There is an essential felt loneliness in the priesthood because there is an essential loneliness in the Cross, the Cross that stands at the very center of the priesthood. We priests feel the sting especially in celibacy, and **understandably we struggle to come to terms with it. We know the terrifying loneliness that comes crashing in, the coldness of walking back into the rectory certainly exhausted and tired of people but lonely because there does not seem to be anyone to share it with or who understands our hearts. A pious thought would be to pray, but prayer in those moments may well seem dry and distasteful.**
Might I say that even married men sometimes feel such loneliness too.
With the priest in the quote — even though the prayer might seem dry and unproductive — it is the time to get down on one’s knees and pray, nevertheless.
A monk once wrote that loneliness is a hole in one’s heart that only God can fill.