“Hope is a necessity for normal life and the major weapon against the suicide impulse.”
~ Karl A. Menninger
Yesterday afternoon, I read about the story of a priest in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph who had committed suicide. He was the pastor of one parish and the administrator of another parish. His parish also has a school attached to it. I am sure that his people are devastated and confused by what has happened. Some might think, “After all, if their spiritual leader would take his own life, what hope is there for any of us?”
Priests are no different than anyone else. We are just as human as anyone else. We face our own struggles and can be prone to bouts of depression and even suicidal ideology. As we may have encountered in our own lives someone who has committed suicide, it is often hard to tell when someone is considering that ultimate step. People who are thinking about suicide often look as adjusted as the rest of us.
Many times, people who had attempted suicide and failed end up sharing with their doctors or therapists that they had lost all hope for themselves. They could not imagine any way to get through a situation or through the day. The only thing that posed a viable way out for them was to take their own lives.
That is one of the reasons that we need to live as emissaries of hope for others. We may not know if they are having a good day or a bad day. We may not know if their thoughts are positive or negative. But, we can offer hope by the way we live our lives, by the unconditional love we share with them, and by the way we are willing to walk with them especially when times are tough.
Besides offering hope to others, we can also pray for those who feel lost and who feel like there is no way out. We can ask God to give them the grace that they need to see past the fog in their lives and notice the people who are there for them.
I would ask you to pray, as well, for those who are seriously affected by suicide. People often feel guilty and say to themselves, “If only I would have said or done something. If only I would have recognized that something was wrong.” Suicide often leaves a wide swath of victims and, sadly, causes others to consider it as well.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for all who feel that there is no hope and who contemplate suicide that they may find the hope they need to make it through the day.