March 18: No Visitors

Day 16

View Video Transcript

Two of the great lessons of my life have been to get inside of myself and to get outside of myself.

What do I mean when I say get inside of myself? I have realized, sort of consistently over my life, that I have a great need for solitude. I do need to step back from things on a regular basis, have some solitude, re-energize, and get new perspective.

We read over and over in the Gospels that Jesus went away to a lonely place, or Jesus went away to a quiet place, or Jesus left everyone behind and went away to be alone or to be apart. We need that. You need that. I need that. Whether we’re extrovert or introvert, we all need that.

The role of solitude in our lives is very, very powerful. I talk a lot about clarity, and the idea of clarity, and personal clarity, and working out who we are, and what we’re here for, and what matters most, and what matters least. Silence is very important to helping us develop that personal clarity.

But solitude is also very, very important to helping us develop that personal clarity. When we have time in solitude, we learn to hear our own voice very clearly, we learn to hear the voice of conscience very clearly, and we learn to hear the voice of God very clearly. And in order to get that kind of clarity, you need solitude.

So create some solitude for yourself. Today. Tomorrow. Go somewhere quiet. Go for a long walk in a quiet place, or just go somewhere solitary and just sit there for an hour and see how it affects you. See what it says to you, see how it makes you feel.

So I’ve worked out that it’s important for me to get inside myself. The other lesson I’ve learned is that it’s important for me to get outside of myself. And the only way to get outside of myself is to serve other people. When I’m unhappy in life, mostly it’s because I’m too focused on myself.

When I realize I’m unhappy in life, I’ve developed sort of a trigger: I just have to get outside of myself. I have to do something for somebody else as quickly as possible, because it gets me out of my self-focus. It gets me outside of my self-interest. It gets me focusing on somebody other than myself.

From time to time, we do get all caught up in ourselves, and I really believe the fastest way out of that is to serve others—get outside of ourselves, focus on someone else, serve somebody else, in whatever way is available, however simply and quickly you can do that.

But also, I think the realization is that we need this on a regular basis. Because if we’re not getting outside of ourselves and serving others regularly, we tend to fall into that unhappiness of self-focus.

So two lessons:
1) Get inside yourself. Work out who you are by spending some time in solitude. Get clear about the most important voices in your life.

2) Get outside of yourself. Find ways to serve other people. Few things will bring you more joy in this life than serving other people in powerful ways and in simple ways.

“One of life’s most essential lessons is learning to be alone.”

Matthew Kelly, Resisting Happiness

Share this quote.

Focus

We keep resisting God even after we are convinced that his way is the best way.

Act

Visit the lonely. Somewhere not too far away from where you live, someone is saying a prayer. He is asking God to send someone to visit him and lift him up out of the depths of his loneliness. God wants you to help him answer that prayer.

Pray

God, help me to dive deep into solitude, especially when I don’t want to. Help me to learn more about myself and about you, and inspire me to reach outside of myself to those around me.

Today’s personal reflection features Dynamic Catholic team member Melissa Gillie. Melissa is our Mission Team floor lead, coming to us from Escondido, California. Melissa once won coffee for a year, is notorious for winning radio contests, and greatly enjoys playing Scrabble.

Have you ever reached out to someone who was lonely?

Let us know in the comments!

We encourage you to comment on this reflection. All viewpoints are welcome, but we ask that you remain on-topic and respect other members of the discussion. Please remember that we are trying to help each other become the-best-version-of-ourselves. We reserve the right to make editorial decisions regarding comments, including but not limited to removal of comments. Be Bold. Be Catholic.®

  • Usi

    On a word free Saturday mornings at 5.30 resistance is very strong ….
    Then I heard go visit someone, there it was again, my resistance: today????? I have to go to an extended learning, I want to spend time with my family afterwards, and, and, and.
    Then I listened to Melissa and started to relax. If not today, then look out for somebody this week. This gave me comfort right away. Thank you God, you don’t put anything on our shoulders, that we can’t handle.
    But now, going out of myself, maybe I will find somebody today?

    I have been looking for silence for myself for a long time, not easy every day. But I couldn’t really tell, why I needed it. Now, I know, there must have been this hole in me, that I haf to fill with God/with prayer. Thank you for leading me on a new way of my spirirtual life. I am on the way finding finally, what I’ve been looking for for years but nobody really helped me find my way. I didn’t know how fulfilling and satisfying prayer could be and how happy it can make me during the whole day.

  • Karen

    Powerful message today and I agree with Matthew getting inside & outside of yourself. When you reach out to someone who is lonely (stepping outside of your own self focus) can you truly find your way back inside to yourself (hearing your inner voice and God). Visit a lonely person and experience that joy….filled with God’s love!!

  • Mary

    I completely agree with Matthew. It takes balance to spend time inside yourself and not get caught up in “me.” God has shown me that when I get too caught up in “me”, I actually separate myself from him. Since this year has started, I have been praying that the Lord help me get myself out of my own way. When I am too full of myself, I overthink, second-guess, and let go of trust. Life is so beautiful when I let go of myself and trust Him. Lord, open my eyes today to reach out to the lonely. God bless!!!

  • Pearl Brown

    I visited my neighbor who was in a nursing home I looked forward to that each week until she passed I remember her face lighting up when she saw me she had family but they visited sparsely I truly miss our talks and walks thru the halls of the nursing home she was truly a good friend

  • Latifa

    Wow. Message of Mark’s touched home. I was a person who didn’t like silence or solitude. My mins would race and I could not control it. Then one day my Bible study teacher told me “Be still and know that I am God.” I tried meditating after that and it worked. I make sure I take time to be still. It’s amazing what you learn about yourself. It’s my favorite time because I chat to God and I listen for his voice. In mass I also have tears in my eyes after Communion. It’s the most spiritual moment of my life. I help others most of the time. My kids get mad at me. They say mummy but they never help you. I always tell my kids I’m doing it out of the goodness of my heart and not for anything in return. I do it because I love and care. That is my nature. God knows my heart and I do it for Him.

    • Jean Walton

      Receiving Holy Eucharist IS the most spiritual moment of our lives. It’s the closest to heaven we will be while on this earth. Wish more people would come to this realization.

      I pray the Anima Christi each time afterwards – very powerful.

  • BR

    One thing that Melissa’s story reminded me about is the result of reaching out to help others. When you do it, you may never know the impact it has. You hope you are helping, but you may never know. In today’s “instant” world, we want immediate knowledge, immediate results, and immediate reinforcement. And yet when you reach out to help others, you often won’t see then, or perhaps ever, the results of your efforts. You may change someone’s life, but never hear about it. You may re-direct them toward God, but never know it. You “feel good” about what you did, but you may sometimes wonder about the impact you had. Don’t ever doubt your efforts. Kindness always produces results. Accept on faith that you made a difference. Rejoice in believing without seeing or knowing…and most importantly…do it again.

    • Karen in FL

      And realize that it might be only when you get to Heaven that you find out just how many people you touched in your lifetime.

  • Doug

    I always share about having no stress, no fear, and no worry, for the past 5 years and you all may be getting tired of seeing it. One thing I hadn’t thought of is that I’ve been a very happy man as well. I do have a mental illness of Bi-polar II and severe mood swings…and I have been on medication for the past 13 years. However, even with medication I still had bad days not often. Watching this video made me realize that I’ve had no episodes for quite some time and it’s, no doubt, because of my intimate relationship with our Lord.

    I’m retired. With the exception of doing my workouts (loud music) I have the TV off and no music. I love the peace and quiet, and this quiet time becomes a huge part of my prayer life. The best hour of my week is adoration on Saturday mornings from 4-5am. That is the ultimate quiet time. I continue to pray for those who have yet to achieve this level of actualization. God bless you all.

    • Beth

      Thank you for sharing this! I also like my alone quiet time first thing in the morning. I have a lot of job stress and realized I was seeking spiritual growth this past fall. My job stress has diminished greatly and I am a happier person now that I create my own solitude daily. I look forward to my alone time and cherish it daily. Glad to see it works for you too.

    • NancyB

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Beverly

      Thank you for sharing. I also am bi polar and I am praying for everyone with mental illness, because a relationship with God is the only way to survive this illness!

      • MaryMartha

        I too have bi-polar and praying with God in my Holy Hour of Adoration lifts me greatly from my self to God’s will for me.

    • Ronda Jewell

      Doug, thank you for sharing. We really never know what another person is carrying. God bless you.

    • Nancy R

      God bless you Doug. Thank you for sharing your strength.

    • Amanda

      Thanks Doug, I hope and pray one day I can be at the place where you are.

    • Mon

      An hour of adoration each week is awesome. There are no interuptions from this crazy paced world. Just God and you. A mini vacation. My hour is 11 a.m.- 12p.m.every Friday.
      I am a 41 yr old homeschooling mom of 6, and sometimes I take them all with me. Adoration is rated ‘e’ for everyone.
      At my hour last week, God inspired me to visit the aged at seniors homes. I am starting next week and one of my children will accompany me each time. What a gift for me!

      • Toni Shea

        What a gift for your seniors and your child. As a nurse for more years than I will ever own up to, I can tell you the seniors will be on “fire” with visits from children. Something about that combination that is miraculous. God Bless You

    • Jean Walton

      I turned the radio off in my car about a year ago (even though I listened to Christian music) and this reflection time has truly brought solitude and strengthened my prayer life and relationship with God.

    • Alan Lavender

      Doug, thanks for being open. Like you I’ve had some rocky times with bipolar but reading this underlines how good I’ve been for years now and it really merits giving thanks to God. I’m about to visit my Mum in a seniors’ home and what Matthew says about getting outside of yourself rings very true in this context. I used to get annoyed with other residents coming up and butting in to our visiting time. Listening to them I have been really moved on several occasions by their own stories bursting to get out after all the years still. One woman used to work in a home herself and single handedly saved all the residents from a fire, dragging some on their beds to safety. This story checked out with my wife who knew exactly who I meant. So the takeout from this is that just as my Mum doesn’t live there in isolation, I don’t go and visit her in isolation either. Community as well as medicine keeps her alive and I should get involved in that community for the brief periods I am there. Enjoy those workouts Doug!

      • Toni Shea

        God Bless you for “getting outside yourself” and giving to the lonely. It is so easy for us to be absorbed in our busy lives and to miss the need and the gratitude when it is met.

    • Marilyn Russell

      I also enjoy my alone time, being quiet before the Lord. I need to be careful that I do spend quality time with my husband of 27 years, and keep in touch with my children. Life has been good for me. Yes, I have had my sad moments and my lonely moments, but I am at Peace with the Lord.

      • Jeannie Ferguson

        I agree! I have to have time with the Lord, so I will be at my best with my precious husband!

      • Connie Bland

        God Bless

    • Norma Van Amberg

      Thank you for sharing, Doug. I returned this week from visiting two of my sons who live in different New England states. One of them is stable now on meds for his mental disorder, but I continue to pray for his spiritual healing. I believe he got angry with God after his breakdown. I am grateful he has his music to focus on, playing guitar, keyboard and writing songs. He has a poet’s nature. I am also pleased now that I returned the call last night of a high school friend who has a mental illness. He seems to reach out to me when he is feeling low and says he feels better after we chat. Let’s continue to be sensitive to the needs of others that we meet along the way. And what a pleasant surprise to see Matthew Kelly walking toward me in the airport In Atlanta, Georgia last week as I hurried toward my connecting flight. We exchanged a brief greeting.

    • Christine Fontana

      Thank you Doug – it was lovely to read your message. It’s a wonderful message for all of us. My eucharistic adoration, while frequent is not regular – I think having a regular time is a great idea and i’m going to try it!

    • Toni Shea

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It certainly is a blessing to be able to spend time with the Lord and come to the intimacy you have found with Him. In the world we live in so many people are so “plugged in” 24 hours a day they miss what you have found. God Bless you.

  • Frances

    One afternoon, As i was in the chapel praying, a young woman walked in to the front pew & started praying. Within a few minutes, she went from quietly sobbing to really crying. I grabbed a pack of tissues i had & went over, sat beside her, put my arm around her, told her i’d pray with her. She hugged me, took tissue & said Thank You. I sat a few minutes & wwnt back to my spot—she smiled & said Thank You again. She stopped crying & continued praying. After awhile, on her way out she came by & told me, Thank You, not only for the tissue, but she needed that hug. She felt better & gave me a car rosary–which she makes. The hug gave her strength & knew she wasnt alone. I told her—No, we are not, Jesus our Lord is ALWAYS with us. 🙏🏻

    • Jean Walton

      The power of God through human touch is an amazing thing.

    • Angela Taylor

      It is truly a blessing reading everyone’s reflections and lived testimony of Christianity. The videos are so very touching and genuine too. I started reaching out to people I knew who were sick several years ago,, i.e. neighbors, friends and coworkers by taking them a copy of Max Lucado’s Safe in the Sepherd’s Arms and praying with them. This inspirational book on the 23rd Psalm had helped me tremendously through some trying times. I try to obtain copies from used book stores when I’m out and about but not always able to locate them. On one occasion when I needed one for a neighbor who had been in severe pain for awhile and moving to another state to live with her brother, I didn’t have one on hand. Since I knew she was leaving soon, I gave her my book, which was signed by my parents as a gift to me. It was difficult to part with it but I knew she needed it. A month or so later I learned that she had passed but was able to attend her funeral since they had it locally. It was a difficult funeral, since she was so young. I left a card to try to bring them some peace to her family saying now she is truly safe in her shepherd’s arms. I hope that each of us can feel the comfort and peace of our shepherd this Lenten season. God bless!

  • Margo

    This is the best Lent ever!

    • Marsha Mohan

      Joining in the Best Lent Ever program
      Sharing with you all is amazing. Thank
      You all. God has Blessed each of us in a special way!

