What is common to all of us is that we experience some expression of loneliness to varying degrees consciously or often unconsciously. We are social beings, we want to belong, to be part of, and this is why we are communal. We may do, say, or turn a blind eye to behaviors that go against our conscience just to be accepted, acknowledged, or noticed. This behavior further feeds our loneliness, because though we may be accepted, we become more alienated from our true self.
At the core of our being, what we all seek is to be loved, and to love. We strive from the moment of our conception not only to exist but to actualize the fullness of our potential. Through our time of gestation, we are not potential human beings, we are human beings actualizing our potential. A difference between me who is typing this now and when I was in my mother’s womb is that before and after my birth, I was smaller and more vulnerable.
We as human beings are a living, craving hunger and desire to be in communion with God and one another from the moment of our conception and during each stage of our development until our natural death and continuing on into eternity. This is true to the believer and the atheist alike. Until we embrace this deepest of needs and desires, we will be restless, anxious, and unfulfilled. We can feel isolated and alone, even in the midst of a hundred people or daily likes on social media.
God has made us for himself and constantly invites us to be in relationship with him and with each other because he is the foundation and source of our being. Sin is the turning away from that invitation, a curving, or caving in upon oneself away from God and others. It is also the unwillingness to bother or care, to reach out toward another in need. For what we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do to God. We are not just to be pro-birth, we are to be pro-life, and we are invited to promote a consistent ethic of life.
Jesus became human in his Incarnation to show the importance of the dignity of the person and that it is grounded in our relationship with God our Father, meaning we are all brothers and sisters. Jesus was not plan B, but he has always been the primary plan. In the fullness of time, when God so willed, he sent his Son to become one with us so that we can become one with him. Jesus is the face, hands, and body of God. He came that we might see and experience God. Jesus experienced all we experience except for sin because he never in any act rejected or said no to his Father. His whole life was a yes to the will of God. Jesus is the bridge, coming close to love us so we can love, authentically.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues his farewell discourse. He prepares his disciples for the reality that he will be returning to the Father, and yet at the same time, he will not leave us alone. He will be with us for all ages. This is so because as the Son of God made man, in his Ascension, he returned to the Father not just in his divinity as the Son, but also in his humanity. God created all of humanity and his creation in such a way that we are all interconnected, and because of that, we all experience this transcendent act of the Ascension.
Jesus shared with his disciples: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning” (Jn 15:26-27). Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, the infinite Love experienced and shared between the Father and the Son. We become sharers in this divine love and communion of the Holy Trinity through our participation in the life of Jesus.
As we experience and enter into the love of God and develop a relationship with him, we begin to heal and to experience what it means to be alive. This is because we have experienced the love we have been made for. We have experienced being loved for who we are and as we are. We no longer have to say, do, or accept those actions that we don’t agree with that go against our conscience, to belong. St. John Cardinal Newman has stated that our conscience is the “Aboriginal Vicar of Christ”. Jesus dwells within us, to guide and lead us. He encourages us to say yes to his Father as he has and continues to.
This Trinitarian love that we share because of our participation in the life of Jesus, this great gift, will continue to grow as we testify to this love and share it with others, give it away. The more we give, the more we will receive. We share the love of God by accompanying one another. That does not mean fixing others or their problems. We are called to be present, to accompany, and journey with others, meeting them as Jesus does, as they are. We are to laugh with, to cry along, to encourage, empower, and support, but above all to be present, to allow God to happen through us.
Jesus has not left us as orphans. His return to the Father through his Ascension that we are getting ready to celebrate has given us a greater and more intimate access to the Holy Spirit, the love shared between the Father and the Son. By saying yes and trusting in his love, we free ourselves from the tendrils of fear and anxiety. As we do so, we continue to actualize the fullness of our potential, we become who we were created to be, and we become truer to ourselves. We experience that peace that surpasses all understanding and develop relationships with others based on authenticity and integrity, regardless of external pressures and experiences. We are not alone because we are loved and we love in return, which is what we all seek, which is who we are called to be.