Prayer of St. Francis (10)
Jan 05, 2016
Prayer of St. Francis (10)
Where there is despair, hope (2)
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’….”
Alfred Lord Tennyson
We continue to look at the line “Where there is despair, hope” from the Prayer of St. Francis.
Suicide! One of the devastating events of life we can experience among friends or acquaintances. A young friend of ours committed suicide many years ago. He rode the bus with our children, spent time at our house, was a gifted student, but in his early 20s lost his mental footing and eventually killed himself. I had spoken to him at church just the day before, and I always wonder if there was anything more I could have said. I know that it was entirely in his hands; but I still wonder…
Yes, suicide affects all of us long after the event. Suicide is one of the most common deaths among the young, and returning solders from conflicts have a high suicide rate. Over 19,000 will commit suicide using guns this year, as guns are so readily available and are so final in their use.
Suicide is the final desperate move in despair, having lost hope. Our task is to bring the Face of God to the situation if we are led to that arena, but most often we have no idea of the depths of despair the person is in. That is why we need to bring that Face of God to all situations, sometimes it is someone who we do not even know who will hear something we say that will prevent a tragedy, and we will never know how we acted as the instrument of God in that situation, bringing hope where it had been lost.
Most serious suicide potential victims are quiet about their intention, letting few know how desperate they are inside themselves. Most of their friends are shocked afterwards, but upon reflection they recall seeing signs of withdraw and a distancing of the person from their friends and family shortly before the event.
Expression of despair is not welcome in our society. Usually when a person starts to talk about their problems, there is an uncomfortable silence, they are told, ‘there, there, things will brighten soon’ and the talk quickly turns to something we feel more comfortable in talking about.
That, my friends, is our cue. We are there for a reason, not just by accident. God is saying to us “listen: listen. Hear what they said. Bring them hope. Talk to them on a one to one basis. Listen to them. Let them express themselves, help them to talk it out. Follow up with them, again and again, until they seem free. That is your task today and tomorrow.” It does not take a degree in psychology to listen, and that is the chief tool we all can do. Express God’s Love for them, for you are the conduit that God is using at this moment. That is the hope they need: they need someone to listen to them, and tell them they are loved.
Listen; and express concern for them, and express Love to them so they can begin to find hope in life.
Then let it go, for you have done what God has asked of you. The rest is up to them.
“Hope is the feeling you have,
that the feeling you have,
Questions to Ponder
Have you ever experienced despair in your own life? How did you work out of it?
Could you be aware of a change in personality of another that could use some added hope? Would you promise God and yourself to add this vital attention to your daily interactions with others?
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”
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