WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY
2 Maccabees, Chapter 15, Verse 18
This is an example of loving God with your whole heart, entire mind, soul and with all your strength. This is true religion and compliance with the 1st Commandment.
- I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
World Suicide Prevention Day
There’s been a rising epidemic in the US, and that epidemic is suicide. If we don’t know someone who had committed suicide, it’s almost certain that we know someone who has attempted it. Suicide is a problem that affects all age groups, genders, and social strata, and it seems sometimes to be utterly inescapable. World Suicide Prevention Day raises awareness about this tragic issue and works to prevent it through education and support of those who struggle with suicidal ideation every day. It’s a tragic situation, with the death toll coming in at 42,773 people committing suicide each year in the United States alone, and for each one of those 25 people made the attempt. Over the world it’s even greater, an estimated 800,000 people commit suicide each year throughout the world, which is one every 40 seconds. What’s incredible is that just like the US statistic, it’s estimated that 25 times that attempt it, 4 million people over the world every year. There’s something of a ripple down effect that happens as well, those bereaved by the loss of a loved one to suicide are themselves more likely to commit suicide.
Divine Mercy After Suicideby Chris Alar
My grandmother, Mary Alar, was a special lady. My father told many stories about her, including how her family removed her from school in the sixth grade so she could work as a maid to help support them. Then, two days before her wedding day, her fiancé́ was killed in an auto accident. Later, she met my grandfather, but her life was still quite difficult. By 1993, she was suffering greatly — emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It became unbearable for her. At the time, I was finishing college and didn’t even know how much pain my grandmother was enduring. In a shock to me, my grandmother committed suicide on Father’s Day. Ten years later, I told my confessor that I was not “there for her” — even at the funeral. I mean, I was there physically, but not emotionally or spiritually. I was so concerned about my degree, my job, my new home, and my girlfriend, that I don’t even remember praying for her. I told him that this bothered me, because my grandmother had already been judged by God, and I missed my opportunity to pray for her and help her. What I really feared most arose from something I’d heard long ago about the Church teaching that if you commit suicide, you automatically go to hell.
Then the priest did something that changed my life.
He said, “Go home tonight and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the salvation of your grandmother’s soul. This is an incredibly powerful prayer.” I had never heard of the Chaplet. I said, “Huh? Father, she’s already been judged, so it’s too late. She died 10 years ago! She’s in Heaven (I hope) or hell (I hope not). At best, my prayers might relieve some of her time in Purgatory, if she even made it that far, but her eternal fate has already been determined. There is nothing that can be done about that now.” He said, “Look, God is outside of time. There is no past or future for God, but only one big eternal present moment. God sees everything at one instant. From the beginning of time to the end of the world, He sees it all instantaneously without compromising our free will. How do you think that the Virgin Mary was immaculately conceived?” I said, “By the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.” He said, “Yes, but how could Mary be immaculately conceived by these merits when Jesus hadn’t even been born yet? Because God is outside of time. Your prayers are eternal, and the graces given by God from those prayers, because He is not constrained by space or time, can go in any direction: past, present, or future. Christ’s sacrifice is eternally present before the Father, and so are our prayers if we unite them to the Cross of Christ.”
I sat there shaking my head, saying, “Wow, Father, this is amazing.” But I still wasn’t totally getting it. It sounded too good to be true. He continued, “Think of it this way, Chris. God knew back in 1993 that you would be here today, in 2003, and tonight you would pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for your grandmother’s soul. And since God is so merciful, so loving, He will put those prayers into the hands of Mary, the Mediatrix of All Graces, and He will allow those prayers from today to be carried back in Mary’s hands and showered over your grandmother’s soul back in 1993, at the moment of her judgment, to help her.”
He continued, “You see, suicide is a grave sin, and she will need all the help she can get. So, with God’s grace, through your prayers, she may be better able to say ‘yes’ to God.” (That is why John Paul II called each of us “mini co-redeemers” — because we can share in Christ’s act of redemption).
The priest added, “In the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, she records that Jesus visited the despairing soul three times to save it from hell (Diary, 1486), so we can infer that the souls of our loved ones have the chance to repent, say ‘yes’ to Him, and be saved.”
I said, “Father, we’re good here then, because there’s no way my grandmother will not say ‘yes’ to Jesus when she sees Him. This is awesome! Thank you, Father. Have a great day.”
Blinded by sin
He stopped me: “Hold on — there’s a problem. You said she had fallen away from the Church. Do you know if she received the Sacraments?”
“I don’t know,” I replied.
“The problem,” he said, “is your grandmother, for whatever reason, may have turned her back on God. If this is the case, she may not recognize Jesus when He comes.”
