How do we talk about and understand despondency? I never heard about the word or the nature of the vice until I was in my 20s and after having read the fathers. And yet we hear from the fathers that it is the greatest and gravest of the eight capital vices. It afflicts the soul in such a way that it draws it into darkness. The soul loses its capacity to see the presence of God or to love the things of God. It becomes most dangerous when we are engaged in the spiritual life in isolation; either as those who live the life of a hermit, or as those who see the spiritual life as a private affair. We live in a radical solidarity with each other, and with God. Our understanding of this, and our embrace of that reality may be the one thing that keeps us from falling into a general death.
This demon uses the most subtle forms of temptation to make us lax in our spiritual practice or come to despise it all together. There are very few remedies for it for this reason. One must remember death and the brevity of our life. We must understand that we are in the end times and see the urgency of the moment. We must also cling to obedience; placing our thoughts before another and allow them to guide us when we cannot see the path before us.
Prayer filled with hope, St. John tells us, is the only thing that brings this vice to utter death. Only when we cling to He who is life and love and hope and let go of the illusion that we can simply endure the spiritual trials of this world on our own will this vice be conquered. But once it is conquered, a person has come to experience all that is good; they are prepared for every spiritual battle that lies ahead.
Text of chat during the group:
00:19:17 David: Question on translation: Acedia wouldn't this be closer to insouciant or melancholy rather than despondency?
00:35:37 Daniel Allen: Despondency is a child of talkativeness but community life is opposed to it? That seems sort of contradictory.
00:37:21 Anthony: The spirit of despondency also perverts a concept of what it means to be "elect": I am the only true one, everyone is against me." That's not a good place to be.
00:37:51 Daniel Allen: As a follow up it seems that despondency is always a lurking threat.
00:38:32 Daniel Allen: Ok that clears it up thank you
00:41:21 Cindy Moran: Noonday Devil from Ps 90:6 [DRV]
00:43:22 Sr Barbara Jean Mihalchick: Also, many monks would not eat before 3 pm so beginning around midday hunger and hungers may start.
00:46:55 Anthony: The dinner bell represents hope that suffering will end.
00:59:02 Kathy: What do you mean by deification?
01:00:26 Eric Ewanco: Deification is become by grace what Christ was by nature -- becoming God-like, sharing in the divinity of Christ as he shared in our humanity, being partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4)
01:01:26 Anthony: A great Roman Catholic imagery / interpretation of deification is in Dante's "Paradiso," especially the later cantos.
01:02:14 Kathy: Thanks
01:06:45 Daniel Allen: St Therese - “May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.”
01:06:59 Kristen Brotemarkle: beautiful quote, thanks for sharing that. ^
01:09:55 Liz: Sorry, what´s the name of the author Father is talking
01:10:26 Anthony: Paul Evdekimov
01:10:32 Sr Barbara Jean Mihalchick: Paul Evdokimov
01:10:35 Liz: Thank you!!!
01:18:25 Ambrose Little, OP: Gender equality. Very modern.
01:20:56 Jeff O.: It seems like despondency (and gluttony as well) have a tendency or propensity to draw us towards numbing…which, paired with the nature of our culture which attempts to provide numbing or comforting in all things seems like an almost double whammy of sorts…
01:21:34 Anthony: Reacted to "It seems like desp..." with 👍
01:24:21 Kristen Brotemarkle: Reacted to "It seems like despon..." with 👍
01:37:38 Art: Got me too!
01:38:30 Rebecca Thérèse: Thank you🙂
01:38:53 Rodrigo Castillo: That is a great idea! The forum!
01:39:53 Cindy Moran: Thank you Father...rich teaching tonight.
01:39:57 Jeff O.: This was great! Thank you.
01:40:07 David: Thank you father!
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