Greetings, if you’re new to this series, welcome, you can check out all the post regarding this topic here.
Sloth has always been portrayed as the lazy person. veggin’ out on the couch, eating chips, and the room is a complete mess, shoo, they are a complete mess! But there’s more to it than that.
What is Sloth?
Sloth: reluctance to work or make an effort; laziness.
The many sins of sloth are: apathy, idleness, indifferent, wasting time, cowardice, irresponsibility, workaholism, and many sins of omission, including the failure to observe the Lord’s day and other neglected duties. Stress over the prospect what it means to embrace the faith completely.
Problems of the Workaholic
Sloth is not a sin against the clock. In fact, we as Americans are pretty good about our work ethic. We wake up early, some of us refuse to be completely off during vacations (I was one of them), we have always been busy for the sake of being busy. But that is the problem.
With the capital sin of Sloth, it’s not a sin against time, but against God. John Paul II wrote,
” the heart of the tragedy being experienced by modern man: the eclipse of the sense of God and of man.”
We are moving into (or have already moved) to a place where people already feel they are above God. Some have even defined faith on their own terms.
John Paul II explains that when we lose a sense of God in our lives, we lose a sense of our purpose. We are then defined by what we do, instead of who we are. Some of us even define ourselves by what we have.
Always Seeking Entertainment
Diversions, or entertainments are just that, a diversion. There should and has to be a complete balance between working (which is a virtue) and leisure. One of the issues of always turning to diversions, and neglecting our duties, is finding ourselves bored, and apathetic towards things in life.
This would probably explain why we feel so drained after a full day of catching up on our favorite tv shows. Our lives require balance.
A great way to see the balance between work and leisure is the book of Genesis, we see that God has defined this for us by having a day of rest.
Apathy Towards The Gospels
This will be a hard pill for many to swallow but Saint Augustine said it best:
If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.
Unfortunately, this is the cold hard truth. We cannot change the gospels to fit our whims. We cannot say that things have changed and the gospels has to change with our current times (and sentiments). We cannot call ourselves disciples if we do not accept all aspects of the gospels.
Some will choose to turn a blind ear to some parts of the gospels, because it’s hard for us to follow. However, being disciples and part of God’s family is hard. It requires a change in self completely (Luke 14:25-33), it requires to choosing your faith above all and owning it.
We are called to know what stops us from following God–even if it is ourselves.
Sloth In The Extreme
In the extreme sense of spiritual sloth, we begin to:
- Have a distain for anything spiritual.
- Neglect prayers and reading of the Bible
- Refuse to go to Church, by giving ourselves the excuse “what’s the point.” or “I have other things I need to do.”
- Close our ears and minds to anything spiritual.
By neglecting these things and others, we become indifferent towards God. Worse, we don’t become the man or woman whom God has made us to be. In that sense we refuse God’s grace.
Getting Things Back In Order
Ultimately, the people who pay for our unrelenting need to work (or stay busy), is our family. We start neglecting the people that we love, even if we say we are doing everything for them. As a result, we find our relationships muted.
Pray and ask for guidance. Pray for God to help you with this vice. It’s one that can easily slip up on us, especially in this culture. Ask the Lord to help with discernment, so that you know what is truly important, and what can wait.
Keep the Lord’s Day Holy. After a long Saturday, it’s so easy to say that we just want to sleep in and do nothing. But we are reminded that the Sabbath is the Lord’s day by heading out to Church. We start the Sabbath with Church and afterwards remind ourselves that it is a day for God and family. Going to Mass should then be seen not as the least for what we can do, but to start the beginning of a Holy day.
Set Clear Boundaries. Truly use a day to set aside for your family. No devices, no social media, no news. Nada. Spend that time with your family. That doesn’t necessarily mean to spend time in front of the TV, but truly have a conversation with your spouse, and kids. Use this time to reconnect with each other.
Know Your Priorities. There are so many things that can just wait, or simply not important enough. Know exactly what they are. Sometimes, a small thing can seem to be a huge thing that we must do, but don’t be fooled by it. Know what it is you are truly doing for your family, and what you’re doing simply to look important.
Learn How to Plan Your Time Well. Yes, sloth is not a sin against the clock, but we can easily become distracted by things we think are important. Plan your time for meal planning, chores, and the like. These things of course has to get done, but we don’t have to be slaves to them.
The opposite virtue to sloth is zeal and diligence.
As some of you know, trying a new workout routine is hard. But one has to be enthusiastic and plan diligently to reach their goals. Combating Sloth is not going to be easy, but it’s also going to be painful at first.
Do you find that you are easily distracted by being too busy? What must you do to get back in order?