.
We just want to run. That’s called acedia. What the desert fathers and mothers said in that moment. In that moment: the remedy for acedia is God’s love. (Laughs) I know, that might sound … that might seem simplistic, but it’s not. The remedy for acedia is the Incarnation. The remedy for acedia is looking at Jesus Christ,
who in every step of his life is saying “yes” to his Father. “Yes” to this moment. “Yes” to dinner with his friends. “Yes” to dinner with sinners. “Yes” to traveling from this place to that place. “Yes” to this trial, “yes” to the Father’s will, even though he prayed that the cup would pass by him. “Yes” even to his crucifixion and death. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” The answer to acedia is looking at Jesus and saying, “OK, what held him to the Cross—we know this—what held him to the Cross was not the nails.
What held him to the Cross was his love.” What is holding your life in place? What’s helping you stay in your hut when you want to be doing anything except for the one thing you’re supposed to be doing? It’s not the nails, it’s not the bondage, it’s love. The answer to acedia is, “How can I love well in this moment, in this place, as Christ loved?” Fight against the demon of acedia. Fight against that temptation to run off and abandon the people that you love the most, that you’re called to love the most. Fight that temptation to run off and do anything but the one thing you’re supposed to be doing. And do it with love. Fight with love! From all of us here at Ascension Presents, my name’s Father Mike. God bless! Wha-cha-ba! Wha-cha-ba! (snap, snap, snap!)

100 Replies to “Acedia: The Noonday Devil”

  1. LAUGH OUT LOUD !…….how about a nice satisfying lunch and a siesta……works wonders, instead of contemplating your navel and not concentrating on the nearness of God.

  2. Spiritual Acedia! FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!
    REBUKE THE HATE!
    LOVE ONE ANOTHER!
    FORGIVE THE UNFORGIVEN!
    KEEP ALL THINGS HOLY!
    Be of GOOD CHEER!
    OBEY THE WORD OF GOD.
    God have Mercy on Us. Please Lord Help us to the Divine Love of Our Lord and Savior Jesus removes the sins of this world. That we be humbled and want only to be as Christ. My God who have we become? I confess Christ is my Savior and I AM a sinner. Jesus I love you. Please come my lord. Amen.

  3. awww this is grate i have all 7 deadly sins, yay for me. on top of my hunting i'm going through why not! while we're add it let's also add excommunication that sounds like fun oh and let take a Field trip to hell too.

  4. OK Fr. Mike. I am no teenager nor young person. Who wudda thought you would reel in some older folks? Who else indeed?

  5. wow.,.. this i think is addressing exactly what I have been feeling too… as a stay at home mom of 5 boys that homeschools! I often feel this way. And there are times when I look at the amount of serving and dying to self that I must do daily and I get weary. I get bored with it, I struggle to see its value and sometimes even pick activities that allow me to "check out" rather than continue to engage, and serve and empty myself… and often I wondered, "how do I die to self and not be bitter about losing myself? I think this message hits on the heart of the issue… Christ's love. Because in the giving away of myself, I am hoping in faith that there is something or someone BETTER than myself… is not this the love of Christ?

  6. I think a perfect example to remove acedia altogether is to follow Saint Therese of Lisieux in the desert/oasis of silence and prayer with our Lord the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I watched the play that Eva Hernandez did on The story of a Soul of St Therese. She played her life so perfectly that it taught me so much which results in the removal of acedia. It's on Prime Amazon.

  7. Someone said observe and move forward I think the devil is that it compounds a time or feeling that already been prospered…

  8. it's not this simple fulton sheen 2.0. but we're all relatively stupid, so keep the high stuff for the "thinking christians" right? in fact. its Evil. its very Evil. be thankful you dont know it as well as some do.

