It is not good to be alone


It is not good to be alone

The Bible says, “It is not good for a human being to be alone.”

But in fact, sometimes it is good for us to be alone, but not as a permanent condition. The final and greatest creation of God is the human person.  Basically, human beings are social by nature. We are incomplete all by ourselves and so we need others.

First, God gave Adam all the animals and beasts, but Adam was not able to find a suitable partner. Then God gave Adam a woman, Eve. As soon as Adam saw Eve, he recognised in her a true companion, helper and fitting partner. Eve was made of the same material as himself, possessed the same dignity as himself and was his equal. When Adam saw the woman, he expressed two significant truths about the meaning of being human. First, the truth of difference: namely, man is different from woman. The second is the truth of oneness. This desire for unity and difference is the heart of human community. In fact, true community can be created only among equals.  Thus, Adam exclaimed, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…”  God created us for community which means that we need one another.

Marriage is the most explicit expression of this unity, “the two of them become one flesh.”  But the deep desire for unity with God and others is true for all human beings, even if they do not marry. In teaching about marriage, Jesus affirms two important truths: The first one is that both man and woman are equals in establishing community among themselves and thus are to be treated as equals. The second truth is that both are responsible for maintaining and preserving the union they have formed. Jesus’ ministry was a model of how human beings can begin to work out the differences in relationship. Willingness to trust, to be open, to depend on and include others, particularly children, contributes greatly to maintain a community.

In today’s Gospel Jesus says to us, “unless you become like little children you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Normally we tend to regard childhood as something that we must put or leave completely behind as if there was nothing in it worth keeping. Here we have to distinguish between being childlike and childish. Being childish refers to immaturity, being silly and being irresponsible. Being childlike implies characteristics such as openness, receptivity, curiosity, sense of wonder and the ability to live in the present. There is a wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The role of a parent and a teacher is to try their best to unlock that treasure. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that we lose some of the best qualities of a child and keep some of the worst. And so, we cease to be childlike but continue to be childish. Children teach us how to live, because they have not yet become prisoners of routine, habit and prejudice. They are always just themselves. This is what makes children so charming and unique. Infants who have not learned to repress their feelings are delightfully honest. Through this gospel reading, Jesus is recalling us to our lost childhood so that, though old and frail in body, we might be reborn in innocence of character. We are invited not to become children, but to become like children.

Responding to our vocation can trigger our childishness, fears, worries and opposition.  But surrendering to our vocation turns us to trust in the God who calls, sustains, and guides us to fulfill our calling and build up the community to which we belong.

By Fr. Susai Jesu, OMI