Another small project affirming life is underway. I hope it grows into a big one.
The title of this post quotes Paul’s reassuring words to his suicidal jailer, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Those are the words that helped inspire earlier this year the formation of LAST, the Lifeline Against Suicide Team. It’s not a crisis line; those already exist. Instead, LAST is about daily prayer devoted to particular intentions: preventing suicide, praying for those already lost to suicide, and praying for the surviving families and friends left to cope with grief.
A spiritual work of mercy, in other words. The world could use more of that.
This sounds a very personal chord inside me. I lost my sister to suicide sixteen years ago. The anguish she unwittingly left behind is still with me, to say nothing of what my parents endured. To this day, it hurts to contemplate the pain she must have been in as she took her life thinking no one could help her.
LAST is a ministry of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love, known for caring for troubled children at the St. Charles Home in Rochester, New Hampshire. In the introductory blog post about LAST, the sisters have written
LAST is for all people not just for Catholics. Please unite with people all over the world who are praying for these people who are suffering so grievously. Your prayers will help to open the door to God’s overflowing love and mercy!
So how about it? Calling for mercy and consolation in union with people from all over the world is surely a life-affirming act. Check out the blog at http://lastacts1628.blogspot.com/. If you’d like to join the effort, send an email to Sister Mary Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One more thing I want to add – again, very personal: suicide carries a stigma, even these days. I remember my mother’s distress at the prospect of the word “suicide” being used on my sister’s death certificate. (Mom fought that, and by ways known only to her she prevailed, at least on the document I saw.) There was a time when some thought the jaws of Hell stood open to receive the souls of those who had taken their own lives. Enough already. “God’s overflowing love and mercy,” as the Sisters say, is surely the best way to counter such a despairing belief. Show that love and mercy to the survivors, too. Believe me, it helps.