Editor’s note: This article comes to us from an anonymous Catholic with the Twitter handle @FergusFSU.
The religion of God, the Christian faith, is not for wimps. As Christ Himself said, the path to salvation is narrow (Matt. 7:14), and only he who endures to the end will be saved (Matt. 24:13). We must (not should) take up our crosses daily (not just once) if we wish to be saved (Lk. 9:23). These reminders serve as an introduction to the nature of the loneliness of Catholicism that many people find today.
Deuteronomy 31:6: Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.
What is meant by the loneliness of Catholicism? It is the realization that comes to many that once they have accepted all of the teachings of the Catholic Church, and wish to fully embrace the Christian faith, they will find themselves alone, even while surrounded by family and friends. While there can be familial love and affection, there is a foundational and fundamental disconnect in how each sees the world and life.
Luke 12:52–53: From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
To give an anecdotal personal example, in my life as a convert to the Church in 2010, I have not one person among my family, friends, or even close acquaintances who accepts, believes, and lives out all the teachings of the Church. My wife hates the Church, so the home life is extremely tricky, and the potential for landmines is always at hand. Some of my family are faithful Protestants, so they don’t even have the true Christian faith, and I’m viewed as a lost soul to them. The rest of the family is atheist, New Age, or pagan. There are a few friends who regularly go to Mass and accept most of the teachings of the Church, but they all reject one or a handful of teachings they dislike. So for me personally, there is no one around whom I can let my guard down and speak to openly, candidly and passionately about the faith, or events happening in the Church, or about life in general. It’s a gulf that leaves an emptiness for myself and others in similar situations.
Psalm 27:10: If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
This is a difficult cross to bear, because by nature man is a social creature, created by God Himself to live in communion (literally and figuratively) with each other and Him. When this communion of belief is lacking, it creates a loneliness for faithful Catholics.
So when there is frustration with the army of laity handing out Communion, or righteous indignation about the newest blasphemy or heresy being uttered by a cleric, there is no kindred soul to speak with to find consolation while battling on the front lines as part of the Church Militant. All soldiers require the “esprit de corps” of bonds made together in battle, and Christians need those bonds with fellow Christians battling the forces of evil. But what happens when there are so few true soldiers for Christ that Christians can have not one other true Christian in their personal lives to bond with?
Psalm 22:11: Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
The first and foremost thing that should be done is prayer. This is the expected answer, and it rightfully should be. This burden you are under is simply not bearable without turning to God and remaining in Him. If you do not have a regular prayer life, you will falter and fall away from the Faith. Your family, friends, and society will pull you down and away from God. So prayer is mandatory. Pray a daily rosary, and try to spend extra time with God in other ways like Adoration.
Second, find a Latin Mass near you if possible. This is not a discussion about whether the Novus Ordo is a valid Mass, but instead simply making the point that you will find kindred souls at the TLM who believe, accept, and live out the entire Christian faith. Your chance of finding a friend with whom you can have that esprit de corps, in your daily battles, is much greater than at the Novus Ordo Mass. This is just objectively true. (As an aside, in my decade of attending primarily two N.O. parishes, I have found only a handful of people who fully accept, believe, and live out the Christian faith at either parish.)
In my personal life, attending the Latin Mass has not been feasible for a variety of reasons, but hopefully this may change soon, and I’ll find some kindred souls in the Faith whom I can befriend.
Matthew 26:40: Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?
The third thing that can be done is to offer up your suffering and unite it to Christ. The human ability to endure suffering is directly tied to whether there is a higher purpose to the suffering. Parents can endure any mess, any heartache, any lack of sleep if they keep their focus on the well-being of their children. Picking up your cross daily is comprehensible not to those outside the Christian faith, but only to those with God’s sanctifying grace pouring through their souls. Remember that Christ was alone in the dungeon on that holy night before his trial in front of the Sanhedrin and Pilate, yet He was not alone, because the Father and Holy Ghost were with Him.
The fourth and final recommendation that I can make is to find a good community online among the various social media. People from all across the country and the world who are also part of the Church Militant and are in this war against evil with you. Their friendship and camaraderie can enliven your spirit and encourage you to holiness and growing in the Lord.
Please do not lose hope. Please do not lose faith. Please do not lose love. Keep fighting, keep praying, and keep your soul in sanctifying grace by frequenting the sacraments as often as possible.
1 Corinthians 10:13: No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.
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I agree. I have to admit to myself that I am a lonely Catholic even though I am very happily married and we both became true Catholics four years ago and we were received into the Church in 2019. Chapel is 34 miles away over a mountain! We have lots of fellowship at coffee upstairs after Mass but there’s no fellowship between Sunday to Sunday except for when there’s a holy Day of Obligation.
Our friends at chapel each travel as families and as couples and as single individuals from many miles away and from mostly the south. We are to the east and none of our Catholic friends live anywhere near us.
We would like to live in the south of England where, in a particular place, there are about 100 faithful. They have fellowship easily. House prices there are three times what they are where we live.
But, we unite our loneliness to the holy suffering of our Blessed Lord for payment of sin which is legion in occurrence! Lord have mercy.