ASK FATHER: I’ve lost all desire and motivation to pray, fast, etc. It all seems so pointless.

wdtprs.com | 11/8/2019 | View all posts by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf →
vpp1219vpp1219 (Posted by) Level 3


QUAERITUR:

I’ve lost all desire and motivation to pray, fast, etc. I’ve become apathetic towards the spiritual life. It all seems so pointless. God stopped listening and caring about me years ago, and I feel as though my time would be better spent actually doing things that will help me rather than spend the time in prayer asking God to help me (which he never does). At the same time, I don’t want to go to ****, but I just can’t motivate myself to pray or do anything related to the spiritual life. It all seems so pointless. I feel like God just doesn’t care about me anymore. Pray or don’t pray, my life is still the *****. What do you recommend?

Affliction - Acedia - Accidie - Greek - Akedía

This sounds rather like the affliction of acedia or accidie (from Greek akedía, “I don’t care-ishness”). This is “spiritual sloth”, which is one of the seven capital or deadly sins. It has to do with lack of concern for or regret about one’s spiritual well-being especially because of the obligations it involves. In many cases this is a venial sin but it can be a mortal sin if this lack of care or regret leads to omitting grave duties of one’s state of life and the duties of religion.

Rather than address this at length here, allow me to recommend some good reading.

Noonday - Devil - Acedia - Unnamed - Evil

First, The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times by Jean-Charles Nault.

Also, Acedia and Its Discontents: Metaphysical Boredom in an Empire of Desire by R.J. Snell.

Passion - Church - Affliction - People - Anxiety

As we move deeper into the Passion that the Church is bound to undergo now, I suspect that this will be an affliction for many good people who, in anxiety and frustration, may retreat into acedia in a kind of self-afflicting self-defense choice. But it is a dead end. We were made...
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