“Oh, man,” I said. “I thought all was good, but now I am worried that she could be lost because she might not recognize Jesus, and therefore be unable to say ‘yes’ to Him!”
“You didn’t let me finish,” he said. “She may not recognize Him without your prayers. But with your prayers, she will be given more grace through intercessory prayer allowed by the mercy of God. That is why Mary said at Fatima that there are many souls lost to hell … because there is nobody to pray for them! Your prayers are like a squadron of dive bombers coming in from 2003, to aid in the war being fought for her soul back in 1993. They are coming in on the hands of Mary, back to your grandmother during her personal judgment (again, because God is outside of time). The graces from these Chaplets you pray for her may be enough grace for her to turn around and say ‘yes’ to God when otherwise she wouldn’t be able to.”
The priest went on, “What happens when we sin and turn our backs on God? We put a veil between God and ourselves, blurring our vision of Him. But your prayers can help to lift that veil so that your grandmother may see God more clearly, and she has a much better chance of recognizing God for who He is. But remember, she has to say “yes” — you cannot say “yes” for her. But you can certainly help. This is the whole point of intercessory prayer.”
My confessor continued, “Your grandmother is like a wounded soldier who cannot help herself as she lies on the battlefield, in danger of death. Your prayers come in like a fellow soldier, putting her on your shoulders, and taking her to safety. Now, she still has to cooperate and let you assist her, and she needs to have the will to live. That choice is hers. But your prayers, Chris, can offer her the help at the moment of her judgment to determine if she survives or not — meaning salvation.”
I said, “Father, this is absolutely amazing.”
Hope for those who’ve committed suicide
I said, “I heard that the Church says that those who commit suicide are condemned to hell and lost forever.” He said, “The Church doesn’t teach that.” What does the Church say about suicide? The Catechism tells us:
Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives (2282- 2283; emphasis added).
“So, there is hope!” the priest said. “The Church says that we entrust these people to the mercy of God. So, your prayers even now, 10 years later, can make a difference. And the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is one of the most powerful prayers you can offer for someone in dire need of God’s mercy.”
We then talked about a relative who had died after 20 years in which we all prayed for a conversion — and this person never converted, never came back to the Church. I told the priest that my dad said, “Well, there’s 20 years of prayer wasted.”
Is that true? No! Again, he referenced St. Faustina’s Diary, and this added the final straw to the proverbial camel’s back that was my former life. I was now changed forever.
Saint Faustina wrote:
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. [This is what it looked like for my grandmother.] But it is not so. The soul illuminated 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! … Although a person 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 (Diary, 1698).
Share God’s Mercy
I broke down in disbelief. I said, “Father, we have a God so merciful, so loving, so generous, that He will allow my grandma this chance for salvation? And He will allow me to still help her even though I missed my chance so many years ago?”
He said, “Yes, this is the power of the Chaplet, even for those who have taken their own life or who have died years ago.”
He made it clear that a soul cannot be removed from hell — this is Church teaching. What he was saying, however, is that as part of the Mystical Body of Christ, we can aid in each other’s salvation through our prayers. As Jesus told St. Faustina, “Help Me, My daughter, to save souls. Join your sufferings to My Passion and offer them to the heavenly Father for sinners” (Diary, 1032).
I said, “Father, I need to spend the rest of my life spreading this message of God’s Divine Mercy.”
Now, this message is the foundation of my priesthood.
So, if you have ever known someone who appeared to be a lost soul, especially those who committed suicide, don’t give up! There is hope! You can help, and this is all possible because we are members of the Body of Christ.
Pray for the dead!
Therefore, I ask you all to pray for your loved ones who have died, even if they’ve died 10, 20, or 50 years ago. We should never conclude that a soul is definitely lost. As Jesus said to St. Faustina, “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).
Jesus, I trust in You!
Recognizing that God, the Father created man on Friday the 6th day I propose in this blog to have an entry that shares on how to recreate and renew yourself in strength, mind, soul and heart.
Sleep is an important element of life and along with it is the rest or recreation. One must regenerate not only the body but the mind and soul as well.
25 Ways to Re-Create
1. Saltwater Fishing-As the title indicates, saltwater fishing takes place out at sea giving fishermen the opportunity to catch large and exotic fishes such as the Marlin. The big drawback to this activity is that you have to have access to a boat (either own, know someone who does, or rent), and own special fishing gear that can handle large catches.
2. Bird Watching- With about 10,000 species of birds and only a handful of people who can claim having seen over 7000 of them, bird watching is become a popular recreation activity. It’s believed that bird watching is an expression of the male hunting instinct while others links it with the male tendency for “systemizing”. Either way, bird watching is a great, safe way to enjoy nature.
