“From the Deacon’s Desk” – Top Posts of 2014 – #2

Thank you for following my blog this past year. I find writing the daily blog both enjoyable and challenging. I hope you have enjoyed reading it and sharing it with your family and friends.

During this week between Christmas and New Years Day, I will be re-publishing the most-read posts of the year. New posts will begin January 1, 2015.

God bless you!

Unfortunately, the top 2 posts in 2014 were written in response to several tragic teen suicides in the Indianapolis area. The #1 and #2 posts of the year received a combined total of 18,000+ views in 41 countries. This certainly speaks to the fact that such tragedy sends people looking for the right words to use, or seeking answers.

Here is the #2 post on From the Deacon’s Desk in 2014, originally published on September 13, 2014. It was titled, Another Teen Suicide: Where is God in This?:

September 13, 2014

Unfortunately, there was yet another teen suicide at one of our sister Catholic schools. With word of the death circulating through Bishop Chatard, and knowing how fragile all of our kids are right now, we brought them together to pray. We released them to the gym so we could pray the Rosary together as a school.

After acknowledging the death (for those who had not heard), I offered a prayer for the repose of the young man’s soul, comfort for the family and our neighboring school community, and peace for all of those among us who are grieving or are suffering from depression and hopelessness. We offered our prayers and our love.

Before praying the Rosary, I shared a few thoughts, summarized below:

Over the last few weeks, as we mourned the death of students at Brebeuf and Cathedral, I have been asked many questions. The two questions I’ve heard the most are, “Where is God in this…in our human suffering?” and “What can we do?”

So, where is God in this? First, know that God cries right along with us when a young person takes his own life. He grieves and mourns with us. A young person taking his own life is not part of His plan, and so He mourns.

Where is God in this? He is wherever we need him to be. If you need to be angry at Him – He is there…let Him have it. If you need comfort, He will wrap His loving arms around you. If you just need to talk, no one is a better listener. If you simply need to sit in silence and reflect, know that He is sitting right beside you.

Where is He right now? Right here. When we gather together like this, we are the Body of Christ. We are Him.

The second question is a tribute to what great kids you are, as I am constantly being asked, “What can we do?”

Well, first and foremost, you can do this – pray. Pray as individuals and collectively. Pray that all young people may hear the words you have heard so often recently…the words that are now posted in every classroom and office: “You are loved. You have value. You are not alone.” Pray, pray, pray.

Next, you can be the light of Christ to others. Young people struggling with depression and loneliness often have difficulty feeling God’s presence. Be that presence. People often hide their depression well, which means we need to be the light of Christ to everyone we meet. You will never know the impact you might have.

Finally, you can get involved. You can actively try to make a difference. There is a group of students who have been working on some ideas over the past week – ways to support, educate, and affirm. You can help.

As for what we can do right now, we can come together as a community to pray.

We then prayed the rosary together, and ended with this prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Walk with me today.

When I am on the right path, affirm me.

When I come to a fork in the road, guide me.

When I fall, help me up.

And when I am so tired I can’t take another step, please carry me until I am once again strong enough to continue the journey.

Amen

Please pray for young people everywhere – for those suffering themselves as well as those grieving the loss of a friend and classmate.

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