Today's heroism

A Christian Science perspective: Many heroes say that their strength and fortitude come from a higher source.

To acknowledge today’s heroes, and to do so publicly, is certainly important, both to honor them and also to inspire us to look at our own opportunities to stand strong in difficult trials. Earlier this year, the Monitor reported that the US State Department had presented 13 women from around the world with the International Women of Courage Award. They were honored for “their demonstrated courage and leadership in the face of adversity” (see “ ‘True heroes’: Melania Trump honors 13 women of courage,”, March 29).

Heroes often are nearer to us than we realize. It wasn’t until later in life that I found out my grandfather is considered a hero. In the 1940s, soldiers came to his home, captured him, and sent him to a camp, because he had been helping Jewish families escape Nazi Germany. He worked in that camp as a laborer, digging wide trenches designed to keep Russian tanks from entering the country. About two years later, surprisingly, he was released and returned to his family; he then worked as a lawyer.

When I was in the ninth grade, I asked about the details of my grandfather’s life; nothing was said about what he did for those Jewish families, or of his time as a prisoner. It was many years later, when the movie “Schindler’s List” came out, that my mother told me of his incredible heroism.

Today, in his hometown, a museum and a square are named after my grandfather. While he is now acknowledged as a hero, his story has made me think about how, throughout history, there have been so many unacknowledged heroes. It has made me ask, “What makes a hero?”

Bravery and courage are certainly identified with heroes. Selfless love, too. But how is it that individuals find these qualities?

Many heroes say that their strength and fortitude come from a higher source than themselves, from divine Spirit, or God. In the Bible, man – both male and female – is described as being made in this creator’s image. This means that man reflects Spirit, and that every individual expresses all the power, strength, bravery, love, and willingness needed for selfless heroism.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). This kingdom – the spiritual consciousness where God, good, governs – brings out our true nature.

“Every luminary in the constellation of human greatness, like the stars, comes out in the darkness to shine with the reflected light of God,” writes Christian Science Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy (“Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896,” p. 340).

“To shine with the reflected light of God” is both humbling and empowering. Goodness, courage, and strength are sourced in God. In our reflection of Him, we each have the power to face whatever challenges come our way in life.

Never underestimate your individual role as the brilliant reflection of God. In your own individual way, you are a luminary, and can be a hero.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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