FROM ACEDIA TO APATHEIA

 A SHORT SPIRITUAL JOURNEY IN A TIME OF PROLONGED PANDEMIC

A Recorded Lecture by The Rev. Vincent Pizzuto, Ph.D.

The Desert Mothers and Fathers recognized two spiritual states that stand in opposition to one another. Acedia is a state of spiritual torpor, a “lack of care,” boredom, and even depression. In Christian demonology, the demon of acedia strikes at the heart of the contemplative in the midst of their isolation and loneliness, resulting in a kind of listlessness. By contrast, apatheia is a spiritual state defined not by a “lack of care” but by a “freedom from care.” That is, a state of tranquility independent of one’s circumstances or surroundings. This freedom, grounded in awakening to the unfailing presence of God in our midst, allows the contemplative to embrace each moment lovingly, openly, and freely. In this presentation, Fr. Vincent Pizzuto will explore our collective temptation toward acedia throughout the pandemic, and how the cultivation of apatheia opens a way to move beyond it.

Father Vincent Pizzuto, Ph.D. is Professor of New Testament Studies and Christian Mysticism in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. As an Episcopal priest Vincent spends he also serves as Vicar of St. Columba’s Episcopal Church and Retreat House in Inverness, California. Working for the advancement of contemplative Christianity, he has reinvigorated the mission and ministry of St. Columba’s through the introduction of contemplative eucharistic liturgies, public lectures, online courses, directed retreats, thought provoking sermons, an online blog and a weekly online study of his book through the Peace Chapel. Entitled Contemplating Christ: The Gospels and the Interior Life, his book seeks to bring his readers into a lived realization of the Christian doctrine of deification – that is, the affirmation that through the Incarnation, we have all be made partakers of the Divine Nature.

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