Spirituality and health care

A Christian Science perspective: The realization that health is the natural state of all of us – our divine right – brings healing.

Around the world, debate persists on how best to care for health needs and cover health-care costs. But it’s heartening to see reform gaining ground in one area in particular: a growing sensitivity on the part of health-care professionals to a patient’s faith and spiritual life. Some leading medical schools and teaching hospitals have been looking at how a patient’s mental and spiritual standpoint can be a major factor in health and healing. Individuals’ inner views of themselves and what they believe to be the role of the Divine in their lives are increasingly having an impact on the tone and tenor of treatment in the sickroom.

I can relate to this trend, because I have experienced many physical healings through gaining in my understanding of God.

A concept that is powerful to me is that God is Love, wholly good and merciful, and that divine Love does not cause pain or suffering. One time I was experiencing severe internal pain and irregularity. As I’ve done before when faced with illness, I prayed, lifting my thought to become aware of the ever-presence and power of divine Love, right there with me. Though it seemed my body was “shouting” at me in discomfort, fear began to give way. I realized that I could never be rendered defenseless, since God was my “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” as the Bible has it (Psalms 46:1).

The pain disappeared the next morning as I became more conscious of my true identity as God’s spiritual reflection or image, free from pain or inharmony. And the irregularity soon subsided, as I continued to base my prayers on divine Love’s all-protecting presence. The problem never returned.

More and more, I’ve come to see that God’s love is not just a comforting religious concept, as helpful as that can be in times of need. God’s love is expressed as an unchanging, spiritual law or divine rule that we can look to for healing. This law operates around the clock, and when we yield to it through consecrated prayer and spiritual understanding, healing comes.

Physical healing was an essential part of early Christianity as Christ Jesus and his followers practiced it. But rather than being miraculous, Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of Christian Science,­ found Jesus’ healing works were a demonstration of the timeless and universal law of God. Mrs. Eddy was a pioneer in understanding the impact of a patient’s mental and spiritual standpoint on health, and in her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she writes: “Let us banish sickness as an outlaw, and abide by the rule of perpetual harmony, – God’s law. It is man’s moral right to annul an unjust sentence, a sentence never inflicted by divine authority” (p. 381).

As public conversations about the role of spirituality in health care continue, these ideas can make a useful contribution. Increasingly, health can be seen as the natural state of all of us – a divine right given to us, in St. Paul’s words, by “the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” (II Corinthians 1:3).

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

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 CSMonitor.com.