From Acedia to Apatheia

A Short Spiritual Journey in a Time of Prolonged Pandemic

A Lecture by Father Vincent


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The Desert Mothers and Fathers recognized two spiritual states that stand in opposition to one another. Acedia is a state of spiritual torpor, a “lack of care,” boredom, and even depression. The demon of acedia strikes at the heart of the contemplative in the midst of their isolation and loneliness, resulting in a kind of listlessness. By contrast, apatheia is a spiritual state defined not by a “lack of care” but by a “freedom from care.” That is, a state of tranquility independent of one’s circumstances or surroundings. This freedom, grounded in awakening to the unfailing presence of God in our midst, allows the contemplative to embrace each moment lovingly, openly, and freely. In this presentation, Fr. Vincent Pizzuto will explore our collective temptation toward acedia throughout the pandemic, and how the cultivation of apatheia opens a way to move beyond it.