Marian priest Fr. Chris Alar, MIC shares the story behind his new book, “After Suicide: There’s Still Hope for Them and You.”
In 1993, Chris’ grandmother died by suicide. The family’s heartbreak was amplified by what they perceived to be the Church’s teaching on suicide. “I had always learned that if you take your own life, it’s damnation,” he says. “And for years our family never talked about it because no one wanted to have the burden of discussing our grandmother who we believed was in hell.” Fr. Chris explains that it wasn’t until he started practicing his faith years later that he learned that this was not the teaching of the Church.
“The Catechism tells us not to despair of the eternal salvation of one who has taken their own life. It also says that in ways known to God alone, he can offer the opportunity for solitary repentance. How can God offer an opportunity to repent? … The words of St. Faustina enlightened me. She was told by Jesus that he comes to the soul three times at the moment of death and give them the opportunity to accept mercy.”
Fr. Chris explains that years after his grandmother’s death, a priest told him he can still pray for her, “I said ‘Father, how? She’s already been judged.’ And he told me that God is outside of time. There’s no past. There’s no future. Everything is present eternally at one moment to God. … God will take my prayer into account for my grandmother at the moment of her death years ago.”
Fr. Chris wrote his book to encourage those who have lost loved ones to suicide not to give up hope, and to pray for those who have died. It’s impossible to make sense of such a tragedy, but Fr. Chris hopes he can help others navigate the same grief he felt, and find hope after the loss of a loved one. (Original Air 10-31-19)
If you or a loved one is ever experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Line +1(800)273-8255. And consult these resources if you are concerned for yourself or another.