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The Noonday Devil [PDF / Epub] ☂ The Noonday Devil Author Jean-Charles Nault – Thomashillier.co.uk The noonday devil is the demon of acedia the vice also known as sloth The word sloth however can be misleading for acedia is not laziness; in fact it can manifest as busyness or activism Rather acedia The Noonday Devil is the demon of acedia the vice also known as sloth The word sloth however can be misleading for The Noonday eBook ✓ acedia is not laziness; in fact it can manifest as busyness or activism Rather acedia is a gloomy combination of weariness sadness and a lack of purposefulness It robs a person of his capacity for joy and leaves him feeling empty or void of meaningAbbot Nault says that acedia is the most oppressive of demons Although its name harkens back to antiuity and the Middle Ages and seems to have been largely forgotten acedia is experienced by countless modern people who describe their condition as depression melancholy burn out or even mid life crisisHe begins his study of acedia by tracing the wisdom of the Church on the subject from the Desert Fathers to Saint Thomas Auinas He shows how acedia afflicts persons in all states of life priests religious and married or single laymen He details not only the symptoms and effects of acedia but also remedies for it.

  • Paperback
  • 205 pages
  • The Noonday Devil
  • Jean-Charles Nault
  • English
  • 07 September 2016
  • 9781586179397

About the Author: Jean-Charles Nault

Dom Jean Charles Nault OSB has been the abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Wandrille or Fontenelle Abbey in Normandy France The Noonday eBook ✓ since He entered the monastery in earned a doctorate in theology from the John Paul II Pontifical Institute in Rome Lateran University and received from Pope Benedict XVI then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger the first Henri de Lubac Prize for his thes.



10 thoughts on “The Noonday Devil

  1. Greg Greg says:

    I had difficulty rating this religious work by a modern Catholic monastic leader about the phenomenon of acedia the despair of salvation mainly because I had strongly different reactions to different portions of the bookI liked the first two chapters that focused on the work of two desert fathers Evagrius and Saint Thomas Auinas Nault supplied some wonderfully concrete and apt examples from everyday life to help unravel some of the older terminology and theologicalphilosophical concepts For instance Imagine a small child standing beside a very tall piece of furniture a mantelpiece On top of that mantelpiece there is an excellent remedy that will cure him Alas this remedy is totally beyond the child's reach Despite all his efforts he will never be able to get to it The mother has two options either she takes the remedy on the mantelpiece and gives it to the child; or else she takes the child into her arms so that the child can take the remedy for himself But the second option shows even love indeed the second mother allows the child to reach by himself for what she in reality is giving him uite gratuitouslyIn the third chapter Nault took the grounding established in the first two chapters and attempted to apply it to modern life Unfortunately I didn't care for this application at all This is where the book went awry for me; it felt theoretical and fairly random a list of petty intellectual grievances the Cartesian method deep ecology nihilism and existentialism None of these social obsessions provided me opportunities for applying the concept of acedia to my own religious life in any significant way None elicited true opportunities for spiritual growth; so I uickly became impatient I personally don't see how such dark social critiues help People who disagree with these I would say overly dark views of modern society will instantly disengage in annoyance People who do agree will merely be confirmed in what they already believe and perhaps be pushed a bit further into social despair Are people in either camp enriched by it? In chapter three I strongly felt that Nault missed the chance of a sincere religious minded application of these ideas to the daily life of non monastics Perhaps this chapter's defects stem from the limitations of Nault's experience of the outside world after having lived so long as a cloistered monk? If so it's odd that the examples in the first two chapters were so different apt thoughtful and touching For whatever reason much of the penetrating thoughtfulness of the first two chapters was missing here The fourth and final chapter was a mixed bag His thoughts about acedia in the life of monks and priests were intriguing and felt perceptive in many ways I had not thought deeply about the role of cloistered monks their precise purpose and calling Nault explained it admirably Unfortunately in the second half of the final chapter Nault moved into a description of acedia in married and single life and his observations again felt shallow narrow and theoretical in a few cases even a bit off uite disappointingOverall I'd recommend the first half of this book but not the second

