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What I Know About Suicide
By Jay Hastings (Jan 30, 2007)
Many people have known someone who, despairing of hope, has committed suicide.
For them, a thousand questions and regrets arise when such a tragedy occurs. How could they have done it? I should have done more for them.
Most importantly, they may wonder if the person is in heaven or hell?
I have this to say about that: We should never judge a soul in any circumstance, even someone who commits suicide. That is for God alone to judge. And we can trust that He gives a soul every opportunity to choose Him.
Saint Faustina knew firsthand the torments of suicide. She writes in her Diary:
Once, I took upon myself a terrible temptation which one of our students in the house at Warsaw was going through. It was the temptation of suicide. For seven days I suffered; and after the seven days Jesus granted her the grace which was being asked, and then my suffering also ceased. It was a great suffering. I often take upon myself the torments of our students. Jesus permits me to do this, and so do my confessors (192).
Personally, I know of a man who committed suicide. He was a role model and mentor to many. He was a loving father, grandfather, and family man. He had been through several major operations in the course of a few months. He was on painkillers and anti-depressants, as a result of all the surgeries he had to endure. Something obviously went terribly wrong. I don't know what. What a loss.
What I do know is that our Divine Mercy prayer group was praying the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy for him at the hour he died. (Our group insures the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy is being prayed 24 hours a day. Because of the surgeries he was undergoing, this man who committed suicide happened to be listed in our Divine Mercy Prayer Journal, which contains the names of the people for whom we pray.)
And what I also know is that such praying is powerful.
Jesus said to St. Faustina:
Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties, obtain for them trust in My mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least. Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moment depends on your prayer. You know the whole abyss of My mercy, so draw upon it for yourself and especially for poor sinners. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul (Diary, 1777).
Obviously, when someone commits suicide, they leave a lot of confusion about their death. I recall a passage in the Diary when our Lord asked St. Faustina to help Him save a soul that was in despair:
Today, the Lord came to me and said, "My daughter, help Me to save souls. You will go to a dying sinner, and you will continue to recite the chaplet, and in this way you will obtain for him trust in My mercy, for he is already in despair."
Suddenly, I found myself in a strange cottage where an elderly man was dying amidst great torments. All about the bed was a multitude of demons and the family, who were crying. When I began to pray, the spirits of darkness fled, with hissing and threats directed at me. The soul became calm and, filled with trust, rested in the Lord. At the same moment, I found myself again in my own room. How this happens ... I do not know. (1797-98)
And then there are these comments of St. Faustina:
I often communicate with persons who are dying and obtain the divine mercy for them. Oh, how great is the goodness of God, greater than we can understand. There are moments and there are mysteries of the divine mercy over which the heavens are astounded. Let our judgment of souls cease, for God's mercy upon them is extraordinary (Diary, 1684).
I often attend upon the dying and through entreaties obtain for them trust in God's mercy, and I implore God for an abundance of divine grace, which is always victorious. God's mercy sometimes touches the sinner at the last moment in a wondrous and mysterious way. Outwardly, it seems as if everything were lost, but it is not so. The soul, illumined by a ray of God's powerful final grace, turns to God in the last moment with such a power of love that, in an instant, it receives from God forgiveness of sin and punishment, while outwardly it shows no sign either of repentance or of contrition, because souls [at that stage] no longer react to external things. Oh, how beyond comprehension is God's mercy! But - horror - there are also souls who voluntarily and consciously reject and scorn this grace! Although a soul is at the point of death, the merciful God gives the soul that interior vivid moment, so that if the soul is willing, it has the possibility of returning to God. But sometimes, the obduracy in souls is so great that consciously they choose hell; they make useless all the prayers that other souls offer to God for them and even the efforts of God Himself... (1698).
Again, we should never judge a soul in any circumstance. And we should never despair of God's mercy; it is unfathomable. Knowing that should bring comfort and peace to everyone who has to endure this situation.
Jay Hastings, of Bartlett, Tenn., is the founder of a growing group of Divine Mercy devotees who ensures that the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy is being prayed every hour of the day. The 24-Hour Chaplet members now consist of more than 500 people from across the United States, as well as from Mexico, Belize (Central America), Costa Rica, Canada, Philippines, Bolivia, India, Iraq, Australia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Tanzania, who are assigned an hour each day in which to pray. They pray for three things: the promotion of the Divine Mercy devotion; the sick and dying in the hour that you pray; and people about to commit mortal sin. To join the 24-Hour Chaplet, contact Jay via e-mail, email@example.com or via phone, 901-438-7772.