On acedia and waking up. Zeal comes from an intense experience of love or beauty or goodness

Our being asleep is being separated from God. It is also succumbing to acedia, the capital sin often translated as sloth but with a far richer meaning that includes depression, despair, passivity, boredom. Aquinas defines acedia as “the lack of energy to begin new things.” We find it everywhere today, it is a “sign of our times,” and that is why we created a new word for it—namely, couchpotatoitis.

Its cure is Waking Up. But how does that happen? Aquinas observes that zeal comes from an intense experience of love or beauty or goodness. Yes, beauty and falling in love are the cure for acedia and being asleep.  We need to fall in love at least three times per day. Of course, such falling in love is not an anthropocentric kind of love—it is falling in love with creation itself and its many expressions of beauty and of the divine. Why not fall in love with wild flowers, elephants, trees, flowers, as well as music, poetry, pottery, films and the rest?

When we fall in love with life, we live this life fully as both mystics and prophets. Then we are awake and risen and have undergone our first resurrection. Upon dying, the second resurrection takes care of itself.

Aquinas believes that Christ explicitly calls us to both the first and second resurrection:

Our Lord promises both resurrections, for he says: ‘Amen, Amen, I say to you that the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live.’ And this seems to pertain to the spiritual resurrection of souls. . . . But later, it is the bodily resurrection he expresses, saying: ‘The hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God’ (John 5:25, 28). For, clearly souls are not in the graves, but bodies. Therefore, this foretells the bodily resurrection.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/W69kRsC_CgQ?feature=oembedA new creation in the making: the 10-year timeline of the “Greening the Desert” project between the villages of Al Jawfa and Al Jawasreh in the Jordan River Valley. For more information click HERE.

Nor is resurrection restricted to believers, but a “new creation “and a “common resurrection” happens to all and has already begun.

On that day on which the resurrection took place a kind of new creation, as it were, began. As the psalmist says ‘Send forth your Spirit, and they will be created, and you will renew the face of the earth’ (104:30). And as Galatians puts it: ‘The life of the risen Christ is spread to all humanity in common resurrection. Christ’s resurrection is the cause of newness of life which comes through grace or justice (6:15).

As humans awaken, a new creation emerges.


Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 168-170. 

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