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Today is Holy Saturday, the period between Christ's sacrifice to free us from the bounds of our sins and his Resurrection that will lead us to salvation. To truly appreciate and understand this moment, we must devote ourselves to contemplation and waiting.

Christ, though without sin, suffered for our sin. As St. Augustine said, "In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, such as we cannot have of ourselves." We cannot devote ourselves to riches and pleasure; pain and suffering cannot be feared. Instead, we must turn from worldly considerations and share Christ's love.

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Before his death, Jesus gave himself fully to God's will, as written in Mark 14:36 (NABRE): "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will." In looking to our own lives, we must allow God to lead us. However, there is a movement to defy God's plan.

Defying logic or reason, there are those who are pushing for the legalization of assisted suicide in Maryland. Those supporters claim that suicide is "compassionate" because it prevents unnecessary suffering or hardship, but they give no proof to their claims. By definition, a difficult life is still better than no life, and there is no joy to be found in oblivion. A death without God is worse than all the pain and suffering in the world.

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With their arguments, the proponents of suicide devalue any who experience difficulty or challenges. Those who don't match their standard of life are worthless and can be cast aside. Recognizing the horror of such a philosophy, the special needs community has come in strong opposition to its legalization.

Christians are called to oppose the measure on two fronts: the first is that suffering and hardship are not evidence that you need to end your life, and the second is that it is God's will, not our own, for how and when our end will come. In Catholic doctrine, suicide is considered a form of murder because "Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life ... Suicide is contrary to love for the living God" (Catechism of the Catholic Church Part 3, Section 2, Article 5, 2281).

Endorsement of assisted suicide is a line that cannot be crossed. Regarding legalization, the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops made it clear that "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." This includes the hosting of public officials who support such measures at events for Catholic organizations.

The Easter season leads us to focusing on the promises of Christ. If our relatives are in pain, we should provide them with love and comfort, not toss them aside. We must embrace Christ's example, and we cannot do that if we undermine the will to live of those who suffer.

Jeffrey Peters, a graduate student at Catholic University, attends St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Manchester. Reach him at 17peters@cardinalmail.cua.edu.

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