Yesterday was our faculty retreat. The topic of the day was acedia. You don’t know that you know what acedia is, but you do: it’s the unnamed demon that you didn’t even know you’ve been struggling against.
The medieval monks who first applied this term to the Christian spiritual life associated all of the evil thoughts / temptations with which they struggled with demons. From the Wikipedia article linked above:
The demon of acedia holds an important place in early monastic demonology and proto-psychology. In the late fourth century Evagrius of Pontus, for example, characterizes it as “the most troublesome of all” of the eight genera of evil thoughts.
Now, it might seem quaint to us to talk about acedia as a demon, but I’d like you to ask yourself if that’s because it’s a childish notion or because we’ve tacitly accepted the materialist, scientistic worldview that pervades our culture?
Medieval cosmologists believed the stars and planets were moved about by angels. What if that is true? I for one much prefer living in a world where “the heavens” are filled with wonderful things to living in a world where the night sky is simply “space.”
Anyway, acedia. Now that you know the name of the demon you can go about exorcizing it. More on that soon.