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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

Youth Challenges and LeadershIp

Updated: Apr 30

A Prayer to Protect Young People from Mental Health and Suicide Challenges

“Deliver us O Lord”

Dear Lord, I swore myself to silence as humiliation, swallowed

My tears, suffocated and blocked the expression of sufferings,

The willingness to admit the hurt and shame of the heart’s welts,

Taking silence to an extreme of losing consciousness of the past.

Dear Lord, I did not know why I did what I did but I did do this:

Dear Lord, I ran away and, afraid on strange streets, I went home.

Dear Lord, I tried to commit suicide and you frightened me and I

Drank water, lots of water, until I fell asleep and woke up again.

Dear Lord, I went in search of the hidden past, the past pushed

Down until it did not come up and, staying down, stopped the

Passage of the past into the present until the impoverished present

Showed itself in the unknowing of my own life and what to do.

Dear Lord, digging up the past was like breaking down a dam,

Bursting upon me the streaming memories lost and multiplied,

Amazingly, still existing in an unreachable place that probing the

Heart exposed to daylight, like a cave roof collapsing to the sky!

Why? The inescapable why? Lord, I now know to be the hidden

Hand of pride, hiding what needed to be open and simply said.

And so, Lord, it has taken thirty to forty years to understand the

Silence of the first few years, starting with what was a secret sin:

Of stealing my brother’s toys and trading them for flicking cards,

Of stealing money from the kitchen pot of bus fares undetected,

Of stealing magazines from shops, faking the buy or buying a bit,

Of stealing from others, from a father of a friend, old coins and …

Dear Mary, Mother of the Lord and the one who pondered on the

Word of God, listening and pondering, wondering what it meant:

The mysterious conception of your Holy Son, the mystery of His

Birth, being lost, growing up in wisdom and knowing His Father.

Dear Mary, you listened and listened to the word of the history of

Salvation, not a history of the past but of the fulfilling present, ever

Opening upon the mysteries of the day-to-day discoveries of living

With the Word in person, watching and working as life unfolded.

Dear Mary, help us to listen and listen to the word of the history of

Salvation, not as a word from the past but as a word uncovering the

Present and promising, implicitly, the opening of the present into the

Unknown but promised blooming of the blemished life – budding!!

Oh Joseph, virginal husband of Mary, foster-father of Jesus Christ,

Accompany us with your wordless actions, so full of meaning and

Patient believing in the events of a life lived in service of the Word,

His mother: Accompany us into the trusting action that God is here.

Oh Joseph, working companion and, presence in the Holy Family,

Let what is invisible not be what is harmful but let what burrows in

The heart be exposed and healed, taken to the Word who forgives,

Who erupts with new life that life lived in the dying dark, unliving.

Oh Joseph, still, calm, guardian of the Redeemer and servant of the

Family, come close to us and let us come close to you, whether with

Or without a father, with or without a mother or family, let us draw

Close to you and Mary, the Lord Himself and His healing Church.

Oh Holy Family, heal the hidden wounds which wound afresh and

Transmit harm from generation to generation, so what begins afresh

Is the fresh start, fallen though we are, ever called to rise again and

Beg forgiveness and forgive, spreading a miracle of love from death.

I beg you to go out into life and open your heart to the Word of God!

Francis Etheredge: Now married for 26 years, father of 11 children, 3 of whom are in heaven, author of 16 books, 3 of which are forthcoming.

For my own account of attempted suicide, around 14 or 15, 50 years ago, go to: The Prayerful Kiss:


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