  2. booklady booklady says:

    With 200 books on my to read shelf I do not add many books these days although this book has been so tempting me lately Reading my friend Matthew's review recently has allowed me to make an exception Where i will fit it in I do not know

  3. Stuart Stuart says:

    When I received the book The Noonday Devil I wondered what kind of fiction title this would be This would be a case of judging a book by its cover as it is in fact a non fiction title that deals with the subject of acedia What is acedia? Acedia is a sin or an evil that is actually hard to define Many people incorrectly euate it to sloth but it is much than that In the days of Cicero it was defined as a lack of care because people who suffered from this evil did not bury their dead but the Christian monk Evagrius defined it as a relaxation of the soul Evagrius plays heavily in the first chapter as his treatise On the Eight Thoughts of Wickedness is focused on He has eight wicked thoughts in his treatise that the Christian must defeat because he compared it to the eight nations that the Israelites had to defeat on their exodus from Egypt Also in the first chapter we see the five principal manifestations of acedia and the five remedies for acedia There is also a very brief section which highlights four others who spokewrote on the subject of acediaChapter Two is devoted primarily to St Thomas Auinas In this chapter we learn of two new definitions of acedia Sadness about spiritual good and Disgust with activity He then goes on to tell us about the sins that spring forth from acedia and the definitive way to defeat acedia It's pretty bold to claim that you have the definitive answer on defeating this sin but when you learn what it is the Incarnation or Jesus because we couldn't do it on our own then it makes perfect sense The last two chapters of this book deal with acedia in the Christian life and then specifically in the lives of religious priests and married couples As I fall into the last category I read and re read this particular section Abbot Nault explains that acedia can manifest itself in marriage by choosing not to give one's self fully to one's spouse and focusing on one's self and not the spouse; by not being open to children; by seeking something outside of marriage that one feels they are not getting from marriage; and lastly by seeking sexual novelty and not realizing that the sexual act is meant to further unite the couple in marriageThis book was a very profound and eye opening read Nault does a wonderful job of not only presenting the history behind this evil but ways to combat and defeat this evil as well Overall I found the book to be a bit on the scholarly side that takes several readings to fully grasp the message One of the biggest lessons I took away from it was that we often confuse sloth for laziness but it can also manifest itself in the form of being busy just for the sake of being busy Let this be a lesson to me that just because I am not being lazy does not mean that there are not better uses of my time If you are looking for an enlightening but challenging read then I recommend this work

  4. Matthew Matthew says:

    A few lingering thoughts from this book I enjoyed the image of the mother helping the child up and how we can not obtain eternal life but we can ask for intercession and seek eternal life I enjoyed how even in that scenario it was the mother providing the child what they needed So we cannot obtain eternal life from our own merits if we answer God's yes I also spent time meditating on the idea of the love coming first and how everything in this world was created by God and is good Too often we choose a lesser good than the greater and are stuck wantingI really enjoyed this book Acedia is a hard vice to pin point This was a great introduction on the topic I plan on getting my hands on some of the desert fathers to read about this topic that has disappeared from even the Catholic faith Maybe it hasn't disappeared but has not been talked aboutI struggle with the talk of monastic life and the idea of needing to leave your cell I can grasp the concept but I guess I have not done a good job of defining my 'cell' in life and how to stay there It is easy to say that my home with the family is my 'cell' but I would really appreciate any insight from others regarding acedia and the married life I do appreciate Nault's attempt at the end to address parts of the married life and can see a great benefit to the words for us all If acedia merely attacks a married couple through the idea of divorce then it will be something I can always strive to be aware of in any spiritual attacks But I have a feeling there is much much to the noonday devil when it comes to families and marriageUpdate I found a passage that has helped me in my understanding of 'your cell' It was not what I had envisioned This is from the book In God's Holy Light Wisdom from the Desert MonasticsClearly one of the pillars of the spiritual life as far as the Desert Monastics were concerned was a time and place for reflection A cell A place to which we can retire in order to find our way back to our best ideals our fullest selves our life with God A physical place not a mental one where we are truly alone and truly in peace The cell is the place where clamor and chaos stop at the door It's the place where we get back in touch with our best selves It's the center of our very own private spiritual universe

