'God bless'

Among the many precious memories of my mother-in-law that I hold dear, I think I treasure most the way she said, "God bless." All her children were American born, but while she understood English, she usually spoke only in her native tongue -- Italian. So when on special occasions her family of more than twenty (counting inlaws and grandchildren) would gather round her table, she seldom entered into the conversation unless someone directly asked her opinion.

When this happened the room would suddenly become as still as a courtroom listening to a verdict. Solemnly, in broken English, she would begin: "For myself I say . . ." Then came a dramatic pause. Her shoulders and hands moved gracefully -- sometimes giving the impression of an artist working out some intricate design. We always sat there in total silence watching the performance of that exquisite body language that seems to belong so exclusively to certain nationalities. Then in perfect English she would conclude: "God bless." Nobody was ever surprised at her comment because, regardless of the question asked, her answer was always the same: "For myself, I say . . . God bless."

When I first knew ny mother-in-law, I thought this little incident hilariously funny. But I suppressed my laughter, although with great effort, when I realized I was the only one who saw humor in her comment. When I grew to know her better, I recognized the sincerity of the love and compassion that often lay behind the words. When later I became a student of Christian Science, these words began to unfold for me in an even deeper, more spiritual way.

I learned that the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible is the true history of creation. Here we find: "God created man in his own image . . .; male and female created he them. And God blessed them." n1 I saw that God's will toward man is always to bless. I understood that while there are references in the Bible -- particularly in the Old Testament -- to God cursing His people, these were misconceptions of God that were held by the people at that time. God never cursed His creation. When the writer of Proverbs said "the curse causeless shall not come," n2 he was glimpsing a concept of God as just. The thought of God's impartial lovingkindness was developing too, until, with the coming of Christ Jesus, mankind was presented with the true concept of God as Love itself. And by his healing works the Master proved God's willingness and power to bless.

n1 Genesis 1:27, 28.

n2 Proverbs 26:2.

Each of us is privileged in this enlightened age to know that God never cursed man. But let us not be limited by the suggestion that He does not condemn evil. God's law rules out sin and sickness. His grace and love free mankind from the curse of materiality -- from proverty, discordant human relations, addiction, immorality, a medical diagnosis of incurability. Perhaps the greatest blessing we can ever receive is the spiritual discovery that evil has no creator, no power.

Mary Baker Eddy n3 writes: "It is a duty for any one to believe that "the curse causeless cannot come'? Then it is a higher duty to know that God never cursed man, His own image and likeness. God never made a wicked man; and man made by God had not a faculty or power underived from his Maker wherewith to make himself wicked." n4

So when we hear of sickness and sin, addiction and affliction, we can perform a "higher duty." We can discern that they have no genuine source, no creator. And when someone asks your opinion of all the troubles in the world, you might even answer (or at least silently pray) somewhat like this: "For myself, I say: God bless." And know that He does!

n3 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science,

n4 Christian Healingm , p. 9.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE If ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, . . . the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the convenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers: and he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil . . . . thou shalt be blesse d above all people. Deuteronomy 7:12, 13, 14

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