The Refusal of One’s Own Greatness

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“One of the daughters of acedia, according to St. Thomas, is pusillanimity (having a very small spirit or being mediocre at best). It is the vice contrary to (the virtue of) magnanimity, that is, generousness of soul (being conscious of the potential for greatness). It is the inability to believe in the magnitude of the vocation to which God calls us: to become participants in the divine nature. Ultimately, we come back to the abhorrence of being of which we spoke earlier, the hatred that impels man to embrace his own destruction. It is astonishing to see how, in the beginning, man was tempted by pride: he wanted “to be like God” (Gn 3:5), in other words, he wanted to become God without God, or against God; he was guilty of presumption.

Today, we witness the opposite: we judge that it would be better not to exist at all; we are guilty of pusillanimity. It is precisely these two vices that St. Thomas says are opposed to magnanimity , one by excess, the other, by default.

Let us add that the greatness of the human vocation is not limited to the individual aspect of human existence; it must extend to all of society, in order for it to be truly free and human. It has
been said that our time is stamped by a certain “cultural acedia”.  Confronted by it, Christians have the responsibility of knowing how to give an account of their faith: in this way, they will contribute to the fight against the fragmentation of knowledge acedia causes.

The most efficacious remedy against acedia is perseverance: to persevere in the face of every temptation to escape (your life’s situation).”

An excerpt from “Acedia: Enemy of Spiritual Joy” by Jean-Charles Nault

 

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