Isolation and communion

- Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

It's good that from time to time we go into some kind of isolation. That would give us time and space for rest and some helpful reflections. We just have to remember that there are two kinds of isolation, a good one and a bad one. And we just have to make the proper choice.

The good one fosters our communion with others, first with God and then with all the rest. This is actually what is proper and ideal to us. It enhances our being persons who know how to be united with everyone, starting with God, from whom we come and to whom we belong, and with everyone else who is part of our human family.

We have to make sure that whatever isolation we may be resorting to should make us to be more united with God and others.

When that is not case, when we become more self-centered, wallowing in our comfort zone and even becoming more critical of others and cold toward God, let's immediately react and correct the situation.

The bad one simply grounds us deeper into our own selves, a dangerous situation to be in. That detaches us from our true source of being, of life and truth, and of whatever is good and proper to us.

That makes us vulnerable to our own weaknesses and to the temptations around.

Precisely we fall into sin when we are isolated, when we are detached from God. And it's sin that causes division among ourselves and worsens our isolation. We have to be most wary of this kind of isolation.

In short, good isolation makes us more sociable, more concerned about the others, more united with God. Bad isolation makes us a loner, self-centered, self-absorbed and self-seeking.

As persons, we are capable of being both isolated and at the same time united with all the others. That's due to our spiritual faculties that enable us to transcend the limitations of time and space and to enter into the very core and essence of things and other persons.

That is why it is important that we take care of how we handle our spiritual faculties. These faculties should not just behave fully or even mainly at the instance of what our bodily conditions may dictate, or what our emotions, instincts, and other external factors, like the trends around, may suggest. They have to be properly engaged.

We have to fill our mind and heart with good things, with good intentions. This practice will already help us greatly in detoxifying these powerful but delicate faculties from bad elements like rash judgments, critical thoughts, pride, conceit, etc.

This practice will make us feel vibrant and young, eager and confident to tackle things, whether issues, problems, challenges.

This practice, especially when it becomes a habit, obviously will redound to creating a more humane and likeable atmosphere around us.

We need to train ourselves in how to have recourse to good isolation. This can happen when we find time to pray in private, in some meditative and contemplative prayer where we really can talk with God and think more deeply of the others.

This can happen when we make a good retreat, a traditional practice where we separate ourselves from our usual daily routine, and keep some distance from others and worldly matters for some days to be more in touch with God. Let's remember that if we are truly in touch with him, we cannot avoid getting in touch with others, since loving God is inseparable from loving the others.

Let's try our best that in these moments of good isolation, we develop the proper attitudes and skills of patience, understanding, compassion, empathy, etc., so crucial in creating and maintaining communion with everyone. We have to continue to learn the finer points of charity, willing to forgive, finding excuses for the defects and mistakes of the others, thinking and speaking well of others always.

We have to be quick in rejecting the different forms of bad isolation, some of which can be so subtle that we would not be aware we are already falling into their clutches.

But there are some telling signs, like when we prefer to be alone most of the time than to be with others, locking ourselves in our room or in our mind. Or even when we are with others, keeping thoughts and intentions that we know cannot be openly shared with God and with others. Some prefer to play individualistic games rather than helping others.

We have to be experts in distinguishing good isolation from bad isolation.

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