New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 54

new church life: march/april 2017 to get rid of and as we try to do that we enter into a state of temptation. There is a struggle because we’re trying to do what is good and hell wants to keep us in that negative state. So we experience a struggle. Our experience of it may come in the form of depression, anxiety, fear or all kinds of negative emotions. We don’t even know why, necessarily, but we experience those types of anguish. But what’s happening is that we are being removed from hell and being brought closer to the state of heaven. And that is a good thing. Temptations are a good thing. And often, we are told, they go to the point of despair, where we just feel like we can’t go or hold on any further, and then – it stops. It’s lifted. But there’s a difference with some people. What they experience is that it is not lifted. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t seem to end. And they don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. In Secrets of Heaven we read: “From all this one may see what natural trial is and what spiritual temptation is.” Then it talks about this third kind: “A third kind of temptation or trial also exists which is anxiety and depression caused for the most part by physical or mental infirmity. Such anxiety may involve some degree of spiritual temptation or it may not involve any at all.” With those who experience this third kind of temptation they are experiencing this horrible state and it’s not because of spiritual growth. It’s just that they are being attacked and they can’t stop it. Part of the truth of that passage I want to highlight is that there are many people who suffer that way. It’s beyond temptation. It is not a usual spiritual battle they are suffering from. It is the result of what we would categorize as a type of mental illness. You may be close to someone who suffers from a form of mental illness. Look around you. Yes, most people have someone in their life who is dealing with that. We’re told about 25% of the population suffers from some kind of mental illness. So I think we need more dialogue about this. And today is just a beginning. I’m not going to say everything that you hoped I would say today and I’m not going to solve it. But we need openness around these issues. It’s often taboo to talk about it. People are hush-hush. If someone was sick or had cancer or a broken arm we would talk about it and we would invite people to support them. And if it was Often those who are suffering with mental illness and those who are around them suffer in silence. So I hope we can help to bring this issue into the open and help with the healing process. 120