Disease · Lent

Are you suffering from a “spiritual” depression? It may be acedia!

It’s amazing what you can see in the Lenten desert when your eyes are fixed on Jesus. For months now I have been suffering from some sort of spiritual depression, a less than enthusiastic daily bible reading, a lack of want for prayer and a leaving behind of the rosary. I chalked it up to a combination of spiritual transition as well as just a general depression. But as I slowly walked away from all things that made me idle, I started to unveil the holy of holies.

Suddenly my appetite came back. Not so much with a vengeance, but more so with a want and desire that I had been missing. I begun to look forward to 5 am mornings with Jesus again. I saw that the rosary brought back my peace and joy, and I finally felt a bit of the color return in my face…

I felt strong enough to start making some serious spiritual decisions, follow Jesus to a new church, a new house and a new school for the kids. Trust Him despite the fact that I have no idea where I’m going. And while my head was spinning from my new-found Lenten freedom, I discovered a word I had never heard before that changed it all- Acedia.

Acedia

Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. The spiritual writers understand by this a form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. The humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy.

From the Catechism Paragraph 2733

It was if my whole life depended on this one word. It was the answer to the scripture that Jesus had put before me from Mark 10:21, There is one thing that you lack…

I had a diagnosis! I couldn’t believe it! I was not imaging things or going crazy. It was a very real spiritual condition that had a name.

When I was done celebrating I took a breath… wait. If the diagnosis was acedia, what was the cure?

I began to research it but then ran out of time. But immediately I could taste the blood of Jesus. I remembered that I hadn’t received it on certain weeks because I was sick and before that because the church I was going to didn’t offer it. I remembered there is life in the blood…

I am still not where I was spiritually, but I am different. I am further along. And with stretched terrain comes a deeper spirituality, comes longing, comes tiredness. Even though I hadn’t “felt” like I was making progress or in fact had taken some steps backwards, I was still pushing ahead. I never did give up my time with Jesus at 5 a.m., despite everything in me wanting to.

Like a person suffering from an unknown ailment, it is often the frustration and the pain of not having a diagnosis that is worse than the diagnosis itself. My spiritual disease is curable, and I am grateful. I am beginning to feel free…

Has anyone of you suffered from or is suffering from acedia? Did you know of this before my article? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and if you have suffered from it, how you overcame it.

 

 

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