[Continued from yesterday]
...If in the days of God's manifest guidance this is true, no less is it true in the days of hidden grace. Our Lord Himself was alone; in the wilderness of humanity He lived, so long a time, and men did not know Him.
He was in the world, and the world knew Him hot; He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.
His fellow-Nazarenes claimed to know Him, and did not. His enemies knew Him and refused to own it. His friends - at one point in His life "many went back and walked no more with Him"; at another "all fled away"; at the very end He had to say: "How long a time have I been with you, and you have not known me!"
He was born deserted, He lived alone, He died a lonely criminal's death; and if we want a proof that He felt it, we have it, first, in His frequent cries of pain, and second, in the eager way He grasped at and rewarded every mark of companionship offered Him.
As with the Master so it was with the disciple. St. Paul's aloneness begins with his conversion; when he rose from his bed and his blindness God took him "into a silent place apart," to the desert of Arabia, and there He "spoke to his soul." And since his time, what has been the tale of every saint's life but one of a lonely heart, separated and hedged around, "a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up," above all of such saints as were called to do a great life's work in the midst of men?
We think of Cistercians and Carthusians, of Carmelites and Poor Clares, and fancy their lives are buried all alone in their cloisters; those who know have not very far to seek to find lonelier lives than theirs. Francis Xavier, to take but a single instance - how far more alone he stands, in the welter of human life in the midst of which he lived, than does St. Bruno himself on his lonely mountain-side!....
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918