  5. Manny Manny says:

    Fascinating Acedia is central to the modern condition I don't think this book explored it enough as a source of disenchantment for the modern condition It explored it fully as a problem within religious context but it could be expanded beyond that This book was an excellent start to understanding the nature of acedia Perhaps others might explore how acedia is there in our secular lives and how it springs up in modern literature probably unbeknownst to the authors themselves

  6. Gil Gilliam Gil Gilliam says:

    Of all the books I've read about acedia despite its obscurity there are a few this one is the best to date The author starts with the original definition by Evagrius the Desert Father and takes it through the writings of St Thomas Auinas on the subject He then spends some time tracing the disappearance of the term from popular and church vocabularies Finally he looks at the implications of acedia for cloistered religious priests and married couples A great resource on the symptoms and remedies for acedia The remedies are so simple they're hard

  7. Irene Irene says:

    This theological presentation of the ancient monastic sin of acedia began as a doctoral dissertation It assumes a significant amount of familiarity with theological terms When it addresses the contemporary manifestation of acedia its primary audience is monastic Implications for the lay reader are not well developed

  8. Kathryn Kathryn says:

    I finished reading this non fiction Catholic book today which explores Acedia which although it became subsumed in the deadly sin of Sloth is not laziness And I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to those weary of their livesThe author of this book which began life as a thesis has been the Abbot of a monastery in France since 2009 After a Foreward by Bishop Marc Cardinal Ouellet our author notes in an Introduction that Acedia is rarely spoken of today which is odd as it still very much exists Essentially the Noonday Devil leaves one feeling that one's life has no purpose; it can manifest as both paralysis and despair or in an excess of busyworkChapter One discusses Evagrius of Pontus died 399 and the Desert Fathers; Evagrius very well and concisely described Acedia among the desert monks and included Acedia as one of the Eight Wicked Thoughts Our author then turns to John Cassion died 433 Saint Benedict of Nursia died 547 and Pope Saint Gregory the Great died 604 who removed Acedia from his list of vices; Hugh of Saint Victor died 1141 made the final list of deadly sins where Acedia became Sloth Chapter Two covers Saint Thomas Auinas died 1274 and his exploration of Acedia ending with William of Ockham died 1350 and the disappearance of Acedia Chapter Three covers The Relevance of Acedia in Christian Life and Chapter Four explores Acedia in the Different States of Life Religious Priestly Married and Single The book ends with a Conclusion about The New Evangelization against AcediaThis book is a bit dense but well rewards those who remain with the book

  9. Amy Amy says:

    Really great book about the history of and effects of acedia often thought of as despondency melancholy etc The understanding has changed over the centuries but it is worth ferreting out Acedia can manifest in so many different ways The author gives a thorough history including a big slog through Thomas Auinas's philosophy but stick with it because it's worth it ie don't let acedia prevent you from finishing this book One of the 'cures' for acedia is perseverance He provides discussion about acedia in various walks of life religious priestly married single It's written by a Roman Catholic abbot and beautifully translated but I think the material is universally relevant I borrowed this from the library but will be buying it for my shelf to read again

  10. Fredösphere Fredösphere says:

    I won't rate this because I won't finish it but the concept was very helpful for me personally and I hope life changing I decided not to finish because I'm not interested in the various takes of theologiansAcedia is a kind of spiritual depression that can manifest itself either as laziness a craving for entertainment or insidiously as pointless business Just grasping the concept and learning how to spot it in my own life accomplished my goal Now on to the other dozens of books I'm supposed to be reading ;

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