'Who was that lady?'
Originally printed as an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel
A woman was shopping for chairs with a friend. But she was distracted. The salesman helping them was wearing a bandage over one eye.
When they left, the friend questioned her lack of interest in the furniture.
"Could I think of chairs when the man was suffering?" was the answer.
The next day, the woman's friend went to pick up the chairs. "Who was that lady with you yesterday?" the salesman asked. "I had an abscess on my eye and when she went out, I took the bandage off, and there was not a sign of it left."
In 1908 the woman, Mary Baker Eddy, would establish the newspaper you are now reading. She was also the author of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
That salesman wanted to know who that person was. She hadn't asked anything about his problem. Yet his life had just been changed because she had healed him - mentally.
What did she know about him, and how?
That incident took place in the early 1880s. There was little knowledge, at that time, about the genetic history of individuals. Genomes were unknown. But what Mrs. Eddy understood about the spiritual identity that everyone has without exception was all that was needed to help the salesman. His recovery was the result of her acknowledging a spiritual reality that was beyond what appeared in front of her. A reality that preceded the circumstances of his birth or physical environment. That man's spiritual identity was intact and originated in something unchangeable, in something prior to and above his experience at that time. And she knew it.
In her own search for health and happiness, Mrs. Eddy had previously investigated several systems of healing and discovered that there is a mental factor that helps the body improve. When she found her own physical well-being by reading one of the cures performed by Jesus, she realized that healing was not just mental in nature, but also spiritual.
That is, it had a direct relation to God.
She continued to research the Bible, which she had studied all her life. And she continued to heal other people. She wrote down the inspired reasoning that she found restores health, and eventually published a book on the subject - Science and Health. And she began to teach others to restore health, too. That is why the students of the Science described in her book are able to understand how she healed that man in the furniture store (as well as many other people) - and how to heal in the way she taught.
Physical conditions improve when a person understands that life is governed by a concrete Principle, an eternal presence so inclusive that it occupies the minutest or vastest space in the universe, regardless of how near or distant that little or big space may be. And regardless of how invisible this Principle may seem.
This Principle is Love. It is God Himself. Not a superhuman being somewhere out in the universe, of whom we request favors. Prayer to this God is a spiritual awareness of God's infinite presence.
You can arrive at this awareness by reasoning spiritually and intelligently. Prayer consists of acknowledging who each of us is spiritually. And of denying authority to anything that diverges from Love. This prayer gets rid of suffering and restores peace and well-being. The prayer that heals recognizes that "the harmony and immortality of man are intact" (Science and Health, pg. 521).
It was only natural for the salesman to want to know who that woman was who had healed him. You'd probably have wanted to know if it had been you.
Is any sick among you?
let him call for the elders
of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil
in the name of the Lord: And the
prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
James 5:14, 15
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society