Dr. Nicole Roccas writes about death, sadness and despondency with a spirit of hope. Her book, Time and Despondency: Regaining the Present in Faith and Life, explores the relationship between human perceptions of time and the spiritual sickness of acedia. Her conversation with Hank explores the depths of time and despondency, both today and throughout history, as well as how they ultimately relate to the purpose of our lives, becoming fully human through our relationship with Christ.
Topics discussed include: How Dr. Nicole Roccas writes about death, sadness and despondency with a spirit of hope (6:00); while our anxieties draw our focus to the future and our regrets focus on the past, the present is where we are truly able to commune with Christ and that is precisely why it is important to be present (9:20); time isn’t an illusion or an abstraction, but central to how we experience life, likewise our faith is not an abstraction, but experienced in the present moment in time (12:05); Dr. Roccas’ book is titled Time and Despondency—what is meant by despondency? (16:15); what are some of the symptoms of despondency and how does technology? (19:55); is despondency a crime needing to be punished or a sickness needing to be healed? (23:55); can despondency be both a sickness and a crime? (27:25); anger as a source of despondency (28:20); using busyness to mask purposelessness and despair (30:20); the church is not a courtroom, but a hospital whereby the sacraments offer healing and restoration through the process of theosis (32:45); what is time? three different ways to view time (35:45) liturgical tradition as a transfiguration of time (39:00) the Resurrection isn’t merely a historical event, but something we can experience in the present (39:40); discussing different terminologies of time-Chronos, Kairos and Aion (43:10); the relation between time and prayer and how that relates to why we pray for the dead (47:05); in many Eastern religions the key to enlightenment is to empty oneself, whereas the key to Christianity is to be filled with Christ (51:20); practical steps to dealing with despondency, such as practicing a spirit of humility (56:20); the biblical roots of the The Jesus Prayer and how it can be practiced to develop a spirit of humility (59:10); the importance of praying for our enemies (1:03:45); the importance of patience and perseverance in an age of instant gratification and decreased attention spans (1:08:35); the importance of expressing thanks, as thanksgiving is at the heart of the Christian life (1:12:00); community and the sacrament of confession as a medicine for the soul (1:15:00); the dangers of medicalizing spiritual conditions and spiritualizing medical conditions, especially concerning depression (1:17:40); how time makes relationships, love and free-will possible (1:20:55); time as the giver of second chances (1:23:15).