Reaching someone who seems beyond help
QUESTION: “How does one heal someone who has lost their sense of orientation, who is 80 percent deaf, who doesn’t know who he is, or with whom he is, anymore? I believe in spiritual healing. I want to see such healing for this man.” (Question originally asked in French.)
RESPONSE: Prayer is especially helpful in such cases because it bypasses broken down lines of human communication and lifts the case directly to God. Prayer involves engaging spiritual sense, which is the innate capacity we all have to discern spiritual reality. Through spiritual sense we can discern the true and present nature of God and man and prove that no one is out of reach of God’s care.
When the material senses break down, a case can seem unreachable. But this evidence of deterioration only points to a mortal belief about man as cut off from good. This is never the actual case. No one is without hope or help. Your prayers that seek out God’s perspective of His creation can lead you to the truth about the material senses – that they neither limit nor define a man’s capabilities. When we stop fretting over what seems to limit the person and discover real life to be limitless and free in God, the door opens wide to healing.
The identity and liberty of each one of God’s children are intact and safe. Never separated from the divine Life that is God, real life is completely free from limiting, material conditions. We don't have to wait for some hereafter moment to experience the freedom of spiritual being. This present state of existence is completely discoverable through prayer.
A marginal heading, “Identity not lost” appears twice in Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
“What is man? Brain, heart, blood, bones, etc., the material structure? If the real man is in the material body, you take away a portion of the man when you amputate a limb; the surgeon destroys manhood, and worms annihilate it. But the loss of a limb or injury to a tissue is sometimes the quickener of manliness; and the unfortunate cripple may present more nobility than the statuesque athlete, — teaching us by his very deprivations, that ‘a man’s a man, for a’ that.’” (172)
“The material body and mind are temporal, but the real man is spiritual and eternal. The identity of the real man is not lost, but found through this explanation; for the conscious infinitude of existence and of all identity is thereby discerned and remains unchanged. It is impossible that man should lose aught that is real, when God is all and eternally his. The notion that mind is in matter, and that the so-called pleasures and pains, the birth, sin, sickness, and death of matter, are real, is a mortal belief; and this belief is all that will ever be lost.” (302)
If you are worried that your prayers “here” may not reach one in need “there,” don’t be. It has been scientifically proven that the discernment of the true nature of man in one human consciousness can set others free from their false beliefs about themselves. Christ Jesus discerned the perfect man that divine Truth, God, creates and maintains. He did this in cases where, to material sense, the patient seemed completely out of reach. (See the healing of Jairus’ daughter, Gospel of Luke 8:41-56; and the raising of Lazarus from the dead, Gospel of John, chapter 11) Jesus proved that no one cut off from the Love that is God. He discerned the kingdom of God within us – the spiritual capacity to know and express the Life that is God.
Mary Baker Eddy explained, “When speaking of God’s children, not the children of men, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you;” that is, Truth and Love reign in the real man, showing that man in God’s image is unfallen and eternal. Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy. Man is not a material habitation for Soul; he is himself spiritual. Soul, being Spirit, is seen in nothing imperfect nor material.” (476)
Jesus didn’t illustrate an exception to the rule. He showed that the power to heal belongs to each of us and can be demonstrated when we understand who we are as children of God. The divine perspective that heals the sick and raises oneself and others out of the oblivion of material sense is available to everyone who is willing to seek it out.
Your prayers are important. Let your search for healing begin with deepening, expanding, your understanding of the true nature of God. The Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health are indispensable tools to aid you in your prayers. Let them open your eyes to what God is, and to what he is doing right now for His creation.
I frequently receive questions from readers of this blog concerning the practice of healing prayer. Many questions are personal in nature, but occasionally I receive a question generic enough to be addressed for a wider audience. If you have helpful thoughts to share with this questioner, please feel free to leave them in your comment below.
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Pearls, swine and judgment
Are there people in your life who are not worth the time of day? Some who just don't deserve to be loved, prayed for, given a helping hand?
That is how Christ Jesus' words about throwing one's "pearls before swine" are sometimes interpreted.
