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Pope Francis prays at the end of his weekly general audience yesterday (CNS/Lola Gomez)

The vice of acedia, often translated as “sloth”, can cause laziness, but it is much more than that; it is a lack of caring for anything and being bored with everything, even one’s relationship with God, Pope Francis said yesterday. Source: CNS.

“The demon of acedia wants precisely to destroy the simple joy of the here and now, the grateful wonder of reality; it wants to make you believe that it is all in vain, that nothing has meaning, that it is not worth taking care of anything or anyone,” the Pope said at his weekly general audience yesterday.

Holding his audience on Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis prayed that God would accompany and bless people through their Lenten journey, but his main talk was a continuation of his series on vices and virtues.

People spend too little time talking about “the capital sin” of acedia, he said, and even when they do, they refer to it as sloth or laziness.

But “in reality, laziness is an effect more than a cause,” the Pope said. “When a person is idle, indolent, apathetic, we say he is lazy. But as the wisdom of the ancient desert fathers teaches us, often the root is acedia, which from its Greek origin literally means a ‘lack of care.’“

Pope Francis described acedia as “a very dangerous temptation that one should not mess around with,” because it makes a person “feel disgust at everything; their relationship with God becomes boring to them; and even the holiest acts, those that in the past warmed their hearts, now appear entirely useless to them.”

When a person feels acedia creeping in, he said, they need to try to cultivate “the patience of faith” with a few small steps.

Take a breath, he said, set smaller goals and “persevere by leaning on Jesus, who never abandons us in temptation.”


Laziness is a symptom of ‘acedia,’ a dangerous vice, pope says (By Cindy Wooden, CNS)