“Very unique and powerful icon of Judas leaving the Last Supper. Just that empty halo and silhouette, a shadow of what could have been. It speaks of the potential in all of us and how easily we can leave it all behind.”
Prayer and fasting, worship and adoration, Scripture and sacraments and sacramentals all provide the weapons of our spiritual warfare. With them we go on the offensive against the Evil One. But the virtues provide our defense armor. As Blessed Pope Paul VI once observed, St. Paul ‘used the armor of a soldier as a symbol for the virtues that can make a Christian invulnerable.’ They are our best defense against his attacks, for they guard our minds and hearts from his deceptions and temptations. A lapse in virtue is in fact a chink in our armor that makes us vulnerable.
Manual for Spiritual Warfare, p. 57-8
“When the Christian confesses to the sin of accidie (that he no longer readily embraces the will of God, that he is lapsing into worldliness, that all the joy has gone out of his communion with God and that he no longer has the strength to pray) it is high time for him to launch an assault upon the flesh, and prepare for better service by fasting and prayer (Luke 2:37, Luke 4:2, Mark 9:29, 1 Corinthians 7:5).”
From Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, which is a truly wonderful little book.
You may be interested in the book, The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times by Abbot Jean-Charles Nault, OSB. He ably and forthrightly treats this subject of acedia that Bonhoeffer opens in the above quote.
What is important above everything else, first and foremost, is faith: faith in the reality of the divine presence in and around us, bringing the acts of our will and mind up to the level of the true life to which Our Lord is calling us.
This act of faith, which transforms our destiny from a purely human one to one truly divine, is painful to nature, and calls for a heroism of which we would not be capable had not God already given us the grace to make the initial effort and maintain it. Utterly incapable d ourselves of making this first act, we could not do better than say with the father of the sick child: Lord, I do believe; help thou my unbelief (Mark 9:24).
The Prayer of Love and Silence
Lent is a great time to either renew your plan of life, or to make a first plan. We all need to be certain on our goals for the spiritual life. No plan, no advancement in becoming friends with our Savior; no Beatific Vision. Here is a good example.
Daily: Make the Morning Offering. Spend time in mental prayer. Attend Holy Mass. Receive Hoy Communion, if properly disposed. Make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament if possible. Read a few paragraphs of one of the books of the New Testament. Make an examination of conscience at Noon and before bed. Pray the Angelus or Regina Coeli (depending on the liturgical season.
Weekly: Make a sacramental confession. Do a charitable work. Keep the Fast on Friday. Keep Saturday as a day devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Monthly: A day of recollection. Give alms.
Yearly: Make a week-long silent and directed retreat.
Always: Remember the Presence of God. Consider the fact of the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity. Make the spiritual communion. Make acts of thanksgiving. Make acts of atonement. Aspire to holiness. Study. Work. Give some order to your life. Be joyful.