Meditation 12 - Loneliness of the Heart of Jesus in the Hidden Life

In meditating on the sufferings of the Heart of Jesus, we must not omit to mention one, the memory of which may afford the utmost consolation to ourselves under many circumstances in which we may be placed. We refer to His loneliness of Heart, a special and necessary characteristic indeed of His sojourn on earth from year to year, but calculated to impress us more forcibly during His Hidden Life, on account of the monotonous course of exterior events, and the absence, at the same time, of aught that could provide an outlet for the sorrows of His Heart.

It is not material solitude that is alluded to in this meditation; neither do we refer precisely to lack of sympathy, since, as we have seen in a previous meditation, our Lord's intimate intercourse with the spotless soul of His Blessed Mother, whose heart beat in such close union with His own, was one of the especial joys of His Humanity. What is here so particularly referred to is that loneliness of Heart which was for Him inevitable, considering that none but He united in Himself two Natures, and hence not even the sinless soul of the Immaculate Virgin could penetrate into the depths of His Soul or fathom His marvelous woes.

Recall what we have meditated on His knowledge, which formed so fertile a source of suffering to His Sacred Heart, and add thereto the memory of the infinite love and the various forms of love that met together in that Heart, and were, in some sort, antagonistic to each other, and surely we shall be able to comprehend how, of necessity. He was indeed "alone in His sorrows" upon earth.

One of the innumerable forms which self-love sometimes assumes is to make souls imagine themselves misunderstood. They believe that they are possessed of some speciality which is not to be fathomed, just as hypochondriacs imagine themselves the victim of some unknown disease, and cling to the creations of their imagination with obstinate tenacity.

There are, however, other souls who, in reality, participate, to a certain extent, in the loneliness of the Heart of Jesus; souls whom God has endowed with choice gifts, with vast capacity for suffering, and with high and holy aspirations, and whom His providence has placed in uncongenial circumstances - amongst those, perhaps, who could in no way share their aspirations, or even appreciate or understand them. They may be surrounded by loving hearts, by hearts which would sympathize with them if they were capable of doing so, but this is not enough. The soul with its most intimate sentiments and desires, the intellect with its vast range of thought, the heart with its inexpressible yearnings, its secret agonies, are alone.

Let such souls go in spirit to the House of Nazareth, and rest their hearts, oppressed by their sense of isolation, upon the most lonely Heart that ever throbbed on earth, the only Heart that will fully understand their grief, and therefore the only one capable of consoling them.

What, then, may we not learn from meditation on the loneliness of the Heart of Jesus in its sorrows? We shall learn to esteem our own interior isolation, however real it may be, as one we have no right to complain of when we remember that of the Divine Exile. Instead of yielding to a morbid depression, when our aspirations, our sorrows, and our secret yearnings are little understood by those around us, we shall, in our loneliness, cling more closely to God, who knows all the weight of anguish at our heart, and the hidden sources from whence it springs. We shall learn to rest on God, and thus become more and more detached from human consolation, in proportion as He makes us feel we are not alone, even when the sense of loneliness is pressing upon us most. "I am not alone, because the Father is with Me," said Jesus amidst His sufferings, and yet what heart was ever so truly alone in the magnitude and profoundness of its sorrows? This rest in God amidst the loneliness of the soul, is an act of highest homage, for it is an acknowledgment that He is all-sufficient for us. It is meritorious, because in order to persevere in it aright severe self-discipline is necessary for curbing the movements of nature; and one of its chief merits consists in its being life-long, thus necessitating almost heroic patience in order to maintain it to the end. Let us ask the Divine Solitary of Nazareth to give us the grace of finding God to be sufficient for us in all our sufferings, when it pleases Him to withdraw from us every human sympathy.

- text taken from the 1906 edition of The Heart of Jesus of Nazareth - Meditations on the Hidden Life; it has the Imprimatur if Bishop John Baptist Butt, Diocese of Southwark, England, 5 February 1890