PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Sunday, August 02, 2009

 

Aloneness, loneliness, and hope in the Holy Spirit’s companionship


“When you feel that you are alone, that is the time to remember the promised Consoler who is always present. The Holy Spirit dwells in anyone who believes in and loves Jesus. He is there whether you are a man or a woman, a child or an elderly person. It does not matter if you are poor or rich. The Spirit is equally present among all who believe. The gift of the Holy Spirit is a consoling thought in the face of trials and persecution and in moments of aloneness in the midst of a crumbling world. You just have to open your eyes in faith, experience the presence of the Spirit of God, and believe you are safe.”

“Priests, religious, and lay men and women who work with the poor often feel alone. Even people who are involved in a structured apostolate feel alone. There is that feeling of being alone even in a lively parish of 50,000 parishioners. You can be lonely standing in the middle of a big crowd. There is more truth to this now than ever before with forms of recreation that intensify people’s feeling of loneliness, like television, computer and video games. I even notice this with seminarians. Some seminarians are not afraid of the work but they are afraid of the vulnerability in priestly life experienced as loneliness. Before, a missionary who dies alone in a lonely and far away place is described as having died a noble and heroic death. Today, such news would lead people to say, ‘How sad! He was alone. What a lonely man!’

“If we believe that the Spirit is an abiding consoler, a better presence of Jesus, can we not have room for that presence to manifest itself in our lives? There is a lot of “processing” of “issues” nowadays, whether in formation, retreats, or counseling. When we get preoccupied with the issues that do not go away, despair might set in. The illusion that we can set all things right, solve all issues, and eliminate all problems creates loneliness and aloneness. Room must be given for he quiet miracles of the Spirit. The Spirit is present. Jesus can be present even in the most broken persons and in spite of themselves. To believe that the Spirit is in me, a broken and sinful creature, requires a leap of faith. The Spirit’s consoling presence needs to be discerned and believed in the midst of personal and societal troubles.”

- From Luis Antonio G. Tagle's (DD, STD) An Easter People: Our Christian Vocation to be Messengers of Hope


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