Kathleen Norris s masterpiece a personal and moving memoir that resurrects the ancient term acedia, or soul weariness, and brilliantly explores its relevancy to the modern individual and culture


10 thoughts on “Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life

  1. Cindy Rollins Cindy Rollins says:

    Since so many people are reading this now I thought I would pull my old blog reviews out of storage and place it here Post 1 Acedia Inside us, we bore acedia s dismal smoke.We have this black mire now to be sullen in I have never read Kathleen Norris before and I am pretty sure I would not have enjoyed reading her in the pas Since so many people are reading this now I thought I would pull my old blog reviews out of storage and place it here Post 1 Acedia Me A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer s LifeDante s Inferno Canto 7Once we were grimAnd sullen in the sweet air above, that tookA further gladness from the play of the sun Inside us, we bore acedia s dismal smoke.We have this black mire now to be sullen in I have never read Kathleen Norris before and I am pretty sure I would not have enjoyed reading her in the past but people change and circumstances change and I found myself very much needing this book and very happy that I providentially picked it up while browsing the shelves at the library.The subtitle of the book is A Marriage, Monks and a Writer s Life, which makes this book a memoir but also a description of a little acknowledged sin.Acedie could be called the absence of caring that might come on the heels of great personal changes Norris says, But the word transition cannot convey my struggle with the rigors of grief, a residual exhaustion from years of steadily increasing adversity, and the promptings of acedia to respond to all of this by not caring In spite of our very different lives, Kathleen and I seem to share a temperament She finds solace in metaphor and the Psalms just like me Perhaps acedie is the unique sin of the overly passionate I cannot help but think of the line from Yeats The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity Acedie is where passion meets no conviction at all, a thunderstorm of faith.I have faced this malady several times in my own life The first time it took me quite by surprise After facing melanoma with surprising faith and hope, I spent the year after the battle feeling as if nothing mattered at all My own cure came from the parable of the talents in the Gospel of Matthew Acedie is the buried talent, a sort of hyper Calvinism Since I know God is big and I am small what s the use of trying If this sounds a bit ridiculous to you, then you probably will not enjoy Kathleen s book.My second bout with this sin was when my oldest son joined the Navy I had spent 19 years raising him with passion and purpose never once seeing the Navy as the end goal The fact that I was not in control of the outcome of my children s lives was a revelation and a serious setback in my own passion and purposefulness I think homeschooling moms are generally full of passionate conviction which may make them vulnerable to the sin of acedie.Over the course of the last year and a half, acedie has loomed large in my life While my faith in Christ has never wavered my understanding of the church and tradition has suffered I have felt the sting of realizing that Christians talk too much and do too much and care too little This has left me teetering on the edge of bitterness And for someone who already knows all the right answers that is a dangerous place Acedia and Me has been a foothold on my way back to normalcy.Physically the breakdown in my immune system has caused me to get mono, a disease that has a unique effect on the spleen It is interesting to note that the spleen is metaphorically the get up and go of the body Acedie is the breakdown of the spiritual spleen.Since we are living in tough times, I am guessing that many of you may be rethinking much of what you have always believed in the face of unexpected circumstances This book may be the spiritual encouragement you need to face the trials that God has set before you.As I was standing on the side of a hot Tennessee highway last week, two hours from home, with a flat tire and a broken jack, and 2 scared little boys, for a brief second I thought, This is the last straw, the tiny thing that breaks me, and then I thought of the Proverb that says, If you faint in the day of adversity, how small is your strength Well, my strength is incredibly small but the strength available to me in Christ is without measure and there it was growing in my heart on the side of the road So we just got into the car, prayed and sat and waited and a TN State trooper drove up and showed us how to fix the jack and a few minutes later we were on the road again And then we got a good meal at a sit down restaurant and then we were safely home Post 2 QuotesChapter XV in Kathleen Norris s Acedia and Me is a list of commonplace book quotes that Kathleen has collected her whole life.Kathleen quotes such wide ranging books as Pierre by Maurice Sendak and even our old friend Leisure The Basis of Culture.Here are a few of the quotes that I found most helpful GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy Perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony It is possible that God says every morning, Do it again to the sun and every evening do it again to the moon It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them Possibly Paul Tillich Boredom is rage spread thin Fernando Pessoa Tedium is not the disease o f being bored because there is nothing to do, but theserious disease of feeling that there s nothing worth doing Ian Fleming, From Russia with Love Just as, at least in one religion, accidie is the first of the cardinal sins, so boredom, and particularly the incredible circumstance of waking up bored, was the only vice Bond utterly condemned Claude J Peiffer, OSB Monastic Spirituality Acedia is a formidable adversary because on purely natural grounds its arguments are unassailable Vaclav Havel, Letters to Olga The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less Thomas L Friedman in Singapore and Katrina quoting Janadas Devan of Straits Times It is not only government that doesn t show up when it is starved of resources and leached of all its meaning Community doesn t show up either, sacrifice doesn t show up, pulling together doesn t show up, we re all in this together doesn t show up


