Redemptive Suffering and Murder-Suicide


Hello, all. I joined today to ask this very sensitive question regarding redemptive suffering. Someone that I do not know personally was the perpetrator in a murder-suicide. He was 17 years old and suffered from severe depression, mild delusions, and simply wanted to die. Apparently, he had been suffering for some time with mental illness and, as far as I know, was not religious. His mental state deteriorated to the point where he shot several of his friends and then himself.

When I found out about this individual, I felt that I needed to pray not only for the victims, but also for the soul of this young man. I suffered from severe depression at his age, and though I was never angry or delusional, I know how blinding depression can be. I began to wonder if God could have permitted him to enter Purgatory and if it would be possible to help him. I also wondered if it was possible to offer up my suffering to atone for the sins he committed.

Soon after making the mental commitment to pray for this young man, I developed the deepest, darkest depression I had felt in years. It was as though I could not see past my own feet. I was enveloped in numbness and despair. I could not eat or sleep, and I had the feeling that I no longer wanted to live. This continued for a few days, and the thought occurred to me that maybe God has allowed me to experience some of this individual’s suffering so that I can offer it back to God for His glory. My questions are: How likely is it that this is the case? Is this something that God might do?

Thank you in advance for your responses.


You did right in praying for all of them in this incident. We can’t KNOW for SURE if God allowed you to experience some of this individual’s suffering. BUT what could have caused your experience was this whole situation being brought to your awareness and it may have just put you in a state of utter sadness for what happened to these people.


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