Over the past several weeks, I’ve been talking to a lot of people about their feelings of loneliness. In most people’s minds, when we think of someone being lonely, we assume they are single, widowed or divorced. But married people can be lonely too.
The question to ask ourselves is how can we help? What can we do to help people overcome their loneliness and feelings of aloneness? What can we do to help ourselves deal with loneliness and aloneness in our own lives?
Some insights on the answer to these questions can be found in the daily devotional, Grace In Every Season, written by Catherine Doherty.
Loneliness is what every human being has to endure. St. Augustine put it well when he said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in God’s heart.” The disappearance of loneliness will only come with the Beatific Vision. Loneliness is a hunger for union with a perfect being, i.e., God. If you imagine that married people do not know this loneliness, you are mistaken. Much as I love my husband Eddie, he and I, ultimately, are lonely. We cannot penetrate each other’s innermost being.
Aloneness is man-made. Some are alone because they flee from reality or withdraw from life. This is a pathological aloneness, as is also the aloneness of a shy person; but mostly aloneness stems from not knowing that God loves us, or from accepting this truth with great difficulty.
Also, we don’t know ourselves as we should, or our neighbor as we must. Then it is hard for us to dedicate ourselves to a cause, even to God. We spend part of our time daydreaming and imagining an ideal partner, a friend, a lover, a husband, a wife who will “understand” us; but we make no steps toward understanding others.
Aloneness in this sense can be alleviated. The temptations against chastity will play on that aloneness through daydreams. Of these we must be aware. Every time that you overcome these temptations with the grace of God, you become a pure and shining light to the world, and the church moves forward by leaps and bounds.