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"A WOMAN OF CANAAN"

From the August 1935 issue of The Christian Science Journal


During his three years' ministry, Jesus was approached by a woman who had come out of the coasts of Tyre and Sidon seeking help for her daughter who was "grievously vexed." The woman's persistent manner seemed to the disciples disorderly and unwarranted, and they urged the Master to send her away. Explaining to them that his mission was to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel," Jesus first of all said to the distressed mother, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." Conscious of her human extremity, and with fortitude and faith born of mother love, she humbly admitted her inferior social status as one of a gentile race. But while she freely confessed what she believed to be the presumptuous-ness of her claim to the Messianic blessing, she fervently prayed the privilege of partaking of the crumbs which fell from the table. It may well be asked, Was it the Saviour's purpose to impress upon this already distraught petitioner the unworthiness of herself and the suffering child, due to racial and religious prejudice? Is it possible that the most compassionate of men contemplated ruthless observance of dogmatic ecclesiastical law, or was prepared, for any reason whatsoever, to turn a deaf ear to this pitiful appeal?

In "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 127) Mrs. Eddy gives to her followers this assurance: "When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone,—but more grace, obedience, and love." And so the faith and humility of the Canaanite mother were rewarded by the Master's inspiring, comforting, healing benediction, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt."

Mortals are turning to Christ, Truth, for surcease and deliverance from conditions which have become burdensome and intolerable. And, like the Canaanite, many question: Am I altogether worthy? May there not be some requisite or condition that I am not able to meet? It is a fact that all who seek the healing Christ must become "poor in spirit" in order to realize that "their's is the kingdom of heaven." The answer to the prayer of faith rising from a contrite heart in humble adoration of God, who is Love, never fails of fulfillment; the divine presence is unmistakably felt and made manifest in the healing of disease and the overcoming of sin. The recognition of man as the eternally perfect idea of God, perfect Principle, displaces discordant conditions of thought and establishes the kingdom of heaven in human consciousness. On page x of the Preface to "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy offers this encouragement to faltering hope: "The divine Principle of healing is proved in the personal experience of any sincere seeker of Truth."

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