(sad voice) I’m lonely. (normal voice) Remember that Brian Regan bit when he
was talking about the the whales? Uh, like, *whale call*
The whales are talking and the guy’s up there, (sad voice) “He sounds lonely. He’s lonely.” (normal voice) and the guy’s like, “No, you’re lonely.” Hi my name’s Father Mike Schmitz and
this is Ascension Presents. A number of years ago, my oldest sister was talking
with a man who’s a good friend of both of ours. And this man, ah, really was sharing
with my sister that he really desired to- basically this relationship that would
not have been a licit relationship, wouldn’t have been a good relationship and he said in this, in the midst of this, he told my sister, he said, “I just … I’m just afraid of being lonely.” My sister, she’s so awesome
and she’s just wise and she’s insightful and she is not afraid to tell people the truth or what she thinks, and she says, she says, “Listen, unless you become OK with being alone, no number of relationships, no … any … no kind of relationship will fill that- that void. You have to become OK with being alone first before you can really enter into
any kind of serious and mature relationship.” I thought that was so wise because a lot of us, again, we experience loneliness, we are alone. We don’t know how to do this well and one of the reasons why I think a lot of us
experience loneliness is, well, of two reasons. One is because we’re made in
God’s image and likeness. Obviously, God’s image is he’s reason
and he is will and and he’s creative and that we share in those, that likeness
with God. We have an intellect and we can choose and we can make things, we can
create but Jesus Christ reveals the innermost secret of God, the Catechism says. And it says, the innermost secret of God is that he is an eternal exchange of love, that he’s a communion of persons, that God is a Trinity, that God is love. That’s what Jesus reveals to us, that God is love and so if you and I are made in the image and likeness of God, that means we’re made for others as well. We were
made for communion. We’re made for relationship—that’s the first truth. The second truth is we live in a broken world, where we don’t know how to give love. We don’t know how to receive love. We live in a world that’s run by people who don’t know how to offer or aren’t even willing to offer love and so here we walk through this world, made for relationship but in a broken world where we’re not loved well, we don’t know how to love well and so we
experience loneliness. So we all experience loneliness, but what do we do with that? What we do is we fill it with some
other things. I experience loneliness and so I distract myself. I experience this pain, this sharp stab of loneliness and so rather than enter into it, rather than let it purify me, rather than let it actually move me out of myself to go give love to someone else, what I do is I distract myself and so I watch TV or I watch Netflix. Can I get an Amen, anybody? Or I what? You know, some people turn
to alcohol or they turn to gossip or they turn to being a busybody, they turn to overwork. They turn to something. Blaise Pascal once said,
All of humanity’s problems stem from one source: our inability to sit alone by ourselves
for one hour. Think about that. If you just turned off all, you know, sources of stimulation, all sources of distraction, could you just sit in a room by yourself
doing nothing for one hour and be content? If I can’t, then it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you as in any more
than or something wrong with anyone else. It means that I’ve got a loneliness
problem, because why? Because I keep trying to find—I’m made for relationship—and keep trying to find solace in my pain by some kind of distraction.
Even Jesus experienced loneliness. I mean, think about this. Even God, made for relationship God—not made for relationship— God who IS relationship, Jesus Christ, there were times when he experienced incredible solitude, incredible isolation and even incredible loneliness, where there were times when
the people that he trusted the most and he loved the most and loved him the most, weren’t there for him in the Garden of Gethsemane. There were times and he had to go
on a journey where no one else could accompany him. Jesus experienced incredible loneliness.
What did he do with it? He didn’t run away from it. He entered into it. And again, I think one of the biggest temptations all of us are going to experience is when I’m lonely, I try to fill that loneliness with
something that shouldn’t be there, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I’m lonely so I’m going to fill that loneliness with work. I’m lonely so I’m going to fill that loneliness with some other kind of diversion or some other kind of distraction rather than, “I’m lonely. What is this telling me?
What is it revealing to me? Where is it moving me to act?
Who is it moving me to love?” Here’s this crazy thing. We live in a world surrounded by other people who are
also lonely, but rather than letting that loneliness be the motivation for us to go out of ourselves, to reach out to others, to connect with others,
we soothe that loneliness with that diversion or that distraction. Loneliness should be a motivation for us to move out of ourselves. Loneliness should be a motivation for us to say,
“You know what? I can give of myself rather than looking to receive from someone else.” Ultimately, all of us
are called to be lonely well. To be lonely is human. To let that loneliness both purify your heart as well as move your heart to love others, that’s what it is to be a saint. So, today, tonight, this weekend, if you experience loneliness, I invite you, don’t run away from it. Allow it to purify you. Allow it to move you and allow it to make you into a saint. This is one of the biggest tasks of life, to learn how to be lonely well. From all of us
here at Ascension Presents, my name’s Father Mike. God bless.