Do may find yourself guilty of one of

Do you have a friend whose been
trying to meet up with you, but you consistently find yourself, too busy or just
not feeling like it?  If so, you may find
yourself guilty of one of the capital sins known as spiritual apathy.  Spiritual apathy also known as sloth, withdrawals
us from spiritual or interior goods that make us happy, leaving us to become
empty, sad and unfulfilled.  Spiritual
apathy is more about the will and less about the activity.  Two insights I have learned is that spiritual
apathy can be displayed as a form of restless busyness when one wants to divert
the mind from an afflicted heart, trying to fill a void instead of seeking a
greater good.  Secondly, I have learned
that spiritual apathy can present itself in the form of laziness by removing
ourselves from the obligations of helping others when we ought to, therefore
resisting the demands required to develop and nurture our relationships
(DeYoung, 88). 

The virtue of
diligence as described by DeYoung, is love expressed through one’s
responsibilities, work and duties (DeYoung, 81).  Spiritual apathy opposes diligence and therefore
disregards the needs of others; allowing us to not care about our work or responsibilities.  Aquinas views spiritual apathy as a sadness or
boredom experienced over God’s love and the love of others instead of joy
(Aquinas, 363).  To resist spiritual
apathy, Aquinas says we need to work and put in as much effort as possible to nourish
and deepen our hearts and the relationships around us.  Spiritual apathy can be used as a
self-defense mechanism to protect ourselves from being hurt or as an excuse to
give little or no effort.  It is considered
a spiritual vice, for the lack of love directly tied to our laziness, (DeYoung,
81) and looks for an easy out, even if it goes against God’s will.   When we lose our zeal, inner and outer
manifestations of spiritual apathy occur, and we often fill the void with restless
busyness or acedia, which John Cassian describes as “lack of care” through laziness
(DeYoung, 83).

               Spiritual
apathy moves away from spiritual goods such as relationships with other people,
understanding or knowledge, love, vocations, or virtues.  Through this discipline, I have found that
spiritual apathy makes it easy to use busyness as an excuse to avoid dealing
with the war in my heart, which is that I feel like I am battling this journey
of parenthood and life on my own.  For
example, I tend to make myself as busy as possible; from helping kids do
homework, making bedtime snacks, doing my own homework, answering work phone
calls and household chores.  I use my
“productivity” as an excuse to divert myself from other responsibilities and
the need to reflect on my life.  By
continually adding to my to-do list, other responsibilities tend to pile up and
I end up feeling a sort of despair; a daughter vice of spiritual apathy, and
have a subconscious feeling of wanting nothing more than to escape from the madness.  DeYoung describes how spiritual apathy, or
acedia, tempts us to feel like we should “jump ship and give up,” and run
towards something more comfortable (DeYoung, 97).  At times, I find my mind wandering, another
daughter vice of spiritual apathy, by daydreaming of relaxing on a beach without
a care in the world.  When I allow
spiritual apathy to manifest into busyness, I am unable to appreciate what is
around me such as the laughter of my children and the happiness they bring to
my life, these simple joys go unnoticed. 
I also find my self-inflicted busyness tends to produce mediocre quality,
making me feel like I am unable to do anything well.  

It is difficult to
find a remedy for spiritual apathy, (DeYoung, 96) but if I take a step back and
practice skillful self-talk and tears, where I hand over my sinfulness and
worries to God, (Remedies for the capital vices, 13) I can focus on life’s
blessings and replace sorrow with gratefulness. 
This starts the process of changing my habits which used busyness as a
mere excuse to overlook and detour my sadness, thus contributing to my
flourishing.

Spiritual apathy
can twist its way into our lives by manifesting laziness in times when we
should feel obliged to help those in need. 
Spiritual apathy in this form contradicts charity as it opposes the love
of others.  For example, my sister calls
and asks if I can babysit her kids so that she can go out with friends for the
evening.  Although, I know I ought to
help, I merely use the excuse that I have homework, when in fact I just don’t
feel like watching her kids because they are a handful.  In my mind, those boys take way to much
effort and I just don’t care to watch three crazy boys tear apart my house.  This act displays the daughter vice of
pusillanimity and despair, as I feel watching her kids are below me and I don’t
feel compelled to help by creating extra work for myself.  My sister deserves a break, but my spiritual
apathy prevents her from expanding and nourishing her relationship with others,
which is contrary to charity and would have contributed to her happiness and
flourishing. 

Stabilitas loci, stability
in place, is one type remedy used for spiritual apathy.  It is trying something for what is, and as a
result, you may surprise yourself by liking it. 
Had I not runaway but instead agreed to babysit, I may have found that I
enjoyed spending time with my nephews and came to appreciate them for who they
are and the qualities they possess.  DeYoung
explains how humans are designed to love, and to resist it is to reject who we
are (DeYoung, 93).  When I turn myself
away from acts of charity because I feel they are a waste of my time, I
withdraw myself from a good that can potentially bring pleasure and
happiness.  Once I succumb to using mere
laziness as a means to avoid doing what I ought to do, it becomes easier for me
to repeat in the future; thus becoming habitual.

Allowing ourselves
to be excessively busy to avoid a greater good or being lazy by not helping
those in need, does not in any way help us flourish as individuals nor does it
lead to our happiness.  When I display a
continual pattern of spiritual apathy to self-protect myself from reflecting on
my life, I tend to take for granted existing relationships and blessings my life
and instead turn away those friendships. 
Over time, these relationships start to fade and eventually die.  As humans, we need friendships for support,
they are vital to our flourishing; the effort we put into them is what we get
back in return.  Spiritual apathy, uses
lot of energy and effort to distract ourselves from underlying issues in our
life.  To overcome this vice, we need to implement
remedies to help determine what is troubling us so we may find a solution.  Remedies such as skillful self-talk and stabilitas
loci start us on the right path.  Spiritual
apathy has a way of seizing our soul and choking our mind, we need to make it a
priority to combat this vice by resisting the temptation to run when we want
the easy way out and instead seek love and support.   It is that love that we need to strive for
and nurture every day.  When we love in a
righteous way, our lives flourish, therefore leading to our ultimate goal, a
happy life.