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.

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.

The Catholic Table

I have just finished reading a book called The Catholic Table, by Emily Stimpson Chapman. It discusses food and eating from a Catholic perspective, with plenty of scriptural references and quotes from the saints, as well as lovely recipes at the end of each chapter.

If you have ever had issues with food – eating too much, too little, or even both – I would highly recommend it. Recognising food as a gift from God, an opportunity to practise virtue, a way to bond with others, and, ultimately, as the means through which God gives Himself to us, helps us to enjoy it without abusing it, even if this improvement is a slow process.

Emily also has a blog of the same name, which you can find here. It contains many more recipes, hosting tips and articles on food in the context of the spiritual life.

It’s comfortable to read (even for slow readers like me) and written with humour. Why not give it a go? 🙂