Loneliness

July 25, 2018

“We know intuitively that loneliness and being alone are not the same thing. Solitude can be lovely. Crowded parties can be agony. We also know, thanks to a growing body of research on the topic, that loneliness is not a matter of external conditions; it is a psychological state.” (Stephen Marche)

 

“The greatest torment of suffering, particularly in the form of anxiety, is to be alone. Anxiety creates a deep fissure in communion, alienating us from others and trapping us in the confines of self-talk.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

 

“The route to knowing God eventually passes directly through the valley of profound loneliness.” (Larry Crabb)

 

“Even if you engage in all kinds of spiritual activities – praying and reading the Bible in solitude, walking alone in nature, visiting monasteries and Holy Places, etc. - you will always feel alone if you have not, or are not, dying to self, self-will, and ego. It may sound harsh but our problem with loneliness and being alone often has its origins internally. Attempts at true spiritually, which is union with God, will amount to nothing more than temporary forms of escape until we discern how to begin to abandon ourselves to God, die to ourselves, and let Him be in control.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

 

“There is another type of loneliness - natural loneliness which is not pathological but creative, life-giving, full of grace…It is a loneliness to which we all should devote much time. We must be able to withdraw ourselves from the noisy crowds which are so superficial, so distracting, and so counterproductive in a withdrawal which is healthy, beautiful and good. It is important that we learn to shut off the constant communication with the many, which does not allows us to be alone with our self and as a consequence, we are not able to be with the One who is always waiting, the incarnate Logos and God. We must make the time and find the way for this other kind of sacred communication of natural loneliness. And we must pursue this knowledgeably, with an orderly, disciplined program.” (Monk Moses)

 

“Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill. We have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier.” (Stephen Marche)

 

“The habits of modern cultures have become attuned to the generalizations of distant bureaucracies. Our loyalties are attached to distant sounds rather than local reality. Neighbors are the most likely strangers in our lives, while true strangers become our “friends.” These are the habits of alienation and loneliness: friends whom one only sees in digitalized form, but never touches.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

 

“From time to time, the modern culture and everything around us can weigh us down, make us feel out of place, sometimes even makes us question if we are archaic or out of touch. We should expect this. Christ said narrow is the gate that leads to life and that it is difficult (Matthew 7:14). In other words, faith can be hard. It’s difficult to “be in the world but not of the world.” (John 17:14-15). It can make us feel isolated at times unless we have solid relationships with other people of faith. This serves is an ever present reminder we are not alone and that is often comforting.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

 

“The term postmodern culture is used in many different ways, and cannot be grasped except in contrast to its predecessor, modernism, to which it is in reaction. Modernism displayed a high level of confidence in the abilities of humanity. Rooted in the Enlightenment, modernists attempted to rid themselves of the mystery of religion and things spiritual so as to focus purely on the empirical facts of science. Some believed that humanity could build a perfect society founded on human principles and structures. The movement was idealistic, and its breakdown was painful to the generation that experienced it. This reaction took different forms….The results for many were confusion, depression, and loneliness.” (V. Rev. Fr. David J. Randolph)

 

“Loneliness is more readily experienced than defined.” (J. Oswald Sanders)

 

“Loneliness is a very powerful feeling. It makes one feel debilitated at best, and hopeless at worse…The sorrow of Christ in the garden was not only because of His impending suffering, but because at that moment He experienced the human emotion of loneliness and it made Him sorrowful.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

 

“Because of our individualistic, self-centered society, many lonely people wonder if anyone cares whether they live or die.” (Life Application Study Bible, 3 John 1:5-6)

 

“In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less and less actual society. We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are. We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information…social interaction matters. Loneliness and being alone are not the same thing, but both are on the rise. We meet fewer people. We gather less. And when we gather, our bonds are less meaningful and less easy.” (Stephen Marche)

 

“Father Stephen Freeman reminds us that we eat to commune not to consume…Families and people who share meals together are far less lonely than those who do not…No family should be without a traditional meal. This conviction of unity and mutual support will bolster each person often in times of frustration or loneliness which come into all our lives.” (Father Stephen Freeman, Sacramental Living Blog, Father Mark Beshara)

 

“We need community, yet we are fractured by loneliness. But we were not meant to be alone. The whole New Testament is built around the work of the Holy Spirit to create this new community, the Church, to show the world just how people are supposed to be community together. A person who puts his or her best energies into knowing God will discover that God, as Trinity, is the model for community. But knowing God isn’t the same as knowing about God. A relationship with God is not simply an intellectual pursuit. It requires opening your heart to an intimate knowledge of God founded on personal communion with God Himself.” (Douglas Cramer)