  2. Willie Krischke Willie Krischke says:

    Norris says in the introduction to this book that she s been working on it for a long, long time, gathering materials, reading, and writing I suspect that what she was waiting for consciously or intuitively was an organizing structure She never found it Acedia Me is full of lots of wisdom and reflection on the spiritual problem of depression apathy boredom distraction, as well as a smattering of wonderful quotes and stories from church literature that has been largely forgotten by the Norris says in the introduction to this book that she s been working on it for a long, long time, gathering materials, reading, and writing I suspect that what she was waiting for consciously or intuitively was an organizing structure She never found it Acedia Me is full of lots of wisdom and reflection on the spiritual problem of depression apathy boredom distraction, as well as a smattering of wonderful quotes and stories from church literature that has been largely forgotten by the church, and stories about her husband s illnesses, and her own battles with depression etc and quotes from modern authors about society s ills, and anything else that managed to fall into her file marked Acedia over the years.The problem is that it s barely organized at all And at 327 pages, it s an awful lot of unorganized notes and thoughts Some things repeat almost verbatim often variations on the same theme are twenty pages apart It gets kind of hard to keep plugging through after the first hundred pages or so while new stuff does turn up now and then, maintaining a sense of progression through the book is almost impossible.There is an awful lot of great stuff here Norris has diagnosed a problem in society and written some excellent words of insight and reflection about it.Too bad she never found that organizing structure


  3. Tim Tim says:

    After digesting this book for a couple weeks, I realize the analogy is that like the Slow Food movement, this book is meant to be read slowly, in small doses, and savored inbetween The title, for that matter, gives no real clue as to what it contains especially the word, Acedia.So what does it mean Acedia a tendency, a demonic attack, a spiritual manifestation, a temptation, a sin, that tends to cause apathy in the face of a call to action, bitterness in the face of conditions that call fo After digesting this book for a couple weeks, I realize the analogy is that like the Slow Food movement, this book is meant to be read slowly, in small doses, and savored inbetween The title, for that matter, gives no real clue as to what it contains especially the word, Acedia.So what does it mean Acedia a tendency, a demonic attack, a spiritual manifestation, a temptation, a sin, that tends to cause apathy in the face of a call to action, bitterness in the face of conditions that call for thankfulness, a withdrawal when the person or others need connection, boredom instead of appreciation for a routine, etc, etc The author, Kathleen Norris, seems to spend half of the book circling the term, describing what it is not, what is similar, how the early church monastics viewed and dealt with it, and how today s psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and pharmacologists have touched upon it She circles, describes, retreats, then returns If the tracing of this phenomenon was the only theme of the book, I would have lost interest, but Norris weaves her search and reflections with muchpractical aspects of her life of writing and all its challenges, and an evenpersonal reflection on her marriage, commitment, and grace given through its many decades Her relationship with her husband becomes poignant as he eventually dies from illness after a number of health crises Her insights through his slow decline, complete with the ups and downs of gratefulness and depression are rich and demanding And she ties in life s trials and our responses with the challenge of acedia The book is dogeared in so many places a book that really should be read again but two examples give a flavor Pg 42, in nurturing a marriage over the span of 30 years, and in keeping to the discipline of writing and revising for even longer, I have often found myself watering dead wood with tears, and very little hope I have also been astonished by how those tears have allowed life to emerge out of what had seemed dead Page 245, referring to Oregon poet Stafford, Writing is like fishing, Stafford would say A nibble will always come, but all too often we dismiss the little nudge as not worthy of the great works we vaingloriously imagine we will write In a similar way we block our spiritual progress The message of salvation that begins as a whisper is easily missed in the noise of passions such as envy, pride, anger, and acedia


