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“Sloth may seem like a trivial fault compared with sins against the Ten Commandments or impure thoughts and atrocious deeds. But the Philokalia names laziness along with forgetfulness and ignorance as a root of the passions. According to this handbook of ascetic practices, laziness so darkens the intellect, the “eye of the soul,” that it no longer can see or follow the ways of God.” (Fr. Basil) 

“The word “passions” in Greek has the same root word as the Greek word for “passive.” The late M. Scott Peck, the famous psychiatrist and author of The Road Less Traveled and other books, likened sin to laziness [and sloth]. Indeed, much of our sin comes from our inherent laziness not to make the effort to do the right thing in our thought and actions but rather simply give in to the passions.” (M. Scott Peck, Sacramental Living)

“…sloth is, “a strange laziness and passivity of our entire being which always pushes us ‘down’ rather than ‘up’”…Thus, sloth is a sign of a suppressed spirit. The depressed soul feels that rousing the Spirit would not be worth the effort…Sloth, therefore, is a type of despair. That hopelessness saps the soul of spiritual energy… It gets to the point where the sufferers of spiritual listlessness neither want to nor are able to pray, worship, or concentrate on the things of the Spirit.” (Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr. Basil)

“The noonday devil is the demon of acedia, the vice also known as sloth. The word “sloth”, however, can be misleading…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 meaning….we grow hopeless, care-less, apathetic. In our despair, one would assume we’d naturally settle into a pattern of comfortable non-responsiveness. But somehow, this one-to-one connection doesn’t sit right with me. As I look around at all the energy that is being poured into protests and activism right now, I can’t help but sense a sort of aimless, frenetic desperation. An anxious clawing–at something, anything, whatever we can grab hold of to turn the tide. Not always, but sometimes this “activism” seems like a form of inverted acedia.” (Dom Jean-Charles Nault, Nicole M. Roccas)

“Accidie (also spelled acedia) is often translated as sloth…it is a kind of restlessness, boredom, and sense of discouragement in the spiritual life…The demon of acedia – also called the noonday demon is the one that causes the most trouble of all... Accidie is the doubt that creeps in about our call in life. It is a form of deep anxiety that paralyzes us. Often we think, “I could be more holy if only my life weren’t filled with distractions.” This tempting thought of waiting until life has all the right circumstances is an example of acedia. The only cure for acedia is to stay with one’s practice; to return again and again to prayer…let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: “What are you to us, you who are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has dominion over us and over ll. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we trample on your head.” (Evagrius, Christine Valters Paintner, Saint Seraphim of Sarov)


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