Acedia

“One of the most central concepts from the moral philosophy of the High Middle Ages is that of acedia, which we, very ambiguously and mistakenly, are accustomed to translate as “laziness”. Acedia, however, means this: that man denies his effective assent to his true essence, that he closes himself to the demand that arises from his own dignity, that he is not inclined to claim for himself the grandeur that is imposed on him with his essence’s God-given nobility of being” (A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart, p. 51).

Creatureliness, despair and Hope

“For man who, in statu viatoris, in the state of being on the way, experiences the essential creatureliness, the “not yet really existing being” of his existence, there is only one appropriate answer to this experience. The answer cannot be despair–for the meaning of creaturely existence is not nothingness but rather is being, which means fulfillment. The response also cannot be the comfortable security of possessions–for the creature’s “being as becoming” still borders in peril on nothingness. Both of these, despair and assurance of possession, militate against the truth of real things. The only answer that is suitable for man’s authentic existential situation is hope. The virtue of hope is the first appropriate virtue of the status viatoris; it is the genuine virtue of the “not yet”. In the virtue of hope, before all others, man understands and affirms that he is a creature, a creation of God” (A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart, p. 47-48).