Finding comfort after the Quebec City shooting

A Christian Science perspective: On the Comforter that brings healing, harmony, and protection.

My heart goes out in loving embrace to all our Muslim brothers and sisters here in Quebec. On Jan. 29, a gunman entered a mosque at prayer time in our capital, Quebec City, causing fatalities and injuries. Our usually peaceful province is shaken, and some are feeling unsafe.

Clearly, there’s a deep yearning for comfort. In my own experience I’ve found this kind of comfort can only be fully found from a divine source imparting uplifting messages, or “angel thoughts,” that lead our hearts up to a spiritual, harmonious sense of life, as expressed in this verse:

O longing hearts that wait on God
Through all the world so wide;
He knows the angels that you need,
And sends them to your side,
To comfort, guard and guide.
(Violet Hay, “Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 9, © CSBD)

These divinely comforting angel thoughts offer more than just human solace, as helpful as that can be. They evidence the presence of the Comforter with a capital “C” that Christ Jesus promised God would send to us, to be with us all forever (see John 14:16).

In Christian Science, this Comforter is understood to be the spiritual sense of Life, Truth, and Love – the divine Science, or laws of God, that Jesus taught and demonstrated in his marvelous works of healing.

For example, Jesus said to a woman he healed of a chronic illness, “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 8:48). What brings such comfort and healing is the power and presence of the Christ, the understanding and assurance of life as the full and everlasting expression of God, who is Life itself. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this paper, came to understand God also as tender, all-ministering Love. She observed, “It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 494).

God’s angel messages, or good thoughts, inspire love, unity, and support – never hatred or revenge. And God is always conveying these loving and uplifting angel thoughts to each of us, as God’s beloved sons and daughters, made in Love’s spiritual image.

The power of the Comforter, as the continuous expression of divine Love, can be felt and experienced in countless ways. A hot meal brought to a neighbor’s house. A child’s smile or hug. A friend’s supportive prayers, which can help and even heal. Such outpourings of love are divinely natural to us, and have been abundantly evident over the past several days. Countless messages of loving support for the Muslim community have been posted on social media and expressed by public figures. Supportive vigils have been held across Canada, often in biting cold weather. One Muslim woman, impressed by the high attendance at such a vigil, said, “It shows people reject any act of terrorism, any act of Islamophobia.”

Perhaps these expressions of love and inclusion point to healing taking place in public thought. They are certainly a welcome antidote to the temptation to fall into negative “us-and-them” thinking. Since we are all truly the reflection of divine Spirit, God, our real identity is spiritual. Qualities such as wisdom and kindness are inherent in us, no matter what our ethnic or religious background, and divine Love is always conveying to each of us our eternal spiritual identity and divine purpose, in which we find it’s not in our nature to hate or harm.

Security has, of course, been increased in certain ways to quell fears of another attack. Yet beyond taking such wise measures, consistent prayer to discern the all-inclusive embrace of divine Love can help counter unloving thoughts and disarm hateful intentions. And we can each play a part in forwarding this universally desirable goal.

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