...In the meantime I received an invitation to give a lecture at a hospital for lepers, an invitation that I was, of course, happy to accept. In Iceland this illness is now almost wiped out and under full control. There are only six patients left. The hospital for these lepers is very beautifully situated by a lake some few kilometres from Reykjavik. On the second day, in the afternoon, Vignir Andersson drove me out to this unusual hospital. Since the time for my lecture had been agreed upon beforehand everything was ready when we arrived, so that I could begin at once. As well as the sick there were some others present.
With Vignir Andersson as interpreter I gave a short lecture about illness. I explained that illnesses were definitely not any punishment from an angry God but, on the contrary, an expression of the fact that God was working with one. Through the sufferings, God develops or creates in us the ability to mentally feel the sufferings of other people and other living beings. Without this ability we would never become "the human being in God's image". And without this ability we cannot possibly become humane, good people. For this reason all living beings must go through sufferings in order to experience what it really means to create sufferings for other living beings. Gradually, as we become mentally orientated in this field through our own sufferings, we are, to the same extent, brought to the point where we cannot have the heart to inflict sufferings on others. And so we develop through these sufferings to be increasingly unable to have the heart to harm or inflict suffering on others. For this reason the sufferings, when analysed cosmically, are a blessing. It is therefore not so much a matter of praying to be released from the sufferings as it is a matter of praying to get power and strength to be able to accept the sufferings and keep one's spirits up. It is true that the sufferings can be very severe, indeed, almost unbearable, but there is never any being whatsoever that is left alone in the middle of its sufferings or life's darkness. There is always an angel of light in every Gethsemane; there is always a way out of every darkness. If one prays sincerely to God to find this way one will never go wrong. This prayer belongs to those addresses to God that will be granted one hundred per cent. This does not always mean that the purely physical sufferings will disappear, but that the depression, the worries, the fear and the ill humour disappear. And so the human being manages, through the power of God in prayer, to shine in the middle of his own darkness. And so I continued to explain life's intention with suffering.
What is stated here is not a word forword account since I didn't have a manuscript to keep to, but it is, all the same, an account of my view of illness that is so close to the account I gave at the hospital that it gives the same general impression of my view of illnesses as the mentioned lecture does. My lecture here too evoked much joy and applause...
Translated by Mary McGovern, 1993
© Martinus Institut 1981
Published with permission from Martinus Institute