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Memory and gratitude

From the May 27, 1996 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

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Memory helps keep our lives organized, balanced, and productive. Should we be fearful that age or injury could put our memory in peril? The law of God assures us that memory need not be lost.

Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health: "If delusion says, 'I have lost my memory,' contradict it. No faculty of Mind is lost. In Science, all being is eternal, spiritual, perfect, harmonious in every action. Let the perfect model be present in your thoughts instead of its demoralized opposite" (p. 407).

Science and Health teaches that God is Mind, the only Mind, and that man reflects the all-intelligence of Mind. Wisdom, retention, and comprehension have their basis in Mind and are expressed by man as God's reflection.

Most people see memory as somehow packaged in a material brain and subject to loss due to age or to physical or emotional injury. The study of Christian Science, however, reveals memory, in the truest sense, to be the present knowledge of that which expresses the goodness of God's nature. God's child can know and experience only that which is spiritual, whole, pure, perfect, and enduring. Therefore, this knowing of Love's presence is not something that happens once and then is forgotten.

Man individually reflects and is the eternal witness of God's goodness. Though mortal evidence would suggest otherwise, we are truly spiritual. My own prayer sings something like this: "Always, have I been loved and protected. Never have I been lost, mortal, hurt, scared. Always, God has been my Life, my Love, my Mind. Forever, have I been in His green pastures and beside His still waters. Always, have I been useful, valuable; I am His precious, spiritual idea."

The truth of this spiritual song might seem hard to swallow for someone who has been through a degrading or painful experience and would love to be able to wipe away the remembrance of it. Take heart! The understanding prayer that recognizes man's spiritual selfhood frees us from such a past. It not only restores the knowledge of all that is precious but also removes painful remembrances by showing that our true, spiritual nature includes nothing unlike Mind. No matter how real a material condition has seemed to be, this illusive, limited experience must give way to the perception of ever-present spiritual reality.

We can get in touch with the true sense of memory through gratitude. Why gratitude? Because gratitude is an attitude filled with grace. Christ Jesus' ministry shows that it brings us into accord with the good that God knows and constantly imparts. The importance of gratitude is brought out in a By-Law Mrs. Eddy placed in the Manual of The Mother Church. It states, "Gratitude and love should abide in every heart each day of all the years" (Art. XVII, Sect. 2). So gratitude could be thought of as a requirement. And gratitude opens our thought to all the goodness that memory holds.

Gratitude opens our thought to all the goodness that memory holds.

You might say that memory and gratitude live under one roof. Gratitude garners into her chambers all that we have witnessed of God's goodness. In return, memory is thankful that gratitude's chambers are filled with the graces of God. They effortlessly blend in thought and indicate the glory of our Father-Mother, God.

Just as a smile comes from happiness, we truly have no choice but to be filled with the "memory" of God's spiritual creation unfolding before us. By our contemplation of the perfection of God and man—instead of the painful, material misconception of being—our gratitude enlarges and develops. Man, expressing God, divine Mind, cannot help but be filled with the wonders of divinity. With this spiritual view, our heartfelt gratitude is an effortless effect of Mind in action.

God, the only Mind, has made all spiritual and perfect. We can rely on divine Mind, the source of all true knowledge, for the remembrance or perception of what is true. As we reflect Mind, we cannot have a memory of that which God never created. Since God never created misery, danger, difficulty, illness, deformity, or suffering, we can prove that the Christ-power, gained in prayer, removes the memory or knowledge of these evils. In Unity of Good Mrs. Eddy tells us: "All that is beautiful and good in your individual consciousness is permanent. That which is not so is illusive and fading" (p. 8).

We should recall the things of God, which only heal and bless. Speaking of God, the Bible tells us, "One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. ... They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness" (Ps. 145:4, 7). It is never God or man that claims life is painful. Such evil suggestions cease when we understand God to be our Mind, and Mind's spiritual idea to be our true selfhood. No mental space remains for evil to occupy. All we can know is what God, divine Mind, is knowing of its perfect creation.

It takes persistent prayer to break the dream of a mind separate from God. But breaking this dream, this resistance to the acceptance of good alone, is worth the effort because it opens us up to who we really are—the majestic, immortal man that God has always loved, and will cherish forever.

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