7 April 2013 Anno Domini
Posted by Sister Lisa Marie Doty FDCC
at Ignitum Today
A few years back while I was on retreat, I received an emergency phone call. A teenage girl who volunteered with us had committed suicide while at home. I had to ask twice, Are you sure? She was vivacious. Pretty. Friendly. Intelligent. Loved. At the funeral, we learned from her parents that their daughter struggled for years with depression and had attempted to take her own life several times before. This time she succeeded, and the parents were left with unanswered questions. They tried therapy of all sorts to help her, and although she seemed to love life, when not with her friends, the darkness would overwhelm her. But why? What could cause her to want to take her own life?
It isn’t the last time I have been called and asked to pray for a young person and their family in a crisis such as this, and my heart aches for them, the unanswerable questions added to the burden of their loss. One question often asked, “Will my child/spouse/nephew/cousin/mom go to hell?”
We can take consolation in the words of Saint Benedict from his Rule, chapter 4 (73), “Never despair of God’s mercy.”
What is the expanse of God’s mercy? The scriptures remind us:
“Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.” (Joel 2:13) “Let us fall by the hand of God, for he is most merciful.” (2 Samuel 24:14) “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:4-5) “…not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy…” (Titus 3:5).