September 22, 2013
Why is there so much loneliness amongst us?
“And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.’ So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. “ (Luke 5:10-11)
The question that we must pose to ourselves is, since Christ promises us that if we follow Him we will have people in our lives, why is there so much loneliness around us, even for those that profess that they are members of the Body of Christ?
Christ invites His apostles to follow Him and to enter into a new creation which consists of loving relationships and where all participate in the happening of the Kingdom of God. First, He calls His apostles to leave a world which focuses on material things, a world where even man is nothing but an object which satisfies his needs and the needs of others. Following this, He invites them to take part in a world where man is a person. He invites them to abandon their inner poverty and to taste the rich gifts of love, acquiring in this way value and meaning in their lives.
Could the reason why so much loneliness in our lives persists and so much inner poverty dominates our world be that we are unwilling to set aside our material cares so that there is room for Christ and our fellow man to live in us and amongst us? Could it be that we do not give of our time for there to be substantial communication between us?
St. John Chrysostom mentions that the apostles left their homeland, friends and relatives. He observes that we are not willing to even leave our house in order to come close to Him and receive even more. Being that we cannot leave everything for Him, he recommends that we at least leave our evil habits within our home in order to be saved, together with our own household. Lastly he pleads with us: “Let us set aside the material things and let us take in mind the spiritual”*, developing the work of love.
What is the work of love? “The work of love is to diligently do good to one’s neighbor, to be long-suffering and patient with all the soul’s spirit and to use things with good judgment.”**
Only by performing this work can we heal our loneliness!
* St. John Chrysostom, On the Gospel of Matthew, Sermon 14
** St. Maximos the Confessor, First Century on Love, 40