I have been thinking a lot this week about the uptick of suicides being reported. I can’t even imagine the anguish, emptiness, and distress that someone must endure to bring themselves to that decision. We can feel even more helpless since oftentimes we are unaware when a friend or loved one is suffering internally. What is the Church’s response to the taking of one’s own life?
1) It’s important to remember that we are caretakers and stewards of the life that we have been given, and not owners. Our lives and others lives are not ours to dispose of.
2) Suicide in order to set an example, ie: To end one’s life due to advanced age or terminal illness, is grave matter. Co-operation in suicide is also contrary to God’s law and intentions for life. We are seeing these cases more and more with “physician assisted suicide” bills being proposed.
3) This is very important: The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states that “grave psychological disturbance, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture” diminishes one’s responsibility. I can’t imagine anyone choosing to end their life without these above mentioned pressures weighing on their hearts and minds!
The bottom line is this; we must ALWAYS, to the best of our ability, pray for, accompany, and listen to those who are in distress. Many times people who suffer from depression are also ashamed to admit it. We followers of Jesus Christ are to be reflections of God’s love in the world. Let’s try our best to make sure everyone we encounter knows they are loved. Please see elsewhere in the bulletin for the suicide prevention lifeline information.