Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Feast of Saint Isidore the Farmer
Good morning. Loneliness, it’s probably the worst thing going. I recall years ago a pair of mourning doves which perched out behind my grandparent’s house. They would set there together, fly off together; bask in the mid-day sun together, life was good. Then, one day there was only one of them, it would set there cooing, longing for the company of the other dove. Such a lonely sound it was. I could feel its loneliness.
In today’s Gospel Jesus is telling His Apostles that He is about to leave. They seemingly wanted to hear none of it. He is taken back by their lack of response to His announcement, “and not one of you asks me, “Where are you going?” Imagine how that must have been for them , they had been together day and night for three years, sharing everything together, He had been there for them, to console them to lift them from their fears and uncertainties, He was their strength. And, now He was going to leave them!
Jesus understood loneliness quite well. He knows of our uncertainties, yet despite this we still tend to look elsewhere. We look to Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Match.com, and XtraNormals, and yet we still experience loneliness. Young people frequently succumb to peer pressure as a means of reducing the pain of being alone. We shop til’ we drop, we consume and consume, and even amongst the manicured lawns of upper middle class suburbia we find loneliness. Yes, Jesus understands our loneliness. He experienced it Himself. We all avoid being alone. Thomas Merton, in his book No Man Is an Island , says “"The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness and prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship comes to know the invisible companionship of God."
Mother Teresa reportedly said that “Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.” Our society tends to produce a sense of longing amongst people. Increasingly we tend to be losing a sense of closeness to one another. We find ourselves drifting, cooing for the closeness, the assuredness of another’s companionship. Yet, it is quite possible to be lonely standing in a room full of people. You may well be the belle of the ball, the life of the party, a regular social butterfly, and yet feel lonely. You may be married for years, and yet feel at a loss for that sense of connectedness. It is the way it is, one minute we are feeling warm and cozy alongside our partner and the next we are feeling a disconnect, we are left feeling cold and left wanting for closeness that seems to elude us. It is a feeling which seems infinite and hopeless. Truth be told, we are all alone, no matter how good the relationship there are times we feel isolated. There is no matter what a knowing that we are in this alone. This experience occurs even in the best of marriages. Yet, Jesus knows of our longing, and he assures us that He is there for us. From the beginning God realized we were not meant to be alone. If we know the closeness of Jesus in our lives, His presence will bridge any distance we might feel with others. Saint Isidore, whose life we celebrate today, was through his patience, and cheerfulness able to remove people from their loneliness, and he helped them know the warmth and closeness of Jesus in their lives.
Now there may be absolutely nothing at all wrong with our marriage that is causing us to feel lonely, yet nevertheless we can do something about it. It is not wrong to feel lonely, nor is it a sign of weakness. It’s just part of our humanness. If we want our other’s attention we need to be willing to give some as well. Often we might find ourselves in a stalemate, facing off each other waiting for the other to blink. Wait, and we’ll be left waiting. If our partner won’t budge then we will have to. If our partner won’t move, then we will have to. If our partner won’t hold our hand, then we’ll just have to reach over and get the job done. Be a champion, go for it! Make a great day!
Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Isidore the Farmer.
Posted by Donald Gatwood at 6:43 AM