The School of Love
[Continued from yesterday]
...When it has the making of a man in hand, above all when it would make him one who is to understand and have influence over others, its first and foremost object is to give him what it calls experience of men. He is sent out to see the world, to mix with his fellow-men, to learn the art of dealing with them, of enjoying their company, of bending their lives; and it almost foretells the extent of his future plane of action by the measure of the know ledge he has gained.
Not so are the ways of God. He has other means of giving an apostle power over other men; indeed, it is the very opposite. "The weak things of this world God hath chosen to confound the strong," said the greatest of apostles; and by "the weak things" he meant not only the weakest instruments, but the methods that men most ignored.
And of all methods perhaps none is more ignored by man as a race, and by man as an individual, than the method of loneliness. To most men loneliness is a doom. It is imposed upon a criminal as the heaviest cf punishments; carried to extremes we know it will drive him mad; nothing seems so to unman a man as the loneliness of a prison cell. Even for those who are not criminals, nothing so wrings pity from a human heart as the sight of another who is utterly alone.
Loneliness to many is the very ghost of life, dogging their steps, haunting them at every turn, from which they are always trying to escape. It cannot be fought, it cannot be avoided, yet there is nothing many more dread for themselves, or see with more concern in others....
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918