A friend committed suicide this morning. I don’t know what demons were chasing him, only the ones that pursue me.
But, two words: Don’t. Ever.
“The door to the confessional is our door of hope”—Fr. Jay Scott Newman. Forgiveness and healing are offered to all. Even if our failures seem overwhelming, Christ waits for us at the confessional door. Look to the richness of God’s mercy in Christ.
The new English liturgy says, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,¹ but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” This morning I thought, “That is folly, Lord, that you would enter under my roof given my faults, repeated failings, and mixed motives.”
But no! Remember Jesus was asked how He could eat with tax collectors and sinners? Our Lord responded, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice'” (Matthew 9:12-13). God runs toward us with super-abundant, overwhelming love (Luke 15:20). The story of the prodigal son who fell into sin is actually a story of prodigal love—God’s prodigal love for us, without limits (1 John 4:10).
Are you troubled? Are you ashamed? Do you feel like you are alone in the darkness? Have you thought of taking your life? Don’t. The very fact you are troubled is confirmation that mercy is available. “The judgment of conscience remains a pledge of hope and mercy.”² Read the Old Testament prophet Hosea. Even in the valley of Achor (trouble),³ God opens a door of hope.
How I wish my friend had just re-read Matthew 9, once more, to see Christ healing longstanding problems: the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage, the two blind men, and the mute man. What are your problems and mine? Debt? Professional failure? Grave sin? None are beyond our Lord’s mercy. Christ even brought the official’s dead daughter back to life! God delights to heal and restore. (Amos 9:11) What was the only question Jesus asked the man who had been ill for 38 years? “Do you want to be well?” (John 5:6)
Christ waits for you, and for me, in the person of His priest in the confessional. “The door to the confessional is our door of hope.” Meanwhile, I can only pray for my friend . . . “May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”
² Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1781.
³ Hosea 2:17 (in protestant translations, 2:15).