I for one chose the path of loneliness years ago when I converted. In the US; a public and true conversion to the Catholic faith can be deadly for professional and social life. It was not easy and it took years; mistakes were made. It was not a moment of epiphany like the one experienced by the seminarian in this beautiful article. It was a slow awakening to the fact that the real loneliness was the one I was living before my conversion. So much wasted time sold for mere money or thinking how to please those who could never be pleased. Such was the road to the desert but once I arrived, the bare landscape gradually revealed a reality I never before imagined.
At a certain moment, when all appeared to be lost, I went before the Tabernacle. I was alone, the Church was empty. I asked “What is going to happen to me” — not even a second after I said those words, a poor mentally retarded man working as a janitor for that church, opened the door of the sacristy while singing these words out loud: “Don’t you be afraid for I am with you!” Noticing he was not alone, he stopped right there and proceeded to a corner where he started mopping the floor.
The immediacy of that “coincidental” response was the answer I got. Christ was not just making conversation when He said “I will not leave you all alone. I will come back to you.” (John 14:18) Once one realizes that He is that close to us there is nothing in this world that can make you feel abandoned or alone.
There is loneliness in vice, in hypocrisy, in the soul of the man that only lives for himself. That loneliness is the one we must pity the most. How terrible is the plight of those whose inner light is darkness, who see everyone around them as either instruments for his pleasure or competitors who can steal the miserable crumbs of sinful glee he has gathered. That is true loneliness, dark, deadly, as cold as ice, totally devoid of love from God or neighbor. Hell itself.