"A Calm, Christian state of mind is a better preventive of contagion than a drug, or than any other possible sanative method; and the 'perfect Love' that 'casteth out fear' is a sure defense," writes Mary Baker Eddy in an article titled "Contagion" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 229).
This is not mere theory. I know personally of contagious conditions that have been quickly and permanently healed through the power of divine Love, God. One, which took place many years ago, involved my own brother, who, as a preschool-age child, was stricken with all the symptoms of infantile paralysis. The fear of the disease at that time was great in our community, and my mother, who had just begun studying Christian Science, was understandably worried. But she had herself been healed of a longstanding, serious physical condition through relying on the law of God, so she decided to ask a Christian Science practitioner to pray for my brother. The symptoms were so frightening, my mother feared he might not live through the night. But he was healed within a couple of days. This powerful proof of God's love for His children made a deep impression on my mother, and it strengthened her trust in God as an ever-present help in times of sickness.
What my brother experienced was the effect of the understanding that man is God's own child, as the Scriptures bring out. In harmony with the Bible's spiritual meaning, Christian Science shows that man is inherently pure and whole—not a mortal, flesh-and-blood creature, who is subject to fear, disability, and death. We are actually God's spiritual offspring, not at the mercy of whatever disease is believed to be prevalent, not helpless before disease or fear. Divine Love, the tender Father of all, by virtue of His allness, excludes whatever is unlike His pure nature. This truth destroys any supposed evidence that we could be subject to disease.
It dawned on me with great clarity that God, divine Love, wouldn't afflict His child, and that because His is the only power—the only cause there is—nothing else could afflict me.
The Science of Christ teaches the importance of realizing that matter, or physicality, can't talk or lay out conditions for us. That which claims to possess power coequal with God does not; nor can it interfere with His governing of us. There is no material intelligence to oppose God, divine Mind. What's more, the loving Father is never telling us we're fearful, weak mortals in a vulnerable situation. Thoughts from the one Mind, the Mind we all uninterruptedly reflect, reveal our divine right to the wholeness that is continually ours as Mind's beloved manifestation. These comforting, healing, redeeming ideas are pouring forth perpetually. Our role is one of listening with humble, unclouded receptivity. The more consistently we maintain this holy state of consciousness, the greater our spiritual conviction that God is all-powerful and ever present.
Regardless of what disease outbreaks may be predicted, the fact remains that God is the only power and presence, and man is inseparable from His omnipotence. Armed with these spiritual truths, we can prove the immunity that divine Love gives us from contagion and demonstrate our eternal unity with God, good.
Because we are God's, Love's, offspring, we have a sure basis for living free of the fear of disease and suffering. In truth, we remain the way our creator conceives and constitutes us. When God finished His work, the Bible says, He pronounced it very good. It is the material view of things that is incorrect, such as the belief that something is part of us that Mind neither put there nor sees. In God—in divine, infinite Love, where each of us has his true, uninvadable being—there is no sickness, no pain, no sin, no fear, to make encroachments on our health and well-being.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes how we can exercise our right to freedom: "Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously. When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it be air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident, then perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears. Exclude from mortal mind the offending errors; then the body cannot suffer from them." And she says on the next page, "Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good" (pp. 392 and 393).
Not too long ago I experienced the truth of this when I felt the beginnings of influenza. So severe was the discomfort, I felt I had to go to bed. As I lay there, however, I began to think about other healings I had had through the understanding of Christian Science. I pondered several truths, and the divine fact of my nature as God's own child brought healing. It dawned on me with great clarity that God, divine Love, wouldn't afflict His child, and that because He is the only power—the only cause there is—nothing else could afflict me. I realized that nothing inharmonious or harmful could enter my being as His wholly spiritual reflection. No more than an hour had passed since I first felt ill, yet I was so free that I got up to take a short walk in the glorious autumn weather. I ended up that afternoon hiking over four miles, through meadows, up and down country lanes, thanking God over and over for yet another proof of His marvelous healing power.
Recently while working on this article, I was talking with our local librarian. "Is fear of disease on the rise?" I asked her. "Oh definitely; people are more afraid these days," she said. To overcome fear is not to ignore disease but to undermine its very foundation. Many are mastering fear and the discord associated with it through applying the liberating, strengthening, spiritual truths found in Christ Jesus' teachings and works.
The Way-shower understood fully the inseparability of man from God. He knew that man is God's child, eternally safe in Him. Discerning something of our real being as God's spiritual image, and expressing the purity that characterizes that being, we can come to feel the assurance of His care. We can prove for ourselves that true immunity from disease, and abiding peace of mind, are found in the consciousness of God's omnipresence and perfect control of our lives. As one of the many passages in the Scriptures that offer a way out of fear of contagion states, "In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me" (Ps. 56:4).
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