  4. Kate Kate says:

    Reread pp 1 80 David enjoyed a passage I had found in Louise Bogan s memoirs, in which she writes of seeing out the window of a psychiatric ward, a woman hanging clothes and of wishing that I, too, couldhang out clothes in a happy, normal way When she walked with other patients at the hour when children begin to scent supper, she observed an air of despondency came over the group The women knew the hour in their bones It was no hour to be out, taking an aimless walk 81 I am s Reread pp 1 80 David enjoyed a passage I had found in Louise Bogan s memoirs, in which she writes of seeing out the window of a psychiatric ward, a woman hanging clothes and of wishing that I, too, couldhang out clothes in a happy, normal way When she walked with other patients at the hour when children begin to scent supper, she observed an air of despondency came over the group The women knew the hour in their bones It was no hour to be out, taking an aimless walk 81 I am so glad that the therapists of my maturity and the saints of my childhood agree on one thing Bogan, 81 Stand up, take your mat and walk What kind of answer is that To a sick person, a depressed person, that is precisely what is not possible And don t try to say, as Jesus does, that it s my faith that makes me well That s just plain discouraging if I take it to mean, as far too many have, that my lack of faith keeps me ill Surely we can drop that particular bludgeon from our theological arsenal 83 This gives hope that there is a faith for those of us who, like Miss Dickinson, may believe, and disbelieve a hundred times an Hour, which keeps Believing nimble 83 Evagrius speaks of the vital importance of recognizing and distinguishing between the different types of bad thoughts, and warns that we must take note of the circumstances of their comingwhich are thevexations, which yield readily and which are theresistant The reason for this careful self observation, Evagrius says, is that we need effective words against them, that is to say, those words which correctly characterize the demon present And we must do this before they drive us out of our own state of mind 89 To help monks struggle against the bad thoughts, Evagrius compiled and extensive Antirrheticus, a list of Scripture passages appropriate to resist each temptation 89 Were I to approach an abba or an amma asking for a word to help me cope with the assaults of acedia on my soul, I would likely be reminded that if I am especially susceptible to acedia, it is because I harbor within myself the virtue of zeal 96 My energy levels are set on high or low I can happily juggle any number of activities or do very little Over the years I have learned to live with the flow And that is part of the problem Hasidic rabbi Hanokh said, The real exile of Israel in Egypt was that they had learned to endure it 96 98 those afflicted with depression are often ambivalent about it, as no one is ambivalent about physical illness Joyce Carol Oates, 98 many people are conflicted about a state in which the ploys they ve used to color things in their favor are stripped away, and they sense that they are witnessing the world as it is The light may be harsher than we would like, but at least it forces us to see 98 From his extensive research, Andrew Solomon reports evidence that depressed people have arealistic view of the world than others For all of that, Solomon reminds us that major depression is far too stern a teacher you needn t go to the Sahara to avoid frosbite 98 Solomon cannot help respecting that which gave him knowledge of my own acreage, the full extent of my soul When he asserts that the opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality, he is echoing the existential monastic view that the opposite of acedia is an energetic devotion When I m at my worst, mired in torpor and despair, simply recalling this can give me hope 99 Acedia is a particularly savage enemy, because it is not content with just a part of us Evagrius writes that the other demons are like the rising or setting sun in that they are found in only a part of the soul The noonday demon, however is accustomed to embrace the entire soul and oppress the spirit 99 100 Often my first act of recovery is doing something as menial as dusting a bookshelf or balancing my checkbook If I am tempted to devalue such humble activities, I remember that acedia descended on Anthony as soon as he went to the desert, but when he prayed to be delivered from it, he was shown that any physical task, done in the right spirit, could free him 100 What heals acedia is staunch persistence Decide upon a set amount for yourself in every work and do not turn aside from it before you complete it 100 I remained prone to acedia, to what the early monk John Climacus termed a slackness of the mindand a hostility to vows taken 102 Constantly drawing on my capacity for zeal meant that I could ignore the tendency to acedia that remained dormant within me I could put off giving the devil his due 102 I noticed that David was in poor spirits, and asked whether he would like me to stay with him that night He replied, quietly, That would be nice His tone signaled to me inwardly he was shouting, Don t leave me alone 109 Acedia, which is known to foster excessive self justification, as well as a casual yet implacable judgmentalism toward others, readily lends itself to instant indignation and denunciation 115 Anger over injustice may inflame us, but that s a double edged sword If our indignation feels too good, it will attach to our arrogance and pride and leave us ranting in a void And if develop full blown acedia, we won t even care about that 116 117 a great heart is needed against acedia, lest it swallow up the soul Chaucer, 116 What everyone does not believe in, as nearly as I can tell, is forgiveness It requires creativity to recognize our faults, and to discern virtues in those we would rather disdain Forgiveness demands close attention, flexibility, and stringent self assessmentKiezer, 117 recall the literal meaning of the third commandment, against blasphemy In Hebrew, it is an admonition against offering nothingness to God 126 inadequate thought and speech always translate into inadequate action Alasdair MacIntyre, 126 In a series of talks in the 1960s, Thomas Merton foresaw our contemporary world as one dimensional, a world in which all words have become alikeTo say God is love, he commented, is like saying, Eat Wheaties There s no difference, exceptthat people know they are supposed to look pious when God is mentioned, but not when cereal is 128 In this hyped up world, broadcast and Internet news media have emerged as acedia s perfect vehicles, demanding that we care, all at once, about a suicide bombing, a celebrity divorce, and the latest advance in nanotechnology But the ceaseless bombardment of image and verbiage makes us impervious to caring 128 129 Acedia has come so far with us that is easily attaches to our hectic and overburdened schedules We appear to be anything but slothful, yet that is exactly what we are, as we doand care less, and feel pressured to do still130 Wasserstein asks, are these hyperscheduled, overactive individuals really creating anything new Are they guilty of passion in any way Do they have a new vision for their government For their community Or for themselves 130 131 We might look for guidance to those earlier desert dwellers, who had no word for depression, but whose vocabulary did include words for accidie, discernment, faith, grace, hope, and mercy They gave one another good counsel Perform the humblest of tasks with full attention and no fussing over the whys and wherefores remember that you are susceptible, at the beginning of any new venture, to being distracted from your purpose by such things as a headache, an intense ill will toward another, a neurotic and potent self doubt To dwell in this desert and make it bloom requires that we indulge in neither guilt nor vainglorious fantasizing, but struggle to know ourselves as we are 132 there is a grief that comes from the enemy, full of mockery, which some call accidie 132 the early Christian monks, who named zeal the best weapon in the psyche s toolbox for contending with acedia 134 If the early monks paid close attention to themselves, it was only because they knew that rigorous self analysis was an indispensable spiritual practice Change was the point of discipline, and they nailed narcissistic self definition, correctly, as vainglory To people schooled in religion that has often seemed to define sin as a grocery list of dos and don ts, these monks can seemrather casual about morality They were not at all concernedthat people should behave correctly according to the rules, but rather that people should be able to see their situation clearly for what it is, and so become free from the distorting perspective which underlies all our sins Tugwell, 135


