Yesterday, I learned that a man in our community had committed suicide the night before. His wife came home to find him slumped in a chair, having shot himself in the chest.
Although the man was not a close friend of mine, I did know him. He was received into the Catholic Church a number of years ago, and at that time my husband and I were in charge of the RCIA program. He struck me as a devout man with a sincere desire to become Catholic. His wife was a cradle Catholic, I believe, and they had raised their two children in the Church.
I saw him now and then around town, and we always greeted each other warmly. I didn’t know him well enough to know that there were problems that would lead him to suicide.
I will pray a novena for the repose of the soul. I will pray that Our Lady had a few words with him in the moments before he died, and that he realized what a mistake he had made and repented of it. What a horrible scene to imagine: standing before the God Who gave you life, only to have to admit that had just denied that gift by an overt action – an action that clearly denounced God as the Author of life itself; an action that said “My will, not Yours be done”; an action that, in a sense, makes a God of oneself.
Not that I think this man actually considered that he was throwing God’s gift back in His face, and that he was feeling all-powerful for taking his own life. No, I am sure that satan was whispering evil in his ear, and deceiving him into thinking there was no hope, no sense in living any longer. I have enough experience with minor depression to understand that there comes a moment when a depressed person sees no way out of the pain and hopelessness other than ending his life.
It’s such a lie, though. Satan is so very clever in preventing the poor sinner from seeing beyond the action of killing himself. Satan doesn’t want us to think about hell and purgatory. He doesn’t want us to know that the depression and anxiety and trials and tribulations we might experience in our earthly life are nothing compared to an eternity in hell.
So I pray for this man’s poor soul. Will you say a prayer too? God knows his name, and will recognize for whom you are praying, I’m sure.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.