3. Skiing- Also known as downhill skiing, Alpine skiing began as a club sport in 1861 at Kiandra in Australia. Today, most alpine skiing occurs at ski resorts with ski lifts that transport skiers up the mountain.
4. Snowboarding-An American born sport that is getting worldwide attention, snowboarding was developed in the 1960’s and became part of the Olympics in 1998. Like any other extreme sport, snowboarding does present risks of injury (especially for new participants), in fact, you are twice as likely to get injured while snowboarding than Alpine skiing.
5. Overnight Backpacking- Not to be confused with backpacking for traveling purposes, overnight backpacking describes a multi-day hike that involves camping. Aside from the health benefits, backpacking allows adventurers to enjoy remote places that are usually un-accessible by any other means.
6. Snowshoeing-Snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors during winter months while maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. In fact, as of 2006, at least 500 American schools have started offering snowshoe programs in their physical education curriculum to help combat obesity.
7. Skateboarding-Skateboarding appeals to people all over the world. In a 2002 report, it was found that there were 18.5 million skateboarders in the world. 85 percent of those who had used a board in the last year of the poll were under the age of 18.
8. Trail running-An increasingly popular sport, trail runners have increased from 4.5 million to more than 6 million in the United States alone between 2006 and 2012.
9. Snorkeling-If you want to check out an underwater world without the mess of complicated equipment and tanks, snorkeling is for you. Not only is it simpler than scuba diving, but cheaper as well since you are not required to have a license and or permit to dive.
10. Bowhunting- Unlike hunting with a rifle, Bowhunting places the hunter in closer proximity to its prey and is more physical (in that you burn more calories by using a bow rather than firing a gun). This activity entices many new participants; however, it is a controversial sport due to the fact that animals tend to die slowly when struck by an arrow.
11. Cross-Country Skiing-Considered to be one of the most grueling endurance sports out there, cross country skiing promises to test your fitness. If you are looking for a sport that burns the most calories per hour, this is it.
12. Wake Boarding-No waves? No problem. Wake boarding makes up for the lack of waves with a boat by dragging you along. This activity is relatively safe, popular, and will definitely keep you fit if done consistently.
13. Fly Fishing-A perfect activity for enjoying the outdoors, fly fishing requires some technical skill (mainly casting techniques) but these are relatively easy to learn.
14. Sailing-Probably one the most romantic outdoor activity on this list, sailing captivates the imagination and offers participants a chance for a relaxing trip on the seas. The only downfall to this activity is the price of a sailboat.
15. BMX Biking-BMX bicycling is an impressive sport to watch, which is probably why so many people attempt to get into it. If you are thinking of doing the same, be warned, you can’t fear getting hurt as falls, scrapes, and fails are common.
16. Surfing-A challenging sport, surfing definitely requires some skill development. Nevertheless, many people attempt this dynamic sport.
17. Scuba Diving-With the opportunity to experience a rare and stunning encounter with a world outside the norm, it’s not surprising why so many people try out scuba diving. Just be careful as scuba diving can get a bit expensive and certification is required for solo divers.
18. Climbing-The danger factor should be obvious with this one. Nevertheless, climbing appeals to many first-time participants and many more find it to be a great outdoor activity. If you’re thinking about giving this a try, I suggest starting out in an indoor climbing facility.
19. White Water Rafting-With six grades of intensity, white water rafting appeals to veterans and novices alike. With that said, if you want to try rafting for the first time, be sure to stick to the lower grades since white water rafting can be dangerous.
20. Sea Kayaking-Kayaking in the sea will allow you to enjoy an active lifestyle while gliding through open waters. It’s a relatively easy sport to get into and for the most part safe (unlike the next item on our list).
21. White Water Kayaking-A surprisingly popular activity for first time practitioners, white water kayaking is a pretty intense sport. If you’re not careful, you can end up seriously hurt, or worse…dead. Nevertheless, 35% of first-time participants indicate that this is their sport of choice.
22. Adventure Racing-You just never know what you will get with adventure racing. As the name suggest, the ‘adventure’ can consist of swimming, running, climbing, kayaking, etc. There usually is no time limit and some races can even last days.
23. Triathlon Consisting of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines (running, bicycling, and swimming), a triathlon does not require a particular high level of skills per se. However, the training for such an event can be grueling.
24. Windsurfing-An engaging combination of sailing and surfing, windsurfing takes the #2 spot on our list. If you’re itching to try this sport, know that it does take some patience and perseverance to become proficient. You must develop your balance and core stability; acquire a basic understanding of sailing theory; and learn a few techniques.
up paddling (SUP) is the #1 activity for new time users. Similar to surfing in
that you stand on a board. In SUP, waves are not required, and you can enjoy a
tranquil stroll while enjoying a total body workout.
35 Promises of God cont.
“If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”-Rom 10:9