Saturday, May 19, 2007

Acedia

Scottish Accent Audio version here

Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (NIV)

I came across a new word the other day: acedia. It means ‘spiritual languor.’ I guess it’s like belief burnout or compassion fatigue. It’s when you lose your connection to God, His church or His people, and you end up feeling isolated, vulnerable, and maybe even abandoned.

It’s like being in a spiritual wilderness with no sense of direction, focus, or meaning. It’s a hard state to be in and a hard experience to endure. Souls can feel lost in acedia, but it seems to be an important part of our spiritual journey and Christian growth.

The Desert Fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries experienced a lot of this, especially when they chose to be isolated from the rest of the Christian community. They went out into the desert to find themselves because they were too many distractions around them in the towns and cities where they lived. They found the peace and quiet, solace and tranquility they were looking for, but slowly and surely acedia wormed its way into their hearts and minds. For a time, their souls became depressed and their grasp of God weakened. Some of them went mad with despair, whilst others were overwhelmed with a spiritual malaise.

So, how did they overcome acedia? They kept on praying. They kept on meditating about God. They kept on reading the scriptures. And even although this was hard to do, they persevered; bringing their souls through that acediac wilderness to a realization of a new hope in God’s overflowing love through being reconnected to the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps, you are feeling the same acedia. Maybe you’ve felt disconnected to God for a while and have lost some of that peace, presence and spiritual strength you so desperately need at this time. You’re not alone, and others have walked that wilderness path before you. Keep praying. Keep reading. Keep persevering. You’ll one day discover that God still holds you in His hand and that He keeps pouring out His love to you day by day, hour by hour, second by second.

Prayer: Father God, sometimes we feel that we have lost our grasp of faith and that things are not the same. Sometimes we wonder if You are really there, or if we are really that important to You. As we struggle with acedia, keep on loving us. Continue to guide us by Your grace and lead us by Your love. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

Stushie is the writer of the weekday devotional Heaven's Highway. He also blogachutes on Friday lunchtimes - you haven't tried blogachuting yet? It's more progressive than emergent...

3 comments:

Ryan Pappan said...

It sounds like Lodebar...thanks Stusie this was a good one.

St. Inuksuk said...

I appreciated this piece very much.
Thank you. I have been there from time to time over the years. Good to be reminded to keep on keeping on in faith!

Daily new!!! said...

I like the devotionals and meditations on your blog and would like to exchange links with you!
If you are interested you can visit our directory here:
Free Christian Resource Directory
It would be great to add your Blog to our directory!
In His name,
Markus