I WAS in an Italian patisserie in my home city. It was just another visit to a favorite cafe. I was surrounded by familiar sights, sounds, and people.
I was sitting there reading a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, a great spiritual thinker who was also the founder of this newspaper. This book conveys the author's understanding of Christian healing, revealing the spiritual message of the Holy Bible.
As I read that day, something just clicked into place as I reached this short sentence: ''There is no disease'' (p. 421). This is a bold statement, to be sure, but one that Science and Health backs up with logical proof, and one that we can all come to understand. I still remember that moment to this day. The implications of those four words lighted up my thought with a clarity that is beyond description. That familiar cafe was, for me, filled with the glow of God's goodness. It made my heart sing. God had always been there, but His presence had become visible to my spiritual sense.
Did this moment make any difference? I feel it did. Since then, several years ago, I have maintained good health more consistently than ever before. Sometimes that has involved healing through prayer, when I've found myself sick. Other times I have had long periods where disease isn't an issue for me-except that I have prayed to help others see what I glimpsed that day.
This illustrates that spiritual understanding can come to any of us, anywhere, as we allow our thoughts to turn to God in prayer. Our lives can be filled with such holy insights. It doesn't necessarily require a church, or even a quiet place, for us to feel God communicating His ideas. The concept that God and His creation, including man, are perfect is always available. This concept of God and man constitutes what Christian Science calls the Christ. It is the concept Jesus held. We can exercise our inherent ability to be receptive to God's communications. These progressively light up our thoughts with inspired ideas. These ideas bring healing to us, to our families, and to our communities.
Consider the way Jesus conducted himself. The Bible indicates that he let every moment be a sacred time of openness to God's ideas. The thoughts that came to him not only healed those he was with; they still resonate with healing today.
In following the Saviour's example, we can have lives more constantly filled with good thinking. In the book Miscellaneous Writings, Mrs. Eddy said of God, ''If He be with us, the wayside is a sanctuary, and the desert a resting-place peopled with living witnesses of the fact that 'God is Love' '' (p. 150).
Your true nature is always to be a living witness to God's existence. For example, you can learn of Him as inexhaustible Love, and then actively seek to reflect His love in your life. It is in this, your true nature, that ''there is no disease.'' Similarly, in this nature there is no lack, no sin, and no death. You cannot hate, resent, fear, or fail.
The entire proof of these spiritual truths cannot come all at once-though we can certainly expect needed healings to accompany our progress. Spiritual transformation of character takes many moments of receptivity to God-moments of prayer, repentance, reformation, and redemption. The more of these holy moments you have, the more steady your spiritual progress. It is vital, then, to see homes, workplaces, and even favorite cafes, as potentially holy places, in which to hear God speak.
The Bible says each of us is truly an image of God. We each reflect and express God's perfection. That's what I glimpsed that day, and it has remained with me ever since. I still look forward to understanding more of this far-reaching truth, but I feel I reached a significant point of progress in those familiar surroundings, at that holy moment.
Listening for and discerning God's thoughts make any place holy.