  5. D.M. Dutcher D.M. Dutcher says:

    An erudite, if rambling book that tries to combine the writer s life with meditations on the concept of Acedia Acedia unfortunately seems to be hard for her to define it s a habit of mind that combines a sort of fatalistic resentment of things with laziness, and that affects people who are drawn to the monastic life I don t want to do anything, and I don t care Mixed in with this are biographical snapshots of her life Her husbands slow, hidden sink into depression, her life as a young woma An erudite, if rambling book that tries to combine the writer s life with meditations on the concept of Acedia Acedia unfortunately seems to be hard for her to define it s a habit of mind that combines a sort of fatalistic resentment of things with laziness, and that affects people who are drawn to the monastic life I don t want to do anything, and I don t care Mixed in with this are biographical snapshots of her life Her husbands slow, hidden sink into depression, her life as a young woman, going back to a school union These are little moments of beauty, because Norris is an elegant, masterful poet When she concentrates on these, the book shines.However the bulk of it is wrestling with the noonday demon, the ghost of Acedia, and it is too transparent to pin down Even as a concept, as she mentions several times it disappears from usage and from dictionaries as a word That drags the book down If it had been a slim biography, it would be fascinating, but unfortunately it feelslike an aimless ramble Or a wrestling match, trying to use words to banish the demon at her heels However, I still enjoyed it, and The Cloister Walk is also excellent


