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A CERTAIN boy was very eager to become a baseball player. He practiced systematically, but the moment he tried to play before spectators an excited self-consciousness seemed to seize him, and failure would be the result. Disheartened, but not accepting defeat, he stood, day after day, at the sidelines, watching with wistful eyes while the other boys took their turns. One day he spoke to his mother of what troubled him. Whereupon she said: "But there is no self-consciousness. There is really only the consciousness of good; for God is good, and we know that God is ever present." A day or so later, as he waited, hoping for an opportunity to play, his mother's words came to him. As he thought of them there also came an understanding of God as the "all-wise, all-knowing, all-loving Father-Mother" (Message for 1901, p. 7), which he had been taught in the Christian Science Sunday School. Then a sudden revelation unfolded to him. If God is all-loving, then He has no favorites, he argued; and since all power comes from Him, then I can play as well as other boys. With this comforting truth flooding his thought he heard himself called to fill a vacancy on the diamond; and a very short time later the field was ringing with cheers for a play which he had made in a manner pronounced by onlookers as highly remarkable.

Spectators and players crowded around the hero of the moment as he came in from the field; but, filled with grati tude, he took none of the credit to himself. Instead, he was wondering how he could say "Thank you!" to God. With this desire, he slipped away as soon as he could from the congratulations and shoulder slappings to a far corner of the grounds, where, hidden by a fence, he could be alone. There, in joyous acknowledgment, he thanked God by repeating to himself the Lord's Prayer. That was the beginning of his success. Within a few weeks he was recognized as the best shortstop in his school; and when the team made a visit to a neighboring town, he was one of those chosen to go.

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His "gracious words"
February 24, 1923
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