Is there salvation after suicide?

PURPLE SHADES - Letty Jacinto-Lopez (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2020 - 12:00am

There’s a pain so deep that gnaws at every fiber of one’s being.  In Tagalog, “Napakatinding dagok sa buhay.”

This is what suicide does.  While everyone struggles to move on taking one day at a time, no one has been quite successful in reviving the hope, healing the hurt, or removing any trace of fear. Why? The uncertainty remains because of unanswered questions, the unconvincing replies and the absence of closure.

Fr. Chris M. Alar, director of the Association of Marian Helpers/Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception (MIC) based in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and a regular host and guest at EWTN, was recently in Manila to give a talk on suffering and suicide.

Fr. Chris shared his close encounter with suicide.  His grandmother took her own life with a single bullet to her head.  The guilt stayed with him.  Many years passed and in one confession, he brought back the past and shared it with his confessor.  His confessor immediately told him to pray the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy and save his grandmother’s soul. “The Chaplet is an incredibly powerful prayer.”

If I had ears like Dumbo, I would have clipped them behind to keep them from flapping. What he shared got me excited because I have friends and relatives who have had to face wretched times because of experiencing the same tragedy.

But how could this be possible? These deaths by suicide happened in the past. Were we not taught that suicide is a mortal sin and once a soul departs, that soul is lost in hell? What’s the point of praying for this soul now?

Fr. Chris’ confessor explained:  God is outside of time. He is not contained in any time dimension, be it in the past, present or future.  He is one, big, eternal, present — from the beginning of time to the end of time.  He sees it all instantaneously without compromising our free will.

Whoa! I sat on the edge of my seat and tried to process what Fr. Chris was sharing.  Indeed, we forget that God isn’t like us nor does He think like us.  While our concept of time is pigeonholed to the past, the present, and the future, God is above and beyond all of that.

God being omniscient (all-knowing, all-seeing) and omnipresent (present everywhere, at the same time), He can work in any time dimension. And here’s the clincher:

“Since God is so merciful and so loving, He will allow your prayers now to be carried back in Mary’s hands and showered over these miserable souls at the exact moment of their personal judgment — even if that moment was in the past.”

For example, when a friend committed suicide in 2010, I can pray now in 2020, and God with Mama Mary, will take my prayers back to 2010 at the time of his personal judgment. The graces from praying the Chaplet may be enough grace for my friend to turn around and say “yes” to God.  It doesn’t matter that a full decade has already gone by.

Fr. Chris’ confessor expounded that sin can make us turn our backs on God. It is like a veil that blurs our vision of God.  Similarly, a lost soul can’t recognize Jesus’ voice anymore.  This is where the power of intercessory prayers comes in. We can intercede for this soul. Our prayers can help lift that veil so that this soul has a much better chance of recognizing God. This is the grace that will be given to him/her as allowed by the mercy of God.

But, what about the matter of our free will? My friend must acknowledge his sins and make that decision to ask for mercy and forgiveness.

Fr. Chris said, “Suicide is a consequence of grave psychological disturbances, anguish or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture.  It can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.”

He was not anymore his normal self when he took his life.  

By ways known to God alone, He can provide the opportunity for timely, valuable repentance. St. 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. The soul shows no sign either of repentance or of contrition because souls at that stage no longer react to external things. 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.”

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.  At that split second that it takes for a bullet to penetrate the skull and explode inside the brain, God can still work miracles!

We have a God so merciful, so loving and so generous, that He will allow this chance for salvation.  He will allow us to help our beloved dead to find eternal peace.  This is the power of the chaplet, even for those who have taken their own life and have died years ago.

Those with heavy burden should not bear their crosses alone.  We are part of the mystical body of Christ, we can aid in each other’s salvation through our prayers.

As Jesus said to St. Faustina, “There are moments and there are mysteries of the divine mercy over which the heavens are astounded.” 

Excited chuckles and murmurs ended the talk of Fr. Chris.  My mind was racing and was eager to share this incredible news.

Let us stop judging souls for God’s mercy upon them is extraordinary. The salvation of thousands of lost souls depends on our prayers. Even past the moment of death.

Remember when we’ve been told that God draws the greater good from any tragedy? What greater good can come out of suicide?  We can save these souls and finally, find the solace and closure we seek.

 Let’s continue to pray, “Jesus, I trust in you” and mean it.

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