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SPIRITUAL IMMUNITY

From the January 2, 2006 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

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I BEGAN TO STUDY Christian Science while I was a practicing pediatrician in a hospital. I had seen many instances of viral contagion in my practice, and my daily reading of Science and Health was giving me so much to think about on this subject. I appreciated this book as a guide to spiritual healing, which makes it possible for anyone to understand God and His spiritual creation, and I had started to apply its spiritual teachings in my own life.

One statement that I was learning to understand says, "... nothing inharmonious can enter being, for Life is God" (Science and Health, p. 228). As I thought about this, it became vividly clear to me that all of us, in our true spiritual identity, are not made of flesh and bones but are the perfect image of God. Our true substance is made up of the qualities we reflect from our divine Parent, our Father-Mother, God. These qualities consist in part of purity, innocence, honesty, strength, and vitality. And because each of us is in reality an entirely spiritual being, nothing inharmonious can "enter" into our honesty or innocence. No disease or ill effect from anything physical can enter the entirely mental, spiritual qualities that make up each child of God.

More and more in my practice I began to see that everyone is completely safe in the presence of God. As Psalm 91 says, those who dwell "in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (verse 1).

Realizing this gave me the assurance that whatever the case, every patient was already protected by God. I knew that what I had been studying in the Bible and Science and Health about spiritual reality was universal truth, and therefore everyone I saw in the hospital or anywhere else was blessed by this truth.

I was encouraged to deepen my study of Christian Science. I learned that in the universe of divine Mind, which is entirely spiritual, there can be no disease of any kind, because God, who is also divine Love and Life, could never create anything harmful or destructive. Science and Health states: "From Love and from the light and harmony which are the abode of Spirit, only reflections of good can come. All things beautiful and harmless are ideas of Mind. Mind creates and multiplies them, and the product must be mental" (p. 280). I realized that the understanding of this fact is the best defense against disease.

Medical theories regarding contagion are based on the assumption that certain conditions are caused by bacteria or viruses, which spread from one person to another, either through the air or water or food. These viruses are supposed to enter the body, multiply, and cause damage.

Yet Christian Science does not consider material germs as having the power to cause an illness. This Science goes to a higher level than physicality, and refers to "thought-germs" or "mental microbes." Science and Health explains: "Much yet remains to be said and done before all mankind is saved and all the mental microbes of sin and all diseased thought-germs are exterminated" (p. 164).

Viewing things this way, one can approach prevention and healing not through the administration of a drug or an antibiotic, but through the elimination of thoughts that are antithetical to God's perfect creation, including ourselves.

I've learned that the main trouble-causing, unholy thought is fear. A fearful state invites difficulties because a fearful condition amounts to a denial of the presence of God, who is completely good. And in the presence of the all-power of good, there can be nothing harmful that could cause fear.

The Bible says, "Perfect love casteth out fear" (I John 4:18). God's love is universal, and therefore it includes everyone. We are all God's children, receiving the tenderness of our Father-Mother, God. This is a powerful love, a strengthening love. Accepting it and relying on it provides the best immunity to anything unlike God.

In our city, Mumbai [Bombay], epidemics of various conditions erupt from time to time. Influenza is one of them. When there is a spell of flu, the newspapers and TV broadcast reports with detailed descriptions of symptoms. Some years ago, when I was fairly new to Christian Science, I began to experience these symptoms. That evening, I studied passages from Science and Health, and prayed from the standpoint of what I was learning—that God is not the originator of sickness. I understood that He never made disease and had not given it to me or to anyone else. He made everything only good, and I stood firmly on the understanding that only good was being given to me. I knew that God was my Father and Mother, caring for me, and that His power ensured that all was well with me, and with everyone else.

However, the next morning I was far from well. I was tempted to stay at home in bed. I read the weekly Bible Lesson from the Christian Science Quarterly. Then, most reluctantly, I took a shower and dressed. Feeling sorry for myself, I went downstairs, and hesitated to get in the car and drive to work. But I went anyway, trusting that God would support me.

It was only when I got home that night that I realized I had been healed. It must have happened soon after leaving home, because I had no recollection of the illness during the rest of the day. There was no trace of it.

If it was a virus that had infected the body, could it have vanished so quickly? Medical science would say it could not. This experience showed me the effect of my thinking on the body. Before getting dressed and before driving, I had been tempted to believe the symptoms were real and to doubt the efficacy of the power of God to heal me. I feel sure it was the refusal to succumb to these temptations, and the obedience to God expressed by my going forward, that brought about the healing.

Fear can trap one's thinking into expecting something wrong to happen. Mere positive thinking, although helpful, isn't as powerful as spiritual thinking, which fills consciousness with the thoughts of God. Our confidence and our health come from this solid foundation. Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "The star that looked lovingly down on the manger of our Lord, lends its resplendent light to this hour: the light of Truth, to cheer, guide, and bless man as he reaches forth for the infant idea of divine perfection dawning upon human imperfection,—that calms man's fears, bears his burdens, beckons him on to Truth and Love and the sweet immunity these bring from sin, sickness, and death" (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 320).

Divine perfection, which made and maintains each of us, is the standard by which to think and live. The fact that our real existence is in the spiritual universe, where disease is unknown, is the unshakable basis for our immunity. ♦

Jer Master is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher who lives in Mumbai, India.

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