One of the distinctive aspects of Christian Science teaching is this, that in the instance of every sincere student it at once beings to define the meanings and correct the use of everyday terms. It is manifest that the significance to us of things in general is determined by the concept we have of them. If, for instance, we think of money as a means of satisfying fleshly appetites or desire for earthly power, it is sure to become a morally degrading possession, and the more one has of it the more he is to be pitied. If, on the other hand, we have learned to think of it only as a means of accomplishing good, of relieving the unfortunate, of encouraging the worthy and advancing the welfare and success of all noble undertakings, then money becomes a blessing, and its possession an occasion for gratitude and for joy. In greater or less degree we are all being shaped by our thought about things, rather than by things in themselves, as one might say, and this is particularly true of love. One would have difficulty in naming any issue of human life that is not effected by the significance we give this term, and this fact merits very thoughtful attention.
The meanings which have been attached to the word love cover the entire gamut of experience, from animal impulse to adoration of and at-one-ment with God, and the effects of our thought of it range correspondingly from subjection to sensuality, romantic emotionalism, filial regard, and so on, all the way up to the purity and power of spiritual freedom in Christ. As a symbol of maternal affection and of the tender attachment of husband and wife, brothers and sisters, and well-tried friends, those bonds which yield so much of happy association and heart companionship, love brings us many of the sweetest and dearest moments we know. Nevertheless, how frequently the desire to possess and the fact of monopoly contribute an element of selfish exaction which is sure to bring trial and sorrow in the end. Especially is this true of that paternal love which is so proud or so unwise, because indulgent and uncorrective, as to render human affection an injury ofttimes if not a blight to its object. The attachment of kindred spirits is less marred by weakness and fault, and sometimes it reaches a high level of mutual ministry and delight, but true affection must always be patterned after the divine. It must be unselfish, mediatorial and redemptive, characterized by great compassion and ever bringing courage, uplight and strengh. In her interpretation of the Lord's Prayer (Science and Health, p. 17), Mrs. Eddy speaks of love as a reflection of the Love which is God. This reflection of Love means the forgiveness of sin, delivery from disease and death, all of which makes it clear that spiritually intelligent love for our kindred, for mankind, for our neighbor, is always dynamic. It has the power to heal. More, to love rightly is to relate God, divine Principle, to every human problem and need. It is to "preach the gospel to every creature." It is to give efficiency as well as dearness to all unselfish living.
Every least sun ray brings us the comfort of light and heat. More than this, however, it is actinic, chemically potential. It is a sun worker. It helps to effect all the achievements of the sun's world. It brings about the Sun-with-us. Thus, too, as we are taught in Christian Science, all genuine good desire and good will is Mind-power. It penetrates every region of human sense to illumine and to redeem. It is able to span all gulfs and to leap all bounds, since it is part of that infinite radiation "which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." All this being true and accepted, the possibilities of even the humblest life immediately take on an entirely new perspective, since all can love, and love all. If one can reflect divine Love, then nothing can limit his ministry for good. Right desire and right thought link one savingly to God, and savingly to all the world. The wholeness of Love's efficiency is understood and one gains a new and inspiring sense of the teaching of Christian Science that, as Mrs. Eddy says, "All that God imparts moves in accord with Him, reflecting goodness and power" (Science and Health, p. 515), and how it was that, as she also says in "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 58), "With our Master, life was not merely a sense of existence, but an accompanying sense of power that subdued matter and brought to light immortality, insomuch that the people 'were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.'"
Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.