My eyes are always towards the Lord, for He it is who delivers my feet from the snare. For I am alone and poor (Ps 24).
The loneliness of the servant of the Lord is a theme that is quite frequent in Holy Scripture. The common experience of the prophets was that they had a mission to accomplish alone. When God intervenes in history, it is usually through one man who changes the course of history. But that one man is often rejected, persecuted, sometimes put to death.
In chapter 63 of Isaiah, the Messiah is presented to us under the traits of a warrior who must fight alone. “I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the Gentiles there is not a man with me: I have trampled on them in my indignation, and have trodden them down in my wrath, and their blood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my apparel. For the day of vengeance is in my heart, the year of my redemption is come. I looked about, and there was none to help: I sought, and there was none to give aid: and my own arm hath saved for me, and my indignation itself hath helped me” (Is 63:3-5).
As for the psalmist, in today’s Introit he insists that he is not only poor but alone - unicus sum. And in other psalms he must act “singulariter”, that is to say, alone.
So let us not be surprised if we find ourselves alone with a mission that seems impossible. God never does anything with numbers. He does not need numbers. All he needs is Himself and a soul, just one, that is open to the task God wants to give.
Time and time again in history, God’s people is saved or reformed thanks to the zeal of one man or one woman, a soul that has no care for its reputation or its comfort, a soul that is ready to take up the cross and die. With that soul, God can transform all things.
So let us, to use St Ignatius’ expression, give greater proof of our love and distinguish ourselves in whatever concerns the service of the Eternal King and the Lord of all, not only offering ourselves entirely for the work, but acting against our sensuality and carnal and worldly love, making offerings of greater value and of more importance.
If we do, then we will be following the apostle’s pressing recommendations in today’s epistle; we will be imitators of God, the God who took flesh and offered Himself as an oblation, a sweet-smelling sacrifice for the salvation of the world.