No to selfishness and spiritual sloth
81. At a time when we most need a mission-
ary dynamism which will bring salt and light to
the world, many lay people fear that they may
be asked to undertake some apostolic work and
they seek to avoid any responsibility that may
take away from their free time. For example, it
has become very difficult today to find trained
parish catechists willing to persevere in this work
for some years. Something similar is also hap-
pening with priests who are obsessed with pro-
tecting their free time. This is frequently due to
the fact that people feel an overbearing need to
guard their personal freedom, as though the task
of evangelization was a dangerous poison rather
than a joyful response to God’s love which sum-
mons us to mission and makes us fulfilled and
productive. Some resist giving themselves over
completely to mission and thus end up in a state
of paralysis and acedia.
82. The problem is not always an excess of
activity, but rather activity undertaken badly,
without adequate motivation, without a spiritual-
ity which would permeate it and make it pleas-
urable. As a result, work becomes more tiring
than necessary, even leading at times to illness.
Far from a content and happy tiredness, this is a
tense, burdensome, dissatisfying and, in the end,
unbearable fatigue. This pastoral acedia can be
caused by a number of things. Some fall into
it because they throw themselves into unrealistic
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