  6. Jen Jen says:

    FABULOUS I d forgotten how much I d enjoyed Kathleen Norris before I found this book in a thrift store Then, it turned out the local library had the audiobook version, with a cd that included a pdf of many of the quotes This book helped me think through some topics Here are some of my favorite quotes.making your bed is a form of showing hospitatlity to yourselfphysical work is the best way to fight acediaYou struggle with apathy because you have a great capacity for zealonly worry abou FABULOUS I d forgotten how much I d enjoyed Kathleen Norris before I found this book in a thrift store Then, it turned out the local library had the audiobook version, with a cd that included a pdf of many of the quotes This book helped me think through some topics Here are some of my favorite quotes.making your bed is a form of showing hospitatlity to yourselfphysical work is the best way to fight acediaYou struggle with apathy because you have a great capacity for zealonly worry about fighting it acedia specifically, but any problem today and NOT tomorrow also.a refusal to suffer pain is also a refusal to love It may be that people were created to care, but that does not mean it comes naturallycaring can seem like weakness Kathleen NorrisWhat is integrity Abba Poeman replied Always to accuse oneself Kathleen Norris It is not sincerity, it is Truth which frees us because it transforms us It tears us away from our inmost slavery To seek sincerity above all things is perhaps, at bottom, not to want to be transformed Henri de Lubac Page 130 We appear to be anything but slothful, yet that is exactly what we are, as we doand care less, and feel pressured to do still .We may well ask If we are always in motion, constantly engaged in self improvement, and even trying to do good for others, how can we be considered uncaring or slothful Wendy Wasserstein When you achieve true slothdom, you have no desire for the world to change True sloths are not revolutionaries, but the lazy guardians at the gate of the status quo Are these hyperscheduled, overactive individuals really creating anything new Are they guilty of passion in any way Do they have a new vision for their government For their community Or for themselves She suspects that their purpose is to keep themselves so bus, so entrenched in their active lives, that their spirit reaches a permanent state of lethargiosis Whatever you do repeatedly has the power to shape you, has the power to make you over into a different person even if you re not totally engaged in every minute.page 272 While we are tempted to think sadness is a mood, an emotion, he told them, in truth it is a passion which easily leads to sin Merton s admonition that the causes of our sadness are not to be sought in other people, but in ourselves is an essential for surviving in the rock tumbler of relationship, whether one is within a place of business, a monastery, or a marriage It takes real courage, Merton insists, to recognize that we ourselves are the cause of our own unhappiness The trick is to maintain a nuanced view as we attempt to discern what trouble we have caused and are responsible for, and what is truly beyond our controlin dishwashing, I approach the moral realm there are days when it seems a miracle to be able to make dirty things clean.I may intellectually assent to the notion that such utilitarian chores can open my heart to the world, and appreciate Gerard Manley Hopkins s observation that it is not only prayer that gives God glory but work Smiting on an anvil, sawing a beam, whitewashing a wall, driving horses, sweeping, scouring.To go to communion worthily gives God great glory, but to take food in thankfulness and temperance gives Him glory too To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory, but a man with a dung fork in his hand, a woman with a slop pail, give Him glory, too He is so great that all things give Him glory if you mean they should It is all for the glory of God, and how we perform those often dispiriting duties, from the changing of a baby s diaper to the bathing of an aged parent, reveals what kind of God we worship That faith and love operate best through the humble means of boring, everyday occupations is a thoroughly biblical perspective, for its stories repeatedly remind us that God s attention is fixed on what we regard as unimportant and unworthy The Scriptures depict God not as a Great Cosmic Cop, eager to catch us in minor transgressions, but as a creator who loves us enough to seek us in the most mundane circumstances of our lives We are asked to remember that we are refreshed each day like dew laden grass that is renewed in the morning Psalms 90 5 Or inpersonal and also theological terms Our inner nature is being renewed every day 2 Corinthians 4 16 In this light, the apparently ludicrous attention to detail in Leviticus, where God is involved in the minutiae of daily life, right down to cooking and cleaning, might be seen instead as the love of a God who desires to be present to us in everything we do everyday he made a new beginning 260 Our Lord tells us to pray for today, and so he prevents us from tormenting ourselves about tomorrow This is not an easy prayer when I am tempted to give up on both today and tomorrow


