Blog di FORMAZIONE PERMANENTE MISSIONARIA – Uno sguardo missionario sulla Vita, il Mondo e la Chiesa MISSIONARY ONGOING FORMATION – A missionary look on the life of the world and the church
I once received a letter from a woman who expressed frustration in finding support, even among her church friends, for living out a high ideal.
Here is how she expressed it: “It’s been seven years now that I have lived widowhood, bringing me to lots of desolation and loneliness. I recall comments that were made to me shortly after my husband died, by good Christian friends: ‘You’ll marry again.’ ‘Why get married, just live with someone.’ ‘Why live with someone, just have the occasional Saturday night sleep over.’ This attitude is very prevalent in my age group.
Perhaps it’s not as much that we have lost the ideal as that we have personally despaired that it can be there for us. In the end, we all still want to guard the dignity of our souls and we all still seek someone to meet and honor us there, with full respect for who we are.
Another woman, also a widow, writes: “And with deepest respect and honor we may have to call upon our courage to walk away from anything and everything that does not resonate with our soul’s truth as we struggle to know ourselves in the deepest ways. And if in the end we stand alone with the presence of God perhaps that is the way it was always meant to be. In other words, I’m setting my limits and it’s mighty lonely!”
That’s a pretty accurate description of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The gospels, in describing his passion, don’t dwell on the physical pain (the scourging and the nails) but focus instead on his moral loneliness, his radical aloneness, on what it felt like being “unanimity-minus-one”. His refusal to compromise was his great gift to us. He paid the price, in blood and loneliness, of entering that barren landscape of broken bodies and minds so as to carry solitude at a high level. Despite every kind of pain, humiliation, and loneliness he refused to comprise his ideals. And it left him mighty lonely.
Inside of everything that’s best in us, we hear an invitation to join him there: To live in pain rather than lower our standards, to risk being alone rather than compromise who we really are, and to be lonely, mighty lonely even, rather than to sell ourselves short.
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