This morning I was informed that a member of my family took their life. Times like this cause us to question God's presence in our lives. When tragic events such as this happen, people of faith run to God for strength, help and support. But then there are those who run away from Him, blaming Him. So, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on suicide and the Catholic Church.

First, we must start with the fact that we are created by a merciful God. The Church states that suicide, while against the commandment "Thou Shall Not Kill", is committed by a person who is not in control of their mental faculties. God does not condemn those who are ill and do not know what they are doing. Second, we must pray for the true victims of suicide, the family. Often, those left behind feel guilty because of something they did or did not do.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "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"(2283). Some might argue that the taking of life is a sin of grave matter, mortal sin. However, one must be mentally healthy to commit sin. It is an inborn part of our human nature to protect our lives. To go against that natural tendency, the mind has to be “unbalanced”, not able to reason, or so clouded by confusion and despair that the conclusion to the reasoning is faulty.

The Catholic Church offers and allows Christian burial to the victims of suicide. God alone can be the judge of an individual’s actions. We cannot stand as the judge of a person’s soul. We do not know their final thoughts, desires, regrets, or prayers.

Lord, you know his/her soul, you made them,
they are Yours.
Lord, in a moment of desperation blinded by despair
they departed from us.
Please, Lord by the merit of Your cross and resurrection,
humbly we ask for Your mercy.
Have mercy on their soul, and help their family and friends.
Heal them from this deep wound and sorrow.
Only You, the Healer,
can restore them and make them whole again.