He Has Been There
Last night I came across an article in this week's National Catholic Register on The Meaning of Lonliness by Melinda Selmys. It was a beautifully written piece, but two short sentences in the article struck and took hold of me: "He wanted the comfort of human companionship. He did not have it." Those lines at that moment became my meditation for the evening. Jesus, who is God and became man, was lonely. As I sat with that thought, I was overwhelmed with just how agonizing and difficult that time in the garden must have been for Him. As I continued the article, it talked about Christ's feelings of abandonement at the Crucifixion. The only ones there for Him at that point were His Blessed Mother, John, Mary Magdalen and a few of the women who had followed Him. I thought about the Apostles; the men who had become Jesus' closest friends. They spent almost every waking and non-waking moment with Him for three years! And where were they when Jesus needed them most; desired their company most? Fear gripped them and they hid. I don't mean to pick on the Apostles. I'm not sure I would have had the strength of Mary Magdalen in that situation either.
This brief meditation led me to think about my own circumstances. Three years ago I found myself living alone after the failure of a 14 year marriage. Until that time I never really understood what it meant to be lonely. It truly is a feeling like no other. It is often said that being alone and being lonely are two different things. This is very true, and I now know the vast difference between them. What amazes me is how God prepared me for this time in my life. He gave me first and foremost, the gift of faith. Without Christ, I often tell people I would have been out on a ledge during that difficult time. He truly walked me through it; with His own very Real Presence as well as with the presence of others. He allowed me to suffer through those moments in the garden (and still does at times), but as the Father did for Him, He sends me angels in the form of good friends to minister to me.
"He wanted the comfort of human companionship. He did not have it". Christ chose to suffer the bitterness of lonliness so that He could know it Himself and be there for me in mine. Many people today are deprived of human companionship for many different reasons. I pray that "angels" come to minister to them as well. I pray that they may know Christ in their lives so they may unite their suffering with His. Lonliness is never easy, but as with any suffering, when we remember that our Lord has been there too our suffering is united with His. I know for me, this certainly takes the edge off a bit.
This article was just another of the little ways our awesome God chose to speak to me. I'm glad it was a time I was actually listening. It brought me to a deeper understanding of our Lord's suffering as well as my own.