Welcome Sister Death …

Welcome Sister Death !

There is a particular friend I have, with whom I tend enjoy having coffee and on occastion we talk on theological subjects that pertain to what ever is going on in our world and by and large, we cover a multitude of subjects.  Since he is not Catholic, but had loving grandparents who were, he has lots of memories of things Catholic that he does not understand the reasons for.

It is sad that there are a number of people who have memories of the Church that are either incomplete or because of some human failing on the part of a few people, they do not have an understanding of the Church and its teachings.

This brings me this morning to the subject of death.

A number of years ago, there was a physician who began helping people to voluntarily end their lives.   It came to be that there was a small spike in the number of self inflicted deaths..  Slowly that went away… and now it is back again.

It is important for us to look at a few facets of this practice and why it is so inherently bad.

First, and foremost this issue of voluntarily taking ones own life, is a Pro-Life issue !!

Pro-Life is NOT just about infant abortions and the evils of that particular practice although that too is an inherently evil act, but for different reasons, and some reasons that they share in common with voluntary suicide.
Lets look at this from the angle of a conversation that I was recently witness to.   A friend of mine was talking to me about his elderly grandparent who had lost a part of their mental faculties.  At the moment that he spoke about that, another person walked up and said, ” If I ever get to that point, just take me out to the shed, and put a bullet in my head”.

Just about a month prior, the friend who had been talking, was telling me he wanted to go home and see Jesus.  He was tired of dealing with the world and all its problems and his challenges. This friend has physical challeneges and because of those, life can be challenging.

So, what is it that can be understood about these situations ?  How do they relate to us, our world, and our relationship with God ?
No part of life is easy.   At every stage of life our perception of how our life is going, could be considered challenging for one reason or another.  It has work, school, life, relationships, pressures, and a challenge we have of how to understand those challenges and the drive we have to get ahead of them, and be successful.
Everyone tires of these challenges.  Even more so for people of faith !  Not only do we have those challenges that the secular world puts in front of us, but we  are challenged by our own faith and consciences and the lens through which we view all the other challenges in our lives, and even more so the human frailty and failings that come to our attention because of the faith life we try to live.
In the course of our lives we are sometimes gifted with wisdom and understanding AFTER we have gone through the challenges we face.  We also understand that at some points, we may not be able to understand until we get to Heaven and can ask God those questions.  It is not for us to know.
Now lets take a moment to look at why it is that Suicide or assisted suicide is so inherently evil and selfish.

Lets return to our friends who are having the conversation about memory loss.  In both of the scenarios being discussed, the person who is the subject of the discussion is someone who needs care.    The second person says ” I know.. but I don”t want to be a burden to anyone else…”    This is a common sentiment.   Particularly as one ages, they do not want to be a burden to others.  They don’t want to have to have people to wait on them, or hold them back etc.

Here is the problem with this way of thinking.  Everyone who is ABLE to do things for themselves should, and should be allowed to do what ever it is that they are able to do, or assisted in doing, for their own psycho-social well being.

Doing ones own work, that they are able to do is a blessing from God and should not only be shouldered, but should be allowed to those who are able.

God, who has already numbered our days, and who gave us life is the only one who we should count on to say when our days are done.
Life is a gift.

The Church teaches us this :” Human life is sacred  because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end.  God alone, is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.”   ( CCC 2258 )

” The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. ” (CCC 2268)

The taking of life, is a sinful act and not only is it a sinful act, but is a mortal sin.

Let us return to our friends.

The act of taking ones life we know is sinful, because of the fact that we violate the 5th commandment.  But there is more to it than that.

While we walk this earth, God has a specific plan of us.  There is work that he has planned for us to do.

When the Lord began his passion, he did not get to the Last Supper and say.. “You know .. this looks like its too much , and I will be a pain to all these people and look what they are going to have to go through.  I just dont wanna go through all that.. so I think I will just stick some drugs in the chalice and be done with it.. I’m outta here.”…

No, He gave us the example of how we are to live our lives.  The Lord told us to pick up our crosses daily.    These crosses are for us, for our benefit, it is up to us to take up our crosses.

By taking our own life, we would not only be shrugging off our cross, refusing the gift we are given, but we are also robbing ourselves of the opportunity to learn, to see, to get closer to God.

By not taking up our cross we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity, to bear witness to God in our lives, and through our struggles.

We would rob those around us, to have the opportunity to receive the gift of our testimony.  Of our witness, and our example.

We would rob those who would have the opportunity to care for us, for them to receive the spiritual gifts of caring for us, loving us, loving God, and being able to share the witness of their own experiences that is part of the never ending witness of how it is that God works through the community of Faith !

Most of the evils that are present in the world today would be eliminated or inconsequential, if we looked at our lives and our world, through the eyes of faith and a well formed conscince.

As Mother Angelica once said, ” Christianity is not for wimps.  The cross is not optional, dear”..

May God give you the gift of His peace !


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