      • Pat

        Amen

      • Kathy

        I agree!!! This is the best Lent ever!!!🙏🙏🙏

      • Shelley

        I agree! This program is really making me think. I need to learn to be more comfortable with the quiet.

        • Marianne

          I agree! Thank you everyone for your wonderful suggestions!!

    • Daniela D.

      Amen!

    • NancyB

      Amen!

  • MEM

    Your story of kindness is very special and your heart was pure when you helped him. I wish you would have left out the part when you stated “he left you in his will” In this world of ” money ” I feel people will only start to help others when they feel there might be a chance of some type of reward down the road. Of course those people will have to answer to God if their kindness to another person isn’t genuine.
    God Bless,

    • Ethel L

      Grateful heart will endure anything.

    • Diana

      Mem,maybe it doesn’t matter what their motive is as long as they start visiting someone, then God will take over. They won’t tell the person they are hoping to be put in their will so that part won’t matter,as long as it helps the other person not to be lonely.

  • Robert

    I am so sure that each of us will be in both “chairs” at many times during our lifetimes: being the visitor and being the visited. It’s not just our elders who are lonely. Can’t tell you how many times somebody has said just the right few words to me to get me out of a funk or to make me feel motivated again.

    And we all know good it feels to be able to do the same for somebody else. While the words may not come easy, the act can work like magic.

    May we all get off our bottoms and find the opportunity to visit somebody special throughout this best Lent yet.

    • Ethel L

      Couldn’t agree more Robert! I’ve been on both sides many times and it’s quite humbling for me to be of service to the underserved.

  • Clara

    I think of the Kent Nerburn story, where he was working as a taxicab driver. When he went to pick up a fare, and she gave the address of a hospice, but asked him to drive a out of the way route to get there, he reached out and turned off his meter. Then he drove this woman who knew her end of life was near, to all the places of her happy memories, before taking her to her final destination. They drove past places where she had first met her husband, and places she had shared in joy during her life. What a gift he gave her, to put aside his need to earn a wage, and take her on a drive through the memories of her life before she went to the hospice, which they both knew she would leave to be going to her own funeral. I cry every time I read that story….what true recognition of meeting the need of someone

    • NancyB

      Amen

    • Kenny Robbins

      And I am crying…. thank you! Wonderful story.

    • MarkV

      Great example for all of us. Thanks for sharing.

    • Marilyn McGreevy Micciche

      Beautiful story. It really moved me.

    • Anna Brady

      I’m also crying. What a wonderful thing to do for someone. Taking that time and giving of yourself and not expecting something. Wish more people would do this. I’ve been learning to stop and listen and look around me. I started helping seniors about 6-7 years ago. Lost my job so I thought I would help and earn some money. I don’t have a set price (based on what they can afford) I’ve met some wonderful people. One couple hired me to clean for 2 hours. I was there a little bit past and he thought I was going to charge extra. I told him no extra for friendship and talking to some friends. The wife just passed away. I miss our talks. I hope she enjoyed our talks as much as I enjoyed them. He asked if I planned to continue to clean and I said if you still want me to I will.

      • Christine Fontana

        I cried through your message as I cried through Melissa’s video above. Beautiful ways that each of us can touch souls without even realizing it. Thank you for sharing this Anna.

        • Anna Brady

          Thank You. Your welcome. It’s the little things that could mean a lot to someone. I believe we just need to slow down instead of speeding through everything. We seem to miss a lot.

          • Lynne

            Well said Anna. Yes, we do need to just look around – it could really make the day for someone.

      • Maria S Stawarz

        Hey Anna. Wonderful of you to share your story. Many more seniors could use the friendship and company. We just need to reach out to them.

        • Anna Brady

          Thanks Maria. Your welcome. I’ve learned to slow down more and notice more of things going on around me. There’s a lot of people that could use someone to visit them.

      • Elizabeth Brumann

        It is a wonderful thing to help others because I had taken care of my grandfather for 3 years and he liked when I had come home from school to visit him and to help him out with things and when he was in the nursing home before he had died to visit him every week and to be there for him.

    • Delores

      I love that story

    • Chris Hayes Pittman

      Thank you for sharing!! I’m crying too!! What a selfless act!!

    • Christina

      What a beautiful story!! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Shelley

      Absolutely beautiful story. I cry every time I hear it.

    • Ellen

      Beautiful, thank you so much for sharing!

    • Larry Ratzlaff

      Thank you for sharing. Outstanding example of how we can reach out to others in our daily lives.

    • CathieHeenan

      Yes I remember that story, it brought me to tears. It was such a moving gesture to show such compassion.

    • WisdomSeeker

      Thank you, Clara, for sharing this beautiful story which reminds us of what loving and selfless vessels we can be when we allow God to live through us. Truly heart-touching.

    • Juanita

      Beautiful story, I remember seeing that movie or one very similiar. I hope that should someone need me one day, that I could provide for anyone, what Kent Nerburn gave to that woman.

    • Toni Shea

      Wow that brings tears to my eyes and hope to my heart. I’m sure she saw Jesus in this man as truly he is a light of Jesus shinning in this sometimes very dark world?

    • Faith Barton

      I read that story too… it was so beautiful, and even more so that it was brought to attention today. If only more people (including myself) could learn to be so generous. 🙂

      • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

        Faith Barton Is this a book about Kent Nerbern . I’ve never heard of him or read the book or story ? Thanks for your kind reply .

        • Faith Barton

          I read the story on the Roger Knapp inspirational stories page online. It was titled “Last Ride.”

          • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

            Faith Barton, Thank you for taking the time to reply . I am so looking forward to reading the story ! Love to you . *_* K

    • Elaine Cooper

      Can I just add that everyone can help a senior take a ride down memory lane. Almost every neighborhood has an assisted living home, in these homes are also dementia units. Many don’t have family’s or family stops coming because the senior doesn’t remember them. Even those with loving Devoted families do not see them daily. Its hard for anyone to juggle their busy lives. If you have a talent to share, such as a musical gift, good with art, have a friendly dog, like to sing, dance, call out bingo, have a friendly child to smile and say hello, stop in to hold a rosary half hour, little things are huge to them. Please check out your local senior community. So many places only have X amount of dollars to hire professionals to entertain. They rely heavily on volunteers from their communities to offset the long days for these people. Talk about alone time, they certainly have plenty. Make a difference in their life if you have some free time. As the story goes, they are close to heaven now, send them off smiling if you can. It benefits us all. People are living much longer these days, the senior population is at an all time high. One day we may be them. Thanks everyone and God bless you all.

      • Susan

        You have done a beautiful thing for those folks!

      • Thank you for sharing that suggestion. I get caught up in my daily life and forget its many gifts and graces while others are less fortunate for so many reasons, particularly the elderly.

      • Cat Ellis

        So so very convicting…… Thank you for pointing this out. Now that my heart has been pierced let’s pray I actually do something about it!

        • Elaine Cooper

          Holding a door, a smile, a kind word. Don’t ever feel like a big gesture is needed. You are you, I am me. We all contribute in our own ways. Your smile is as important as the taxi cab drivers ride. Nobody should ever feel someone else’s gesture downplays theirs, even a prayer for all seniors will do. Have a great day, start with smiling at yourself in a mirror.
          🙂
          we are all equally important. I don’t believe God keeps a score sheet.

          • Lisa A

            Praying is wonderful of course. But when you’re lonely, having a real person to talk to even better…an answer to prayer.

    • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

      Crying a sad / happy cry . I have been able to do this . But it was too little too late as far as I am concerned . Beautiful , .beautiful stories . Only today we were able to visit my husband’s aunt who is only 5 yrs. his senior . She just moved here and is living in a lovely retirement community . Here she is close to one of her daughters. Yesterday, I made some special treats for St. Patrick’s Day and shared them with 3 neighbors . I always feel I get far more out of these things than the ones they are intended for . Lord , help me get out of me . I have no trouble with solitude . I just have to use it (and I have a lot) more wisely .Really enjoying reading Matthew . Both of them . *_*

      • Karen Kotzbach McCreary

        BTW if anyone reads this , I lost my little ,as in tiny , gold Miraculous medal today . I’d love for St. Anthony to help me find it . Maybe it was my aunt’s senior center . I now have 3 reasons to go back, don’t I ?

    • voteprolife

      I too am crying. This is a beautiful story but what struck me was why was she taking a cab? Where is her family or a friends to be with her on this journey? I realize they may all be “gone” before her but I just can’t imagine having absolutely NO ONE to turn to at this difficult time in my life.
      What a truly beautiful gift he gave her… the gift of time, patience, and love! I pray the Lord will help me to slow down and be more aware of those in need around me.

    • Cindy Leslie

      Thank you so much Clara! I needed that. 😇

  • Annette

    Yes! A dear elderly friend lost her husband of 60 years and just bringing her out for lunch and sharing a phone call now and then made her very happy! It’s a wonderful feeling inside to know that you touched a lonely person in doing such a small gesture! It’s a blessing for me too!

  • Daniela D.

    Yes I have. I feel like God touches our hearts and makes us know who needs a word of kindness or a gesture and when we resist the impulse to say something to comfort a stranger or even to a person we know, we are not fulfilled and we are not doing what God wants us to do.

  • Mary

    Going outside myself to help others is not an issue for me, that is a part of me. It’s sitting alone, quiet. I struggle with the 10 minutes in the classroom of silence, an hour! That would be a challenge. Maybe I’m afraid what I will find in that silence. I will try increase my 10 minutes as we continue on our Lenten journey together.

    • Jane Deutschlander

      I completely understand… I am the same way. I am going to try to find some time as well. I used to walk for an hour and that time was my reflection and prayer time. With a knee injury I can no longer do that and today I realized how much I miss this alone time.

      • Carol Bailey

        I agree with so many of you. I appreciate the early morning hours with God! When I was a child my dad was a fisherman 3AM was the beginning of his day ,I was so spoiled I would wake up with him we had morning prayer and good old Cajun French music.
        The older I get and more I have that alone time in this Lenten journey it confirms of what we do . I recently had a bad fall I had to stay home it caused me to have a lot of alone time ,I have been unable to serve mass and I have missed a lot of church time. I was starting to get depressed I needed to reach out to someone. I picked the phone and my friend she asked what I was doing,I was bored and baking bread. She said my goodness your baking said yeah it’s a gift from God that I received from my grandmother. I told her to come pick up bread for her parents before her visit to them ! Our Father showed me I could serve others in giving of the bread! Our alone time with God is never lost Glory be to God Another Best Lent ever.

      • Mary

        I wish we could sit in church but they lock them up. I am fortunate living at the Jersey shore. I am going to try to walk on the boardwalk and sit on one of the benches facing the ocean.

    • Debbie

      I’ve found the library once a week to be a great place to just sit, relax, and spend quiet time with oneself.

      • Mary

        Thanks, that’s a great idea, especially when I need to be indoors. Thank you

    • Jean Walton

      I made extra time in the mornings last year for deep reflection and opened myself up to God’s will. I allowed myself to ask what he truly wanted of me. Now I am struggling with how to get from where i am to where he has called me. Definitely fear in moving from where I am comfortable to breaking new ground. I feel like I prayed, got my answer, then ignored this drastic call to change. I pray for courage to make movements to these callings step-by-step in His timing.

      • Mary

        You are in my prayers Jean. Change. I heard a talk this morning about how the Israelites wandered for 40 years and if they had listened to what God wanted it would have taken 11 days! It is his time, not our time, but you will find the move you need to make. God will tell you. Always ask, what will make me a better version of myself?

        • Jean Walton

          Thanks, Mary.
          It is finding that balance between family, work and service – all coming together for the betterment of this world. I have been blessed financially to donate money to good causes, but God is calling me in ways that will require me to give up time and money at work to BE in his service. I must trust that He will lead me down that path. Thanks again for the prayers.

  • Ethel L

    Grateful hearts are happy hearts! They are genuine and they endure.

    I thrive helping others daily. It’s my job and my happy moments. I couldn’t choose a better role than being a nurse. I love it and I enjoy serving. It’s holistic; physical, emotional, moral, spiritual, all in one! And it’s my character to be caring anywhere I go.

    Smile, it’s contagious!

  • Ann Marie

    My granddaughter’s school has a “friend bench” in the play yard. If a child has nobody to play with, he or she sits on the bench, and the others have been taught to go over and either talk with him or her, or to invite him or her to play with them. I think that’s a great idea and a great lesson.

    • Nancy R

      It is a wonderful lesson for both the child who is asking for help and the child who goes over to help. I love this idea Ann Marie, it warms my heart.

    • Monique McCormick

      Yes, my 9 year old daughter has this in her school also and that is how she met her best friend. Their friendship is still going strong — over 1 year now! We need more programs that make it easy for those who need companionship (young and old) to find it.

    • Louise

      What a brilliant idea. Great school.

  • Eduardo Hoover

    The eighty-four year old widow, now for over one year, gives me the opportunity to get out of myself who carried the burden of being twice made a widower. She, five months ago, was given six months to live given the diagnosis of pancreatic and liver cancer but she is doing remarkably well though she struggled with a loneliness so intense she became suicidal to the extent I sought out the advice of a psychiatrist. My just being available to take her to the store or the bank, as her medication don’t permit her to drive, has lifted her spirit. Her name is Ramona for anyone who’d care enough to intercede for her in prayer.

    • Pauline Jackson

      Eduardo, I will be happy to put Ramona, and you in my prayers. Thank you for lifting some of her lonliness. God bless you both.

      • Eduardo Hoover

        Thank you for the prayers Pauline.

    • JoAnn

      JoAnn

    • JoAnn

      Thank you Eduardo for sharing for Ramona needs. Sent a prayer to Jesus.

      • Eduardo Hoover

        Thank you for the prayers Jo Ann.

  • Karen in FL

    Whenever I return home and no one is here, I leave the radio and TV off, preferring silence to the noise we hear everywhere these days.

