|Relationship Christianity Church Human behavior
Solitude by standard definition is described as the situation where one is alone. From a spiritual perspective, however, it is defined as the intentional separation from other people or one's everyday activities for the sole purpose of getting closer to God. It is a practice that Christians willingly decide to pursue either temporarily or permanently. The write-up seeks to address the question of how the theme of solitude gets treated in the teaching and history of the Catholic Church.
The theme of solitude in the teaching and history of the Catholic Church was first observed as monasticism got adopted in the East. Religious leaders from the east practiced solitude during times they set aside for renewal and reformation. From the Bible as a reference, it was practiced by St. John the Baptist. The Saint left his daily ambitions and retreated into the desert for solitude. It got seen in Palestine, Egypt, and the land of Syria.
Secondly, the theme of solitude got portrayed by the father of Christian Monasticism Saint Antony of the desert (Uhlmann, 2018). His sole mission of embracing the act of isolation was that he sought to live a life of prayer and poverty. He focussed on Christ's teaching to the man that he should sell what he had and give to the poor, and he would have treasures in heaven. Many hermits followed his way of life after watching him.
Also, St. Maron’s life depicts the theme of solitude. He shows that time of solitude results in one receiving spiritual gifts and leading a life of prayer and holiness. St. Maron gets recorded to have received the gift of healing while he practised solitude. As he retrieved from the rest of the people, he found it accommodating to lead a holy life that pleases God. He also took time in solitude to talk to God. As saint Antony, Saint Maron gained followers who decided to follow his way of life. His life was short-lived, but his deeds appreciated, and his memory treasured.
In Subiaco, Saint Benedict introduced the aspect of work to the time of solitude. The principle thus adopted by the Saint for people practising solitude was "pray and work." Often service is well performed if one is not murmuring or complaining. A place got built to act as a teaching and conversion centre. His time practising solitude also shows that no one is born seeking solitude. The built-up centre taught people every aspect of isolation and finally converted them into monks.
There is a connection between solitude and the concept of hell from a catholic perspective. Once one dies, they acquire absolute loneliness. The difference from one in heaven and the soul in hell is that; hell is where one achieve solitude that cannot get penetrated or lightened up by the love of God (Pitstick, 2016). While on earth, every human the freedom of free will so that they would escape hell. On earth, one is illuminated by God's love despite what they are going through, but in hell, one faces loneliness with no mercy. In the BibleBible, it is referred to when Christ died. In his last prayer, he prayed that God might not forsake him. It implies that after Christ died, God was no longer with Him despite him being His only son.
In conclusion, the theme of solitude has been utilized severally in the catholic teaching. With the help of various saints, solitude has taught ways of life that a Christian ought to emulate. The lessons include; leading a holy life, being prayerful, taking time to renew their beliefs, focussing on riches in heaven rather than on earth and providing faithful service. Teaching also depicts that there is a relationship between the concept of hell and solitude. Hell gets defined as a state of solitude where one soul is deficient of God’s love.
Uhlmann, A. (2018). Saint Antony in His Desert. University of Western Australia Press.
Pitstick, L. (2016). Christ's descent into hell: John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger, and Hans Urs von Balthasar on the theology of Holy Saturday. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
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