Tuesday, 25 October 2005

Accidie (Sloth)

The passion of accidie (sloth) is the desire for the pleasure of doing nothing.

Accidie is a spiritual passion, and although it can present itself as a desire to sit around doing nothing at all, it is primarily a passion for doing nothing spiritually. The passion of sloth reminds you, just as soon as you've started to pray, that you have a whole pile of things that have to be done right now, that just can't wait.

Hesychasts have a lifelong battle with accidie. Monks living in coenobitical monasteries have much less of a problem.

St John of the Ladder remarks that monks conquered by accidie are often quite industrious in their worldly works—even to the point of being maniacal.

Lay people are affected by sloth in various ways: by being lazy in the obvious sense, but also by not having enough time for prayer or by being too tired to read the Bible, a spiritual book and so on.

1 comment:

  1. I never thought of sloth as primarily a passion for doing nothing spiritually. Now, I doubt that I'll ever think of it as anything but a passion for doing nothing spiritually (probably because I'll be reminded of your weblog post each time I start to come up with any reasons for not praying).