    Although the rest of what I want to share is not about actually visiting people, others might want to try it. Every Lent, I write a brief note to people I know, but might not tell often, how I treasure their friendship, and what specifically makes them unique. Almost everyone writes back and tells me how much they appreciated my words, and often, how much they needed to hear them.

    • Debbie

      You might enjoy the book…365 Thank You’s.

      • Karen in FL

        Thanks! I’ll look for it!

  • NancyB

    Oh Lord, create in me a kind and generous heart. Teach me to give more of my time and talent to those who are lonely. Help me to look for and to see them. Amen.

  • Maureen Gomes

    I truly enjoy Best Lent Ever,Too listen & read the comments.I first Thank God for another day to do better,then tune into Best Lent Ever.So inspiring & yes told a dear friend & as it was past too me,hopefully will tune in too & spread to another.God Bless all.Amen

  • jesspinosa

    For at least 20 years now, I have been visiting a homebound senior through my church’s Friendly Visitor Program. So far, I have visited seven women, whom I call “my little darlings,” and three men, “my buddies.” The last of them died in January. Every death is very hard, and my last little darling’s death hit me hardest because of a special bond I had with her. She was a 95-year-old former Carmelite nun with severe dementia. I visited her for four years and all that time, she never knew my name. We celebrated Christmas and birthday together, and I brought communion whenever I could. I still remember how her eyes lit up in pleasure like a child’s when I brought her a chocolate bar or turned on the Christmas lights. Moments like this with my seniors are priceless. There were days when I would have a heavy heart because of something that’s nagging inside, and I would completely forget about myself as I see their welcoming smile and warm hug. Right now, I am taking a break now, but very soon, I know I will be calling the program coordinator to give me another lonely, abandoned and sick senior who does not have love, needs love and wants love. Jesus has filled my heart with overflowing love, so I know I have enough to give away.

    • Greg

      Thanks so much for sharing. As a physician, I discovered years ago that very often I see more suffering from loneliness than from physical ailments. Very often what my patients needed was simply to know that someone cares. And most importantly, at a time when social media and technology seem to have us all more connected than ever, I find loneliness is all the more epidemic. It is difficult to learn to be comfortable in silence– and I’m far from mastering it yet, but I’m inspired by everyone’s comments. God truly does work through each of us! God bless you all!

      • Ann Feehan

        Greg, as a physical therapist I see the same–so many of my clients are suffering more with loneliness than the physical pain they were referred to me for. Often I am one of the few people they get to ‘visit’ with during their week.

    • Kathy

      Jess, What a wonderful program and thank you for doing this!!! My father is 94, lives in his home, and my mother died 3 years ago after 67 years of their being constant companions. He is so lonely even though my husband and I go there everyday, and we have a caregiver that comes in each day too. I get down and have to fight feeling sorry for myself because I get so tired of the responsibility of this. It is uplifting to read these comments, and it reminds me how much it means to him. He was the best dad and I was very blessed to have him.

    • Jean Walton

      God has evidently blessed you in your obedience to His calling in your life. May you continue to feel His presence in your life by bringing it to others. What you have done for the least…you have done for Him.

    • Marilyn McGreevy Micciche

      Great post. Very inspiring.

    • kelly

      This program sounds wonderful. Just what is needed at my parish. Can you post more info, or where to find out more about it? May God bless you abundantly for sharing the gift of yourself with others.

      • Kathleen Henshaw

        I second that request. 🙂

      • Prolifedem6M

        One possibility is to become an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist who takes the Eucharist to the homebound. The people you visit have a way of working their way into your heart.
        I can no longer do this, but I cherish the memories of those I visited with each week.

      • jesspinosa

        Kelly and Kathleen, thanks for your interest. I will ask the coordinator of the Friendly Visitor Program if she has a guideline and if she does, I will post it here. Thanks to all who have responded and for all your kind words. God bless all of you.

    • Kathleen Henshaw

      I love the idea of this program you have at your church! I would love to participate in something like this. I am a retired RN; I am accustomed to “being there” for others and it has been a hole in my life since retirement. I know you made a huge difference in the lives of those you have spent time with and what it has done for you is a wonderful reward from God.

    • jackie shoemaker

      Thanks for being such a caring loving person.

    • Toni Shea

      God Bless You ! you brought tears to my eyes. I can only imagine the joy, peace and love you have brought to these people. I am sure each one sees Jesus in you. You truly are a blessing and are living God’s will for His people. What an inspiration you are. Praise God

    • Karen E.

      Jess, what a wonderful program! I may try to bring that up with our pastor. There is a nursing home right across the street from our church where we take Holy Communion every Sunday. I just need to get past the resistance! Thanks for sharing!

    • Ginie

      Jess how beautiful and self giving. I love your sharing thank you. It makes me realize that I need to be more conscious of the lonely.

    • Syl

      Dear Jesspinosa, I loved reading about your,”Friendly Visitor Program”. I live in Southern California and feel a great need for such a program. Can you share more information about your program, as I would love to start a program like that here.

  • mrcpuhead

    Wow, Melissa, your story made me cry…what a wonderful ministry you gave for that grieving and lonely man. I only hope that your example will help me recognize someone in similar need, and then prompt me to take action. Bless you for sharing and for what a loving thing you did for that man in need!

  • Ronda Jewell

    My husband and I work at a food pantry. It is incredibly humbling. We have hugged the clients and have heard many times, that a hug or a touch is what they needed that day. There are so many really lonely people. Some times a smile and a hug can change their whole day. God bless all the lonely. And bless all who reach out to them.

  • Nancy R

    This is food for thought. I will work on noticing when I can help someone who is lonely and stop running around with my eyes closed to the signs.

  • SanctusSanctus

    Wonderful example of seeing Jesus in you dear Melissa. It’s happened to me too once. I was sobbing in Church and someone came up out of somewhere and put their arms around me! I was unable to even look up at the person and have no idea who it was, but I guess it was some version of Our Lord.

  • Rebecca

    The only people I have reached out to who were lonely are my family members. I visits my grandmas as much as I can. Both are widows and don’t have too many visitors anymore. I know that I can go the extra step to meet someone I don’t know who is lonely. I am going to make an effort to join a group in my parish who visits people.

  • Angie Mo

    I remember when I was a young girl, probably not quite 10 or so, we had a neighbor who lived directly across the street. I would go over and visit with her often. She was by herself with just her cat. She would sit most times in a recliner and I on her couch and we would visit. I don’t remeber much of our conversations, but I can still remember her house and the way it looked. I would pet her cat, Changlou, which she was so big. She would give me snacks if I wanted and she was very kind. I would have my mom call over if I was there for more than a couple hours to tell me to come home. It wasn’t until she got too old to stay by herself and was taken somewhere else that I realized how much she meant to me and how I missed our time together. I remember after she was gone I would get upset because I should have spent more time with her and not have had my mom call over to tell me to come home. I did receive a letter once with a picture of her outside. Her daughter had written me to tell me thank you for all the time I had spent with her mom. After almost 40 years I still have that letter and picture of her.

  • Michael Baur

    When I was in college I knew someone who had a falling out with his two best friends. We started to hang out. We eventually became room mates.

  • Alicia

    Our world today is anything but silent. Music and background noise constantly plays in every store, restaurant and so on. It is a huge distraction. The devil wants us to be distracted, as the more we are distracted the less we are able to focus on God.
    I started to go to adoration several years ago during Lent as a way to increase my prayer time. The classroom of silence can be difficult at first. At first that hour was so long, but I kept at it and gradually over the weeks of Lent that hour became a refuge for me, so much so that I continued it even after Lent was complete. Now several years later I still plan for that adoration hour each week, and the times that I miss it I can tell the difference in my week. Often that hour now passes so quickly that I an surprised it went so fast. That time forces me to step back, slow down, and focus on what needs to be the most important thing in my life, my relationship with God.
    I highly recommend adoration for everyone. If you are a bit intimidated in thinking about a whole hour in the silence of prayer, remember that prayer can also consist of scripture or spiritual reading. I often use these as focus tools during adoration, and have found great insight in reading God’s word in front of the Blessed Sacrament. After so many years of adoration, the unnecessary noise in our world tends to bother me, and I really crave silence.

    • Mari

      I think we want something that we don’t have. Sometimes too much of a good thing doesn’t feel so good. Some of you like your alone time, but would you appreciate it if you are truly alone, no family etc. It would be nice that there would be benches around places for people to sit when they have nobody to talk, play, etc.

  • Jean Walton

    I can relate to this message. My 2 favorite things: being alone in solitude and serving others – very rewarding and joy filling.

    • David B

      Agreed. I very much enjoy my mornings by myself. However I acknowledge that I need to serve other.

  • Dave

    Loneliness has many forms. It doesn’t matter if you are married or single. One thing that I have learned is that I am never alone. We have so many ways to reach out to Jesus! In prayer, people and the Bible. I enjoy this time of year because it draws me closer to God. I urge everyone to go to The Stations of the Cross and walk that lonely road with Jesus. You won’t feel so lonely anymore. Thank you Jesus for choosing to obey your Father and saving us even though we are not worthy.

    • Therese Pribil Sprinkle

      I needed to hear this. I am visually impaired as my younger brothers and sisters married I have not heard from them. They are not Catholic. I still pray for them everyday. I have learned since becoming Catholic at the age of 55 I’m now 64 that God is always with me and that I not alone any more. I too love this of year aswell. God Bless you.

      • Mon

        Happy for you, Theresa!
        No human can give us what God gives us!

  • Jean Walton

    Wow, Melissa, what a testament of love! You obviously have a huge heart. God bless.

  • David B

    Thank you Melissa

  • Tina

    Solitude is like breathing in God and all His Gifts. Then going outside of oneself and breathing out spreading God`s goodness, peace, happiness and love, to others.
    There was a time I sought solitude to reflect on things the worldly way: work through your problems and don`t suppress feelings of anger, etc. The problem is there is no end or bottom to it. A lighted match feeds and fans itself into a bonfire! No one is happier. On the contrary.
    But now I love Matthew Kelly`s Prayer process. I pray with gratitude to God. I find so much to be grateful for, that I`m extremely happy at the end. So happy that I`ve forgiven and forgotten all injustices, word stabbing, whatever.
    So, “no visitors” in thought or feelings, when alone with God, leaves the unwanted visitor of temptations out!

  • Joanne M

    My husband and I have been going through some challenges in lives in our later years when you expect to be more secure.
    As we journey through this experience we found that we were able to help a lielong friend who has been very lonely . We felt that God drew us to her and today was the day we were going to make that happen. It was apropos that today’s reading hit home

  • Sarena

    We lost my Dad a while ago and my Mom held everything together. She and my Dad were amazing parents to the they of us. We never felt we ever had to worry because my parents made us feel everything would be okay. I never saw the gravity of diabetes because my Dad never seemed ill. When he got sick, our entire world was turned upside down. I prayed that my Dad would be okay, that he could get prosthetics and go back to being himself and living the way he did, but God had other plans. Since my Dad’s passing my Mom has been lonesome without her life partner. She talks often about this being the time she and my Dad should be enjoying near retirement, the kids are all grown. I’ve told my Mom to take this time to venture and live, make new friends, try new things. I try to help her see that there is life out there because she is surrounded by talks of death and loss but it’s very hard. The nicest thing is seeing her smile and feeling happy because she radiates it and you can feel it

  • Jean Walton

    I find solitude at mass. Even though we are in community at mass, I have this need to be one-on-one with God. I sit as close to the front as not to be distracted by others and really try to focus on the word and how it relates to me. Ask God to open my eyes and ears, Seek out his will, and listen for the Knock of opportunity to serve.

  • Jolene Crum

    Melissa, THANK YOU for sharing your beautiful story of helping someone in the midst of deep sorrow and loneliness. i am convinced that loneliness is one of the most prevalent yet often unaddressed “diseases” of our time. Your example inspires me to follow suit for those around me that are lonely and sad.

  • Jean Walton

    There is a lady, Ms Emma, that I love to serve. I have not seen her in a while – I will wake early to seek her out this coming week.

  • Clara Turci Depko

    I like going to church early and just sitting and praying the rosary then I started to just sit. If I am talking how can I hear what God wants to say. So I like to sit and listen and be still. I love the morning time when the world is still sleeping I feel close to God and his voice seems louder to me.

    • Karen in FL

      My favorite time of day is when I wake up to the sounds of the birds also waking up. It’s music to my ears!

      • Clara Turci Depko

        OMG I just wrote in my journal this week to God how I was grateful for the singing of the birds early in the morning. Sometimes depending on where you live in the morning you can hear the dew on the trees the snow falling at the shore where I live I hear the ocean blocks away but I hear it in the still of the morning. That is when I hear God the most in the still of the morning. When everything and everyone is still I hear the voice of God speaking. I remember when I lived in Maryland and took walks early in the morning before daylight I could hear snow falling and God was so present. There is nothing like it but you need to be alone for that to happen.

  • Mary Swanke

    A beautiful story. We never truly know how we affect the life of others, which is why we should be prepared to do so.

  • Steven Sisman

    Thanks for sharing, I I’ll look to more opportunities to reach out to others who are lonely, which we are all at or will be at times. What touched me is what Matthew Kelly talked about getting out of ourselves. I have a very keen understanding of getting inside myself and my need for quiet time for reflection but have been looking for a key skill/tool when I need to get outside of myself (stop thinking about MY troubles, and MY life) and that’s service.

    I am about to go volunteer to pickup food for our Church’s food pantry program but watching this video gave me the right mindset to do it in. It also made me appreciate the motto of my alma mater Virginia Tech, UT PROSIM, that I may serve.

  • Alice Ann Hengesbach

    Take the risk on both counts … silence and quiet are such gifts to me now. Henri Knowen wrote about the desert of the soul. It is a risk to reach out: will I be rejected, will I be made fun of, how will I know what to say … just do it! I often talk to children and dogs … those with them soon join the conversation. : )

  • Claire

    I’m a single Mom and I have been on my own with my son for almost 17 years now. My work has taken me to many places around the world which has been exciting. However, it has also taken me away from my family. I grew up in a family of 12 with 5 sisters and 4 brothers. I’m also a people person and love gatherings of any size. All of this has led me to feeling lonely quite often. Over the years I have had different spiritual realizations that have helped me embrace that time alone. A couple of years ago I was reading a book by one of my favourite authors: Henry Nouwen. It is called “Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life”. The first section of the book was all about transforming loneliness into solitude. Given the topic today I thought others might enjoy this book. Henry Nouwen’s books have certainly transformed my spiritual life.

  • Herman

    People who are in nursing homes often are in need of some attention.
    I recently contacted a home near me and asked what my four teenage daughters could help with. They went yesterday and painted nails, washed some windows, and did other various little jobs. One of the ladies that the staff told my girls would be the most difficult to work with turned out to be one of the sweetest. This encounter can bring joy to the old and the young.

    • Prolifedem6M

      People in nursing homes don’t often get to see or interact with children. Your daughters were a blessing for them.
      Many years ago, I led a Camp Fire group. In December, one of the girls suggested we visit a nursing home. We waited until February. The girls went from room to room singing songs of their own selection. Several residents followed them from room to room. It was deeply moving and a cherished memory of that group for me.

  • Amy Reinhardt

    This is definitely something I could get better at. Even as an extrovert, I have trouble reaching out to strangers. It’s difficult striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know when you have no idea what their reaction will be. I guess I will need to put my faith in the Holy Spirit and hope God blesses me with the right words.

  • Michael D. Henson Sr

    I remember the taxi story thanks for sharing. When I think of being alone truly along it is a very scary thing however we are never alone God is always with us . Thanks all of you for sharing yours stories. God bless

  • Patty Dyer

    I am not saying this to “lift myself up as being better than anyone else”, but to encourage others to visit with others the way that I do. My Mom passed away six years ago after having survived a massive stroke four years earlier. She made many friends at the retirement home where she stayed until her passing. Five of her friends had become my friends as I would visit not only with her, but participate in bingo and other activities with all of them. After mom passed, I continued to visit her friends who always made my day with their stories of their families and their past histories. Sadly, I have only one friend surviving…they have slowly passed away. I thank God for enriching my life by knowing these wonderful people and I pray that others will take as little an hour or two out of their month to visit with those who are confined to a nursing facility or their own homes…it will not only change their lives, but your own!!

  • JayAW

    I grew up really lonely as a kid. My brothers were much older than me and they came and went while I sat at home, playing with my toys to keep myself amused. Since that’s the way things were for me as a kid, I became used to it so loneliness doesn’t really bother me. As far as the story about the man who lost his wife, I kind of look at that as his loneliness being his own choice. Of course he was heartbroken over losing his wife and he needed time to grieve, but he also forgot to return to live his life. I’m sure his wife would have wanted him to keep on living and to not be stuck on her not being there. That’s easier said than done at times and I may be being critical, but because someone you love dies doesn’t mean that you have to quit living. Go do new things. Go date other people. Go dancing. Take up some new hobbies, especially if they are things you’ve never done before. I understand the message about reaching out and helping others, but they also shouldn’t depend on you to fill the hole left by the loss of someone they loved. My mother in law died last year and she told my father in law to go get married again if she died before he did. Well, at 78 years old and roughly six months after she died, he started seeing another woman and they are happy together. Why allow yourself to get stuck in despair and sorrow when there’s so much left to experience in life?

    • Pat

      I can relate. I too had older siblings and grew up alone. Guess it was a blessing for us as we now know how to be alone. What was painful then is now not painful.

  • Bernice

    I was just watching the Today show. They had a feature on “Lenses with Love”, an organization pairing photographers with families with handicapped children. These volunteer photographers truly reach out to families who are lonely in other ways! What a beautiful inspiration, and gift.

  • Delhi1958

    My husband left after thirty seven years of marriage and it was a new lease on my life because I was lonely inside my marriage. However a new man entered my life many years later and he said that he had prayed for a woman to come into his life since his wife had died-he stated that the name that was given him by God was Susan. That is my name. God works in mysterious ways and we must accept his plan for us. Thanks for Dynamic Catholic and this series.

  • Greg

    Thank you best lent ever and Matthew Kelly. What wonderful testimony ! I have a lot to work on but Best Lent Ever is changing my life. Love you guys.

  • Angie O’Mara

    I enjoy walking, for this is my alone time. I pray as I walk, and many times this is when I feel closer to God, and the beautiful things in this world, the chirping of birds, the laughter of children and even the barking of dogs. Life is hectic, but these walks provide me with an even more intimate love of God and His world.

  • Kimberly Trapp

    I used to work at a credit union drive thru window. One day this woman drove thru and as she sat, waiting for her transaction to be done I noticed she was crying…a sad cry. My heart ached for her and after she left I copied down her address and within a day or two I sent her a card/letter just letting her know I noticed and that I was praying for her.

    As life goes and with the world being such a small place, somehow she and my Mom crossed paths and through conversation she discovered that was my Mom and shared how much my letter meant to her after the death of her Mother.

    You never know the light you will be in someone’s life.

  • Jennifer S

    It is mysterious how God works.from do many different angles. I visited my Aunt for over 20 years and after her strokes the visits became a lifeline for her. It was hard for me to ensure I saw her most Saturday mornings since I raise a special needs son. I found a way to get coverage for him and brought her flowers every new season and hokiday. My cousin and my Aunt moved for his new business last month and I was profoundly moved how much I miss these visits. She encouraged n e and made me laugh and would tell me stories about my grandmother and Dad I never knew. It ead such a gift. When we reach out God is blessing us. I miss these Saturday visits with my Aunt now.

  • Donna Wilkey

    I’ve been a widow for 30 months. I live in a small condo among a very active senior population. I kept the tv on most of the time -until this Lent. What a shock -and a gift. This chapter ” No Visitors” and hearing Matthew makes so much sense for me.

  • Sherry McCollum

    I reach out to someone in my life that is lonely and heartbroken every day. My mother lives alone since my father passed suddenly 15 years ago. It has been rough and lonely road for my mother since then because her and my dad did everything together and she was so dependent on him. Over the years, she did accompany us to church however, she was concerned because she is not Catholic but Episcopalian and in her mind she thought she would burst into flames stepping inside a Catholic church. I could tell she was uncomfortable being there which lasted pretty long until she did not want to go any longer. That was the time she developed Dementia and now heading toward to Alzheimer’s. Her grandson visits her everyday after school where the school bus drops off just around the corner from her house and I drop by after work everyday. We would really like her to live with us but we are only about 2 blocks from each other. She still likes her independence and solitude. For the most part she is living the life she wants and as long as she is comfortable how can I argue with that. But she is always in my prayers every day.

  • Laura LaDue

    I am very fortunate to be a counselor. I have many opportunities to reach out to others who are lost, lonely and afraid. I thank God that He gave me the skills to help those people.

  • Dorothy Cabral

    I have reached out to several
    People along my path of life offering to help them with doctor appt, simply sit with them and talk about old times. I love seeing them smile and reminisce about the good old times.

  • Joy Murphey

    Very powerful today! The 2 lessons are what I needed to hear and take action on! Melissa’s story was so moving. Just a little kindness does so much.

  • Lisa Juriga

    I had a similar experience to Melissa’s in encountering a crying woman on repeat occasions at mass. When I approached her to ask her name so I could pray for her she told me her 6 year old daughter had died in a car accident five months earlier. I started praying for her, gave her a book and a CD of a talk from a woman who had experienced similar loss and just tried to offer comfort in any way I could. Six years later we shara special friendship and she credits me with being one of the people who was instrumental in her healing process. I know that God placed me near her in church so that I would reach out to her. In the silence of my heart I heard the prompting and I’m so glad I responded!

  • Donna M. Martyniak

    So beautiful! Thank you for sharing and moving me in a very special way.

  • Jim

    Truly….we MUST devote more time in our lives….to the most important thing in our lives; getting quiet, going inward to meet the Divine Presence within and waiting to hear His loving kindness in that still, small, yet powerful voice.
    Psalm 143; 8–Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.
    As to the 2nd video….about the kindness we can show to someone who has lost a loved one. We should remind them…that it is not a loss; only a temporary separation. I include the beautiful and comforting reflection below that I have come across many years ago for any of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ to copy and paste and see and share…as you may….with others who are in need of love and comforting when they temporarily loose someone they love……………..

    “I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and the sky come to mingle with each other.
    Then someone at my side says….”There! She’s gone!”

    Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living weight to her destined port.

    Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the very moment when someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices to take up the glad shout, “There she comes!” And this…. is dying.”

  • Mary Brennan

    Melissa thank you for sharing your story very touching, Surely God our Father is doing something in my life at this point I am feeling solitude very much alone, it is great to receive phone calls from friends and family I am in the new place which is been kind of difficult so don’t really know people before this happened, I did meet two lovely Catholic Christian ladies and they do call, have a rosary prayer group on Mondays and sometimes I can make it,one of my friends said to me I’m surprised that your neighbors have not come over, I will have to remember that when I am well and out and about again, when our Mercyful Lord see fit, thank you again for your share, 😊🤗

  • Jennifer Haeussler Brewer

    My husband and I volunteer to take care of elderly ladies who have nothing. It is the most rewarding 4 hours of my week. The ladies enjoy seeing us and we love them. We eat dinner with them, sit and talk with them, help them get ready for bed.
    It’s how I get my life back into perspective. When I look at these ladies, who are next to death, It doesn’t matter what degrees they have, what job they did or how much money they have. All these ladies want is to be LOVED!

  • Paul

    To Matthew’s point, I do appreciate times of quiet solitude and understand how important this can be for me to regroup. I also know that there are people around me who would benefit from my presence in their lives, i pray to God today to help me to fight the resistance that keeps me from actively seeking them out.

  • Barbara

    Thank you for the nudge. I know what I must do and that is reach out to someone who has walled herself off from reaching out to others. I know she must be lonely. It’s time and it’s up to me to revive the relationship.

  • M. Gina Little

    I wanted to share how this project is changing our church. I was at a church fish fry last night and agreed to work the beverage station (in a separate room with a pass through window) so I could grade papers when it wasn’t busy. As I was grading papers, the fluorescent lights just turned off suddenly. I made a joke that this was God’s way of reminding me to live in the present moment and stop grading. Another parishioner said “oh – living soulfully… are you doing that Matthew Kelly thing?” and then another said “oh yeah – that was a couple of days ago, wasn’t it”, etc. [A ‘don’t give up chocolate for lent’ flyer was placed in the bulletin a few weeks before Lent and the ‘Resisting Happiness’ book was our Advent gift to everyone from our Pastor.] We began discussing lots of things we are all learning and trying as a result of the project and through the night, another person would restart the discussion saying “that reminds me of a reflection I just heard. Are any of you doing that Matthew Kelly thing?”

    I wanted you to know that your hard work is not only changing individual lives, but parishes as well! (Also, I love the short biographies under the second video; they are lovely, humorous insights into your team members!)

  • Kathy

    After reading Claras post there isn’t much more to say as her post said it all. It reminded me of the weekend my mom died and she knew it was coming, I didn’t until she asked me to give her a her bath and helped her to the bathroom and shortly there after she was in so much pain I told my dad we had to take her to the emergency room. We did and they admitted her. I stayed the night with her and in the morning the doctor came in asking questions that I started to answer and my mom spoke up to answer one and I knew her reply meant she was going to die. Those were the last words she spoke and died later that night. I look back to the bed bath being so grateful to God for having me do that so I could spend those last few hours with not just my mom but also my best friend.

  • Debbie Maurseth Ishii

    My daughter went over night from running marathons to a crippling autoimmune disease. Catholic community services connected her with volunteers who drive her to appointments and help her clean. There are so many like her, home bound, alone and in need of help. I thank God every moment that they are there when I can’t be. Reach out and be blessed as you give blessings.

  • Kathleen Cranford Kelley

    Matthew is right! The times that we are the saddest are the times we are wrapped in ourselves……too focused in ourselves. I was very sad this week
    I received a weekly prayer list and thought I would make a meal for one of the families. I shopped and prepared the perfect dinner. The reply for making this was “Thank you but you shouldn’t have. You have already done so much for us.” My reply was “I did it for me! It makes me so happy to help” It did make me happy and the sadness was gone because I got outside myself!

  • Tarra

    About 6 years ago I gave up time for lent to get up earlier and read the daily readings everyday in “the word among us”. I’m a 45 year old working wife and mother of 3 teens but after Lent I never stopped that practice of every morning sitting in my sunroom in solitude with Jesus reading his word before my day. I’ve rarely missed a day but when I have I’ve noticed the day isn’t near as peaceful or productive as when I take that time for myself with the Lord. I also gave up TV about 4 years ago and that have brought the most joy and peace into my life as well. The background noise and the distraction away from talking to my kids was killing our family. I truly love this message today Matthew Kelly thank you for reminding us that silence and solitude is a gift waiting for us to open from God!

  • CathieHeenan

    I have an uncle that lives cross country from me, he lost his wife of over forty years 6.5 years ago. I give him a call as much as I can to make sure he’s doing good. We talk about how the whole family is do back at home. He seems to enjoy our conversations. I enjoy them too.

  • Lisa

    First I want to thank all who share during this Best Lent Ever. You all have inspired me. Those who have shared back to me thank you. Your prayers and thoughts have truly lifted me. I am enjoying this daily journey. I have been taking this journey for introspection, prayer, spiritual growth and to learn from all of you. I enjoy alone time. I enjoy helping others. Last Christmas Eve I was overwhelmed and in a dark place. Christmas Eve morning was very stormy, raining. I was driving to some stores trying to get last minute things because I had little money for Christmas gifts. I felt shame. My cellphone rang. I answered but really didn’t want to. It was a friend that had been in a nursing home. She is 84 and both her children had died. Her son died in a car accident 10 years ago. Her daughter died from heart failure in 2015. She told me on the phone that she was lonely. I asked her if she wanted me to visit her. She said yes and she asked if I would bring her up a slice of pizza. At first I thought oh my God I have so much to do today. It is Christmas Eve. But then I thought how she must have felt and so I said to her that I would come visit. I brought up a slice of pizza. She was laying in her hospital bed with a Christmas movie on the TV – Scrooge. We sat and watched the rest of the movie while she ate the slice of pizza. We talked and even laughed. When I left I thought that this was the most important thing I have ever done on any past Christmas. Getting out of myself to help my friend brought me spiritual peace. I realize that God does for me what I can’t do for myself.

    • SanctusSanctus

      This pizza slice you took to the lonely nursing home resident reminds me of the gifts brought to baby Jesus! Awesome! (Jesus Alert).

    • Nancy D.

      This is a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing.

    • Marilyn

      Your story is what Lent and Jesus and faith is all about and I am so happy you shared it. This is my first time belonging to Dynamic Catholic’s Best Lent Ever and it has opened my eyes and my heart to so many intimate stories of everyone’s challenges and changes – especially the devotion to daily prayer. Thank you everyone for the wonderful community this program has formed and for inviting me to join.

  • helena handbasket

    I have a story similar to Melissa’s. An older couple had been coming to the gym early in the morning for years until one morning when the wife told her husband him she felt awful. She had just gotten a clean bill of health from her doctor, complete with heart scans. Instead of going to the gym, they went to the hospital, where she “died” shortly on arrival. She never regained consciousness on arrival and was put on life support until her grown children could get to the hospital.

    Shortly after, I met the widower at the gym and hit it off. I’m the same age as his two children (early 50s). We laughed and joked and talked politics and the world. On days I didn’t go to the gym, the regulars who often joined our conversation would say, “You know, he was really upset that you didn’t come in yesterday.”

    It wasn’t long after that he told me that God sent me as his angel and that he had been so depressed before we struck up our conversations that he was thinking of suicide. It was just the simple fact of having someone to talk to him and really focus on him that pulled him through. It’s been five years since we met, and he refers to me as his “adopted daughter.” Since his children live far away, we invite him to holidays and family celebrations. He texts me most evenings to touch base and say “goodnight.” Even though he’s still living in his big, empty house, he feels like he has someone with him.

    In a true twist of fate, I encountered major personal problems in the last two years and it was his guidance and listening ear that helped me through MY darkness. After that I told him I wasn’t sure who the “angel” really was or whether God sent us to help each other.

  • TV

    I have a friend who is bi-polar and suffers from depression and paranoid schizophrenia. Needless to say it is hard for him to make friends and keep friends. It is difficult to be with him sometimes. Just trying to give him some interaction with another human being even if over the phone. I sometimes feel that I am really all he has. His family is there for him financially but will not visit him – his condition sometimes makes him difficult to interact with. I am thankful that I do not suffer from his condition. He wishes he did not have his condition. I am sure he is lonely.

    I don’t mean to be a downer. Just felt compelled to share some thoughts.

  • Julie Mendenhall

    Reaching out may be difficult sometimes, but God seems to put us where we can do some good. I rented a room in a house that was a very pagan environment. People there sneered at my Christianity. Then, along came a woman to stay there as well. She and I got along well. Even though I’m conservative and she is more liberal, we found that we could support each other. It was hard for me to listen to her emotional sorrows. She was extremely needy, and would cut into my work schedule a lot. I worked remotely from home. Still, I saw that it was important for her to talk. She had no one else. I allowed it to continue, and God helped me to get the work done.
    We are still friends now. There for each other, even though I moved out. She’s moving back to her home state now. I know that we are in each other’s lives for good. Differences and all.

  • Deacon Mike Partida

    Thank you Melissa for sharing your story and yourself with the world for the glory of God. We are so proud of you at your home parish at Church of the Resurrection in Escondido.
    Keep up the great work!
    Deacon Mike

  • Donald Marquez

    We have something called Friendly Visitor where I live. In 2014–a few months after I suffered a great family loss, and not long after I left my former company (that I co-founded)–I felt the nudge to “go deeper” in my faith. So I reached out to Friendly Visitor. They showed me about 12 profiles of senior men seeking companionship. I felt connected to a man named Dennis. He was in his early sixties. He has MS, which confines him to a wheelchair. He had recently lost his mother. He likes baseball. I still visit with Dennis to this day, once a week for a couple of hours (usually on Saturday). The visits don’t always go well. He pretty much complains about everything you can think of, and sometimes I arrive tired from other ministry work. But through it all, I am there for him. And he is there for me. I no longer call myself a Friendly Visitor. We are just, simply, friends.

  • Claudia Francis

    How beautiful.Thanks for being with him in his pain!(Recently I felt God asking me to spend time with someone who is lonely.A short time later I met a woman at the mechanics.She asked if we could walk while they fixed my van as she was lonely and wanted a friend to talk about God.We spent the next hour giving Him glory by recounting His marvellous generosity in our lives.She asked if we could meet again. . Her church friends only want to talk about God on Sunday.So we are meeting this week again.I put God in charge of my friendships! This woman was a catholic so she understands to some degree about my faith.Praying that I can be Gods vessel in our relationship.(I find He is so exciting! I never know His plans for me,but I know they are the best!)

  • Kathleen Cranford Kelley

    A quiet place……a place of rest! In John 4:5-26 Jesus rests
    (the story of the Samarian woman at Jacob’s well)

  • Anna Krystyniak

    Never in a setting like Melissa, but I always give back with starting with my family. But just as Matthew said, whenever I get to caught up on myself and values of myself, it makes me feel so good to go and volunteer. I believe giving is the message God has always sent me, I just make sure I make it more a priority each week.

  • Deb Durrett

    Wonderful story Melissa shared. It certainly speaks of getting outside of yourself with noticing someone’s sadness. God gives us moments to be there for others in Beautiful ways. It’s always an honor doing his work. His timing is perfect. I’ve had the honor of being part of situations like Melissa described and am prayerful for many more. He’s so good!

  • Kim Bordelon

    I have no words ,just holding back the tears as well .Please pray that today I look past my own needs and become more aware of someone elses.

  • jim

    Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. With some it shows. Way to go Melissa! Almost everyone is waiting for their ‘Melissa’.

  • Lori Rodriguez

    I think i need help I’m married for 38 years i feel lonely can’t talk to nobody i feel broken in 2 the good and the bad

    • Lilia

      Lori, I’m married 31 years, my husband now struggles with mental illness. at times I do find myself very lonely and don’t open up to anyone. I will pray for you. you’re not alone,God is always by our side.

      • Lori Rodriguez

        Thank you Lilia

  • Diana Patulak Ross

    What a kind thing Melissa did at such a young age. It shows us that we don’t have to do anything grand to touch an individual and each person is important. Thanks for sharing Melissa.

  • jim

    My “Melissa’ also came to me at mass one day. I was expecting nothing different, but that day Catholic missionaries were there, giving their experience and announcing that “Christ had conquered sin and death”, inviting those listening to a series of talks, a catechesis, as a way of re evangelization of our parish. It was the beginning of a long, fundamental change for me. Still surprises me when I think about, even though it occurred 23 years ago!

  • Jacob

    I haven’t though about this. I always think about myself and seeing me being lonely. I Never wouldn’t think about this way around. People are different then other and some are hurting then other. They need love and manying different comfort.
    I will start doing that during the lent season or anytime.

  • Denise Vega Ruvalcaba

    It can be very difficult to be around lonely because they tend to be very negative. I am very sentimental so sometimes their feelings and sometimes be my own feelings

  • Cathlynn

    It is so wonderful to be part of this discussion group. Right now I am in a hard place. I have lost one son. And the other is not able to see his mental illness. He once again ended in jail and out awaiting trial. I have begged the PD to have him evaluated to no avail. To read how many have reached out to the lonely, abandoned, mentally ill and others gives me hope that someone has befriended my son. He has blocked me on his phone and is living on the street. My heart hurts so much. I know he is in Gods hands. Thank you for seeing the Divine in others and for giving me hope. God Bless you all.

    • Eric DePoto

      Cathlynn, I pray for you and your family.

      • Cathlynn

        Thank you Eric.

    • Elephant

      Offering the next hour up for you and your son. May the peace of Jesus be with you and him and may the mantle of our Blessed Mother wrap you both and comfort you. God bless you sweet lady!

      • Cathlynn

        Thank you Elephant.

    • Carlos

      Cathlynn, continue to pray for your son. I can only imagine the stress, strain and worry that this has placed on your life. I pray for you and your son, that you would receive peace and that your son will receive the help and healing he needs. God bless.

      • Cathlynn

        Thank you Carlos.

    • SanctusSanctus

      Praying for your peace of mind too. I know of others in similar circumstance and I recall to mind the Simon who assisted Jesus in carrying the Cross. And we carry the Cross with HIm; He’s at our side carrying our crosses too. Such power and our senses don’t seem to grasp the effect of our belief and trust in Christ.

      • Cathlynn

        Thank you Sanctus.

  • Susan Kline

    I am responding from the lonely person’s perspective. I moved to a town 2 1/2 hrs from home 28 years ago. I am a single teacher. There are many days when I feel lonely and still an intruder. This school year I had a medical issue and had to surrender my driver’s license. I believe this was God’s way of showing me I am not alone: so many people, even those I don’t know, have offered me rides whenever needed. They have shown me so much compassion. A few years ago, our church started a monthly singles’ dinner, Don’t Eat Alone. Although I am the youngest and not retired, I really enjoy these times with others. I appreciate the days I can celebrate by going to daily Mass and having tea with the morning group. This Lent and the Matthew Kelley book, Resisting Happiness, has given me courage to give up tv: so far I turned it on once, even on Sundays, to get an update on severe weather heading our way. Although I live in silence and solitude I have not felt the loneliness and fear that I thought I would. My advice to others is 1) don’t be afraid to offer people you see assistance is some way – it may be needed or the talk with others may truly be appreciated, and 2) don’t be afraid of the silence – there is great learning and doing there waiting for you.

  • Mindy

    I love her story! This actually made me cry!

  • Christine Deacutis

    Okay so this video just made me weep. Such a simple gesture of caring blossomed into such love. Thank you for sharing. What a witness!

  • Chris

    Yes, I visit with a homebound friend once a week. Since her husband passed in 1999, I would take her shopping and we always had lunch together. Today, her health is declining and I can`t help wondering if this will be my last visit each time I go there. I may fill some of her loneliness, but I`ve received far more blessings from her friendship.

  • Pat Pud

    When I was about 30 years old I had an apartment in a big old house. One of my neighbor’s was a little lady in her early 90’s named Donna. At Christmas I was feeling a little lonely and depressed so I had not gotten a Christmas tree, but at the last minute, on Christmas Eve, I went and bought a little “Charlie Brown” tree – that’s all that was left. When I brought it back to my apartment I invited Donna, who was all alone, to come up to my apartment and help me decorate the tree. We had such a wonderful time decorating that little tree, drinking hot chocolate, eating cookies, laughing and talking! It is one of my favorite Christmas memories!

    • SanctusSanctus

      I think this became a Hallmark movie! Love this!

  • Carol

    Truly that is what our lives are about to reach out to others in need Beautiful stories which need to be told. Remember Matthew Kelly asked in the beginning of lent what makes us happy I am finding out that is exactly what I need to do go outside of myself serving others makes me happy. Thank you to all who respond & listen to your heart when you see or hear of someone in need God Bless.

  • Anthony Be

    WOW!

  • Barbara Levich

    My focus is on people I know who are not able to get out for medical reasons. I can’t always visit because some live far away and some are unable to have visitors. So, I remembered the saying “Laughter is the best medicine” and I created a one page newsletter, which I called Smile A While, filled with jokes and funny things. I have a friend who has been shut in a long while so I am up to 65 issues of this weekly newsletter. Recently another friend broke her leg and is house bound for 6 weeks. I decided that I would put 45 issues into envelopes, to be opened one a day. It’s a small thing but something to look forward to each day. I’m delivering them tomorrow.

  • Lilia

    My husband and my son suffer from Bipolar. They are receiving all the medical care available but, they are resisting God’s. I pray they will be able to stop resisting and surrender. I have become their caregiver, but I have my own health issues. I love my solitude, for prayer and reflection it is a must even if it’s only for 10 minutes. By God’s mercy I’m able to step out of my self as often as possible. My very close friend has been battling cancer for 3 years. I drive her to chemo and doctors appointment on a weekly basis. We go to lunch and share struggles, she motivates me with her wisdom and grace. I also have another elderly friend that I help out driving her to doctors appointment or paperwork. She doesn’t have any immediate family, doesn’t speak English and doesn’t read or write. She humbles me because despite of her health issues, very low income and being illiterate. Her faith is in the lord, she is able to find joy regardless of her struggles, she’s happy and compassionate. Every time I help her, I leave feeing this sense of joy and gratitude.

  • Pam O

    Melissa>Thank you for sharing your story. I am so touched by this gentleman’s openness to cry during mass. I also am moved to emotion during the consecration of the mass and have had such sweet elder women hold my hand during the Our Father. I am so moved that someone such as your young self would be so aware and have such compassion to reach out to this man. You have touched my heart deeply. God Bless You.

