“When you pray,
go to your private room, and,
when you have shut your door,
pray to your Father who is in that secret place,
and your Father
who sees all that is done in secret
will reward you”
“Jesus said to his disciples:
You must come away to some lonely place…
So they went off in a boat to a lonely place.”
That’s an interesting choice of words from Jesus, not just a call to be alone, but an invitation to embrace loneliness. I hadn’t considered this before a conversation with a friend this week when we reflected together on Jesus’ call to his hearers not be afraid when we feel lonely.
We all feel loneliness at times. The feeling is always unwelcome so we try to escape it by grasping at anything that promises to lighten the darkness.
But Jesus is suggesting that loneliness can also be embraced.
Loneliness, when accepted without escape as the reality of the moment, becomes alone-ness or solitude. The human reality is that we all need to find a place of peace within the hermitage of our own being where Christ is waiting to convince us that He is with us, and we are in fact never alone..
Francis of Assisi puts it this way: “The world is my cloister, my body is my cell, and my soul is the hermit within!”
And here’s a prayer of Ignatius Loyola that you might find helpful when you feel lonely:
O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.