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Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, And A Writer's Life (2008)

by Kathleen Norris(Favorite Author)
3.73 of 5 Votes: 2
1594489963 (ISBN13: 9781594489969)
review 1: In our culture that increasingly diagnoses depression, Kathleen Norris takes a different look at issues we often categorize as melancholy, sadness, depression, or spiritual lethargy through the eyes of the fourth century desert monastics. I want to applaud Norris for the way she combines spiritual reflection, historical study, and personal candor in this book. That being said, I found it difficult to follow this book at times as it meanders widely from start to finish.
review 2: At its Greek root, the word acedia means the absence of care. The person afflicted by acedia refuses to care or is incapable of doing so… it offers kind of a spiritual morphine… The boundaries between depression and acedia are notoriously fluid; at the risk of oversimplifying, I wou
... moreld 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.The desert monks termed acedia “the noonday demon” because the temptation usually struck during the heat of the day, when the monk was hungry and fatigued, and susceptible to the suggestion that his commitment to a life of prayer was not worth the effort. Acedia has long been considered a peculiarly monastic affliction, and for good reason. It is a risky business to train oneself to embrace a daily routine that mirrors eternity in its changelessness.We might well ask if these crazy monks don’t have it coming: if your goal is to “pray without ceasing,” aren’t you asking for trouble? Is this a reasonable goal, or even a good one? Henri Nouwen tells us that “the literal translation of the words, ‘pray always’ is ‘come to rest.’” The “rest” that the monk is seeking is not an easy one, and as Nouwen writes, it “has little to do with the absence of conflict or pain. It is a rest in God in the midst of a very intense daily struggle.” — Kathleen Norris in Acedia and Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life less
Reviews (see all)
A bit too long in places, but the parts that are good, are great, and possibly life-altering.
captures Benedictine wisdom in easily understandable form
An uncomfortably accurate portrayal of a writing life.
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