Despair, Suicide, Hope and Life

After the collapse of the Nazi regime in the wake of World War II, there was a slew of suicides – not just amongst the uber-corrupt ‘elite’ who had organized the purges, the labour and death camps, the persecutions and anti-anything-that-was-true and good and beautiful. Hitler – according to what accounts we might piece together – shot his paramour Eva Braun, before putting a bullet through his own chin, on the last day of this month of April in 1945. Some say he was unsuccessful, shaking from fear, and someone else finished him off. Many of his fellow Nazis offed themselves before capture, or in prison. Goebbels poisoned himself and his wife, after dosing their children with the same cyanide, on the first day of May. Himmler was captured, but was found dead, self-poisoned in his cell later in the month. There were any number of others, who killed themselves after shooting and burning whom they could, to ‘hide the evidence’ of their heinous horrors.

Yet as this article attests, many ‘ordinary’ Germans also committed suicide on a mass scale – mothers walking into the icy sea with their children in tow; fathers, sons. Pastors and priests had to preach against the act, it was becoming so rampant, with despair setting in, the march of the rapacious Red Army, and unable to face the evil they had done, in which they had cooperated, and for which they were receiving recompense.

I wonder at times what will happen to Canada, even the whole of our Western society, if – nay, when – our own evil is exposed. We – Canucks and Yanks – are often seen as the ‘good guys’, but what of it? Perhaps at one time we were, but even back then, in the black and white forties and fifties, we had the mass bombings, the firestorms over Dresden and Tokyo, the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the incineration of women, children, the young and the old. Before that there was the insane carnage of the First War, to end all wars.

Moral lines became blurred, and crossed. We are now complicit, to some extent or another, in our own even worse evils, more hidden, but likely all the more insidious for it: The murder of the unborn, the elderly, the sick, which flow from the corruption in our own hearts – lust, covetousness, indifference, hatred.

Sort of heavy thoughts, I know, on this Easter and festive morn, so a note of hope: Although we walk this pilgrimage of life between heaven and hell, we should always remember that there but for the grace of God go I. And that same grace, flowing from the heart of Christ and His Church, through the intercession of His Mother and all the Saints, gives us great hope, that those of us who do avail ourselves of this font of salvation, and urge others to do so, may attain heaven – bringing with us, we may also hope, those who know not what they do, by our prayers, our good works, our offerings and sacrifices. And this holds no matter how crooked or bent a generation gets, if we cling the wood of the Cross, and the ark of the Church, the pillar and bulwark of the Truth.

As today’s saint, Mark, has Christ exhorting us as He begins His work of redemption:

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.