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The compassion that heals

From the December 14, 2015 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

In the Gospel of John, it’s related that while passing by a pool called Bethesda, Jesus meets a man lying there who has had an infirmity for 38 years (see 5:2–9). He tells Jesus that whenever the waters are agitated, whoever steps into the pool first is healed of his troubles. However, the man is unable to get into the water by himself, and no one will come to his aid. Others more able-bodied than he are always stepping in ahead of him.

Jesus could have shown human compassion for the man by helping him into the water. But instead he said, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” And the man walked! By making this spiritual demand, Jesus was expressing true compassion—the love of the Christ that heals.

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy explains how the Master healed: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (pp. 476–477).

Following Jesus’ example, many today are healing through their demonstration of Christly compassion. In fact, every issue of the Sentinel and The Christian Science Journal contains verified accounts by people from all over the world who have experienced diverse healings through prayer alone. I, too, have experienced healing by turning to the truth of man’s perfection in times of need. Since this truth applies to all of creation, when my cat, Jenny, became ill with what seemed to be a bladder infection, I did not hesitate to trust her to the care of a loving God.

For several days I prayed diligently for her healing, but the condition did not yield. I finally decided to take her to a local vet, who lovingly agreed to treat her right away. When I brought Jenny home, she was peaceful once again. 

I was very grateful to the vet for his kindness. However, the problem recurred twice more. Both times I was deeply distressed and took her back to the vet, with the same result. The fourth time this condition appeared, I realized that in order for Jenny to have a complete and permanent healing, deeper prayer was needed. 

Following Jesus’ example, many today are healing through their demonstration of Christly compassion.

Since Jenny appeared to be in extreme discomfort, I immediately phoned a Christian Science practitioner for prayerful help. When her voicemail answered, I left a message saying that if we were unable to connect within half an hour, I would call someone else.

While waiting for the practitioner to phone back, I sat down with a copy of Science and Health and a concordance to Mrs. Eddy’s writings. With renewed dedication, I once again turned to God for direction. It came to me to look up the word harmony. After I had read several citations, I came across a familiar paragraph which reads: “Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality. Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts” (Science and Health, p. 261).

Although I felt deeply burdened by the situation, I was nonetheless able to look away from the material picture. Soon I became so absorbed in the citations I was reading and the truths they revealed that I was no longer conscious of the cat and her problem. Later I noticed that a half-hour had passed. Since the practitioner had not yet returned the call, I was about to call someone else. But it came to me to turn around first, and there, sitting peacefully on the arm of the sofa, was a happy, healthy, purring cat. Jenny was completely healed! At that moment she looked so radiant and angelic that I felt I had caught a glimpse of her true, spiritual selfhood. The problem never recurred, and in fact Jenny lived to a very ripe age in health and harmony. 

This experience was a milestone in my spiritual journey. It enabled me to understand more clearly that sickness and other discords are not going on “out there,” but are actually the outward evidence, or objectification, of our own beliefs. And when our view is uplifted to behold the spiritual truth, what appears to us as healing is actually reality brought to light. 

In this instance, it appeared that my cat was in distress. But as soon as my view was lifted above the mortal appearance and I beheld Jenny as a beloved idea of God, already harmonious and perfect, the suffering was gone. Suffering, I realized, is an incorrect perception, totally unreal. The scientific fact is that harmony, the natural status of God’s creation, had been there all along.

Mrs. Eddy writes, “Reality is spiritual, harmonious, immutable, immortal, divine, eternal” (Science and Health, p. 335). Becoming conscious of spiritual reality fills our thought and heart with the Christly compassion that brings to humanity—and to all creatures—comfort, healing, and a more permanent peace.

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