Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Learn to be lonely

I spent almost the whole morning in my room facing the computer and preparing a powerpoint presentation for my class in Christology. After lunch with the community, I spent more than an hour in the prayer room meditating in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Then I went back to my room and faced the computer again. Late in the afternoon, I came down and met Mercy who asked me if I could be part of a broad coalition that would work for the promotion and defense of civil and democratic rights under the Arroyo government that has increasingly become authoritarian and fascist. I told her that I will think about it and I will have to consult my community and my superiors.

After a quick supper I celebrated the mass with the Charismatic group in our parish at 7:30 pm. Since today is the feast of the martyrdom of John the Baptist, I preached about the prophetic vocation and its consequence. I reminded the group that as Christians filled with the Holy Spirit, we are called to live out our prophetic mission by proclaiming the Good News and by denouncing evil in our midst - including the injustices, corruption, the culture of death, etc.

After the mass, I went out to the coffee shop and drank cappucino alone while writing on my palm top computer. I came back and watched TV alone. There are thirty of us -- Redemptorist priests and seminarians - who live in this big house we call the monastery. But at night after dinner, it's all quiet. Everyone is in his room or in the library. The common room is empty. There is no community recreation except on Sundays.

In the midst of the community, I can still feel alone and lonely. There is a void that I feel, especially at night when all is quiet. During the day, I can be busy preparing for class and teaching, or with other parish responsibilities. But at night, I am reminded of what is lacking in my life. I long for intimate companionship and conversation with another human being (preferably female) - but all my close friends are so far away. The one I miss most is in a distant Poor Clare monastery living a life of silence and prayer. How I wish I could see her and talk to her.

Learn to be lonely. This is the refrain of a song from the "Phantom of the Opera." This is what I am trying to learn -- but it will take a lifetime to be able to get used to this. I can bear it. Last year, I lived alone as hermit for five months up in the mountain of Busay overlooking the city of Cebu. It was energizing, but I have to cope with loneliness.

So I keep telling myself: you are all alone, nobody really cares about you, nobody really loves you, take care of yourself, don't wallow in self-pity.

It is ironic that my name is Amado -- the Spanish word for "Beloved."

Well, that's the price I have to pay for my vow of celibacy. No I don't regret being a priest and being a celibate. And intend to remain so for the rest of my life. It is just difficult -- especially at night.

Here's a poem I wrote 25 years ago, and it continues to be relevant even now:

A Eunuch's Lament

What a life
waking up in the middle of a cold, cold night
with no one beside me
except an unresponsive pillow.

What a life
waking up alone on my bed every morning
with no one to greet me
with a smile and kiss.

I will never hear
the sigh of a woman in my bed
in the middle of the night.

I will never hear
the cry of a child in my room
in the middle of the night.

Is this the price I have to pay
night after night
morning after morning
for the freedom to proclaim the kingdom?

(These wings are too heavy
but they can make me fly
I hope I won't fall from the sky)


GaRnEt GirL said...

hello Fr. Picx. being lonely is normal for us to appreciate our companions, ang importante hindi tayo nagpapadala dito sa situation. :) my dad always tells me, "don't be controlled by the situation, you control the situation." you're the same age by the way.

oo nga po pala, i found another blogger here who's a priest (or about to be one) and you have the same template. green - life, growth, cool the eyes (?) hehe!

God bless po and continue bringing people closer to God.

I'll be praying for you.

code said...

Hi Fr. Amado,

I am able to read your blog again.

While reading your post, I have this uneasy feeling again. It's not like "I hate to know that a priest being unhappy because of loneliness". I keep denying myself about that. I know you have a goal and I respect that. I don't know your story either that's why I don't want to think of any judgments. It just saddens my heart when I hear the word loneliness. I never thought God would want this for us. That is why I seldom conform the law of the catholics because I believe that religion alone will not bring us to salvation.

"So I keep telling myself: you are all alone, nobody really cares about you, nobody really loves you, take care of yourself, don't wallow in self-pity." To be honest, I really hate reading this one. I really do. I hate to think that the closer you are to God the closer you are to loneliness. I just hope my perspective is wrong but it seems that religion separates us from one another instead of letting us love one another.