Thursday, July 12, 2012

Loneliness


I was reading some of the stories on 49weeks.blogspot.com the other day, and the repeated mention of loneliness by some of the girls struck me. In the legion I and others experienced loneliness. For some it was a real cross, for others, less. But it made me wonder why loneliness was encouraged. Not directly, but it was favored by the environment of silence and the norm to avoid personal friendships.

Lonliness is common among those who God has called to serve him in the Church. It is not specific to religious congregations. Among diocesan priests it is prevalent. I have been living alone for about a year and a half, the only priest in a small, growing parish. I am living in a diocese where I did not attend the diocesan seminary. Most priests have friends from their seminaries that the get together with from time to time. Others have family within driving distance.

I realized that I need someone to relate to and talk to. During my retreat a few weeks ago, I made not of that and asked around, “What do you do on Monday?” Monday is generally the day priests take off to rest. Some get together with old friends. But there were others who pretty much just stayed at home doing nothing.

I reached out to a couple of them, and have stated to get together with them. It is so helpful just to go out to lunch or dinner, take in a movie, or sit around and talk.

Now getting back to the topic. To say that loneliness in the legion and the RC is not sought is a mistake. The system was set up just for that purpose. The underlying reason is to dedicate you whole being to God and the mission, and I’m sure that some have a vocation to do just that. But for the rest who have never discerned that vocation and have been brought into the legion, it is sometimes an unbearable cross.

For those who are favored from the beginning and given active apostolates, that cross is less burdensome. But for those who the legion isolated to move them out of the congregation, it is an effective and sometimes devastating tool. Therein lies the cruelty, the psychological abuse and the disregard for personal dignity. It is the abuse of authority that needs to be addressed, the second point of the Vatican Communiqué of May 1, 2010 I would love to have more information on.

1 comment:

  1. Keeping up appearances. If you want to play at monk-ness, you imitate what you see the monks doing: so you set up silence. Problem is, the prayer life needed to sustain it wasn't there. It was, for many, a real torture. I can't begin to recount how deadening the pain was, and mess it was to deaden it if sensation should start to return. It's been searing and cathartic for me the last few days to read many testimonies. I'd been been mostly keeping up with 49weeks, but just read Sheila's story a few days ago, and it all became so much more real. and horrific. I understand so much more now reading others' stories. Of course you keep silence in a cult: so the leechery of diabolical can twist the wide-eyed in broken pits of bone-crushing despair. Sick and twisted.

    Any other questions?

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