Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life

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Author- Kathleen Norris

In Acedia & Me, the acclaimed author Kathleen Norris explicates and demystifies the forgotten but utterly relevant concept of acedia, a term that has often been understood as spiritual sloth, but really signifies the serious malady of being unable to care. With great insight and candor, Norris explores acedia through the geography of her life as a writer, her marriage and the challenges of commitment in the midst of grave illness, and her keen interest in the monastic tradition.

She writes of her and her husband David's battles with acedia and its clinical cousin, depression, and traces acedia's path through literary and religious history, exposing the damage it does not only to individual lives but also to our culture as a whole, as we are desensitized by ever more intrusive distractions and lose the ability to care about what is truly important. Thus, she finds that the "restless boredom, frantic escapism, commitment phobia, and enervating despair" that we struggle with today are "the ancient demon of acedia in modern dress."

An examination of acedia in the light of theo logy, psychology, monastic spirituality, the healing powers of religious practice, and Norris's own experience, Acedia & Me is both intimate and historically sweeping, brimming with exasperation as well as reverence, sometimes funny, often provocative, and always important.