Our Lady and Sheen

Loneliness pt. 2

A continuation from my last post.

“Love!? Of course that’s the answer to my loneliness! If someone would love me, I wouldn’t be lonely! Thank you for stating the obvious, that doesn’t help.” That was my response… sort of.

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen is much more wise than I am. By the time he was my age, he was a priest and was making a Eucharistic Holy Hour daily, and the School of the Eucharist is the greatest classroom on Earth. How then is love the answer to loneliness, if not in the way we think?

Sheen writes that those who feel the most lonely feel so because of “an abnormal complex to be loved.” The desire to be loved is normal for humans, but the lonely demand love, and “to demand love is to kill it.” When love decreases, loneliness increases, and the demand for love increases, which makes love decrease and a spiral is born. The wife demands more time from her husband in order to prove his love, as Sheen points out, the husband resents this demand after a while, and a marriage is ruined.

Sheen compares the abnormal desire for love that wounded men feel to the Dead Sea: “The fresh waters of the Jordan pour into it but, having no outlet, it’s waters suffer no living creatures to flourish therein. It condemns itself to sterility because it does not serve.” Similarly, “Loneliness, by a curious paradox, is begotten of the madness of the arms opened to be embraced but never extended to serve.” How true, since love is a sacrifice. The more we love, genuinely and unselfishly, the more we Love through God, the more we have love.

We can be loved by man, and we can e Loved by God; which then is stronger? The infinite Love of God, of course, is unceasing. If we love out neighbor out of Love of God, don’t we have love flowing through us? We have love straight from the source, no middleman is necessary. The next question is a simple one: “Would we rather have others love us, or have true Love?” If we would rather have others love us, over true Love, are we not showing pride? Indeed we are trying to posses others, even if we feel that it is a powerful good.

If we choose the later, true Love, we possess it as a gift from the Father so that we may give it freely. It is a transient possession, the virtue of Charity. We become a channel of true Love through our desire to love God so much that we can not help but love our neighbor. We then have the self-sacrificing love that is the grain of wheat falling on the ground; we are the father fighting for the freedom of his children; we are the mother curled around her infant to protect him from harm; and we unite ourselves with the greatest love of all, the Love that is Calvary.

Then, with that Divine Love flowing through us, how could we dare think ourselves lonely? Indeed, we have united ourselves in communion with the greatest un-lonely, the Holy Trinity.

I am on my way to my cousin’s wedding, what a great occasion for love of family. In my next post, I will try to relate how the Servant of God Fulton Sheen advises helping those who are lonely.

God love you!

September 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Loneliness

I recently had an experience with a person who told me that the entire world hated him. My heart ached at the familiar pangs of rejection and self-loathing, which seem to me to be long ago and recent, as most things do that are large in one’s life.

Just a few days later, I have been delving further into Venerable Fulton J. Sheen’s book: Footprints in the Darkened Forest. His third chapter is entitled “Loneliness,” and now so is my post.

There are many types of loneliness, but there is one source. That source is the desire to be loved more and more. Loneliness happens, as Sheen points out, to all in this world, and is natural and to be expected; but the lonesome fall deeper into despair because they think it is not so. In this world, after the fall, corruption ensued, including in our relationships.

We can even be lonesome together, once we have found that true love. “A basic loneliness exists in all human love simply because we become used to it or take it for granted,” Sheen writes. Impossible, you reply! “I love my husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend/parents/etc. I will not cease loving them!” It is true that you may have found the perfect one for you to love and spend a lifetime with, and praise God! You have the proverbial pearl of great price, you have seen the richness of a jewel and have entered into a very powerful love! But, Ven. Sheen finishes his sentence with, “as the jeweler becomes used to handling precious gems.” We must be on guard against complacency in our relationships before we begin to lose that enjoyment we have in the beginning of our relationships, when we notice every sparkle and glow! (pg 22)

Ven. Sheen reminds us that love is not simply two people meeting at a well saying, “I will not hurt you, if you do not hurt me.” We must make ourselves open to another, bold and courageous in love, for as he continues, “To love is to make oneself vulnerable and softens one to a point of becoming a target to the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.'” (pg 22)

In 2007, I heard Rev. Fr. Boniface Hicks, OSB tell an auditorium of Penn State students one Sunday about this idea of love. He informed them, and this recent alum, of the most painful part of friendship and love: betrayal. Betrayal hurts the worst, and I can’t put ideas as eloquently as this holy monk can, because we open ourselves up to love and nothing protects us. Our bodies have a rib cage to protect our heart, but emotionally, as we get closer to ones we love we open that rib cage, thus nothing can protect us from the wound we incur. Our immediate action is to cover up our wound, yet Christ asks more of us. Christ asks us to turn back towards those who have wounded us and present them our exposed heart again. How hard is this challenge that Fr. Boniface presented to the group at Mass! But, how right he was. To retreat from love is loneliness, and loneliness is detachment, and detachment is death, as Sheen points out (pg 23).

How do we leave loneliness? Well, my plane is landing… So I’ll try to present Archbishop Sheen’s answer in my next post! Sneak preview… Love!

September 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment