Loneliness is a part of all our lives from time to time, regardless of our state in life. Being a single person, I find it to be more of a constant than I would like. So, I have sought, and found, some wonderful ways of combatting loneliness by prayer and by the help of some of our beloved friends in Heaven!
The first is this beautiful jewel of a prayer to that beautiful jewel of a Saint, Raphael the Archangel. St. Raphael has a rather vast patronage, but thanks to his role in The Book of Tobit, he is best known as Patron Saint of Happy Meetings, and is considered a special patron by single people looking for spouses. He can help lead us into all kinds of relationships, however, with all kinds of people: friends, relatives, coworkers, religious communities, etc. If it is a relationship we seek, St. Raphael is there to help!
O Raphael, lead us toward those we are waiting for, those who are waiting for us! Raphael, Angel of Happy Meetings, lead us by the hand toward those we are looking for! May all our movements, all their movements, be guided by your light and transfigured by your Joy. Angel Guide of Tobias, lay the request we now address to you at the feet of Him on whose unveiled Face you are privileged to gaze. Lonely and tired, crushed by the separations and sorrows of Earth, we feel the need of calling to you and of pleading for the protection of your wings, so that we may not be as strangers in the Province of Joy, all ignorant of the concerns of our country. Remember the weak, you who are strong–you whose home lies beyond the region of thunder, in a land that is always peaceful, always serene, and bright with the resplendent glory of God. Amen.
The Church has also given us St. Rita of Cascia as Patron Saint Against Loneliness. I haven’t found a specific prayer to her against loneliness, but I do often call upon her prayers and assistance. St. Rita is well-known as a “Saint of the Impossible,” among other things. She certainly lived through her share of tragedy, loss, and seemingly desperate circumstances–but she never lost her faith and her trust. She is a wonderful role-model for us all.
Last, but certainly not least, there are our guardian angels, who are our constant companions every moment of every day and, indeed, for all eternity! Each one of them is unique, and each one is assigned by God exclusively to one human being–this should make us feel very special and very loved! I think we often forget our guardian angels, especially as we grow up. We may even think of them as childhood fantasies, like imaginary friends. Or, we may think of them in warm, fuzzy New Age terms. But the Church, following Jewish tradition, teaches that they are very real and very powerful, far surpassing human beings in their nature. They are neither imaginary friends nor warm, fuzzy New Age creatures. But in their strict obedience to God, they do love, care for, guide, and protect their human charges with great devotion. And we can, and should, think of them as very special and very dear friends. As such, we should strive to form real, personal relationships with them. When I am feeling lonely, it always helps to remember that I have a very remarkable companion who is all my own and who is unlike any other person on Earth or in Heaven!
All of this, of course, is thanks to our great Lord–He is so good, so generous, and so wise! He provides for our every need and supports our every weakness. Ultimately, He is responsible for healing our loneliness. Angels and Saints and other human beings are His agents. He knows that we need them, even though He is always there for us. Sometimes, I’m tempted to feel guilty for feeling lonely when I know God is there for me. But then I remember the story of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Adam lived in the presence of God, and yet he still needed somebody like himself–a fellow creature, a fellow human being. God created us with that need. He provided for Adam, and He continues to provide for us. He never abandons us, not to loneliness or to anything else. So we needn’t ever despair!