THE Bible tells us about the prodigal son, who asked his father for his inheritance, left home, and then squandered it on reckless living. At a time of famine he became destitute and had to take a job as a keeper of another man's swine. He nearly starved. When he came to his senses, he said, ``I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.''1 He changed the direction of his life and returned home. His father forgave him and brought him back into the family circle. The prodigal is symbolic of anyone who struggles with the notion that he can live or has lived without God. He wanted to ``do his own thing,'' and he thought that happiness was found in material pleasures. Yet he discovered neither peace of mind nor success in such spiritual alienation; in fact, it led to poverty and despair.
The pursuit of sensual pleasures can blind us to who and what we really are -- the children of God's creating, each with a distinct, individual spiritual identity that is forever satisfied as God's likeness. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points to this reality and to the means for making it more apparent in our lives: ``The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship.''2
This is returning home, in our thinking, to our heavenly Father. We can all make greater efforts to turn from sin and to put off the self-indulgence which results from the misconception that man has a selfhood apart from God, that he is a carnal, physical being, needing perpetual gratification. Our true, spiritual individuality reflects God and therefore includes all good.
True blessings come from acknowledging our unity with God and expressing our real, Godlike nature to the fullest possible extent. We all have the ability to do this. Christ Jesus was the ideal man, who came to show us the way. He lived in constant obedience to the Father's will, and he demonstrated the divine sonship to perfection. He revealed the nature of God and of His care for man. He said that those who are meek, righteous, merciful, pure, peaceful, and self-sacrificing are blessed.3 To express these qualities is to find heaven, our true home, within our consciousness.
Before I found Christian Science, I had two constant companions -- fear and worry. I feared for the safety of my children. I worried about a physical difficulty and about being left alone. I was afraid of driving in city traffic. Life seemed fraught with dangers and dissatisfactions. I picked up a gift copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy one day. From then on, God became a living reality to me. I gradually gained an understanding of God and my relationship to Him. I had been mesmerized by the belief that I had a selfhood apart from God and that I could be a victim of circumstance. But as I became more unselfish the cycle of despair broke. I found that the more love I expressed, the less fear I felt, and the more I acknowledged my unity with God, the less I had to worry about. I had come home -- not through mere positive thinking but through the living demonstration of man's oneness with God.
1Luke 15:18, 19. 2Science and Health, p. 316. 3See Matthew5:1-11.