Elder Alexander B. Morrison said:
"I believe the real crisis of our time is . . . an exhaustion of the soul. This spiritual apathy is described by the world acedia, a word which comes from the Greek a ('not') plus kedos ('care')-- hence, not caring, boredom, or apathy . . ."
"But acedia signifies more than just spiritual laziness or even indifference. It cannotes misplaced priorities, a darkening of the soul, a hatred of the good, a death of the heart. It leads to spiritual paralysis, leaving its victims 'past feeling'" (A Caring Community: Goodness in Action," Ensign, February 1999, page 16)
This morning I studied all the references in the topical guide under APATHY and of course I wasn't suprised to learn that we are surrounded by apathy in our world today. One of my children constantly says . . . "I don't care . . ." whenever they have to face a harsh reality, or are being corrected or even complimented. Naturally I was a bit worried to see it written " . . . real crisis of our time . . ."
I have a little book entitled Pierre A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak. It's a story about a little boy who says he doesn't care about anything, eventually gets eaten by a lion, retrieved from the lions stomach which magically makes him "CARE." The tradgedy for Pierre is that he misses time with family, is disrespectful, rude and basically out of control. A story with and great moral: CARE.
In the scriptures it describes lots of ways that we can show apathy
1. Ignore the widows
2. Turn our backs on the poor and needy
3. Procrastinate the day of our repentence (busy in our favorite sins)
4. Not caring for others
5. Being lukewarm
6. Lulled away by thinking "All is well" when we know its not.
7. Being slothful or from Proverbs being a "Sluggard," idle or burying your talents
8. Not valiant
9. Seeking your own and not Christ
10. thoughtless stupor, spiritually blind or/and deaf, need to be compelled in all things.
The list seemed to go on and on and I could find little ways that I fit into some of the categories. But there seemed to be an antedote.
Luke 10:27 . . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
D&C 4:2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
This has given me the chance for personal reflection. When I say, "I don't care," what's really going on? Have I relaxed my effort in my relationship with God? Have I let less important things get in the way of the most important thing. When my children say "I don't care," are they feeling unloved, unimportant, unwanted, misunderstood? For myself, I know I need to soften my heart and turn to God. I know He always cares, He always hears, He always reassures. I recently was earnestly praying about a situation. In my prayer I explained the ins and outs, the ups and downs and how much it really meant to me to be able to accomplish this particular objective. I pleaded for help and then posed the alternative "I give up" solution. With nothing coming to my mind, I closed my prayer. Minutes later as I crawled into bed the words, "Have I ever let you down?" came vividly to my mind. I cling to this when the natural man in me starts to get me down. I recall it and feel enveloped in His love. I know He CARES!