All of us experience loneliness at different times, and sometimes we experience long seasons of loneliness: when someone we dearly love dies, when we’re going through an illness, when we take on a new responsibility, when we age and are facing death. I’ve come across some good reflections on loneliness that I thought I would share with you:
I think that part of being human is being alone. And being lonely. I think that one of the stresses on a lot of our friendships is that we require the people we love to take away that loneliness. And they really can’t. And so, when we still feel lonely, even in the company of people we love, we become angry with them because they don’t do what we think they’re supposed to do. Which is really something they can’t do for us. (Rich Mullins)
The grace of loneliness is one of the most precious gifts that God gives to us in our path to sanctity. (S.C. Biela)
Loneliness is the place of encounter with God. At the same time, it is a difficult trial of faith. Therefore, we should never face it by relying on our own strength. (S.C. Biela)
The Holy Spirit is the answer to our loneliness, which along with fear and weakness, is the greatest cause of human suffering. What really overcomes loneliness? . . . having a friend, someone to share thoughts with, a companion. If we are open to him, this is what the Holy Spirit wants to be to us. It is again St. Basil who says that the Holy Spirit was ‘the inseparable companion’ of Jesus during his life on earth, and that the Spirit wants to be the same for us . . . .
If it is possible for weakness to provide an occasion for us to experience the strength of the Spirit, it is possible for loneliness to be the occasion and also the stimulus for us to experience the Spirit as ‘sweet guest.’ (Fr. R. Cantalamessa)