Kisses and Final Whispers:
To One Contemplating
are your questions, are they not? For they have
been mine, too:
Why go on?
Why endure more suffering ... I have
reached the end ... and can see nothing
more beyond this unceasing pain.
My life is without purpose; it is empty,
meaningless ... and tomorrow will be the
same as today.
It is over, ended, finished.
I am become something hateful, shameful;
my life is a lie and I am an imposter —
the act is ended!
must in any event; better sooner, then,
lost love, fear, shame, guilt ... which one
has brought you here? Perhaps all of them.
You think I will tell you that you have no right
to feel this way, to stand here, at the edge
of all things, the pain pressing at your back
and the warm darkness of oblivion invitingly
before you ... the end to all pain.
You think I will tell you that you lack courage,
that you are ill in mind ...
You are neither the one nor the other.
Your spirit is torn, rendered, bleeding, and
no living thing on the face of the earth does
not recoil from pain, flee further injury. Not
the smallest Sparrow. Not the mightiest man.
You have fled the pain as surely as your finger
pulls back from the licking flame of a candle.
And now you can flee no further. This is the
end. The last refuge. The only solution. You
are driven to it as by the flails of some cruel
and unrelenting scourge. As a hunted animal
you have fled down every road until your pursuer
has cornered you here, on the brink of nothingness
into which you would throw yourself as to a
bitter but welcome end.
Tell me this is not true. Or is it crueler still?
We have known darkness, approached the parted
lips that proffered death in this last kiss,
and with it, pain no more. In a stroke we would
erase what we have made of our lives ... look
no more upon that broad swath of destruction
our sins have wrought upon others ... we would
close our eyes and be no more, and all things
ceasing, blot out the blight of our existence.
I also know that you have stood here before,
at this same chasm, lured on by that same promise,
spurred on by that same pain or one much like
it. We have decided that this is life, and we
will have no part in it any longer. At a point
it becomes, as it were, an obscenity to us ...
and a scandal to God.
Why? Why do we feel this way? Do we choose to?
Does reason lead us here? Does madness? ...
or do neither? Whence this deadly whisper?
In reality, the question is, “whence this
lie?” The lie that this is the end, that
you have no more to do, nothing more to give,
nothing greater to be? The lie that life is
the obscenity ... rather than death; that your
choices are exhausted, your options closed,
the game played out to the last piece? The lie
that death is the answer to pain, the refuge
of the wounded, a place of peace and the undoing
of all that we have done?
Who has told us this? The melancholia of poets
who dress out death in Elysian Fields, until
the soil has sunk where the body was laid, where
the corruption of flesh withers the bouquet
of beautiful words as false as they are frail?
I can tell you of many who blenched at the brink
of this death — who did not succumb to this
lie but stepped back ... and found God ... and
in finding God, found life, and the reason for
being. And it was always beyond themselves.
You, now, who ponder taking our own life,
tell me of one — just
one — who hurled himself
into darkness and found peace ...
The Dead Keep their Silence
I have stood there, too, and stared down ...
and none returned, no voice came back, no token
of release, no sigh of suffering past. The dead
keep their silence, and who has entrusted himself
to death and not God, speaks no more.
Do not call down to who cannot answer (or if
they answer, beware: they are not voices
of men). Instead ask the living. The living
who have broached the lie of dreamless death,
and spurned the stillness of those lying lips
... upon hearing the living words of God, a
breath of dawn that breaks the sleep of death.
Awaken! You walk as one in a trance, blind to
what he passes, bent only on a certain end.
Dazed by your suffering, rendered senseless
by your pain, you walk as one wounded, seeking
solace, heedless of the cost, heedless of whence.
Who told you so?
You think that where you choose now to go is
better than where you are. I now ask you,
who told you so?
“Whatever it may be, or not be, it cannot be
worse than here,” you say. Again I ask, “Who
told you so?”
“It will be an end to my suffering ... whatever
it is.” Again — yes, again
— I ask, “who told you so?”
Who has returned to tell you so?
There are none.
An Apocalyptic Clash
What you hear in your despair
are only dark whispers in a deadly night, dark
lies from a dark and deadly land.
You believe that no one wants you, and what
is more, you do not even want yourself.
But you are wanted,
and valued; you have been purchased at a price
beyond measure 1
— for on this brink
to which your pain has brought you, a battle
rages round you, and you are contended for in
an apocalyptic clash.
One voice will
rise from the darkness, and one from the Light.
One calls you to life, one calls you to death.
One speaks the truth, and the other a lie.
doors are closed, save this”,
the lying darkness calls.
door is open — where all others are closed,”
speaks the other.
yourself into my darkness”, the one cries.
yourself into My Light,”
calls out other.
my grave!”, the one demands.
implores the other.
To which whisper,
then, will you yield? To whose call will you
The living will tell you:
The dead have nothing
to say ...
But God does:
Come out of the shadows, come hence from the
lies and false dreams of that darkness.
"Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”
And with the Light, Life.
am the light of the world. Whoever follows me
will not walk in darkness, but will have the
light of life.”
(St. John 8.12)
Life beyond the pain and the suffering — life
even in the pain and suffering! Not the
false and muttering promises of death and demons.
Will your pain stop? Will your suffering cease,
here and now? I do not know. I know that you
will have life and you
will have light — that
you will be drawn out of darkness —
and not into it — brought to life in
the Light, not death in the darkness. Of this
I am absolutely certain.
The pain? The suffering? The humiliation? The
shame? What God will make of these in you is
beyond your comprehension.
Know this: God ennobles everything He touches.
What is base He transforms into beauty.
How do I know this?
The Greatest of
Because God has ever worked the greatest
of all miracles: He makes Saints out of sinners.
Like you and me.
The world desperately needs Saints. It needs
you. Perhaps even me.
are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear
God in your body.”
to the Sacred Deposit
of Faith entrusted to the Holy
See in Rome
opera tua ... quia modicum habes
virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum,
nec non negasti Nomen Meum”
know your works ... that you have
but little power, and yet you have
kept My word, and have not denied
Copyright © 2004 - 2023 Boston Catholic
Journal. All rights reserved. Unless
otherwise stated, permission is
granted by the Boston Catholic Journal
for the copying and distribution
of the articles and audio files
under the following conditions:
No additions, deletions, or changes
are to be made to the text or audio
files in any way, and the copies
may not be sold for a profit. In
the reproduction, in any format
of any image, graphic, text, or
audio file, attribution must be
given to the Boston Catholic Journal.