The fifth sorrow of Saint Joseph was when he heard the voice of an Angel who spoke to him and said – Rise up. Bring your family to Egypt to save them from the violent threats of Herod.
Rise up. Leave your own country. And go to a different land where you don’t know anyone. No relatives. No friends. There, your family will be safe.
What became of him because of this? The result is something that we have all experienced. Loneliness. Homesickness. (Pangungulila.) You cannot bring yourself to fall asleep. You turn tossing and turning in bed. Staring at the ceiling. You simply cannot fall asleep. You think to yourself – where will my life take me? It seems that I have no where to go.
When I was a young priest, I thought that loneliness was only for the young ones like us then. When we were young, loneliness was somewhat romantic. Loneliness is restlessness wherein it is your desire to love but you are incapable of loving. You want to embrace everyone but it can’t be so. You want so much to be friends with everyone but it can’t be so. You want so much to make love to all but it can’t be so.
There is energy. There is restlessness. There is power that is surging forth and yet you are not able to express. And that brings so much loneliness. In the words of St. Augustine – Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in you.
Restlessness is normal. When we have peace moments, when we have rested moments, those are special moments. But restlessness is part of our lives. When there are moments where everything is quiet, peaceful and nothing is bothering us, those are simply special moments. Because all of us shall remain restless, cannot stay put because we are in search of something.
Now, I am already a senior citizen and the face of loneliness has changed. It is no longer loneliness that is romantic. No longer loneliness that is “energy”. No longer loneliness of power wanting to be shared. No longer loneliness of restlessness whereby you want so much to give but there is one willing to receive.
Loneliness has taken another form. And what is that loneliness? It is loneliness of living in community with some irreconcilable differences. Living in community even if you do not agree. Living in community of 100 persons with 100 opinions. Living in community, living in unity even if you are different from one another.
It is lonely. Why? Because we want to have unity but our unity takes on a different form. We are all different. We want to be in unity with one another but it’s not happening because of difference in opinions. We are looking at the same thing but using different eyes to see. There seem to be no understanding or it is difficult to understand. As you come to this point, you’re still lonely. Not in the romantic sense but in the sense of being separated. In the sense of not being understood, in the sense of wanting to understand and not being able to understand. But whether it’s the loneliness of the romantics or the loneliness of the disagreements in community, there is only one solution to loneliness. Loneliness is a cry of the soul longing for something higher than itself. And that something higher than the soul is the Lord.
My dear younger brothers and sisters, younger friends, let us remember that in our youth, it is the Lord. In the sunset of our lives and in our differences, it is the Lord. It is only the Lord who can satisfy our longing to be whole.
Where are we right now? We may be in our motherland but you will always have Egypt in one part of your heart. Where there is no understanding. Where this is power but no one willing to receive. Where there is love but no one willing to accept you. Where your desire is to be loved but the love you receive seems never enough. All of these spaces in our lives. All of this emptiness in our lives. All of this loneliness in our lives. All these Egypt’s in our lives. Only the Lord can fill. It is the Lord. And only in the Lord can our loneliness be satisfied.