Youth pastoral care, Benedicite 3/2003
Compared to other countries, Switzerland has one of the highest suicide rates. It is very sad when an average of 110 young people between the ages of 15 and 20 voluntarily leave their lives each year! But the number of suicide attempts is many times higher!
Is suicide the easiest solution to getting rid of problems? Is it the shortest way to freedom?
In the endangered person the following thoughts germinate (examples):
- that he can no longer be a burden to others,
- that he cannot gain anything positive and joyful from his life,
- that he has become lonely and superfluous,
- that he has taken on a debt that can never be repaid and wants to punish himself by committing suicide,
- that a life with great pain and incurable illness has no meaning anymore,
- that it is a public disgrace to live with financial and professional difficulties.
The knowing, strong believer knows:
- that even in need and pain he can carry the burden of his fellow men,
- that his patient endurance of suffering and need brings him closer to God because it gives him the opportunity to reconcile with God and his fellow men,
- that he is never lonely and abandoned in the presence of his guardian angels,
- that in holy confession he has the opportunity to get rid of his great guilt,
- that there is a loving God who is willing to forgive the sins he has repented,
- that suicide is a grave sin because it cannot be repented in this life,
- that he can atone for his debts and sins in the pain imposed on him,
- that as a child of God he never has to be ashamed of professional and financial problems,
- that he can receive solutions for all problems by believing in the helping power of the Holy Spirit.
Many suicides come from broken, faithless families:
- were already unloved in the womb,
- often had to make the worst experiences as a child,
- were often sexually abused,
- experienced violence and lack of love,
- could not build up real trust in any human being.
The degree of hopelessness and lack of faith decide whether and when the person tired of life comes to the decision of suicide or is driven to it.
Reasons that rob him of his hope:
- lack of faith in the providence of God,
- danger of war, fear of terrorist acts,
- situation on the labour market, redundancies and company bankruptcies,
- increasing coldness in interpersonal relationships.
The hope for a better future has dwindled in weak souls and the number of those who want to end their own lives is growing. It is a sad fact that every third day in Switzerland a young person takes his own life.
Our economic situation is still good, compared to the situation in other countries. We are not yet directly affected by war and terror. Our food and water supplies are still sufficient, the fields are cultivable and the air quality is better than elsewhere. So what drives people to suicide
Apart from the reasons mentioned above, it is the lost old values of faith, hope, love and virtue, good relations with the parental home, security in a good state that does what is good, a state which ensures law and order in foresight and trust in God.
Then there are the lost songs of the mothers at the cribs, the forgotten, soul-creating folk songs of the teachers in the classrooms and the abolished consoling chorales and Marian songs of the priests in the churches.
There is also the lack of merciful embraces of parents, the lack of good cheer, the forgotten prayers of families at the lunch table, the neglected morning and evening prayers, the good conversations suppressed by TV and the internet, the out-of-fashion reading of exciting and emotion-building stories and finally the neglected good and uplifting music that gave light, strength and love to the young people for generations.
Many young people became mentally ill in the spirit of the times and have lost all hope for a good future because they have not found anyone to give them true care and love.
In their desperation they took drugs in the false hope of a better world. They fled to another world out of despair at this world. They hoped to forget what moved them and awoke from their intoxication into an even colder and more brutal world and their desire to commit suicide matured so that they never again had to awake in this bleak reality.
But the place they found did not make them forget the terrible. They awoke again in a darkness. But this time they tried in vain to kill her body, they searched in vain for poison and smoke.
Their desperation made them call for help for a long time in spheres of tribulation and darkness, until finally angels took care of them, empowered by many prayers, lovingly enlightened them about guilt and atonement, and reduced their guilt because of the humiliations and crimes inflicted on them on earth, in order to lead them higher step by step.
But the guilt that was forgiven them out of divine mercy will have to be paid off by their debtors on earth on the day of judgment.
Testimonies of those in danger
The following desperate statements are to be taken seriously in any case. They are to be listened to in great calm and lovingly and not disregarded. In an open, reproach-free conversation, solutions should be worked out after a common prayer.
«I do not know anymore how to handle this»
«nobody understands me anyway»
«now I'm gonna quit»
«I do not want to live anymore»
«I throw myself out the window»
Signs of imminent suicide:
- they often draw crosses, gravestones, coffins or cemeteries.
- In school, young people at risk of suicide are conspicuous by excessive rebelliousness and aggressiveness or by great passivity and sadness.
- many of them are addicted to food or are anorexic.
- they often break relationships with parents.
- they suffer from behavioural and sleeping disorders.
What to do in this case?
- listen, pray, bless.
- show compassion.
- seek concrete steps.
- respond to the problems and not sweep them under the carpet.
- never laugh at them.
The person tired of life wants to change the circumstances of life that are destructive for him. Because he does not succeed, he instead treats himself destructively by taking his own life.
To sum up:
We know and believe that suicide can never be the solution. A suicidal person must realize in great horror that he cannot escape his problems, his hardships and his despair. In long purifications he must realize with pain that he has seriously thwarted God's plan for him.
His soul, given to him by God, will not rest until it has atoned for the great guilt. In the grace of God, it will be allowed to enter the heavenly school of Mary or to start a new incarnation in order to completely erase the debt.
All fellow men of a suicide must atone for their transgressions according to their partial guilt.