Acedia

Acedia:  spiritual or mental sloth; apathy

Monks in their cells in the Middle Ages
rose before dawn to pray.
Instead, they walked that narrow room,
     back and forth, back and forth, all day.
Some called this a sin,
     this rocking in their stiff chairs,
     the unwillingness to kneel, to pray.

The days of cloistering went on eternally, it seemed.

We've been sheltering for months,
the agitated monk inside us growing, growling,
longing to be free again.
Still he paces, frantic and passive.
Call it a sin.
Call it malaise, a fever.
Acedia has risen from the ashes
to mark this time.

Mary Elyn Bahlert
10/2020

4 thoughts on “Acedia”

  1. You catch the collective depth feeling permeating our culture– a restlessness, discomfort, ansiness — and write its intrusion into peacefulness

    Like

  2. So true, Mary Elyn. I’ve re-discovered acedia recently; so pertinent to our times right now. And just re-read Kathleen Norris’ terrific memoir, “Acedia and Me…” Enormously helpful!

    Like

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