Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jesuit On The Sin Of Sloth

Boredom refers to a certain emptiness of soul or lack of passion; acedia refers to the sadness that comes from our unwillingness to tackle the difficulties involved in attaining something good; laziness more generally refers to the torpor and idleness of one who is not inclined to exert himself. Sloth encompasses all these ideas and more. 
In his Pocket Catholic Dictionary, the late Jesuit Fr. John Hardon defined sloth as "sluggishness of soul or boredom because of the exertion necessary for the performance of a good work. The good work may be a corporal task, such as walking; or a mental exercise, such as writing; or a spiritual duty, such as prayer." One might have the impression that sloth is not a typically American sin. 
The virtues of diligence and industriousness are deeply ingrained in our nation’s Protestant work ethic. Our youth learn early on that the way to get ahead—at least for those who don’t win the lottery—is by working hard. The early bird catches the worm. Early to bed, early to rise. In a competitive, dog-eat-dog business world, everyone is looking for an "edge," and that typically comes from outworking the competition. 
Link (here) to Catholic Answers

1 comment:

TonyD said...

When I read this type of analysis I hope that no one takes it too seriously. Sloth is emptiness of the soul? Sloth is never constructed to be part of a good work? Good work can be enumerated so simplistically?

I have personal knowledge of situations were sloth was used to create positive outcomes. And I can describe many good works that were neither material nor spiritual. (Transcendent is transcendent)

The article then describes sloth as failing to fulfill one’s basic duties. Such a definition ignores that duties are ultimately defined by God – and the simplistic “binary” logic of our interpretations does not apply. The repeated calls for humility in the Bible are pragmatic – and drastically misunderstood.

The advice for overcoming sloth is equally misinformed. Church attendance? Prayer? Time scheduling? Charity? Those are all things that can be recommended in particular situations, but when did they become “cure-alls”?
Ultimately, there are many things that God allows for His reasons.

How should you react when you or someone else meets some definition of slothful? Humility and judgment are required. In most cases, it is their life and their free will that they are exerting. Judgment must be used before advocating any change.