One of the greatest sufferings that we can undergo is that of feeling alone, abandoned, that nobody really cares for us. If you like an intense, crushing loneliness.
There exists those dark and somewhat gloomy days, where the sun fails to shine, the birds hide in their nests, the cold winds blast, and the stars at night hide behind the clouds.
In addition to the somber aspect of nature, human relations can become strained, cold, and even fractured. There are those days in which we experience a great weight upon our shoulders, but there seems to be nobody close at hand to alleviate the weight.
In Ignatian spirituality this amounts to and can be defined as a state of desolation. Now if we do not react intensely against this state of desolation, but instead succumb to it, then it can truly wreak havoc in our lives. We have to learn how to cope and deal with these trials and tribulations through the optic of faith.
One of the best ways that we can cope with and overcome this state of desolation is to cultivate a constant, keen and growing awareness of three Persons who want to play an essential part in our lives. They are present to us at all times, but we are often not present to them; sad to say, at times we are totally oblivious to their presence.
Who are these important Persons? They are the three members of the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph. How ironic is this statement: we are often too busy to talk to them; but they are never too busy to enter into conversation with us!
What then are some practical ways in which we can cultivate this awareness of these three best friends in our daily walk of life? Indeed, we must have some concrete reminders.
1. MORNING OFFERING. Start off every day, every morning, by consecrating yourself to Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph. Offer to Jesus through Mary and St. Joseph, your day and all that will transpire during the course of the day. By doing so, they will walk with you during the day and you will be walking with them. As such, keep them in mind, and this crushing state or feeling of loneliness will in great part be conquered.
2. IMAGES IN YOUR ROOM. Make sure that you have a painting, picture, icon or statue of Jesus, of Mary, and of St. Joseph in your room. You might also have a picture or painting of the Holy Family—Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph together—on the wall greeting you every time you enter your room and you should greet them back. Thanks be to God for the proper use of images and sacramentals that so easily lift our minds, hearts and souls soaring to God and the Holy Family! Every time you return home to your room, Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph are truly there to greet you, and they are waiting for you to acknowledge and greet them as well!
3. IMAGES IN YOUR CAR. In addition to having images in your room of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, have these images in your car. Possibly over the front mirror or visor, a small image of the Holy Family can serve as a powerful reminder that even when traveling you are in the best of company. Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph traveled together in their family life, and they want to travel with you on the Highway to Heaven.
4. JOYFUL MYSTERIES OF THE HOLY ROSARY. Make a sincere and concerted effort to go deeper into the contemplation of the Joyful Mysteries of the most Holy Rosary. Contemplate these Mysteries not from afar, but strive to be truly present in these Mysteries. Become a member of the Holy Family. If you like, be truly present in the Cave at Bethlehem. Be there with St. Joseph helping him gather sticks of wood to start a fire and warm the cold, damp and musty refuge of animals where the Son of God will truly be born. After His birth, accept the baby Jesus from Mary and hold Him in your arms, sing Him a simple lullaby if you like. Contemplate the baby Jesus. Let your heart overflow with awe, reverence and love for Him.
Then talk to Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph in your own words about what is going on in your life, what causes you joy, what causes you sorrow, and what might be bothering you right now. They always will be the best of listeners. Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph are your Best Friends! In fact, the more you are able to penetrate the depths of the contemplation of the Joyful Mysteries, the deeper will be your friendship with Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph. Consequently, the devil and that crushing sense of loneliness will be conquered and put to flight! While praying and contemplating these Joyful Mysteries, you might even try to purchase or find on-line some attractive pictures or portraits of each Joyful Mystery so as to focus your attention more firmly on each event as it is happening. Incidentally, they have as a title, “The Joyful Mysteries”. Therefore, the fruit of these Mysteries should be filling us with the Joy of the Spirit. Saint Paul reminds us: “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: Rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4)
5. FAVORITE PRAYER TO THE HOLY FAMILY: JESUS, MARY AND ST.JOSEPH. The following prayer to Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph will hopefully fill you with great consolation and be a sure means of conquering loneliness that leads to desolation. Hopefully you will be able to memorize this short but efficacious prayer.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul;
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, make my heart like unto thine.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I breathe forth my soul unto thee.
O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine,
All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine.
In fact, this would be a beautiful prayer to start off the day. But also, this would be a beautiful prayer in which you terminate the day. To initiate our first moments, offering them to Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, and then to close our day consecrating our sleeping hours in the arms and Hearts of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph is a sure and most efficacious remedy to conquer all forms of desolation, including that crushing loneliness that can devastate so many people. May Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph be our Best Friends in time, and for all eternity! Amen.