Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Roman Wisdom: Leisure's Labor and Solitude's Society

Numquam se minus otiosum esse, quam quum otiosus;
nec minus solum, quam quum solus esset. (De offic. III. 1).

One is never less idle than when idle.
Nor is one ever less alone than when alone.

The second truth came home to me when I once did my yearly retreat totally isolated from human contact for eight days. It was the most distracting retreat of my life, in which I realized how many demons are battling with me! Very difficult to pray. There I realized that I am not alone. There is a world of internal tension in every man. To truly be able to be alone I need to be with others.

Another more significant instance was once as a young man--I must have been around 26--and feeling quite alone in the midst of people passing before me as I was seated in the foyer of the seminary. To the depths of my being I felt it and I got to the bottom feeling totally alone,--no one, no thing with me--and there realized that it was precisely that infinite abyss of nothing which is the mirror of God inside, the "place" of divine encounter. God was right there so manifestly with me, where no one could go except I and He: as it were, face to face!

When no one is with me, God is with me!

+ Prayer is an act of hope in God
When no one listens to me any more, God still listens to me. When I can no longer talk to anyone or call upon anyone, I can always talk to God. When there is no longer anyone to help me deal with a need or expectation that goes beyond the human capacity for hope, he can help me[25]. When I have been plunged into complete solitude ...; if I pray I am never totally alone.
Spe Salvi, #32, Benedict XVI
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