January 29, 2023

Happy Resurrection Day! There is always hope in the risen Jesus.
The Lenten themes revolve on fasting and abstinence, prayer, and alms giving and not to miss, the penitential motif and above all the mercy of God. Suddenly, we rejoice because we anticipate the resurrection of Jesus during Lenten season.
Suicide is never a solution to problems. It happens in unhealthy silence, in unhealthy quarantine, and in a split of a second. It is an act of a disturbed soul.
Tests, trials, and temptations are aspects of life. We must face them well to transform our lives. But we must face them with Jesus to overcome them.
Let’s face our mission and our fears. But we face them with Jesus who was transfigured to foretell his impending death that will end to his resurrection. This is actually the good reason why the fourth Lenten Sunday is called Laetare. It literally means “rejoice.”
On March 24, I was informed a student in Sagada, Mountain Province and another one in Lagawe, Ifugao have died by suicide. We pray for their eternal rest.
We condole with the bereaved families but it does not mean that we shut our mouth on the issue. We must deal with it objectively so that people may know the gravity of the act and to help people discern well, to prevent themselves from the temptation of ending one’s life. Let us be frank and objective.
Suicide, objectively, is a grave sin. “Thou shall not kill.” We cannot just end our life due to problems.
Let us review once again the teachings of the church on suicide. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 2280 says, “Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.”
Suicide is an act of selfishness and cowardice. It is a grave transgression to charity.
According to CCC 2281, suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.
Suicide is a public scandal because it causes social turmoil. CCC 2282 provides that if suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary cooperation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.
CCC 2283 says, “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 lives.”
To those who are planning to end their life, make sure you are able to answer God when he asks you, “My child, what did you do to the life I gave you?”
I highly commend the selfless efforts of Ricky Ducas espousing “choose life.” He reaches out to the whole of the Cordillera, especially to the youth to understand their life and to coach them on mental health.
Just recently, another female Igorot with a heart to heal brokenness started to reach out to the depressed through her newly published books, “Daily Dose of Sunshine” and “Choose to Rise.”
It will be a good help when the sin aspect of suicide is integrated in talks and programs on mental health. The psychological and emotional aspects of suicide must be founded on the spiritual.
We must be encouraged and strengthened by Jesus to confront bravely the tests, pains, trials, challenges, and temptations of life. Anxiety and depression are real but the love of God is more real that can overcome all. Pains and sufferings will have a higher meaning when we face them with the Risen Jesus. Easter hope will always make sense especially in these trying times.
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