Why Are We So Sad?

Shadow_Person-e1442515643980-300x199 Why Are We So Sad?

“This ‘liberating’ secular society inevitably leaves a profound void inside the soul of modern man”

This “liberating” secular society inevitably leaves a profound void inside the soul of modern man creating a frustration and desolation that many have termed a spiritual wasteland.

Such an attitude calls to mind the condition that Saint Thomas Aquinas calls acedia, which he defines as the weariness for holy and spiritual things and a subsequent sadness of living.[1] As a spiritual being, the man afflicted with acedia denies his spiritual appetites. “He does not want to be what God wants him to be,” notes Josef Pieper, “and that means that he does not want to be what he really, and in the ultimate sense, is.”[2] This refusal cannot help but bring sadness and even despair.

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The modern version of acedia includes both a weariness and a wariness for all things spiritual. There is the conscious turning away from holy and spiritual things as well as a cultural regime where sublime goals or religious ideals are looked upon with suspicion and simply not considered to be an important part of our lives. The intensive feverish activity of modern life often is an attempt to hide acedia’s effects of listlessness, low spirits, and lack of joy.

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[1] See Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 35, a. 1.

[2] Pieper, Leisure, 28.