Yes, sloth makes it harder to implement the remedies that need to be applied to tackle other sins.
This week I am working on the sin of gluttony. This doesn't mean that I've stopped battling against sloth or acedia - that one will likely be a lifelong process as it definitely seems to be the "king pin" when it comes to my spiritual life. As a matter of fact, acedia plays a big role in my inability to overcome certain sins, even more so than pride, though that too has a place in the bigger picture when it comes to sin. I have no idea whether these posts will even be helpful to others since everyone is unique but the possibility is there so I'll attempt to explain this connection:
Gluttony is by no means my worse fault but it is there to a degree. Maybe not so much in the area of my total food consumption as in my proclivity to addictions to certain foods (drinks too). My nemesis is ice cream. Diet Coke, too, when I don't put a hold on it. I could happily eat ice cream every single day...along with my Diet Coke. My ice cream eating is more than just a simple sweet tooth. By paying attention, I've noticed that I'm most inclined to open the freezer when I'm upset about something. I used to think that I just "liked" the taste, which I do, but it's more than that. I don't like when there is not a lick of ice cream in the house. I like to have it on hand "just in case".
"Just in case of what?" you may ask.
Here's where the problem with sloth has adverse effects on my ability to conquer the other deadly sins. (Though sloth and acedia have slightly different meanings I am going to use the term sloth rather than acedia because sloth is used more often today and seems to have mostly replaced the word acedia.) Sloth says, "I'll work on gluttony tomorrow. Today is not a good day as I have a headache/cold/backache (pick your ache of choice...they all work just fine I've noticed). Surely God wouldn't deny me a sweet treat when I'm feeling so ill. Besides, I'm offering up my sufferings today and certainly that's more than enough. I mean, good grief, the size of my cross is enormous already! Anyone can see that. (We could get into talking about pride here as well...but I don't want to make it too complicated). And I also have soooo many things to do today. It's just not a good day to fast. I'll do it tomorrow when there's less on my plate for the day..."
I could go on and on but I'm sure you get my drift. It's probably more honest to simply say, "I'm not going to fast today" and forget all the self justification that goes along with sloth. I'm really good at justifying myself. Sadly, this just makes matters worse in the long run, as you can see.
Sometimes my attempts at justifying myself become so humorous that I laugh and wink at God. It's not that I'm trying to insinuate by my laughter that it's not important to overcome bad habits...it's my feeble attempts at excusing my actions that crack me up. How obvious they are to God! Do I really think He doesn't see right through this?
The point is: I have difficulty applying the remedy, in this case fasting and practicing the opposing virtue of temperance, because of the problems with sloth. How can I not laugh at the inanity of my dilemma? It's at times like these when I thank God for the sense of humor He has given me! How easy it would be to get upset about the tasks in front of me instead and throw my hands in the air. Except for one thing...giving up discounts grace and grace is more than capable of tackling the vices.
You can see at this point why I chose to tackle sloth first, in my case. If I tackled gluttony first it would be like trying to move water out of a bucket with a leaky cup. Obviously, the deadly sins take a lot longer than 7 weeks to overcome but writing about these sins is helping me to understand just how much of a part they have played in my life. Plus, I am learning a great deal about virtues to boot.
There is more to gluttony than just the over consumption of food and drink and I'll get to this in my next post. In this one, I wanted to show the interplay and the connection between certain sins such as gluttony and sloth. All the deadly sins are intertwined to a degree but don't let this make you feel overwhelmed because virtues are like this too and virtues are stronger because they come from God.