  9. "Acedia & me" by Kathleen Norris, for those who may be wrestling with the kind of oppression not found within the crisp pages of the DSM. its a little longer than the wisedom found on your teabag tho. a lil unnerving. since Freedom is on the line, you have my prayers…our adversary wants nothing to do with Free humans, let alone Christians, with the ability to choose perfect love. cus then we're salt and light and useful and that's just no good for the prison he's tryin to run. prayers…

  10. thank you, very inspiring – Jeremiah 29: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

  11. Boy Father, are you ever talking to me right now! It's Ash Wednesday 2018 and for Lent I just decided to fight acedia in my prayer life. Thank you!

  12. Good word Fr Mike! I turned 40 this month and I can definitely relate to this acedia. This really encouraged me this is the season I'm in. the running away feeling is real.. I will love this moment..from now to beyond. I spoke to a Catholic priest today about my desire to be a part of the church! Thank you for your continued prayers as I learn more truth.

  13. Yep. Everyone experiences acedia. This me with my room, it's a small, and it's not like I make a big mess, but even folding the cover or putting clothes away. I just don't take it care of right away most of the time.

  14. So THAT is what is happening in my life! Thank you Father Mike, the Holy Spirit has been trying to tell me to cling closer to God and actually do things of God. But my flesh has been trying to convince me that is wrong. Guess I was doing what I was supposed to be doing by watching your video! 😂

  15. I'm so grateful I found your channel, Fr. Mike. God's grace, this is really timely. Hello from the Philippines 🙂

  16. Don't get me wrong, love is always the answer. Obedience is key. But I think being more specific about sloth might be more useful in combating it. I would very strongly agree that sloth isn't laziness. It's despair. It's avoiding an obedience because you don't see that it will do good or that things can get better. Wasn't one of the consequences of acedia in our history the neglect of burying our dead? Because they're dead. How could burial help them? Love/obedience/repentance/humility is the cornerstone of all virtues. To be good is the goal. But specifically and practically, wouldn't Hope be the better counter to Sloth. A recognition of the Beauty in a seemingly hopeless act. Keeping the fire lit though we know all fires must go out. An eye to our great Hope and the future we are building even now by not avoiding investing those things we will know the reward of in the New Earth.

    Love this channel. Love you all. We're still out here. Don't lose Hope.

  17. Sin of acedia is nothing to be laughed at. I've been committing this sin for over a year now after I graduated college. I've been such a sloth. I do nothing important most days. Just Youtube, Netflix,food, naps. I have a part time job but even that job I've been doing it halfheartledy. I lost all passion for my future career path. I think WAY too much but not DOING anything. Am I going to be like this forever? This sin that I have chosen to be part of was because of anxiety for the future and now it has led to more anxiety to depression to suicidal thoughts. Jesus Christ please save me from myself. I need more You now than ever before . The only good that has come from the mess I made is that I know I'm so broken to the point where that I can't fix myself. I know that I must depend compelety on a Savior just to survive the day. Jesus Christ you are my Savior, my True Love, my God. Forgive me for I am not doing what I am supposing to be doing. Heal me Jesus, Physican of Life! Cast away my wretched sin filled heart to depths of the oceans and give my Your heart instead. Heart of Action, Heart of Love.

  18. huh youre idea of acedia is bizarre, from how i experience it, I do nothing as a disabled person, i receive money because i cant do anything, im the epitome of riches without effort. the idea that youre doin anything but what you should be doing is absurd. Id rather a nihilist tell me that i should make meaning out of my own life than pretend that im only hampered by my own failings, of which there are plenty but not a single one of them is about me doing everything but what i should be doing. tell me, what should i be doing then?

  19. I just watched this video. It’s two years old, I’ve never seen it. I must’ve been meant to watch it because this is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you Fr. Mike for making it.

  20. I just LOVE this channel. Thank you father Mike for your beautiful wisdom. It’s strange because everytime I’m dealing with some issue in my life I somehow always end up by chance at the one video I need to see. God Bless everyone.

  21. Not to brag, Father Mike…but I usually do the thing I am supposed to do…I often do the thing I am not supposed to do as well

  22. Fr. Your a breathe of fresh air. You should come to Ireland on a retreat. I'll organise places important to me. For you to enjoy.

