2/29/22 // 3/1/22
Recollection is almost the same thing as interior solitude. It is in recollection that we discover the finite solitude of our own heart, and the infinite solitude of God dwelling within us. Unless these vast horizons have opened out in the center of our lives, we can hardly see things in perspective…
How many there are who have solitude and do not love it, because their solitude is without recollection! It is only loneliness. It does nothing to bring them to themselves. They are alone because in their solitude they are separated from God, and from other men, and even from themselves. They are like souls wandering out of hell and finding their way by mistake into Heaven, only to discover that Heaven is more of a hell to them than hell itself. So it is with those who are forced into the heaven of solitude and cannot taste its joy because they know no recollection.
The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invisible companionship of God. Such a one is alone with God in all places, and he alone truly enjoys the companionship of other men, because he loves them in God in Whom their presence is not tiresome, and because of Whom his own love for them can never know satiety.
~ Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island