Friday, November 4, 2011

Back to Basics: Sloth

The last of the seven deadly sins is sloth.
Sloth (sometimes called acedia) is laziness -- particularly when it concerns prayer and spiritual life. It centers on doing nothing or doing just trivial things. Sloth is always wanting to rest and relax, with no desire or intention of making a sacrifice or doing something for others. It's an aversion to work -- physical, mental, and spiritual. Sloth inevitably leads to lukewarmness and tepidity and then deteriorates into disinterest, discouragement, and finally despair. Sloth breeds indifference, which prevents joy from ever being experienced.

Spiritual laziness can only be overcome by practicing the virtue of diligence, which is the habit of keeping focused and paying attention to the work at hand -- be it the work of employment or the work of God. Diligent prayer and diligent worship can make you more reverent. Diligence in all things ensures that you don't become idle ...
Catholicism For Dummies by John Trigilio
Recommended reading: Back to Virtue by Peter Kreeft. He examines the virtues in depth and also looks specific virtues and Beatitudes as antidotes to each of the seven deadly sins. Not a new concept but one that he writes about superbly (as always).

I have to say that, upon finishing this little review of these seven core sins I was surprised to find definite identification with two of them specifically. For the moment at least that has resulted in an identification of them in my daily life and an effort to move away from them through practicing the virtue prescribed as a remedy. Perhaps this is a sign to myself that whenever I feel too complacent it is time again to read through the list of sins and virtues to see what else I find.


  1. Sloth is always wanting to rest and relax, with no desire or intention of making a sacrifice or doing something for others.

    Does it still count as sloth if you meet the above conditions but make yourself work anyhow? If you are working with a lazy heart, what matters? The intention or the action? Because I hate working and do it only because I have to. That bathroom won't clean itself.

    1. It would seem tom me that if you work despite the temptation to rest and relax or neglect or put off working; you are indeed fighting against a temptation. That will pay off, but the Devil never rests. With me, at least, He never ceases to tempt until my Guardian Angel or my patron St. Anthony, or the Virgin Mary, literally can Him or chase Him away.

  2. I think that would count as diligence, despite not "desiring" to do it. And there's a whole para on diligence! :-D

  3. I have really enjoyed reading these and need to purchase that book. I'm not a commenter on blogs normally, but had to say thank you for providing this information for reflection.

  4. Peggy, thank you so much! :-)

  5. This is good to find. I was looking as to why I was in a spirit of despair.
    Those 'spirits war against the soul' they try to bring us down-even as we attempt to 'get up'. Tempted even in doing virtuous things.