Don’t skip the “meat and potatoes”
The fear and symptoms of illness began to abate as I grew in my spiritual understanding of God.
When I was in college, my mother gave me a subscription to the Sentinel and to the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons. However, I was more inclined to read the former than the latter.
The weekly Christian Science Bible Lessons are composed of citations from the Holy Bible and from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. In the Manual of the Mother Church, Mrs. Eddy referred to this Bible Lesson as “a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends” (p. 31 ). My mother described these weekly Lessons as our spiritual “meat and potatoes.”
Spiritual growth brought about by study of the Bible Lesson was the very basis of many of the articles and healing testimonies I was reading in the Sentinel. Still, I found it easier to read an article here and there in the Sentinel than to study the Bible Lesson daily.
All of that changed one semester when I became so ill with a debilitating sore throat, fatigue, and weakness that I could not attend classes. My school had a no-cut policy, which meant that in order to be officially excused from class, I needed to go to the school infirmary. There, I was diagnosed with strep throat and mononucleosis. Since strep throat is considered highly contagious, I was not allowed to attend classes or return to my dorm room. In addition, I was told it could be weeks or months before the doctor cleared me to return.
This was heartbreaking news, as I was a serious student who was also very involved in campus activities. I was told I could leave campus to go home, but I lived out of state and had no means to get there.
At that point, I called a Christian Science practitioner who had befriended me at the branch Church of Christ, Scientist, I was attending near my college campus. I asked her to pray for me for relief from the painful symptoms and from the disappointment of possibly missing most or all of the rest of that semester. She agreed, and offered to pick me up so that I could stay in her home. All of her children were grown and living on their own, and there was an empty bedroom, separate from the main part of the house, where I could rest and study quietly. My parents and the dean of students gave me permission to leave campus and stay in the practitioner’s home.
I wanted to rely on the spiritual method of healing I’d always practiced, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this opportunity to be in a quiet atmosphere conducive to prayer, study, and rest. Soon, I found myself tucked into a warm, comfy bed with the Bible and Science and Health.
When I wasn’t sleeping, I was craving the “meat and potatoes”—the spiritual truths conveyed in the weekly Bible Lessons. I dug into the Lesson and prayed with passages from the Bible and Science and Health providing insights into that week’s spiritual subject. The fear and symptoms of illness began to abate as I grew in my spiritual understanding of God and of my individual relationship to Him as His pure, whole, and loved child.
Within several days, I felt well, rested, and ready to go back to school. I knew in my heart that I was free. When examined at the college infirmary, I was given the go-ahead to return to classes and my dorm, and I immediately resumed all of my classes and activities.
I was craving the “meat and potatoes”—the spiritual truths conveyed in the weekly Christian Science Bible Lessons.
A few days later, the dean of students called me to her office. I wondered what I might have done wrong. But when she leaned toward me over her formidable desk, she had just one question: “How did you do that?” We then had a long conversation about metaphysics and spiritual healing. She asked me many thoughtful questions, which I answered to the best of my ability. Later, I brought her a copy of Science and Health and encouraged her to read it for more answers. For the remainder of my time at school, we enjoyed a warm relationship.
In my study of Christian Science in all the years since, several ideas have emerged that helped me understand how this healing took place. For example, Mrs. Eddy refers to “mortal mind,” or the “carnal mind” that the Apostle Paul said was “enmity against God” (Romans 8:7 ). This mind reasons, mistakenly, that there is life and intelligence in matter and that the body can become diseased. The human mind bases all of its conclusions solely on material rather than spiritual evidence—on what the physical senses report. These senses conclude that someone is either healthy or ill, based on an examination of the physical body. They endeavor to map out where a disease comes from, where it’s going, and how long it’s going to last. In my case, the path mapped out by material perceptions was a slow recovery with the aid of medication.
Based on her study of the Bible, including Jesus’ healing and teaching record, Mrs. Eddy recognized the strictly mental nature of disease. She wrote, “All disease is the result of education, and disease can carry its ill-effects no farther than mortal mind maps out the way” (Science and Health, p. 176 ).
Jesus didn’t view things from the standpoint of mortal mind but from the perspective of spiritual sense. He recognized God as Spirit, the only Mind—the only life, truth, and intelligence of man—and health as the permanent nature of God’s children. On this basis, he healed all kinds of mental and physical conditions, even those that were long-standing or considered contagious or incurable.
A question to ask ourselves when confronted with any kind of inharmony, such as poor health, is: Who or what is mapping out the way forward for us? The one divine Mind, God, who knows all and creates all? Or mortal, material sense and impressions? I chose my path based on a knowledge of God as Spirit and of my identity as His spiritual likeness, as stated in the first chapter of Genesis.
I know that the spiritual ideas that brought comfort and healing in this instance, and in so many others, are the timeless truths revealed in the life and practice of Christ Jesus and in the writings of his faithful follower, Mrs. Eddy. They are a map worth following and are ever available to anyone, anywhere, at any time.