Redemptive Need of Our Age?
loneliness the redemptive necessity of our age ? It is an inescapable factor in modern life and is met on all sides. There is an ever increasing army of middle-aged only children, who because of having to earn their living and cope with elderly parents, find marriage has passed them by and their parents are now dead. There arc also the apparently large group of converts who suffer from loneliness.
Lastly, there are those who find no matter what club, society, class or group they belong to they still feel aliens. though very friendly aliens, wherever they are, this last group is a growing one and is not only composed of folk from thc first two, but contains many who are married and have a family, or who are part of sonic other wellknit and until recently congenial group.
Loneliness is something which Our Lord experienced very strongly and which he did warn Ult would be our lot if we followed Him. He was not welcomed by the " world "; in the Garden he experienced the pain of wanting friends who would understand and watch with him, on the Cross He knew that most dreadful of all loneliness when God, too, appears to leave us to our loneliness.
For us, until we know loneliness we cannot learn to be alone ... with God.
Is the answer more clubs, societies, classes, etc., or it it a wholehearted going out to embrace our loneliness as a great Godgiven vocation ? Our share of the Passion most necessary for the redemptive needs of our mass-produced, noisy, extravert day. Can we use it for those teeming numbers round us who have to drink this bitter cup to the dregs and who so painfully often have no religion, no real knowledge of God, as well as no friends, so they seek to escape by drink, drugs, sex and, so often, suicide.
We can be our brothers' allies in this, though in this world we may never meet them. We can "earn" "Mass Offerings" for the spiritually and mentally sick and lonely in our midst, by doing all those necessary chores which are so unutterably dull if done only
for ourselves, and regarding them as the coins of love, the farthings which make our Mass Offering and then have that Mass said ... each week. We can read and study theology, philosophy and psychology. These would equip us to be good spiritual first-aiders to the man next to us at work and the flat next door.
Marie Desbottes (Miss). 167 Gladstone Buildings, Willow St., London. E.C.2.
SIR,-I would suggest that those converts who find Catholics unfriendly should go to the "Contacts" afternoons held frequently at the Cenacle Convent, 33 West Heath Road, Hampstead, which were arranged sonic years ago for the very purpose of bringing old and new Catholics together.
The next two are at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 12, and Saturday. November 16.
A Convert No Longer Lonely.
Why these moaning con verts ? I have been a convert now for some 35 years. Ever since 1 entered into this Great Freedom, I have never known the stand-offishness and unfriendliness of which your correspondents complain. In England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Syria, Palestine. Greece, and many parts of Africa, I enter a church anywhere and know that, whatever the nationality, the race, or the language, here is the family to which I belong. In all that matters, we are one. The convert is lonely no more conversion is the great Home-Coming. E. Le Neve Foster. II Vale Avenue,