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'BEHIND THE SCENES'

A model for healing appears in Science and Health

From the October 2009 issue of The Christian Science Journal


MARY BAKER EDDY KNEW from personal experience that Christian Science healing is effective when the healer is conscious of God as infinite Love and expresses that in his or her life. In the 50th edition of Science and Health, published in 1891, Mrs. Eddy started the chapter "Christian Science Practice" with six pages of material appearing in the book for the first time. She writes about the "strange woman" of Luke 7, who with affection and tears, anointed Jesus' feet with fragrant oil and wiped them with her hair. Using this Bible story as a springboard, Mrs, Eddy went on to describe both the mental attitudes and outward actions that must be present in the successful healer. There's a strong emphasis on loving others in ways that include compassion, sympathy, and deeds that tangibly meet human needs.

The Mary Baker Eddy Library's collection contains documents that show the progress of Mrs. Eddy's work on the 50th edition. One of them is a draft for these pages of "Christian Science Practice." It includes a passage that illustrates the kind of unloving behavior that in her view greatly impedes the success of Christian Science healing: "Take now a glance behind the scenes. In your imagination, enter the sick-room, and there look upon a patient who is receiving treatment from a Christian Scientist, or rather from one who professes to have this faith and power. Let us suppose the case to be one of enteritis, and that the sick man is receiving no benefit from [the practitioner's] metaphysical treatment. He has no appetite, but the practitioner bids him eat,—and to eat much or little, as he chooses; since food is of no consequence, inasmuch as all is Mind, and matter is naught. The nurse, who also professes to believe in Christian Science, brings the emaciated sufferer an unattractive dish of lobster, garnished with a swollen pickle, to be washed down with stale water in a dingy tumbler. The helpless invalid looks hopelessly at his task and the untempting viands! Perchance he weeps, and for the hundredth time says to himself, 'I cannot digest such food'

"The metaphysician cherished a sublime contempt for matter in every form but gives his patient no relief. If nurse and doctor sympathetically felt the sting, they send into the patient's already lacerated heart, or if the brusque business visitor knew the thorn he plants in the pillow of those who in heavenly homesickness are looking away from earth for strength and refuge, this knowledge would prove a million times more salutary for the patient, than does the one's lofty scorn for matter and the other's empty excuses" (A11270, The Mary Baker Eddy Collection, The Mary Baker Eddy Library).

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