Why Are We So Lonely?
The Message of Divine Mercy is a Call for Community
By Fr. Walter Dziordz, MIC (Sep 25, 2006)
I have read several articles in the news recently about how people in our society are becoming lonelier and more isolated from each other.
One in four Americans say they have no one to talk to about their problems, according to a new study. The articles raise the fear that this growing social isolation is damaging us emotionally and physically.
I believe it. Look around at the lives so many Americans lead. Nights and weekends spent on the Internet. Long, lonely commutes. Late nights at the office. We seem to spend more time deepening our relationship with machines — television, cars, computers, iPods, video games, and cell phones — than with each other.
But the cure to this crisis is at our fingertips. It's in the Church. It's in the message of Divine Mercy.
Today, the message of The Divine Mercy calls us back to that great experiment begun by the Apostles who chose to follow Christ. It's a call to love God and neighbor. We read in Scripture about the apostles being sent out to spread the Word of God and to unpack for others what Christ's teachings meant. But the apostles are saints not only because they talked about Christ; they also lived lives that passionately followed His teachings. Their audiences grew because their audiences were inspired by how these apostles lived. And their message took hold.
Our call today is to carry on that work. "I demand from you deeds of mercy which are to arise out of love for Me," Christ told St. Faustina in one of a series of revelations she had with Him in the 1930s. "You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse yourself from it" (Diary of St. Faustina, 1074).
In this way, we create a field, a new ambiance, in which mercy can blossom — and loneliness can be dispelled!
We who are devoted to the spread of Divine Mercy have the same mission as the larger Church. "Church" is people coming together to be there for each other and to heal each other. We who are devoted to Divine Mercy are merely doing what Christ wanted us to do and, in fact, commanded us to do. We are to role model mercy. We are to put our arms around people in need. We are to listen. We are to find out why they are so hurt and angry, and then try to help them heal.
In other words, we are to create community.
Our message is crucial because loneliness on a large scale can turn dangerous and violent. Look at what happened at Columbine several years ago. It's far easier to hurt someone if you are alienated from them. Through living the message of Divine Mercy, we become absorbed with God rather than with self. We offset our violent culture with themes that it really needs to hear. Everybody wants to be loved. Everybody wants to be forgiven. Everybody wants to be touched.
Today, I urge you to reach out to your neighbor.
There is a cry in hell. That is the cry of the Father, a deep moan that comes from His very depths, crying for His lost children. And, indeed, when we distance ourselves from others, we distance ourselves from God.
We've drifted so far away from God and from each other, and now it's time to regroup.
Father Walter Dziordz, MIC, is Provincial Superior of the Marians' St. Stanislaus Kostka Province,
based in Stockbridge, Mass.