Every year about this time the air is filled with advertisements for masks. Many are asking the question “What am I going to be?” It’s a time when some dress up as a favorite character or wear a mask to denote an alter ego. It’s fun, but come Nov. 1, the masks are taken off, put away, and forgotten.
But what about the masks we wear that aren’t so much fun and seem harder to take off – masks of depression, fear, or addictions? My study of Christian Science has taught me that these aren’t part of God’s creation. They are masks being imposed on our sense of who we are, masks that are removed by recognizing our true spiritual identity as children of God.
It’s interesting to note that the word “person” comes from the Latin term “persona,” which means “mask.” Our “persona” is the mask related to the self or ego that we show to the world. Masks conceal the person behind the image and might even encourage an individual to behave like someone other than who he or she is. The masks of materiality would have us convinced that we are something other than the spiritual idea God created, the image of Him, expressing His nature. They also cause us to believe we’re separated from God and His care.
But Christ Jesus came to show us how to take off such masks. Whether it was a withered hand, blindness, or insanity, he was able to heal it because he knew, and saw right there, the real child of God. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (pp. 476-477).
I have a friend who was healed of addiction through the power of prayer. When he was in his teens he began to drink. He says he was depressed a lot of the time, and that depression resulted in consuming more and more alcohol until he reached the point when he couldn’t stop. When it began to interfere with his relationships and work, he tried to stop but couldn’t. He knew a little about Christian Science and called a friend who was a Christian Scientist to pray with him for healing. The friend talked to him about his identity and relationship to God, which got him seeing himself in a more spiritual way. They prayed to see something of what Jesus saw: that perfect, spiritual man of God’s creating. My friend began to understand more about his relationship to God, how God saw him, and how he could see himself.
There is a paragraph from Science and Health that he says really helped him to keep his thinking focused: “We cannot build safely on false foundations. Truth makes a new creature, in whom old things pass away and ‘all things are become new.’ Passions, selfishness, false appetites, hatred, fear, all sensuality, yield to spirituality, and the superabundance of being is on the side of God, good” (p. 201).
The prayers were helping him see himself in a new way. He began to recognize that the real foundation of his life was spiritual, not material, and that all the power supporting life was on the side of God, good. Realizing those facts and holding to them caused the desire for alcohol to fall away, and it wasn’t long before he lost all desire to drink. The truth of his identity had given him a new sense of himself and he was and remains totally healed.
I’ve learned that Truth is the Christ, the divine influence that reveals our true nature. It shows us that the masks we seem to be wearing have never really been a part of us. They are misconceptions of our being. They may seem for a while to have power, but only until we recognize that our relationship to God is never broken. We are and always have been God’s perfect children, expressing the qualities of love and health, self-government and goodness that God has created us to express. Rather than accepting the masks of false identity, we can celebrate knowing that we are the children of God!