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While the term acedia may be unfamiliar, the vice, usually translated as sloth, is all too common. Sloth is not mere laziness, however, but a disgust with reality, a loathing of our call to be friends with God, and a spiteful hatred of place and life itself. As described by Josef Pieper, the slothful person does not "want to be as God wants him to be, and that ultimately means he does not wish to be what he really, fundamentally is." Sloth is a hellish despair.
Our own culture is deeply infected, choosing a destructive freedom rather than the good work for which God created us. Acedia and Its Discontents resists despair, calling us to reconfigure our imaginations and practices in deep love of the life and work given by God. By feasting, keeping sabbath, and working well, we learn to see the world as enchanting, beautiful, and good--just as God sees it.
"In the arid wasteland that is academic writing, amid the wider desert that is modern secular thought, R. J. Snell's book on acedia is an oasis of flowers and fruit and fresh water. Professor Snell reminds us that man must never be made subordinate to work, nor even to the empty 'vacations' that are but interruptions in work. Like his great predecessors Josef Pieper, Jacques Maritain, Max Picard, Romano Guardini, and Pope John Paul II, he diagnoses the besetting disease of our time--spiritual torpor--and prescribes as a remedy the joyful celebration of the Sabbath. A stupendous book, filled with the happiness of wonder."--ANTHONY ESOLEN,
"A whole book about just one vice, 'sloth'? Ah, but this book is different. It exposes a deeply hidden and deeply destructive fundamental attitude that pervades our culture, an attitude that comes not just from the flesh (laziness) or from the world (world-weariness, cynicism), but from the Devil: disgust and rebellion toward Being itself, natural as well as supernatural. This is the 'noonday devil' that great saints have labelled 'sloth.' Know your enemy. Read this book!"--PETER KREEFT