  7. Melinda Melinda says:

    Sept 2014After re reading this book.I would move this book up to a 4 1 2 star, so am rounding up Very worthwhile July 20102010 Review This is another of Kathleen Norris books, published in 2008, so the most recent of the books she s written I read The Quotidian Mysteries first, then this book, then her others in random order The text of The Quotidian Mysteries is actually about a chapters worth of material in Acedia and Me , so you see some of t Sept 2014After re reading this book.I would move this book up to a 4 1 2 star, so am rounding up Very worthwhile July 20102010 Review This is another of Kathleen Norris books, published in 2008, so the most recent of the books she s written I read The Quotidian Mysteries first, then this book, then her others in random order The text of The Quotidian Mysteries is actually about a chapters worth of material in Acedia and Me , so you see some of the same material over again.As I mentioned before, reading Kathleen Norris books is rather like peeling an onion She discusses many of the same issues in her books, but from slightly different perspectives While I have read her other books with interest, Acedia and Me is a very sober book that brings many of the issues she has discussed elsewhere into stark focus The subtitle is A Marriage, Monks, and A Writer s Life This is where the onion layers all peel back and we cry with her over the very open and honest journey she takes with her husband that ultimately ends in his death after years and years of illness and depression and discouragement While she talks of illness and depression in her other books, here she delves deeply into them and studies and examines them in light of the struggles of her own marriage, her husband s illnesses and eventual death, her difficulties in writing, and the struggles of her own search for God s truth Acedia from the title, is defined by the author as at its Greek root it means the absence of care The person afflicted with acedia refuses to care or is incapable of doing so When life becomes too challenging and engagement with others too demanding, acedia offers a kind of spiritual morphine you know the pain is there, yet can t rouse yourself to give a damn Acedia and depression at first sound synonymous, but again the author offers up her distinction, I would suggest that while depression is an illness treatable by counseling and medication, acedia is a vice that is best countered by spiritual practice and the discipline of prayer Kathleen has the temperament that tends toward melancholy and depression She married a man who also had this personality trait David, her husband, grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family but became disenchanted with the emotional non rational faith of his Roman Catholic mother, and left Roman Catholic church to delve into mathematics and rational sciences after his mother s death A poet with scientific leanings, he also began to bear in his body the results of his depression and melancholy Kathleen becameinterested in her Christian faith as she rediscovered the words and poetry of the Bible She began pursuing the spiritual practice of the Liturgy of the Hours as practiced by Benedictines A Presbyterian Christian poet, married to a lapsed Roman Catholic poet, they began years of grindingly difficult cycles of illness depression recovery David was off put by Kathleen s returning Christian faith, yet he was genuinely thankful for her faith in Christ Woven all through this book is the spiritual remedy for Kathleen s spiritual struggle with acedia It is reading the Bible regularly and aloud, primarily through the practice of the Liturgy of the Hours, and prayer Her struggles are real and she writes very powerfully about them Her tenacity to cling to the words of the Bible is also very powerful The Desert Fathers and Mothers believed the words of the Bible were and are true, and thus they had the power to change you Kathleen believes this also, and demonstrates that while her remedies do not remove the thorn in the flesh , they are effective in allowing her to have a marriage she and her husband considered to be a blessing, work that she delighted in, and confidence that she was working towards an eternal goal worth attaining.I recommend this book It was encouraging for me to read, not because I read it and felt better at the end because everything ended up so tidily and nice It was encouraging because life is messy, and life is hard, and while Christ does redeem and save us, we still have to live each day of our lives in often difficult circumstances that do not clean up well For her to have fought for so many years with her depression, to have struggled and worked and wept and rejoiced with her husband through all the years of illness and disease, and to come out on the other side and say I am thankful to God for his blessings , that is true testimony that the remedy of spiritual practice and the discipline of prayer does indeed work


