The Noonday Devil

Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times

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Product Details
  • Product Code: NDEVP
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN/UPC: 9781586179397
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  • Length: 0.6
  • Size (HxW): 7.9 x 5.2
  • Pages: 208
  • Availability: In stock
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  • Publication date: January 29, 2015
  • Weight: 9.6 oz
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  • All Categories
    Catholic Living > Spiritual Growth
    Prayer > How to Pray

The noonday devil is the demon of acedia, the vice also known as sloth. The word “sloth”, however, can be misleading, for acedia is not laziness; in fact it can manifest as busyness or activism. Rather, acedia is a gloomy combination of weariness, sadness, and a lack of purposefulness. It robs a person of his capacity for joy and leaves him feeling empty, or void of meaning

Abbot Nault says that acedia is the most oppressive of demons. Although its name harkens back to antiquity and the Middle Ages, and seems to have been largely forgotten, acedia is experienced by countless modern people who describe their condition as depression, melancholy, burn-out, or even mid-life crisis.

He begins his study of acedia by tracing the wisdom of the Church on the subject from the Desert Fathers to Saint Thomas Aquinas. He shows how acedia afflicts persons in all states of life— priests, religious, and married or single laymen. He details not only the symptoms and effects of acedia, but also remedies for it.

Dom Jean-Charles Nault

Dom Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B., has been the abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Wandrille (or Fontenelle Abbey) in Normandy, France, since 2009. He entered the monastery in 1988, earned a doctorate in theology from the John Paul II Pontifical Institute in Rome (Lateran University), and received from Pope Benedict XVI, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the first Henri de Lubac Prize for his thesis on acedia, La Saveu de Dieu.

Reviews

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RatingReviewerReview
by Michael Philliber
on 3/18/2020
from Oklahoma
The Broad Vice Vitiated
This is an intriguing read on the subject, written primarily from within the context of monasticism, and for monastics. It includes an interesting historical trek through Benedict, Evagrius, John Cassian, Gregory the Great and Aquinas. And it takes on the dead-end concoction of William of Ockham, and his "liberty of indifference" (96).

Acedia, that "Noonday Devil" is a broad vice that shows itself in loss of heart and motivation, discouragement, despair, perpetual need for activity and change, and so forth. "Acedia is the temptation to withdraw from the narrowness of the present so as to take refuge in what is imaginary; it is the temptation to quit the battle so as to become a simple spectator of the controversy that is unfolding in the world" (135). And the "chief remedy for acedia is found in the joy of the gift" (201), which is the joy of God himself, and is captured in the incarnation of Christ. Highly recommended by this Presbyterian Minister.
Review and Rate this Item

"The simple, direct style of this work makes the reader feel involved and challenged to consider anew what is essential in his existence."
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops (Rome)

"With clarity and penetrating insight, Abbot Nault unmasks the pernicious demon of acedia, showing how it tempts souls in every state of life and why it may well be the zeitgeist of our time. A most helpful and encouraging book on a long-overdue topic."
- Johnnette Benkovic, EWTN host; Founder, Women of Grace®

"A revelation, a modern-day treatise on an ancient and yet familiar foe. This book can transform the spiritual life of those willing to dive in and go deeper." 
- Vinny Flynn, Author, 7 Secrets of the Eucharist  

"Dom Nault's book shows how acedia is the unwillingness to ask the questions about the meaning of our lives. Hence those burdened by the vice busy themselves in all sorts of activities and distractions. Nault's reflections are most welcome in a world that sees so much darkness at noon-time and wonders why." 
- James V. Schall, S. J., Author, Reasonable Pleasures 

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