Lonely God?


Why does this prayer (found on a St.Bernadette Holy Card) refer to God as lonely? I’m thinking maybe in the sense of individual, alone rather than pining as we currently use the word lonely but I’m not sure, any thoughts on this? Thanx, KimBoLee

O My God, I beg You, by Your loneliness, not that You may spare me affliction, but that You may not abandon me in it.

When I encounter affliction, teach me to see You in it as my sole comforter.

Let affliction strengthen my faith, fortify my hope, and purify my love.

Grant me the grace to see Your hand in my affliction, and to desire no other comforter but you.


That’s interesting. I thought maybe your card had a misprint, but I found several references to it on the web.

Some writers have referred to God’s longing as Parent, Lover, etc., waiting for our return to Him.

Or maybe the prayer refers to the abandonment Jjesus experienced; by His friends after His arrest and by God during His suffering on the cross? Or the human loneliness He must have experienced at times because of His unique position?

I haven’t read the story of Bernadette since I was a child a gazillion years ago; maybe the explanation is in the apparitions or her journal. You’ve really piqued my curiosity.


I’ve read a few things about her but nothing ‘pops out at me’ to explain this. I’ll certinly be reading more. From the stories of her life it seems reasonable that St.Bernadette, herself, was lonely but that doesn’t explain ‘loneliness’ attributed to God. Maybe it’s not her prayer?



It’s a cold Sunday February morning
and I’m one of eight men waiting
for the doors of Toys R Us to open
in a mall on the eastern tip of Long Island.
We’ve come for the Japanese electronic game
that’s so hard to find. Last week, I waited
three hours for a store in Manhattan
to disappoint me. The first today, bundled
in six layers, I stood shivering in the dawn light
reading the new Aeneid translation, which I hid
when the others came, stamping boots
and rubbing gloveless hands, joking about
sacrificing sleep for ungrateful sons. “My boy broke
two front teeth playing hockey,” a man wearing
shorts laughs. “This is his reward.” My sons
will leap into my arms, remember this morning
all their lives. “The game is for my oldest boy,
just back from Iraq,” a man in overalls says
from the back of the line. “He plays these games
in his room all day. I’m not worried, he’ll snap out of it,
he’s earned his rest.” These men fix leaks, lay
foundations for other men’s dreams without complaint.
They’ve been waiting in the cold since Aeneas
founded Rome on rivers of blood. Virgil understood that
death begins and never ends, that it’s the god of loneliness.
Through the window, a clerk shouts, “We’ve only five.”
The others seem not to know what to do with their hands,
tuck them under their arms, or let them hang,
naked and useless. Is it because our hands remember
what they held, the promises they made? I know
exactly when my boys will be old enough for war.
Soon three of us will wait across the street at Target,
because it’s what men do for their sons.

—Philip Schultz



I found this account of all sixteen of Bernadette’s apparitions. It’s late so I haven’t read it to see if there’s any mention of your topic.:



“Cry to God with a yearning heart and then you will see Him. People will shed a jug full of tears for the sake of their wife or children; they will be carried away by a stream of their own tears for the sake of money; but who sheds a tear for God?”

-Sri Ramakrishna


Fickle Freckled–I was thinking last night about your idea of Jesus, particularly on the cross. This seems to fit completely with the first line of the prayer. For instance Jesus Christ crying out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” His suffering during all of the Sorrowful Mysteries must have been lonely, then the reunion with the Father during the Gloriful Mysteries, it makes sense.
Thanks for the link, I love the story of St.Bernadette. I’ll enjoy reading it, even if I don’t find the exact answer I’m looking for.


You’re welcome. I think Jesus must have experienced quite a bit of loneliness during His life, too. He was fully human as well as fully divine and it must have been very difficult to know that not a soul on earth was capable of understanding Him. That was one of the sacrifices He had to make.

(Off-topic, I noticed you’re in Arkansas. I was born in Mtn.View, the “Folk Music Capitol of America”,Jimmy Driftwood, the Rackensack Society, Ozark Folk Culture preservation … “muskydines”…and “muskydine” wine…hi, “neighbor”!)


For sure, I’m thinking of a couple of times the scripture reads that Mary did not understand, but kept these things in her heart. Of course Mary was closer to Jesus than anyone and not even she could understand every mystery about him.

(Off topic: If you’ve ever watched King of the Hill think of the episode where Hank’s driving, reads the road sign, shudders, then locks his doors. The sign was:

Hot Springs
Boyhood Home of
President Bill Clinton

…and of kimbaichan, too!


maybe this is referring to Christ’s loneliness on the Cross, or perhaps in the Tabernacle, or in how He really wants us all to know Him?

Christ still has His human nature of course :slight_smile:


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