Aloneness or Loneliness?

One morning I heard a priest at Mass on T.V. saying that loneliness is a gift from God.  My first reaction, he must be crazy!   However, the more I thought about it I became convicted.

Living alone has never been something I ever had to deal with before, because I have always lived with other people, beginning with my family, then a roommate and then communities in religious life.  It was never something that I thought I would ever have to experience in my life for a prolong period, especially after entering religious life.

However, I here I find myself alone since the beginning of this year.   It got me thinking about aloneness and loneliness- what's the difference?

In Luke 5:16 it says, "Jesus often withdrew into lonely places and he prayed."  Does this necessarily mean that he was alone or lonely?  I believe yes to both.  I also know that you can experience aloneness and loneliness in the midst of a crowd.  The truth is that in my life right now in the midst of completing my M.Ed thesis, I do understand that God has given me the gift of aloneness and loneliness.  At first I didn't see it as a gift, so I was having my one person pity party.  It was only after hearing the priest, that I began to understand that this gift has drawn me closer in my relationship with God and is making me a spiritually stronger person for my present ministry.  

Actually, thinking about my life right now, I definitely would be horrible company!  How long this gift of aloneness and loneliness will last?  I don't know, but I do know that God is preparing me for another adventure.

Do you embrace aloneness/loneliness as a gift or burden?

Lystra Long, OP

New Grant, Trinidad


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