  • Carlos

    As I was listening to Matthew’s video, I could not help but recognize the clear difference between the words solitude and loneliness. This solitude carries with it a purpose and a conscious choice to be separated from others, a choice to quiet our hearts, minds, and souls so that we can experience our true self and God. At the opposite in of the spectrum is loneliness, where it is so difficult for us to see the purpose and where we may have had no choice in being separated from the one(s) we love. Loneliness has the opposite effect too because we find it almost impossible to turn off the pain and hurt. Therein lies the difficulties for anyone who is lonely, who has lost someone through death, divorce or otherwise. The recipe for quieting our minds may rest in solitude, but the pain and hurt we feel in being alone bind us to our feelings of loneliness. My wife of 27 years left me for another man 9 months ago. She provided no explanation and does not wish to see me or speak to me. I was and still am complete dumbfounded. Yes, I am very lonely and confused, but that does not mean that I have to believe that I am alone or without hope. I know that God is in me and all around me. I am finding opportunities to serve others, both in my church and in my local community. I hope to use this purposeful service to help calm my internal struggles so that I can once again experience myself and God unimpeded in solitude.

    • Tina Xinastle

      Well said, Carlos. I am so sorry to hear about your wife. I can not imagine how hard that would be. I will pray that you remember that God is with you.
      Smiles and Cares,

      • Carlos

        Tina, thanks for your words of encouragement and your prayers. It has been another ray of light in the darkness. My hope is in Christ Jesus. God works for the good of those who love him, those who are called according to his purpose. Throughout all of this, I am learning to “Be still” and to trust in God. I acknowledge and recognize that His plans are perfect and my plans would only make a bigger mess of things. In the end, I choose love, I choose God, and I choose to pursue a life of holiness.

    • Marianne

      Carlos, I too am sorry about your marriage. That must be difficult. Something very similar happened to a friend of mine and I could see how he struggled. When I divorced I read a book “Catholic’s Guide to Divorce”. Not sure if that might be of help to you. I remember reading somewhere (maybe there?) how the grief of divorce is similar to the grief following the death of a spouse—it certainly is the death of a relationship and a dream. The difference is that when someone dies, people bring casseroles. The point was that others tend to gather around the grieving partner after death, with divorce one typically travels that difficult journey alone. It is good you see that God is with you.

      • Carlos

        Marianne, thank you for taking the time to read my post and to respond to it with such compassion. I will definitely look up and read the book you recommended. One of my greatest struggles in this whole situation is the fact that my wife and the man she is seeing are both Catholic. I simply can’t understand how either of them could so clearly and blatantly commit adultery. I guess that is the nature of sin. When we turn from God and from those who truly love us, we subject ourselves to Satan’s temptations. Even in my hurt, I forgive them as God has forgiven me. My hope is that their hearts will be convicted and that they both turn there lives back to God.

    • Linda Carmelle

      This happened in a similiar way to my friend Dawn, she and her husband had what seemed to be the perfect life and both devoted to God with a strong faith,it happened anyway. after a little over 20 years of marriage he left her for another woman at work. God provides though, even more than the birds of the air and creatures of the earth. Dawn was invited to a wedding for the lttle girl she used to babysit for when she herself was in college. At the girls wedding was of course her father. Dawn reconnected the friendship with the girls father too at this special occasion. He too had been left by his spouse for another. In talking and catching up a spark was ignited,they are now a couple to shorten a long story. Dawn is amazed at how God provided an even better man than she had even in her 1st marriage,without even looking or desiring that outcome. So yes volunteer ,but also believe Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.plans for welfare not evil,to give you a future&hope.”

      • Carlos

        Linda,
        Thanks for this story of hope and encouragement. I know in my heart that God is working for the ultimate good for me and my family. I will put my faith and trust in Him. I have learned so much during this time about God’s love and about the people around me. Sin has its consequences for everyone in a fractured relationship, and I shall carry this cross as I know that he will give me the strength to endure it for His glory. His grace is sufficient! Even if God does not rescue me according to my expectations, I will continue to accept His sovereignty. I will trust His plans for my life, making Him the preeminent love of my life. Regardless of how things shake out in the end, I have been strengthened in so many areas of my life. I really have seen the blessings throughout the storm. Although these wounds are still quite fresh and painful, I am comforted by the One who knows me better and loves me more than anyone else is capable of.
        God bless you!
        – Carlos

        • Linda Carmelle

          I’m saying a prayers for you too

  • Sherilyn Gordon Brumback

    What an awesome story, Melissa!

  • Peggy

    I do enjoy my solitude time it’s not always an hours but I will continue to work towards that. Reaching out seems to be hard for me although I don’t know why because if someone calls me or needs me I don not hesitate to go to them. So I will also be working on getting outside myself.

  • Joyce W.

    I have been a Eucharist minister at one of our local hospitals for several years. Each time I go there, I prepare myself to be the channel, for God to work through me , for His purpose and glory. I’ve chosen to visit the oncology and cardiac units, as I felt this would be the most difficult for me…especially the oncology unit. Before doing my rounds, I enter the ministry room for a few moments of quiet. A Bible is opened there on the table. I bow my head and turn to a random page in this Bible, and read and reflect on the passage God gives me at that moment. Then I proceed to my visits. I offer a caring hello, a visit, prayer /and or/ Communion , if the person is interested. Sometimes it is just a friendly visit of caring; sometimes it is so much more! I can feel God working through me to reach the person. I am using myself in service of God, but often I can’t tell you how much more I am receiving. It’s a God experience that elevates one to another level of spirituality. My prayer, which I say daily, is “Be it done unto me according to Thy will. All for the greater honor and glory of God!” In solitude we find God speaking to our hearts, and in service to others, we find God using us, as His hands on earth.

  • Leah Levitt

    I try to do this. I talk to complete strangers whenever I can. I don’t know if they’re lonely but I figure everyone can use a smile, a hello, etc. I used to be a social worker many years ago and I visited nursing homes. I tried to visit the people. My husband and I used to play our dulcimer for charity. Mainly nursing homes, board and Care, etc.

  • Pat

    Years ago, I remember a day I really felt a lot of desperation. I remember sitting in a restaurant, and across the room, a man in a pink shirt smiled at me. How that one small act of kindness brought such hope to my heart. Now, I practice smiling at everyone I pass. It is amazing. Who knows, maybe that one little act of kindness and caring might lift another out of desperation too.

  • Nancy D.

    Unfortunately, I don’t take time for solitude, and I need to make that a priority. I cannot allow myself to use the excuse that I am always busy to find the time. I need to make the time.
    I have started praying daily. I try to pray in the morning, but sometimes I forget. When I forget, I pray when I remember.
    As for visiting someone lonely, I need to try to incorporate this into my time as well.
    I need to remember that the world was not created in one day and therefore, I do not need to complete all of these tasks in one day either. I need to slowly work them into my daily life.

  • Countryman

    My wife and I do prison ministry. We call it fishing the deep water. I think the greatest poverty is to lay your head down at night and know not a single person cares or thinks about you. You are completely alone and forgotten. Nobody visits, nobody writes, nobody cares. They have committed crimes that have landed them where they are. They are paying their debt to society but that payment leaves them broken. We work for one smile at a time, one hug at a time, one prayer and one soul. We are the hands and face of our Savior in such a forgotten place and the message we bring from Christ is one of forgiveness, hope and salvation. Many people say we are wasting our time but that’s OK. If we work the
    rest of our lives and save just one then that’s good enough for us

    • Ana

      God bless you for your ministry Countryman and wife! You are doing more for that people that you think, one soul at the time is a priceless reward in heaven! All for the salvation of souls.

  • Maria

    This coming week is Spring Break for me and I usually get lonely on holiday breaks since I’m not around a lot of other people during those times. I might propose a movie night over Facebook to anyone who’s still in town over the break because there could be someone else who’s lonely too.

  • Prolifedem6M

    Lonely people seem to come into my life on their own. That may be because I don’t turn them away and give them my time.
    As a commissioned lay minister with a ministry to singles, I led a singles group for some 18 years. According to many studies, loneliness is the biggest challenge that singles face, be they never-married, widowed, divorced or separated. The ministry offered opportunities for fellowship and for making friends. I also led a divorce recovery program.
    The widower in the presentation is just one example, Another is the recently divorced or separated person who finds that she is no longer welcome in her previous circle of couples who hung out together. Still another is the never married 35-year-old who no longer has common interests with his now-married friends.
    I see singles as a totally neglected group in the church. We are taken for granted. In contrast to the married and religious, the single vocation is virtually never discussed. There are few books, programs or retreats for singles, though the problems we face are quite different from those that married people and religious people face, We are left to work it out on our own. My ministry to singles was unique in my fairly large diocese. We served four counties in order to give us a broad base.
    Of course, the most obvious people to do something about this are singles ourselves. We need to ignore the perceived but unfounded stigma that says that singles groups are for losers who got left behind in the marriage sweepstakes. There are a lot of lovely people who are single.
    In time, I learned to love my ministry. I met so many wonderful people, made lasting friendships, got to see many fascinating places that I would not have otherwise and had something to do or someplace to go every two weeks.

  • Tony Pantera

    I do not recall reaching out specifically to someone who is lonely. I do make sure my mama is not lonely. I am taking her to play cards at the Elks Lodge today. After today’s reflection, I shall be on the lookout for those who need a friend.

  • Laurie

    Yesterday I was visiting someone at a Nursing Home as part of pastoral care. A woman nearby put her head down and began crying while saying over and over, “Lord take me.” My resistance kicked in as I did not know her and wasn’t sure how she would respond if I approached her. But I went over to her and she talked to me about what was going on with her. She said I was very kind but I felt I was the one who was blessed with her presence. And right after that she had a smile on her face as she was taken to Rosary Circle.

  • Alice

    Yes I have reached out to someone who was lonely – but not in the way Melissa described in her story. It motivates me. My husband and I both try to be kind to people especallly those in need of cheer. I honestly think that’s part of my plan is to try to make someone’s day each day and when the opportunity present themselves – Matthew Kelly is right…it brings me the most joy and keeps me going.

  • Arthur Brown

    I always find time in the evening to get out of myself by prayer time for at least 20 minutes before I go to bed and lift up others in my prayer time. Walking my dogs in the morning gives me a chance to talk to God so that His wisdom can enter into my mind to have me do His will and not my own. God has been working hard on my life these past years and I want him to continue to do that so that I will be strong for God and follow and do His will. As I pray on a daily basis to open up my life to share my mind with others and serve others in all that I do. I am not perfect but God has my path laid out and as long as I remember to follow his path and not veer off His path to make one myself I can succeed and truly become the best version of myself. God Bless each and everyone of you on your daily spiritual journey with God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.

  • Jennifer Festa

    Shortly after becoming a Eucharistic Minister with my parish, I became acquainted with an older woman in our parish who could no longer go to mass or go anywhere easily, because she became wheelchair bound following an illness. She did have some family around, but she longed for someone to share her faith with and share in the Eucharist. It is our quiet time together in the presence of our loving God. We developed a strong friendship and I still visit with her after almost 8 years. She has given so much to me as well. I value her presence in my life dearly. God orchestrates our lives in truly wondrous ways!

    • WisdomSeeker

      Such a beautiful story, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing God’s love and reminding us that we often receive as much, or more, than we give; truly heart-warming!

  • Ruth (Cole) Wegscheid

    Thank you for this amazing Lenten reflection. It is truly making this my “Best Lent Ever.” Do I resist? Of course. I did my reading at about 10:00 AM and am finishing now at 2:30 PM. I have done the program every day since Ash Wednesday and will continue. God Bless all who made this possible and all who write comments. It is life changing for me.

    • WisdomSeeker

      Thank you for your comments of gratitude; to these I say, “Amen. Amen.”!

  • Michael Ennis

    I reach out to my next door neighbor on a consistent basis. She is living alone, and although she has several children, she doesn’t get many visits from them, unless they want something. My wife and I have taken it upon ourselves to make sure she is shoveled out during snow season, and we do her gutters in the fall. She is always trying to pay us for these things but we decline. Once or twice a year, we will let her write a check, but we tell her to make it out for some charitable purpose, such as the Salvation Army kettle drive. A few nights ago she called all excited. One of her grandsons ended up having the day off and wanted to come and visit. They went to H&R Block to pick up her taxes, then went to McDonald’s for something to eat at her house. Then they sat and talked a bit until he had to leave. All of a sudden she apologized for talking my ear off, and thanked me for listening. Unbeknownst to me until we hung up, we had been talking for about an hour and a quarter. It made her night to have someone she could share her excitement with.
    God Bless

    • WisdomSeeker

      Thanks to you and your wife, Michael, for being God’s hands and heart on this earth for this lonely neighbor. So enjoyed reading your story of how you and your wife bring God’s love to this child of God.

  • Marcy Burke

    I enjoy visiting hospice patients in a nearby assisted living facility. I visit weekly. Both people do not have regular visitors, so they are often alone. I wish you could see how they light up when I enter their rooms. We look at pictures in books, on my phone, and spend time talking about our lives. I enjoy these visits as much as they do. I feel I am doing God’s work by spending time with them.

  • Elise

    My recently widowed, elderly neighbor is estranged from her children. I find such joy in grocery shopping for her, taking her a bite to eat, and just being her friend. She has been a rock for me in hard times and I value her friendship very much. I would be missing out on an amazing relationship had I not reached out to her. Her experience is gold! And she finds my companionship invaluable, as I do hers. God is truly awesome…bringing two strangers from two walks of life together. She would argue this point but she helps me as much if not more than I help her!

  • BJ Jarvis

    I have reached out to someone who’s lonely, sad or just distraught. You can observe the person to make sure u are not outta text. Humor, funny or Sarcastic can get there attention. Then u can build up a trust and onward. I myself am a loner. Temporary ideas
    may not be a permanent solution but it can be a start. If I could just listen to my own advice

  • Elaine Cooper

    Yes I can say I have, and always will. If your in the dark, look for hands. If your in the light, reach behind you. Even if you haven’t got light yourself. You can find your way out together.
    Aww Melissa I love you, such a sweet story from a young person. You make the world proud. <3

  • Colleen

    I take the Eucharist to homebound people through my church. I think I have been doing this now for approximately 15 or so years. On some occasions, I don’t look forward to doing this because of laziness or just so busy I just want to stay home. But every single time I go, I get more out of visiting with the people, than I think they get out of it. They just want to visit & talk. By the time I am done visiting them all, I myself am so lifted. I wish more people would volunteer for this very important job… bringing the Gospel & the Eucharist to the homebound. It’s truly an amazing experience feeling the Holy Spirit work through you.