  23. That's me, y'all . I've never heard of Acedia before . Sloth, yes…….Thanks Padre, it makes me realize I need to live a better life and be a better person…. Blessings ♥

  24. My understanding is that Anger is not a deadly sin: It's Wrath that's the sin. Like all the other sins, Wrath is an excess.

  25. Hello Fr. Mike,

    Can you work on a video series of the Eight Logismoi? There aren't that many video resources out there presenting a balanced and/or Catholic perspective.

    God Bless!

  26. Lol Father . Your good very good . There is one thing I been putting off . It's is because of I might not be skilled enough . Anyone would laugh at me if they knew I had that fear .yes talked to God about it . I guess I have to take that step even if I'm fearful ..It's like jumping of the high dive for the first time . Once I do it , I will be fine . I need to trust God with my hands . Trust myself . Thank you Father .

  27. I'm somewhere in between agnostic and atheist but this video really hit home pinpointing to me a struggle I've had probably my whole life. Poignant message, powerful delivery, and fun presentation. Way to go.

  28. I just realized that this applies to my current situation in schoolwork.
    I guess God knew that I needed this video before I did!
    Thanks Fr. Mike!

  29. Once again thank you for this wonderful explanation and I am good at procrastination & not doing what I should be doing. I've been in mourning for 18 mos. and I'm starting to get restless because I'm an artist and I haven't made any art, paintings or drawings since a very tragic event. I've started praying the rosary more often for Lent and I plan on continuing. I know it's helping me. I'm getting better each day but I know I need to try and not think about my feelings and just do the work I'm supposed to do.

  30. Yes that is me! When I know that I should be praying or doing paperwork, I do the laundry, clean the floors, etc. I am 72 and still don't have a grip on "time management". Or is it life management? I need take an honest look at my motives. Thank you Fr. Mike. God blesses me through you. 🙏💖

  31. Wow Fr Mike I do this without even knowing now I have retired. I do more prayer now than ever, but ever time I start around that time you have just stated then the phone will ring, the door bell goes, my husband comes in asking questions that he asked two hours before bless him, however I then start wondering around Oh Bless and thank you I will put that right now I'm aware. Thank you for your knowledge and great video. Blessings

  32. Fr, Mike it would be nice if you could end with a prayer for some of your videos especially one like this seeing that we all go through Acedia at some time in our lives. God Bless

  33. “You’re not just struggling with procrastination, you’re struggling with the same thing the early Christians from the time of Jesus and on…”

    *oddly feels better because the early Christians dealt with this too

  34. Yes…Acadia is def within me lol…..except parts of me were taken…..not so much procrastination but rather……very long long story ….anyways …..why can't I do BOTH… I don't want to choose. …

  35. What is this universal tragedy of a.. curious infant trying to learn uniformity.. of similarities… . N so because I m curious.. u r at least better than most others.. which is cool.. I don't know more things.. yet I exhilarated to introspection speculating levitation.. and cherished the urgency of appropriation.

    ( only pattern of various entities is cool also a beautiful image with respect to the reality also is so much accurate. … )

    Thanks for the privilege to see and share
    Peace and light to all Nital Bhuva

  36. So it sounds like Acedia is not what happens with depression and inactivity or watching uoutube instead of doing your tasks…it seems.

  37. Desert fathers and mothers, they had 8 deadly sins. Until Pope Gregory I reduced them to just seven deadly sins.

  38. What you're talking about by sloth really doesn't effect me, what does, Fr. Mike, is in fact the anxiety wherein I can't figure out for the life of me what I should be doing so I might do it; the stay in your hut and work on the paperwork, researching, and prayers really is what I'd rate as a paradise overall, not something to avoid, that's "drill time"… it has effected me at times, but by now it's gone, by overall sheer attrition from my internal will to perfect myself it was whittled down to virtually nothing.

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