  8. Rosana Rosana says:

    I was disappointed with this book It was just too uneven of a book, with moments when it really picked up my interest and passages that spoke to my heart, only to fade in a few pages to the repetitious descriptions of acedia At times I just wanted to scream at her go back and rewrite it all as essays I really wanted to hearabout her experience as a teenager, about marriage, death and spiritual growth But she insisted on linking it all under the theme of acedia, and too often it felt m I was disappointed with this book It was just too uneven of a book, with moments when it really picked up my interest and passages that spoke to my heart, only to fade in a few pages to the repetitious descriptions of acedia At times I just wanted to scream at her go back and rewrite it all as essays I really wanted to hearabout her experience as a teenager, about marriage, death and spiritual growth But she insisted on linking it all under the theme of acedia, and too often it felt manufactured To addto it, she seemed very intended in using every single reference ever made about acedia over the past 1,500 years Now, some of the quotations were fitting and very interesting Dante s Inferno for instance but the overabundance thinned their impact However, I am still going to give her 3 stars because when I look back at the book, it has so many dog eared pages and underlined quotes yes, I do deconsecrate books this way , I have to admit that it did convey many snippets of truth and wisdom It is too bad that they seemed misplaced though


  9. Susan Susan says:

    Oh this latest from K Norris is her best yet, at least to my brain A little known to the modern world wave of thought behavior called Acedia is its focus Here Norris has spared no effort, during the book s incubation over the last 20 years, at yanking Acedia out from its sly hiding places in her own life and subjecting it to a lasery investigation This investigation includes the testimonies of men and women who fled the cities in the early Christian era for the purpose of creating labs out o Oh this latest from K Norris is her best yet, at least to my brain A little known to the modern world wave of thought behavior called Acedia is its focus Here Norris has spared no effort, during the book s incubation over the last 20 years, at yanking Acedia out from its sly hiding places in her own life and subjecting it to a lasery investigation This investigation includes the testimonies of men and women who fled the cities in the early Christian era for the purpose of creating labs out of their own body minds What they found was the 8 classic bad thoughts which, when allowed to fester and grow, can and will derail the basic sanity and goodness in any human being Turns out Acedia is the slipperiest of the usual suspects.This one s a keeper for anyone s crucial collection of First Aid texts both psychologically sophisticated and eminently practical


  10. Jason Pettus Jason Pettus says:

    Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter.com I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted here illegally Christian author Kathleen Norris has long been fascinated by the ancient psychological condition known to monks as acedia, and which was actually one of the original Seven Deadly Sins back when they were known at the beginning of Christianity as the Eight Bad Thoughts But what exactly is it L Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter.com I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted here illegally Christian author Kathleen Norris has long been fascinated by the ancient psychological condition known to monks as acedia, and which was actually one of the original Seven Deadly Sins back when they were known at the beginning of Christianity as the Eight Bad Thoughts But what exactly is it Long thought as the pre Enlightenment version of depression combined with sloth, Norris book length analysis of the term along with a detailed memoir of her personal experience with the subject shows that it s actually a muchcomplicated thing, an emotional state that we would do good in our modern secular times to once again start to identify and treat a sort of apathy about the world combined with restlessness, which then outwardly manifests itself not only in ways similar to clinical depression, but also with a marked increase of boredom and desire for escapism, and a greater fear than normal of commitment Although she goes out of her way to assure nervous readers that she doesn t mean for acedia to completely replace modern clinical depression as a concept, she does make a compelling argument for the idea that many modern people are getting misdiagnosed these days as clinically depressed when in fact they re acedic, requiring a whole different treatment than simply mood altering drugs like those with legitimate chemical imbalances and ironically, this treatment tends to mirror many of the daily routines of the ancient monks who first identified and battled with this intellectual s disease, including such activities as contemplation and meditation, regular periods of silence and solitude, and a forced concentration on small daily rituals whether you feel like completing them or not, all of which are not coincidentally missingandfrom most modern lives It s a dense book but a highly rewarding one, that will have you thinking in a completely different way about mental illnesses versus simple maladjustments, and it comes highly recommended to anyone interested in contemplating issues purely of the mind.Out of 10 9.2