There is a useful sorrow, and a destructive sorrow. Sorrow is useful when we weep for sin, and for our neighbour’s ignorance, and so that we may not relax our purpose to attain to true goodness: these are the true kinds of sorrow. Our enemy adds [another type of sorrow]. For he sends sorrow without reason, which is something called acedia. We ought always to drive out a spirit like this with prayer and psalmody.
Owen Chadwick, ed.,
The Sayings of the Fathers
(Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 120.
Note: What the holy mother calls “sorrow without reason” or acedia in Greek is what plagues many of us living in the world today. It is a feeling of sadness even while surrounded by a myriad of God’s blessings, because we can’t quite feel fulfilled. The answer, of course, is prayer and psalmody, which helps us remember that the cause of our fulfillment is God alone.