Report from Milan: Finding spiritual peace amid the pandemic

After experiencing the largest lockdown in Europe, Italy recently announced plans to begin easing restrictions on social interactions and to slowly reopen its economy. Here’s an article by a woman who shares how certain universal, spiritual ideas have helped her find peace amid the coronavirus pandemic.

I live in Milan, the largest city in the region of Italy most affected by the global coronavirus pandemic. We quickly went into almost total lockdown. Even the church bells, a familiar sound in Italy, stopped ringing.

It hasn’t been easy. The staggering statistics of suffering, the mounting anxiety about the future, and now the looming economic disaster paint a bleak scene. Yet the creativity and joy my fellow countrymen and women have exhibited through it all have been truly inspiring, showing that goodness cannot be stifled or extinguished.

When the lockdown started, having family and friends all over the world, I was swamped by requests for details about the situation and how we were doing. Feeling the need to pray and find peace, I decided to reread a chapter called “Creation” in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science.

Especially at this time, I have been deeply grateful for this book as well as the Bible, on which the teachings of Christian Science are based. They give humanity the spiritual tools to uplift thought to a more spiritual view that helps us feel peace and comfort even in the face of challenges. And most importantly, to know that all things are possible with God, including the healing of any disease.

As I read, I found a couple of sentences that brought me the peace and comfort I needed and helped establish a spiritual starting point for my prayers: “Divine Mind is the only cause or Principle of existence. Cause does not exist in matter, in mortal mind, or in physical forms” (p. 262). And Mrs. Eddy prefaces this by saying that “to begin rightly” enables us to “end rightly,” or come to the right conclusions about life and health.

The chapter goes on to explain that we begin rightly when we acknowledge that everyone is God’s creation, the spiritual, flawless reflection of God’s being; also, that God is the only true creator and creates only that which is spiritual and harmless.

A study of this chapter enabled me to recognize more consistently that any disruptive picture the material senses present to us is ultimately not our reality. The spiritual reality is always God, and God’s creation held in His arms, loved and protected, filled with love and joy, not fear.

As a result of this study, I was able to feel the peace of God. In turn I was able to radiate this peace whenever I had the opportunity to share with others these spiritual ideas, which can break down the palpable wall of anxiety about the future and give us the strength to stand calmly.

Although I have overcome many fears regarding the pandemic, recently I found myself being put to the test once again. While in line to enter the supermarket, I started to panic once I saw the guard at the door taking each customer’s temperature before allowing us in one at a time. I had been in line for some time, enjoying a warm spring sun, and I thought: “Could I appear to have a fever simply because I felt warm from being in the sun?”

In just a few seconds I had a flood of negative thoughts. Realizing I should not ignore them, I immediately recalled the aforementioned passage in Science and Health and realized that I was asking the wrong question, thinking from the wrong premise. So I began to reason this way: I am not a vulnerable mortal, but a spiritual idea, reflecting the beautiful, pure thoughts of God, manifested in health, joy, and fearlessness.

This universal spiritual truth – which applies to everyone – quickly dispelled the river of fear and silenced my questions and speculations. I was back on track, got the groceries I needed without a problem, and went home.

This experience brought to my attention the importance of being spiritually alert – of keeping thought aligned with God. Last week, the church bells began ringing again in Italy, a symbol of the spiritual fact that nothing can silence the voice of divine Truth. It is present to reach receptive hearts in every corner of the earth and bring freedom from the chains of fear and mortality.

Adapted from an article published on sentinel.christianscience.com, May 7, 2020.

Editor’s note: As a public service, all the Monitor’s coronavirus coverage is free, including articles from this column. There’s also a special free section of JSH-Online.com on a healing response to the coronavirus. There is no paywall for any of this coverage.

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