Sloth

I think this is the first thread I’ve ever started at CAF but I’m moved by a real sense of helplessness and bordering on despair at the moment. Throughout my life, I think the biggest battle I’ve had is with the sin of sloth. I see it undermining so many areas of my life and have almost daily, resolved to triumph over the temptation.

I know that I have worked hard… I’ve had to, raising the children and not ever having had the most domestically helpful husband. Plus I’ve always been depended on to host the majority of family occasions like Christmas and big birthdays for both my family and in-laws. So due to that, a lot of people don’t know what I’m talking about when I mention my lazyness. But it is something that I’m painfully aware of and I know that there are many things that aren’t done that could easily be done if I just rejected laziness and organised my life around industry… instead of it.

I’m looking for guidance from others who’ve been plagued by sloth in their lives and how it can be overcome. I’ve tried to adopt quotes that have the strength of inspiration that could overcome the moments when my body just falls into slothfulness like falling into a big comfy chair that it so deep and enveloping that it takes enormous effort to lift yourself out of. I find I resent that I have to take my mind away from contemplating all the amazing things in life that there are to think upon. Thinking for me is like an addictive puzzle of joining the dots or assembling a jigsaw that you’re dying to see in the fullness of completion.

I welcome any ideas, suggestions and experiences that anyone may have to offer. Thankyou so much.

There are 7 cardinal sins, 7 cardinal virtues. The virtue to develop is diligence.

Are you depressed? Depression can make a person lose energy, momentum, want to sleep all day, do nothing.

I think the OP misunderstands what the sin of sloth, or acedia is.

It isn’t feeling too tired to do work, or even putting off work.

CCC
2733 Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. The spiritual writers understand by this a form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. The humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy.

Sloth is sinful when we neglect our spiritual life with carelessness. We don’t pray, don’t go to Mass, and choose things of our own worldly desires over God.

Not every person has the same energy level and there are some who are referred to today as Type-A people, who can’t sit still and are always active. They too can and often do neglect their spiritual life.

So, don’t confuse lack of energy to do work, as sloth.

Jim

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First of all, you should see if you have a medical condition. If you’re really tired all the time, you may be dealing with a hypo-active thyroid or sleep apnea. Also, it may just be that you are over-working your body. You’re not Wonder Woman or Supergirl. If you’re worried about things getting done, try to enlist help from your husband (though he may need constant reminders to help - he might not think you need or want help; or he might not know how he can best help if you don’t tell him). Moses had to be told by his father-in-law Jethro that he couldn’t do everything, and that it would be prudent to designate 70 elders as judges for everyday matters.

Honestly, it sounds like you’re trying to prevent doing too little by doing too much. The opposite of sloth is overzealousness. Unfortunately, the problems that arise from being overzealous are that (a) you get angry with anyone who isn’t as zealous as you are (you become indignant and self-righteous) and (b) overzealousness can burn you out - leading right back to sloth. Try to find a middle ground - even if the middle ground requires you to solicit help.

Thankyou that is very helpful. I would definitely not be considered a Type-A person. 3 years ago I did a silent retreat at a Jesuit Monastry in the Ignatian spirit. None of my family and friends could believe I could enjoy a whole week of silence and contemplation… but I count it as one of the best weeks of my life. I long to do that again when life permits. So no way a Type-A.

Thankyou for the CCC reference for some clarity I was missing. :gopray2:

Not so much depressed, but I am dealing with a type of grief that I believe is common in midlife, to do with realising that hopes and dreams that have sustained you through the not so perfect life/marriage… have to be abandoned and life accepted for what it is. I’m having a lot of trouble achieving that acceptance and I find that draining and God and Our Lady must be sick to death of my whining to them!

Actually I did have a swollen thyroid 12 months back but it went down after a week so I didn’t bother with the doctor and I know that I have some sleep apnea also.

I wasn’t expecting these interesting suggestions for my problem, but they are making some sense to me and it would be great if addressing those helps me! Many thanks for your wisdom.

Hopefully your thyroid count is being monitored and kept within acceptable levels.

A Year of Faith article on SLOTH:

"His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?” —Matthew 25:26

“If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks.” —Ecclesiastes 10:18

But I do lots of stuff!

Most people think of sloth as laziness, not doing much of anything, but just sitting around doing nothing. Many people stay busy most of the time but don’t do the things they should, putting them off for later. They may be staying busy so they have an excuse.

Sloth (or acedia) is a kind of spiritual laziness (as opposed to mere physical fatigue or depression). It means not making it a priority to do what we should, or change what we should in ourselves. Some people might call it apathy, which means a lack of feeling.

An example might be a parent that always sends their child to bed early so they can have lots of quiet time to play solitaire or watch TV. Perhaps they could let the child stay up a little later and play a game with them or read. Or perhaps they always tell their child “no!” without taking the trouble to explain why…

Another example could be someone active in a political movement. Perhaps they don’t bother to read other opinions and so never question whether their group is right or wrong. As a result, they could support some very wrong beliefs, such as racism, because they never tried to find the truth.

In business, some people never check into the laws to see if their practices are illegal. For Christians, we sometimes don’t really want to know what the Bible (or our Church) teaches about something, so we put off reading or asking about it. Sloth is quite possibly the main reason why people don’t read good spiritual books. They will read Christian fiction or some odd Gnostic gospel instead that “tickles their ears,” but never the ones that could call them to action: loving their neighbor, helping the poor, telling the truth.

Lastly, there might be a student who naturally picks everything up with very little effort. Instead of learning more than required, or doing volunteer work, they might just sit around getting high or gossiping. Not because it is fun, but because they just don’t care.

It should be noted that vices often are disguised as virtues. So sloth is often disguised as calmness, serenity, keeping a level head, open mindedness, etc. If sloth is the reality, people will get very defensive. Or maybe not if the problem is sloth; it is too much effort to defend it.

SLOTH is conquered by Diligence and the Gif of the Holy Spirit is Knowledge.

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