Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wednesday, 2nd Week of Advent, 2016

Today’s Readings:

Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a fairly recent diagnosis.  CFS is a condition, once thought to be psychosomatic, whose underlying cause seems to be still a mystery to experts.  The syndrome is characterized by an inability to successfully perform daily tasks.  Physical and mental activity can increase the effects of CFS; rest does not ameliorate the symptoms.

In the spiritual realm, the counterpart to CFS is known as “acedia.”  Though some texts equate acedia with the sin of sloth, it seems that many monastics preferred to refer to it as the “noonday demon.”  Acedia is a spiritual listlessness that makes it difficult for a person to engage in his/her daily tasks.

Maybe the readers have experienced acedia.  I know I have.  There were times I felt that I should be busy about something; but I couldn’t bring myself to read, write, pray, practice music, or undertake any kind of manual labor.  Acedia creates an uncomfortable feeling of being spiritually disconnected.

Isaiah’s words may or may not be a way to cope with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but I think they are a very positive way to deal with acedia.  “They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength.”  Or as Paul would say in his letter to the Philippians, “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me. (4:13)  In times when we are dry, listless, and lifeless, we turn to the Living Water of Jesus Christ to find renewed energy and strength.

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