  • Toni Shea

    How blessed we are to have Matthew & Melissa today. I see Jesus in them. I get my cup of tea and come to our forum to be inspired, and I always am. I come to get closer to Jesus and you all never disappoint. I am trying to make this the Best Lent Ever and the help I receive here is essential. I am also involved in a weekly Bible Study studying John. Mass on Sunday and trying to spend more time with Jesus. All the pieces make for a wonderful combination and a meaningful Lent. I am still trying to get to Mass one extra day a week as I remember how it helped Matthew along with finding those 10 minutes daily to spend with Jesus. I remember thinking as I read one of his books, how blessed he was to have such a mentor that involved him in getting to know Jesus better. We are reaping the rewards of that fruit. Thank you all for being an inspiration with your stories and thank you Matthew Kelly for all you do for us today and in your writings that spur us on, give us hope and a greater knowledge of God and a desire to know Him better. God Bless

  • Faith Barton

    First of all, I just want to say that the question of the day really hit home! I’m currently a college student away from home for the first time for my second semester of college. I know that I’m in the right place, but I feel so lonely sometimes. I come from a big family and homeschooled, so it feels crazy not having someone to always talk to and take care of me. I had three close friends come up and spend time today in San Antonio where I am living, and so I just felt sad after they left a little while ago. This is God’s way of speaking to me in the midst of the trial. 🙂

    And when I was younger, I reached out to many lonely people. It gave me a lot of joy and also allowed me to make new friends. But now that I’ve gotten older, its been harder with more trials. Please pray that I am healed from anxiety and fear and that God restores my stability and ability to cope with day-to-day challenges. Please pray that I have LASTING joy and peace in God our Father. Thank you guys for all you do in support of the Church, your family. 🙂

    Blessings,
    Faith

  • Marianne

    What happens when one is too lonely? I have been divorced for 12 years, my children are grown and out of the house, and I live in a small town with no other family other than my elderly parents. In my 12 years here I have met very few single people, mostly couples or families with children who are very busy as I used to be. I work with the elderly all day and enjoy it but, frankly, visiting with them at night and on weekends is just not something I’m interested in. I volunteer in several capacities within my church so please don’t suggest I do more. What I’m missing is a close relationship with someone my age (mid 50s) who has the same interests as me (music, theater, arts). I have yet to find it and it is very discouraging. I’m tired of going places by myself. I pray but not sure where that is getting me.

    • Elaine Cooper

      That’s a tough situation. I’m not sure I even have an answer for you. I work with the elderly and your right, it’s rewarding but we don’t want to grow old faster with them. My grown children are very needy and my husband and I do not see eye to eye anymore. I’m about to move in with my mom to be her caretaker as we just lost Dad. I guess I take for granted living in a populated area. I’m hoping to fix my marriage but wonder what if that does not work. I guess I’d get more involved with church groups. But you said you do that. I have nothing for you but a prayer. You keep praying too, somethings got to give eventually? I wish I had a few thousand dollars to send us both on a cruise haha. We’d have fun for a little bit anyway. Hang in there, I feel for you. <3

      • Marianne

        Thank you, Elaine. I would definitely take you up on that cruise thing! I appreciate the prayer and will send one your way as well.

  • Kat

    Wow, what a challenge! I am visiting my mother in a few days, and am already anxiety-filled about it. GOD, forgive me. She has become so nasty and argumentative; long in a wheelchair because she refused to do therapy after knee replacement surgery; she needs help to do everything. She is still living at home, with live-in care, who she is not very nice to. She can rarely verbalize a complete thought. I feel like such a terrible daughter for not wanting to go, we have never has a good relationship. I would greatly appreciate prayers for compassion and strength to show love, patience, and kindness towards my mother…These things I give so freely to others; to strangers; do not come easily for my mother. Blessings

    • Fanny

      Kat – my heart goes to you. Try to heal your relationship with your mom for your own sake. I know it is not easy but count your blessings. It is a so good that she has live-in help. Visit and do not take anything she might say personally. Drop by for short periods and gve her a lovely flower or some candy. Hopefully this will soften her. God knows what she carries in her heart. Will pray for you. Love and light.

  • Maria Thall

    I have a 96 year old friend lying in a nursing home for the pass 6 years, which none of her family bothers to visit her, my heart breaks for her I stop with my yorkie which make her happy to see, I keep praying and asking God why he has her there and not in heaven with Him and her family who there, she looks at me with questions in her eyes, “why am I here”? and I tell her, “for me”, and she smiles with approval. I know we are not to question God, I will continue to be there for her and pray for God’s mercy.

  • Elizabeth Riley

    I read the chapter that today is based on and am thinking that it’s not just the older people that needs visitors but many other people too. Yes many of them are lonely and need visitors but we could also reach out to those in prison or someone who just had a baby. There are hundreds of ways we could reach out to someone. Twice a month I volunteer somewhere where families can have a home away from home while their child is being treated at the hospital. I can’t always sit down with any of them but I recognize that these families are a long ways from their home and can get lonely because they are away from family and friends who’ll support them in this.

  • Rae Mims

    By nature, as an only child, I can be very insular. I tend to ponder things a great deal and also do quite a few things alone. Sometimes I do get lonely. I remember in the Fall last year, I was telling a girlfriend how I felt – not happy but not unhappy. She said “well are you serving?” Hmmm, that caught me off guard. I had always volunteered in the past but with my job now I am exhausted all the time. That is what led me to volunteer to be a teacher’s assistant for CCD and be a Eucharistic Minister for the homebound. Neither of these things would I have picked myself, but I truly feel the Lord led me to them or a reason. I went to take Eucharist one Sunday to a person temporarily on the list due to an illness. When I got to his home, I learned he was feeling better and had been to Mass. But, he asked me to come in and sit with him and chat with both he and his wife. At first, I was looking at my watch. But, they are very sweet and he had been in the house for a while and it was quite enjoyable.

  • Pasquale

    I’ve been active duty military for the past 18 years serving in the U.S. Navy. My service in the military so far has taken me to 34 countries with 2 deployments on ships, 2 deployments in Iraq, and 2 deployments in Afghanistan. When I first reported to sea duty the ship I was on would have what is called COMREL visits or Community Relation visits. These COMREL visits would consist of visits around the world and U.S. to elementary schools to spend a day with children or into communities that had homes in need of repair but on one particular occasion I had the opportunity to visit an Armed Forces retirement home in Florida. It was there that I would meet veterans from different conflicts or periods of American history that we now read about in history books. The most striking thing that I took away from these patriots is that a good number of them outlived many of their friends, spouses, and family members. Many were very lonely and kept expressing how glad they were that our unit would take the time to come visit them. Most of the time I would sit and just listen to their stories in amazement as I heard stories of adventure, love, and friendship. I have made a commitment to continually visit homes like these around the country. I find that as much comfort I may bring to them by sitting down and getting to know each of them I too have received. I’ve been the benefactor of much wisdom from some and cautionary tales from others. I have laughed and on occasion shared tears too. I am blessed to have my family but there may be a day that I may transition to a place where my family and friends are no longer with me. I don’t know exactly what my visits may mean to each person I’ve met but I feel like no one should be alone especially in the later stages of their lives. Maybe someone would do the same for me one day.

  • Angela M. Williams

    My father was forced into an Assisted Living facility by my two sisters. He was miserable. I visited him almost daily until the day he passed away. I feel blessed to have been able to spend those last days with him and to know I could give back – even a minuscule amount – of what he provided for us in insurmountable ways all of our lives. I miss both my parents tremendously, but I feel I was there for him in his utmost time of need and I know I did my part as a Catholic/Christian daughter in bringing him some peace as he transitioned to his final resting place with Our Lord and Saviour.

  • Cheryl Diamond

    Melissa Gillie, you are an inspiration to us all. How very kind of you to befriend someone lonely. I am sure he felt so happy to have someone like you in his life. I know I would. I never met you, but I feel I would love to have you as my friend. You are a very caring person, especially to those in need. God will bless you richly.

  • Madeleine

    Last week I phoned a friend I hadn’t heard from in a while. Her first response was that my call was the answer to a prayer. We talked for a long time. She had just lost a brother, and hadn’t known of the recent deaths of my mother and a beloved aunt. Listening to the videos, I realized how much I miss visiting Mom and my aunt now that they have gone home to Our Lord. It is in the moments of quietude and solitude that I feel I can reach out to them and feel that they are still near. This week has been anything but quiet with grandchildren here during their spring break. I am blessed both ways. Thank you for this best Lent ever.

  • Sandra

    Melissa Gillie, such a wonderful act of kindness at a young age!! Truly touched my heart.

  • Mary Tady

    I’m a nurse, and what Matthew is saying about, you are happiest when you are serving others and getting the focus off your self is true for me. After the end of a shift, I may be so tired and maybe feel under appreciated, but I feel the happiest , because I helped people who can never helped me back. That’s just not happy, that’s JOY!

  • Dorothy Cabral

    At the age of fifteen I started working in a nursing nursing home. I always seemed to have an affinity for the elderly and I started to work with them but it became a way of life for me. I would take note who had visitors and who didn’t and I would make them part of my life. I began taking the home for diner with me or out on the week end to concerts in the park.
    I also befriended an older woman who worked in the nursing home who appeared lonely, I would take her grocery shopping and out to play bingo. After several years she introduced me to her son, we fell
    In love and now have two beautiful daughter

  • Nick Rizzi

    This message is so very true. And if it was not for my wife, who brings the Eucharist to the home bound and elderly, I had no idea how truly widespread the loneliness is. For so many people, her visit may be the only interaction some people may have all week with other people! So many just want to “visit” for a while. Just take time to talk with someone. Given demographics, I can only think this problem may get even worse. This great country of ours needs to figure out a better way for dealing with the elderly…and it starts with me!

  • Elaine Andersen Schienvar

    This was a wonderful story … thank you for giving of your time to this man.

  • Carol Cuomo

    We need to hear more of those examples and be more of those examples.

  • Maureen Gomes

    Clara thank you Re:Kent Nerburn,so touch my heart.reading your post as well as others give such inspiration to reach out.God Bless All.

  • Barbara Marrin

    I feel that I at a crossroads in my life. My 19+ y/o daughter is addicted to meth and is she not permitted by court order to live with me. I have no idea where she is. She is the treasure in my life. I am so sad at her illness and I’ve tried for 3 years to help her, to no avail. My mom is 88 and is becoming forgetful, is in good health but for orthopedic issues. We have no other family in the area. I have my house, my dogs, whom I love dearly. I spend my days alone except for a daily walk. Sometimes I encounter other people, most times I don’t. I know I won’t have mom forever, it feels as though I’ve already lost my daughter. I’m tired of feeling sad and overwhelmed by this, but I don’t know how to get out of myself to change things. I know I can volunteer, but the commitment is challenging for some reason. I won’t talk about my daughter to anyone because I can’t stop weeping when her name is mentioned. I’m not engaging at church, because I know I’ll be asked about my daughter. She went to the church school for 9years, everyone there knows her. I’m confronted with other peoples children, in college, appearing to move on, while my daughter is stuck with addiction. I’m overwhelmed with taking care of mom, my daughters illness and my seeming paralysis in my own life.

    • Jo

      I’ll pray for you and your daughter.

    • Susan Henderson

      My sympathies on your daughter. 2 weeks ago I kicked out my beautiful 19-year-old daughter who has physical and mental health problems. After missing her last semester of high school because of illness, we have been trying for the last year to help her get on her feet. She really has refused all types of help and we felt she was not getting better living with us. She too, went to the church school and it’s hard to talk about her. However I found when I have, I have received support. If you have an Al-Anon group or some sort of group for parents of addicted children, I would highly suggest going as it really helps being with others going through the same thing. They won’t mind if you cry and you can start to get some help and support from others as well as helping and supporting them in this overwhelming situation. God bless you, and today I will pray for your daughter.

      • Barbara Marrin

        Thank you for your prayers and your suggestion re support group. I attend a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) meeting at least once a month, sometimes more often that function as a support group. They also have guest speakers about mental illness, including the neurological disorder that affects my daughter, her biology doesn’t produce adequate levels of serotonin, so she self-medicates with drugs. We’ve been involved with counseling, therapy, psychiatrist who prescribed meds, nothing has worked and she won’t take the prescription meds in favor the the street drugs. Our daughters are about the same age, both beautiful. It astounds me that they refuse help/treatment. I will pray for your daughter/family as well. Blessings

        • Susan Henderson

          Barbara, I’m so glad you found NAMI. I go to a This Life support group through them for parents of children with mental health issues. We had prayed for some time about booting my daughter out. It turned out to be a good decision. It was scary. I had no idea if my daughter hitting the bottom would start to take responsibility for her treatment or if she would consider suicide. My sister took her & it has been a Godsend. My daughter got motivated & graduated high school this last week. I was so afraid like you that we would end up not knowing where our daughter was. I cannot imagine your anguish. My prayers go to you. I also attend a DBSA (depression and bipolar alliance support group for myself & my depression. They are a national group like NAMI. It has helped me very much.

      • Margo

        God bless

  • KD

    It’s beautiful to reach out to the lonely, but difficult to know if it’s truly inviting. Sadly, I have extended a hand only to be shut down. 😞 That does not deter me from being kind and helpful.

  • Filomena Dias

    Clara, thank you for sharing the story of the taxi cab driver. It’s always touching and emotional for me to read about others who just do such special things to help lift up others!!! Beautiful story… again thanks for sharing it today! I needed to hear this..👍😘

  • Jo

    Reaching out to lonely people is the best.

