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On Loneliness

We live in a world of busyness, a bustling world filled with constant music and TVs and talking and noise, a world where we can communicate instantly via cellphone or the internet. We can play a game with a stranger in China, or video chat with a relative in Germany. We can seek friendships with those who live across two oceans. And yet, despite the billions of other people in this world, hundreds of coworkers and fellow parishioners and neighbors, dozens of friends and family members… sometimes we just feel lonely.

We may have a disagreement with our spouse which leaves us frustrated and annoyed. We get into a discussion with coworkers that leaves us feeling persecuted for our religious beliefs. A series of misfortunes leave us feeling beaten down and financially strapped. And we feel so alone. We have no one to sympathize with us, or at least, no one who can quite understand the depth of our struggles. We cry out to God, beseeching him to fix our problems, to make us happy again. Does He not want us to be happy? Why do the hurts of this world pierce our soul so deeply? And why does God allow us to feel lonely?

As humans, we are made to know, love, and serve God in this life and to be happy with Him in the next. God allows us to be lonely because He desires that we seek Him. If we could float through life completely fulfilled by the things of this world, then what need would we have of God? As St. Gerard Majella said, “Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?” Loneliness is not a punishment, but rather, a manifestation of the soul’s desire to be in union with God. He wants us to seek Him in our struggles, give Him our whole hearts, to rely on Him and to trust in His goodness alone.

It is the nature of the human soul to seek companionship. As C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” We find other souls who understand us, who share similar values, with the same sense of humor or the same love of coffee or of 19th century British literature, and we bond. We spend countless hours discussing, laughing, sharing. The same illustrious author said, ““Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?”

But even with our good, godly friendships, sometimes a sense of loneliness pervades our soul. We can never find true peace and fulfillment in the things or the people of this world, no matter how beautiful or wonderful they may be. Any consolation we receive from a friend, any love they show us comes from God through them, for “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” (James 1:17)

A true friend consoling us in a time of need is a balm for a weary soul. If we are surrounded by faithful companions in a time of struggle, we are truly blessed. What a grace we have been given to help us through our difficulty! But if we are struggling and feeling the sting of loneliness, it is God’s gentle way of encouraging us to seek Him. He can heal the deep wounds of our soul, and He alone fulfills our inner longings. Our hearts are restless until they rest in Him, says St. Augustine. Seek Christ. Visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament, receive Him in Holy Communion, seek His forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance. He heals the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). Allow Him to fill your emptiness. Do not despair, for “He who has God finds he lacks nothing – God alone suffices.” (St. Teresa of Avila)

“I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

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About Colleen

Colleen is wife to her wonderful husband and mama to three boys and three girls. She spends her days reading stories, practicing skip counting, and sweeping Cheerios with a baby in her arms. She enjoys sharing her Catholic Faith with others, and trying her best to live out her vocation generously, graciously, fully. She loves the Traditional Mass. She also appreciates anything crafty or chocolatey, and is blessed to reside in the great state of Kansas, which actually is not all black-and-white – she has the red shoes to prove it.

  • Anastasia - Well written Colleen! Thank you so much for your excellent points and spiritual reminders.August 29, 2012 – 5:37 amReplyCancel

  • diana hall - WoW!! Well said:)I am using some of your quotes to put on my FB for those who do not read your column:) Keep up the good work!

    Lovely…..

    Peace & HopeAugust 29, 2012 – 8:47 amReplyCancel

  • Kelly - Thank you so much for this beautifully written article. I have been battling with the loneliness for over a year now – I moved to a tight-knit community 273 miles from the only hometown that I’ve ever lived (where, by the way, my entire family still resides) and have still ceased to make any true friends. You know, the ones that will call you to tell you something funny that happened or the ones that will ask you if you want to hit up 11:30 am Mass and then lunch afterwords, etc. I try to turn to God in my times of loneliness but I am flawed and slide back in to the lonely spiral.
    Thank you for reminding me to truly “rest in Him”August 29, 2012 – 10:11 amReplyCancel

  • Melissa - Thank you. Just what I needed to read this evening.August 29, 2012 – 7:28 pmReplyCancel

  • SATURDAY EVENING EDITION | Big Pulpit - […] On Loneliness – Colleen, Catholic Sistas […]September 8, 2012 – 5:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Maria - Thank you! This article was exactly what I needed to hear. I had a good time with lots of friends last night but still felt lonely when I was with them. I was wondering why it was God’s will that things turned out that way. You have answered my prayers! Because He desires that we seek Him! Thank you!September 8, 2012 – 11:31 pmReplyCancel

  • RJR - Thank you for this! I am struggling with loneliness as well…September 10, 2012 – 11:23 amReplyCancel

  • nikki - Thank you!March 20, 2015 – 10:55 amReplyCancel

  • Anna - I m so lonely. I don’t know what to do anymore. I try to pray,but I never get an answer. I am 28 and allways so lonely,I have prayed for long time to get some friends I can enjoy life with. I am always alone,and I feel it especially now,its summer holiday,I love the summer. But to be alone at the beach, be alone home at my parent,go hiking/bicycle on my one is such a pain. And when I look back at life,I just feel the same feeling,nowhere to be at new years eve,no one to be with at national day,my birthday,and other feast and holidays.you gave a good answer.God want me to be lonely,so I can seek him. But I do,pray,go to mass. I don’t know what to do,I just wish to cry,but I have no one to talk to. I don’t want to live this life more. I have been reading so many catholic blogs and spiritual reading,but nothing change. Please pray for me? I just feel that the only thing I want now is to finish this life.July 17, 2015 – 8:26 amReplyCancel

  • Maryanne - Anna I feel with u but remember you are loved. God is right now embracing you in his arms. Learn to love your self and the other will follow. keep saying may thy will be done.July 17, 2015 – 11:03 pmReplyCancel

  • angel - Anna I felt like that all my life got married the second time this time by church but got hurt and now my wife has drifted away so now I am alone again.November 4, 2015 – 12:26 amReplyCancel

  • angel - Can back to see if you are happy Anna. lonely is sad but you are here so why so sad today.November 4, 2015 – 5:33 pmReplyCancel

  • angel - Anna how does it go be happy don’t worry.you have to open up one on one don’t get scared to just talk any one be yourself see how other will talk to you.November 4, 2015 – 5:43 pmReplyCancel

  • angel - I sad for Anna its very hard to live alone nobody to share love and your sadness she find some one but she got to learn to enjoy people and not be afraid.SEE every body a other day love god and other will fallowNovember 4, 2015 – 5:53 pmReplyCancel

  • angel - Ok who is struggling with loneliness it ok to be lonely it the fact that there something special for you.November 4, 2015 – 5:58 pmReplyCancel

  • angel - Ok who is struggling with loneliness it ok to be lonely it the fact that there something special for you, why do we need some other person right”god gave us a partner in life but sometime we can find the partner because he or her is in the other side of the world thinking where is my partner that god gave me. If we are meant to find him we will but if you are sad come here meet other share your life he and make friends here and laugh alittle and if i could type what i want to say would be great.November 4, 2015 – 6:08 pmReplyCancel

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