Fasting Day 7: The Noonday Demon
Today was like having the noonday demon all day. I'm probably just physically exhausted and but today was tricky. I didn't do as good a job praying my way out of my funk as I would've liked. The noonday demon was strong today.
If you don't know what I'm referring to, the noonday demon is an old foe of mankind. A monk named Evagrius from Pontus described it this way, and this demon is not one who only attacks monks but all of us at some point.
"The demon of acedia, which is also called the noonday demon, is the most burdensome of all the demons. It besets the monk at about the fourth hour (10 am) of the morning, encircling his soul until about the eighth hour (2 pm).
First it makes the sun seem to slow down or stop moving , so that the day appears to be fifty hours long.
Then it makes the monk keep looking out of his window and forces him to go bounding out of his cell to examine the sun to see how much longer it is to 3 o’clock, and to look round in all directions in case any of the brethren is there.
Then it makes him hate the place and his way of life and his manual work. It makes him think that there is no charity left among the brethren; no one is going to come and visit him. If anyone has upset the monk recently, the demon throws this in too to increase his hatred.
It makes him desire other places where he can easily find all that he needs and practice an easier, more convenient craft. After all, pleasing the Lord is not dependent on geography, the demon adds; God is to be worshipped everywhere.
It joins to this the remembrance of the monk’s family and his previous way of life, and suggests to him that he still has a long time to live, raising up before his eyes a vision of how burdensome the ascetic life is. So, it employs, as they say, every [possible] means to move the monk to abandon his cell and give up the race.
No other demon follows on immediately after this one but after its struggle the soul is taken over by a peaceful condition and by unspeakable joy."
Unfortunately my noon day devil never really left me today. Instead of the ascetic life of a monk it was just the daily grind that seemed like the arena of my cell. But this can happen no matter what the day might bring.
I suppose that is the challenge, to struggle in the midst of the daily grind and not lose our focus on the Lord and to not listen to the temptation of the noonday demon to dream of greener pastures.
The fast went fine today, other than the whole greener pasture of food thing. I'm extending my total fast (no food) through tomorrow. I'm going to be working when I hadn't anticipated it, and it's easier to break my fast at home than it is during the work day.