Book Review: The Noonday Devil

Full title: The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of our Times

Author: Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B., Abbot of Saint-Wandrille

Acedia, sometimes known as sloth, is the lack of desire for good, the avoidance of doing what we should, to which we are especially prone at midday.

The ‘afternoon slump’ most people experience is often due, at least in part, to this spiritual oppression. In the same way, the ‘midlife crisis’ from which many suffer (at the midday of life), in which we sometimes abandon our duties and seek happiness in activities that are ultimately pointless and harmful, is an extreme manifestation of this evil.

Abbot Nault explores how this sin has been understood throughout the history of the Church, and how to our detriment, we often forget about it. In this book we also find  solutions, tried and tested by the saints. At the end of the book, the Abbot gives a sobering explanation of how acedia affects people in various states of life: monastic life, priesthood, married life, and single life.

The part of the book covering St Thomas Aquinas requires more energy to read than the other parts, simply because it is densely packed with theology and abstract concepts. If you’re slow and dim like me, you’ll just have to underline everything, but it’s well worth reading.

This book will change the way you look at your life and your daily activities. Give it a go!

Also pray to St Anthony of the Desert, who was plagued by this devil for a long time.

The Magnificat

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

Urgent prayer intention

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Alexandra Pope, a nineteen-year-old girl who died on Wednesday of a heart attack. She was not Catholic (or even religious), and so needs many prayers. Please also pray for her family’s consolation and conversion. Being atheists, their pain is all the more horrible.

Thank you. God bless.

Credo

Credo in unum Deum,
Patrem omnipotentem,
factorem caeli et terrae,
visibilium omnium et invisibilium,
Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum,
Filium Dei unigenitum,
et ex Patre natum, ante omnia saecula,
Deum de Deo, lumen de Lumine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri:
per quem omnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis.
Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto
ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est.
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato;
passus et sepultus est,
et resurrexit tertia die, secundem Scripturas,
et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris.
Et iterum venturus est cum gloria,
iudicare vivos et mortuos,
cuius regni non erit finis.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem:
qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.
Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur:
qui locutus est per prophetas.
Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.
Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum.
Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum,
et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.