Solitude, even for religious men and women, can be difficult to endure. As humans, we are naturally social creatures and crave interaction with others.
However, it is also beneficial to spend time alone, something which many religious freely choose for the rest of their lives.
St. John of the Cross gives a few helpful tips to those struggling with solitude in Sayings of Light and Love. The key is to accept the solitude you experience and strive to listen to God as he seeks to teach you.
Pray St. John of the Cross’ “Prayer of Peace” to calm your mind
1Don't look behind
If you desire to discover peace and consolation for your soul and to serve God truly, do not find your satisfaction in what you have left behind, because in that which now concerns you, you may be as impeded as you were before, or even more. But leave as well all these other things and attend to one thing alone that brings all these with it (namely, holy solitude, together with prayer and spiritual and divine reading), and persevere there in forgetfulness of all things.
2Keep Heaven in mind
Preserve a habitual remembrance of eternal life, recalling that those who hold themselves the lowest and poorest and least of all will enjoy the highest dominion and glory in God.
3Recognize that God is with you
Enter within yourself and work in the presence of your Bridegroom, who is ever present loving you.
4Do not let anything disturb your heart
Strive to preserve your heart in peace; let no event of this world disturb it; reflect that all must come to an end.
5Draw closer to God in solitude
The further you withdraw from earthly things the closer you approach heavenly things and the more you find in God!
7 Inspiring truths from St. John of the Cross