Heaven for suicides
Fr Andrzej Przybylski
My son took his own life. This tragedy happened over a year ago, but I cannot still understand it. Why did God let this happen? Why did my child take such a decision? And the worst questions: What did I as mother do wrong that my son decided to take his own life? Why did he not trust me and why did he not share his problems with me? We do not even know the reasons why he took his life. He had a good home, he did quite well at school and as far as I know he did not experience any love tragedy. Father, do you know what it means for mother to learn that her son fell down from a high building to take his life? I go to his grave and think whether I have the right to believe that he is in heaven, whether I have the right to pray to God for eternal life for my son - a suicide? When I hear that at centuries past such people were buried away from other graves in the cemetery I feel even more horrified. Father, you cannot imagine how important it was to me that my son had a Catholic funeral regardless of his deed, a funeral with a priest and people who took the Holy Communion in the intention of his salvation. Please comfort me and give me hope that my son can be in heaven.
Dear Krystyna, I thank you very much for your letter and I pray zealously to God to heal all the hurts in your heart. I understand that you need a lot of time because your hurt is big but all things are possible with God. Your letter made me speak to students about this problem. Within the framework of our 'evenings for those who doubt' we were talking about the question of salvation for suicides. This is a real problem in our environment, too. As a student chaplain I celebrated Masses in some student houses of residence in Czestochowa. These were Memorial Masses for the students who committed suicide. This is a great mystery. Those people were admitted to university, were mature enough and they were intelligent and well organised and yet something happened, something was burnt out in their lives, they did not hold on and committed this terrible act. Certainly, we all ask thousands of questions when facing such events. The questions begin with the word 'why'. But we cannot stop here. One must live on believing that all things have some purpose! Once a mother of a dying drug addict told me that the turning point in her situation was the fact what she stopped asking 'why', and began thinking 'for whom'. Surely, these questions are difficult but if there is faith behind them, faith that someone needed this, you begin to free yourself from your feeling of guilt and use your experience to help others. The above-mentioned mother of the drug addict, who passed away, is helping other young people so that they do not become addicts; she accompanies parents who experience the drama of addiction at home. After these hard experiences one should live for others and share his painful experiences in spite of inner rebellion.
As far as suicides' salvation is concerned it is certain that only God knows their lot after death and we do believe that they are immersed in God's Mercy, too. Surely, our uncertainty and fear for their salvation make us feel the need to pray and that's why it is important to pray for suicides asking God for a gift of heaven for them. We can pray for this since the Church never pronounces anyone 'in hell' because the Church knows that this is a mystery between God and a concrete man. I am also glad that that the time when suicides were buried in the non-sanctified part of cemetery is over. Today we know that everybody who commits a suicide must be in such a mental condition that it is difficult to suspect that his/her deeds are fully conscious and voluntary. A painful disease of human psyche and soul deprives suicides of clear examination of the situation and distance from their problems. Therefore, if such a tragedy actually took place I did not have any serious doubts to participate in a funeral of some young suicide and I felt even more obliged to pray for eternal life for him. May your son and all those who took their own lives rest in peace.