  • Barb Stuart

    Good morning,we are so blessed to be able to share our time and thoughts with each other.Here is another short story-it just happened to me just the other day infact. I went to visit a friend of mine in a nursing home for rehab.I came in after the lunch time, she was sitting at a table with 3 other women,they were eating their dessert.I sat down and I was introduced to these women, we sat and chatted and shared and laughed.I left after about 20 minutes we all enjoyed each other and I know they made my day and I hope I made theirs.

  • Matt_The_Brat

    I am so glad you mentioned Solitude Matthew! I can’t live without it, as hard as I’ve been trying…I just resolved to get back into one of my old habits thanks to your reflection. I felt compelled to recommend this habit to everyone trying to put Mr.Kelley’s meditation into practice as it has worked for my frenetic lifestyle in a non-stop world.

    Getting in bed(or a good place of prayer) before being tired, 2 hours (or less) before normal bedtime is a great stage to set up prayer in solitude. I always seem to pray tired and distracted by my day, partially because I keep praying right at bedtime. But when I am not tired and have a good amount of time before I need to sleep my mind’s bandwidth is a little less restricted. Also having a pen and paper on the nightstand is good for shooing away things “To-Do” until the next day.

    Hope this helps, blessings to all.

  • Meems

    I am a senior and realize how lonely I am. Have two grandchildren who are to busy to see me. One has a baby so that makes me a great grandma. How can I be so alone when I live with a friend who is disabled? We used to work together. I know my reward is not here! This is my time alone-Yeah. Every time has it’s up and downs. When I had no time and look back could I have made time for one that was alone? I did not think so at the time! If you don’t have the time say a prayer for them. I have many nice times now. I am also learning to pray and I pray for you who don’t have the time! You know I think I am happier than most. Love to you!

  • TerriB

    I have a lovely lady who has been taken into my young family after the loss of her spouse last summer. She is a wonderful woman and my kids love her. She’s visited me at least 3 times since I had my last baby 5 months ago. It was a mutually beneficial visit as I haven’t been as social with my last 2 under 2. We can imagine losing a spouse. She truly is a blessing to my husband and I..

  • Jacqueline S Silva

    I am a widow, after being married 48 years. It is very lonely and I too was blessed by the friendship and support of other widows in my church. They have helped me deeply through my grief and we support each other when having a bad day. Some of them have been widows for over 15 years, but the loss of your spouse is a everyday adjustment to your life. The most difficult time is around the anniversary of their death. If you know a widow or widower, reach out to them at this time.

  • Jimmy Smith

    Melissa that was a touching story you are an inspiration

  • Elaine

    I like what Elaine Cooper said about looking in our area for an assisted living home and offer to have a half hour rosary. I say the rosary and find it to give me much peace as I pray for my own personal offerings. Sharing that time with others would be a joy for me and hopefully bring peace to those who share in the same offering. I will have to look into doing that.

  • christol murch

    Being alone and being lonely are two different positions. I do not get lonely often. However, I sorely need alone time.
    In the beginning retirement seemed wonderful. It came with caring for grandchildren etc. I had come from a profession of helping others for at least 12 hours per day, and sometimes on Saturdays. As time went on and my grandchildren needed less of me, I realized that I needed to continue to help others. I joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society. We continually help the less fortunate, the marginalized. There are so many people who are so depressed and lonely. While we provide goods needed, we also provide a listening ear and human contact.

  • Bobbie

    At one period during our life my husband and I were spending much time helping an elderly parent. I told someone I wished other family members would help also. The friend commented that care sometimes is not a shared effort. They went on to say, just think of the good example you are setting for your children. I had never thought about it that way before.

  • Judy

    Yes, I have reached out to someone who is lonely. A friend from my days in the U.S. Navy. She’s a retired Chief, and is a lost soul. When I call her (we live quite a distance apart across multiple states), we are on the phone for at least 90 minutes. By the time we hang up, there’s a lift in the somber mood I sensed in her when answering my call. I feel good when heeding the nudge from the Holy Spirit to call her.

  • Ginie

    I love Melissa’s story and the Knet Nerburn story Clara shared. I’ve been known to go over and talk to someone weeping at church or even on campus once. I ask if there is something I can do. If they say no or or start talking I stay with them for a bit and offer to pray with them or for them. I have invited widows/widowers into my home for a meal. I won’t say this is truly altruistic of me, I’m a widow and a caregiver and sometimes I need company as much as my guest does. I thank God for people who reached out to me when my husband died with meals, invitations and time. I am grateful for people who come over to visit my son or me now.
    But as Matthew Kelly stated you have to get out of yourself. Getting out of myself means reaching out to others, inviting them over for a meal, inviting them to join me in a chair yoga class because I think it will be as helpful for them as it is for me.

  • Nancy Skovera Sturm

    I love that story. I am alone and lonely since my divorce despite my children and friends. I keep asking God to help me find myself and what he wants for me for the last 14 years. I do feel the most positive when I am helping someone else. I will keep this in mind as I seek my calling in the years I have left in this world.

  • Sherry Hayes-Peirce

    Great reminder to reach out to those who are visibly suffering in our midst!

  • Babciamel

    All of my life, I have had a sensitivity to people who might be lonely; such as the less popular in school, or the elderly or children who’s parents seemed to busy to put their children first. I try to do what I can, in the moment, to alleviate some of their unhappiness. So many people have told me that I was their angel. Now, I am lonely and it has taken me years to admit this to myself. I am left to wonder where my angle of comfort and company is. I am only in my mid 60s, but I am tired of living. I am tired of making mistakes. I am tired of drama in my life. Maybe, I need to step out of myself, once again, and find someone who needs the special talent I possess of giving comfort to others in their time of need. Maybe that will rid me of my lonely feelings.

    • Susan Henderson

      I can relate. After suffering from depression for my whole life which at times goes from dysthymia to more severe major depressive episodes, I sometimes am tired of fighting the mental health battle. As an antidote in my most recent episode, I have started going to the nursing home and praying the rosary with the residents. Now I look forward to it. I also will call the parish of an old friend who is having health problems today and get put on the list to help him with groceries, doctor appointments etc. I hope that you will find happiness in helping others. God bless!

      • Babciamel

        Thank you for your input. I do help my almost 92 year old mom with Dr. Apts. and shopping for her as well as doing her laundry. I used to exercise at least four days a week, but stopped over two years ago after a major car accident/injuries and never went back to that routine. I do know what might help, but can’t seem to be able to motivate myself to actually do things. I have been on medication for depression and anxiety since 1999. I absolutely hate leaving the house, but most times, once I am out the door, I am fine….occasionally, I will experience an anxiety attack and cut short my errands to return to the safety of my home. It is a tough road, for sure; but this is what God has put on my plate and I know He has a reason. Again, I thank you for taking the time to comment. God Bless you and yours.

      • Margo

        Oh, Susan. My heart goes out to you.

        • Susan Henderson

          Thanks, Margo. I am trying to figure out what God has been teaching me through my brokenness, and I think there is a lot of room in the Church for improvement in acknowledging mental health conditions and addictions etc. I am hoping to be part of the solution for this, but I don’t yet know what form it will take.

  • Christine Overkamp

    Melissa, Your sharing was very powerful and I also have experienced the gift of reaching out to someone who was so lost and lonely. I often see it in the flesh at the St. Vincent’s Store where I volunteer each week. Often, people just need to talk, to get into a conversation about almost anything to dispell some of their lonliness. I often come out of such a contact a much stronger person and I pray that the other party was less lonely for at least a short amount of time. God bless and again thanks so much for sharing.

  • Monique

    I read yesterday’s reflection just moments ago. I reached out to my oldest friend this afternoon. She is nearly 96 and she lives alone. I hadn’t stopped by to visit in a few weeks. She asked me today why I came by. She often tells me I am welcome day or night. I told her that God put it on my heart to go visit her and that it was His doing. After reading yesterday’s reflection tonight, I wonder if she was lonely and praying for a visitor. She is very confused during a good part of our conversations but she always articulates how she feels about me. She can’t remember my name (and she always has an explanation for that!) When I rang the doorbell she slowly came to the door. She was nearly in tears and she was having trouble simply standing. She had a fall that got her admitted to the hospital. It was unclear when this happened but she was very sore on her bottom still and the goose egg is still present on her head. She was stuttering when I sat with her. I insisted that she eat some fried chicken that I brought. As she told me about her fall and a hearing that she testified at I could see her mood change. She stopped stumbling over her words and by the time I left she was joking with me as usual. It’s so important to reach outside of ourselves. If you are pondering visiting an elderly friend, do it, she might be praying for you to drop by.

  • Karen in FL

    I love this prayer from Mother Teresa:

    Dear Jesus,

    Help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go.
    Flood our souls with your Spirit and life.
    Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly
    that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.
    Shine through us and be so in us
    that every soul we come in contact with
    may feel your presence in our soul.
    Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus.
    Stay with us and then we shall begin to shine as you shine,
    so to shine as to be light to others.
    The light, O Jesus, will be all from you.
    None of it will be ours.
    It will be you shining on others through us.
    Let us thus praise you in the way you love best
    by shining on those around us.
    Let us preach you without preaching
    not by words, but by our example
    By the catching force
    the sympathetic influence of what we do
    the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.
    Amen.

  • Lee Carr

    watching the video, I see what getting outside of ourselves does; I see Matthew light up with a happiness that comes from him telling us to serve others

  • CathyPhil Gorski

    Many years ago I was looking for some sort of service work to do with my children when they were very little. I heard about a program at a nearby nursing home where you could be a “special friend” of a resident whose family lived too far away to visit often, and pledge to visit them on a regular basis. We became special friends with Alice and she just loved the children. We would bring our play dishes and play food and they would serve her lunch and she’d play along. Both the children and Alice got a lot out of their time together until Alice passed away. Such a wonderful service project for all of us.

  • Debra Kyser

    Yes, I have reached out many times to someone lonely. I have done it throughout my life. By helping others we begin to help ourselves.

  • Sue A

    My story is very similar to Melissa’s. I, too, noticed an elderly gentleman who always came to church by himself and looked “lost”. I started to talking with him and found that his wife passed away a short time ago and he was very lonely. We would walk to our cars after mass and share some family history and we realized that he and my dad grew up in the same area of NYC and knew some of the same people! This friendship started about five years ago and is still going strong. I hope that I give him some comfort when I call him at home to check on him and to “chat”.

  • Cathy

    I love Matthew’s message in this video. So true that we need solitude with all the social media, news and turmoil in our life. Thank you for this reminder.

  • Nicole M.

    Asking God for solitude was a perfect prayer for me. I’m always so busy and I am always usually with someone and when I’m not, I’m on social media. Tonight, I finally had a night to myself. I took some time to relax and found myself feeling guilty for it, knowing I could be accomplishing something else. I need to work on spending time with just myself and with God. I also need to do the opposite though and get involved, maybe actually reaching out to someone who is lonely. I would love to make a difference in someone’s life who really needs it.

  • Mari

    Through solitude we learn to depend on our heavenly father . He is our source of everything. ..friend, father, counselor, healer, our almighty God. How amazing to have all our needs satisfied by one source. Amen!

  • Margo

    Well, I really appreciated Matthew saying we all have individual gifts. Mind is definitely NOT feeling for the down and out. I remember going to a house for people who were incurable when I was a teen and going home and crying my eyes out. Some people can’t eat meat, I can’t cope with incurables. But that said, I did go and visit my aunt with dementia today in her nursing home. I lasted for half an hour. To provide background, I have an older sister who has autism and I have always been there for her and always will be.

  • Tammy Mallett

    During lent his year I visit a lonely elderly lady at an assisted light living once a week to visit and pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. She mentioned the priest had been there for Commuion service that week and then said she prayed God would send someone. I said “then He sent Fr. Paul!” She said “no He sent to you!”

  • Stacey Symonds

    When my dad was alive, i had to make the difficult decision of placing him in a homeless shelter…it killed me…but it also opened me up to help the homeless as much as i can…just saying hello, buying them a cup of coffee, making them a lunch, or just talking with them…and the majority of the time, they are extremely grateful for someone to just notice them….in my opinion, no matter how they got there, they are still human beings with very kind hearts….i cry all the time when i leave them…i wish i could do more….

  • Emma Spaulding

    A little after the Christmas holiday season, my dad collects the covers of Christmas cards to take to his CCD in order for the kids to write notes to people who are homeless and or going to people who need a little Christmas spirit in their lives. I wrote one of those cards this past Christmas and handed them out to the homeless along with a bag of goodies I bought at school with the extra meal money I had. Waiting at a stop light, one old gentlemen read the card first and I could see it made his day and he thanked us for all that he received before the light turned green.

  • lizmvr

    I used to be better about visiting seniors in nursing homes or senior residential centers than I have been over the last couple years. I knew a woman when I was in college in Illinois. Her name was Frances. I met her at an ice cream social some of the college students had at her nursing home, and over that year, I would go back to see her about once a week. She used to ask if she could adopt me. She passed away while I was in college, but I’ll never forget her or the fun we had together. She was hilarious, and I still miss her. Frances was as much a friend or more so to me than I was to her.

  • Linda Carmelle

    I need to make time again for this Corporal work of Mercy. I have been “busy” working 3 jobs,1 full time and 2 part time.I work to pay down an enormous debt,which I feel inhibits me in life from becoming the best version of myself.
    I do believe in choosing worthy career paths tha help others and as is stated in Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do,work at it from the heart as if for the Lord and not for others…” ,but still theres a deep desire for rest and relaxation,time to participate and redo this Best Lent Ever program for instance so the Corporal work of Mercy in other capacities is on hold. I’m grateful though for the ideas from others of all the wonderful ideas and programs I’ve learned about from my extended Christian Family here at Dynamic Catholic. That just motivates me even further to work harder and pay down this enormous debt,so I won’t have to work for necessities but for the necessity of working to srve others, as The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have done for me and my family.

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