One of the most difficult experiences walking the 500 miles to Santiago is loneliness, a feeling of being disconnected from life and human warmth. One can be lonely in a crowd, in a marriage or in a community, which is probably the worst kind of loneliness. Endlessly walking day after day on the Camino, frequently alone, it was easy for me to become lonely. Sometimes I would be walking, what felt like an eternity, with someone who was a burden to be with. The conversation with these folks is usually one sided with little interest in what you have to say. The worst loneliness I felt was listening to others whose values and priorities were so opposite to mine and there was no room for dialogue. And yet, I walked with people whodidn’t believe in God or in religion and I felt tremendously close to them because we LISTENED to each other and there was respect.
In the gospel, Jesus reminds us we are never alone…the Spirit descended into our hearts at Baptism and dwells within our hearts forever. When “connected” to this Presence within , we are never alone, and hence, we are not lonely. May we LISTEN to what the Spirit is trying teach us.
Peace. Fr. Frank