Lord Jesus,
suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane,
even You asked that the chalice
of Your horrible fate
be taken away from You.

Surely You felt terrible desertion, hopelessness and dark despair alone
in that dreadful hour, deserted
by Your disciples who had fallen asleep,
even after You implored them to keep watch with You in the dark of that frightening night.

You forgave Your disciples.
Please then have compassion
for those of your children who,
in spite of Your gifts and love and graces, find themselves at some point feeling
totally unable to cope, seeing no glint
of light or hope, despairing, strangled
in the fatal mid-night of self-rage.

We cannot ever judge or fully understand
the lonely desperation, the failure
of self-worth, the loss of trust in self
and friends, and most sadly,
lost of faith in You.

Feeling unable to continue, with no hope
or dream of any brighter, bolder, better tomorrow, unable to see any bright dawn,
they turn their grinding sadness
and their furious anger against themselves.

If only they could understand that Your love is unending, Your help inexhaustible, and Your Divine Promise is of another eternal sunrise and unending happiness.

Please accept my prayers all-forgiving God,
on behalf of my Great-Uncle
Chester Alvin Morton, Merchant Mariner,
who probably took his own life.


All of your people, dear Jesus, feel down and depressed
at some times.
But many of us cannot fathom
the total black despair to which
some of your children fall victim.

I never met my Great-Uncle Chester: his name was never ever mentioned.
But he stares out handsome
if uncertain
from this photograph taken when he served in the Merchant Marine.

He appears to wear
a ring on his left hand, but I never heard that he left
a widow behind.

I wish that someone, some friend,
some officer, some chance acquaintance
had been beside him on that fatal day
to hear his grief and offer loving counsel and hope and courage to face another morn.

I wish that Chester had known
of Your loving, forgiving mercy.
I wish that I could have been with him
before the black moment in which he found
his existence totally unbearable.

I wish I could reach back across the years
and take the instrument of death
from Chester's shaking hand...
(I don't even know what instrument it was.)

God, please save his soul.

Sadly, my Jesus, I do not pray for Chester alone.

I pray for my high school friends,
solid, soft-spoken Bob Martin in his furry blue sweater, and laughing, teasing, radiantly wonderful Rosie Kroll
with a flower in her hair, working with me
at Ettenson's Department Store:
our first "real" job.

That was more than 60 years ago, but they are not forgotten. I see them in vivid Technicolor in front of me this moment
warm and smiling - but they took their lives
before their adult lives had hardly even begun.

I pray too, Jesus, for my other friends,
for lovely Mary Ann Fuqua who always wanted more, for quiet, noble, stoic, loner
foot-player Bob Haas,
for Gary LeBlanc who accidentally took another's life
and then intentionally took his own,
for Ed LaPanne who faced a fatal illness
and jumped from a bridge,
for John Paradine who could make an audience roar with laughter, but who could not find happiness and hope in his own dark heart.

Please, dear God, see the goodness
and the sweetness and the promise which I saw in all of these people, my friends, but which eventually they could no longer see
within themselves.

Oh, that I could have been there
in that fatal moment and somehow stayed
their hand and convinced them
of Your infinite goodness and Your
certain promise of forgiveness...
if we only ask.

Suicides are the banished, the forgotten,
their names erased, their fate not discussed,
and their embarrassing memories shrouded
in silence and shame.

I pray for them all, Dear Lord.
They live in my heart.
Please understand
that they could not understand.
Their depression seemed so black
and their midnight despair so deep
that they thought no one could comprehend
or abate their grief,
or could come to their aid -- although that was surely not so.

Please forgive them now, Merciful Jesus,
and take them back into Your infinite embrace.

And dear God please send a flash of brilliant insight and encouragement to anyone this day whose depression and problems seem so great they they could consider "ending it all."

Please let them find a saving vision
of tomorrow. Renew in them the gift of hope.

Take them past their Agony in the Garden
to their trust in the Easter Resurrection.
Please give them a momentary hint of heaven
and let them realize that someone loves them
and desperately needs their help this day.

Remind them that You are an All-Loving God
Who will, if they can only believe and ask,
get them through their depression, hopelessness and despair
to a brighter resurrection Day ahead,
and to a promise of eternal happiness.

I pray You loving Jesus, give us all the virtue of Hope.




National Suicide Hotlines USA
United States of America
Toll-Free / 24 hours a day / 7 days a week

1-800-SUICIDE 1-800-273-TALK
1-800-784-2433 1-800-273-8255

1-800-799-4TTY (4889)
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