The Loneliness of Christ & our Loneliness- By: Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev

Christ in Gethsemane

Christ in Gethsemane

by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev

During the last days of His earthly life Jesus Christ was left alone to face those who hated Him, endure sufferings and death. He drank to the bottom the cup of suffering that was prepared for Him and underwent the most horrible thing that a person could experience: a profound loneliness and feeling of being abandoned by God.

He was alone in Gethsemane, for His disciples were fast asleep. He was alone at the court of the high priests, alone during His interrogation by Herod, alone at the tribunal of Pilate, for His disciples had fled. He was alone when He went to Golgotha, and a passer-by, and not His beloved disciple, helped Him to carry His cross. He was alone on the cross and died alone, having been abandoned by all.

While on the cross Jesus cried to His Father: “My God, My God! Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mt. 27:46). The pain of all mankind and every person was contained in this cry, the pain of everybody who feels alone and abandoned by God.

It is painful to be abandoned by one’s friends and close ones, but there is something still more horrible – when it seems that God has left you, when an insurmountable wall has been raised between you and God and He neither hears, nor sees, nor notices you.

If you suffer from loneliness, remember how lonely the Saviour was during the last days of His life.

If your close ones or those under your care have turned away from you, if you have been slandered undeservedly, if people call you a heretic and destroyer of traditions, if they bear false witness against you and say that you deserve to die, remember that the Lord Himself underwent all these.

If he who lived with you under one roof, communed from the same chalice, ate your bread, he whom you trusted with all your love, with whom you shared your thoughts and feelings, from whom you hid nothing and for whom you spared nothing, if this person betrayed you, turned away from you, “raised his heel to smite you” and spat on you, remember that Jesus also underwent this.

If your cross weights upon you so heavily that you are not able to carry it, and if those close to you do not want to help you carry it, be thankful, perhaps, to the passer-by who will help you carry it for at least part of the way.

If the feeling of being totally abandoned by God has overwhelmed you and it seems that there is no God, that He has turned away from you or does not hear you, do not despair, for Christ also underwent these horrible and bitter experiences.

If people condemn you and blaspheme, smite you in the face and spit on you, nail you to the cross and give you bile instead of water, pray for them, for “they know not what they are doing”.

In fear and trembling, bowing before the holy tomb of Jesus in silence and reverence, let us thank the Lord for He was alone so that we might not be alone, He was abandoned so that we might not be abandoned, He suffered insults and mockery, slander and humiliation, suffering and death, so that in the midst of any suffering we might feel that we are not alone, that the Saviour Himself “is with us unto the end of the ages”.



6 Responses to “The Loneliness of Christ & our Loneliness- By: Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev”

  1. 1 Moses April 3, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Beautiful article Mash! =D

  2. 2 Mary April 4, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Isn’t it beautiful! I really like it too, Moses. I hope Bishop Hilarion continues to write more (in English), he has a lot of brilliant things to say.

  3. 3 Mike April 7, 2009 at 3:06 am

    We often experience loneliness as separation and isolation but even our loneliness unites us with Christ. Thanks be to God.

  4. 4 Joe Varghese March 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Wonderful article … but sounded in parts that the implication was that God had left Jesus. This is not the early Church understanding, as God could never leave God

  5. 5 Joe Varghese March 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    The Orthodox Study Bible has a wonderful note (pg. 1325, Matthew 27:46)

  1. 1 He Was Alone So That We Might Not Be Alone: by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev « Salt of the Earth Trackback on April 16, 2009 at 11:58 pm

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St. Poemen the Great

"A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning others, he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent, that is, he says nothing that is not profitable."

St. Gregory the Great

"Every day you provide your bodies with good to keep them from failing. In the same way your good works should be the daily nourishment of your hearts. Your bodies are fed with food and your spirits with good works. You aren't to deny your soul, which is going to live forever, what you grant to your body, which is going to die."

St. Paisius Velichkovsky

"Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins."

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

“Prayer does not consist merely in standing and bowing your body or in reading written prayers….it is possible to pray at all times, in all places, with mind and spirit. You can lift up your mind and heart to God while walking, sitting, working, in a crowd and in solitude. His door is always open, unlike man’s. We can always say to Him in our hearts Lord , Lord have mercy.”

St. John of Kronstadt

The candles lit before the icons of the Theotokos are a symbol of the fact that She is the Mother of the Unapproachable Light, and also of Her most pure and burning love for God and Her love for mankind.

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