According to Matthew, his exact words are: "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." Matthew 7:6, New American Standard Bible
So who or what are the swine?
In the Bible, context means a lot. Jesus' remarks appear in Matthew's rendering of the Sermon on the Mount and is part of a general discussion on not judging others. His basic message is: "Don't judge others, rather work on your own perspective so you can help." And he finishes with the swine reference. Did Jesus suddenly switch gears? Maybe not.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "Jesus' parable of 'the sower' shows the care our Master took not to impart to dull ears and gross hearts the spiritual teachings which dulness and grossness could not accept. Reading the thoughts of the people, he said: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine." (p. 272)
Is the phrase "dull ears and gross hearts" a reference to ignorant or unreceptive neighbors, colleagues, family members and other people? Or is it possible the dull ears, gross hearts, and swine, are actually the mortal thoughts and material conditions that tend to pull our attention away from seeing, loving and helping our fellow man?
By the time Jesus met a certain man from Gadera, the guy had already been subject to a lot of "pearls before swine" treatment. His closest neighbors were swine-herders who had invested a lot in watching this poor man suffer and act out. They were aware of up to a legion (2000) of symptoms of his illness. How difficult it must have been for them to be so invested in the man's difficulties. Ultimately, they they paid a high price for their proximity to his case. (For a full look at that story and its meaning, see "What we can learn from that crazy pig story".)
On the other hand, Jesus didn't suffer at all for helping. He had a different approach. He didn't ask about the problem, didn't get involved with all those symptoms. The contact was short and sweet, really. But effective.
He asked the man his name. Christ Jesus saw him as a man with a name and a spiritual nature to be discerned and loved. Whatever was said, no matter what tale of suffering poured out, he didn't carry on a lengthy discussion with the devils - the symptoms of disease. He cast them out.
Seeing him as the son of God, Jesus helped the man find himself again, clothed and in his right mind. Mary Baker Eddy explained how: "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick." (Science and Health, 476)
Perspective is everything when it comes to helping and healing. This is why Jesus gave the essential teaching to his disciples just before talking about what they should not do with their pearls, "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7:3-5, New American Standard Bible)
Many who need help don't know much more than that they are suffering. For those who know of a way out, there is always something that can be done. If the way isn't readily seen, we have a log in our eye - a mistaken view of the situation before us - and may well be fooled by the swine costume of symptoms that is hiding the real man. In that case, the need is to deal first with our own perspective in prayer. When we behold the perfect man, the true spiritual nature of man as the reflection of the perfect Mind that is God, we will always know what to do next. Whether we pray, or give a helping hand in some other way, there are always precious pearls we can throw.
There really is no Christian way around it. We must throw down our pearls. Do we cast them before swine and risk their being trampled under a torrent of fear and frenzy? Or shall we place them before the Christ and see the real man as he is? The pure perspective of God's spiritual man, heals.
And every one of your pearls counts.
This post first appeared on this blog on March 13th. It has been edited and updated for this re-post. Things are settling down a bit around here. So, I expect to begin posting some new material in the next few days. It has been fun looking back over the last year and pulling forward some of my favorite archive pieces. Thank you for hanging in there and reading them again!
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Helping others love themselves
When a first grader made a passing remark to his Sunday School class about suicide, his teacher couldn’t imagine that the remark had any real weight of conviction behind it. So, it passed by with only a brief response. The following week when the child brought up the subject again, it was once more dealt with lightly at first. But the teacher discerned that the boy was reaching out for help. Throughout the next week she prayed for guidance on how to meet the needs of everyone in the Sunday School class, including this boy.
The next Sunday it became apparent that this child, whose mother had recently passed on, was becoming more and more convinced that his own death would reconnect him with happiness. The depth of his yearning was surfacing. The teacher prayed to hear and respond to the Christ, the spiritual idea of God that heals. A great way of thinking of the Christ is, "..the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to man speaking to the human consciousness." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p.332) She wanted to give the child an answer that would go beyond temporary comfort over the loss of his mother so the teacher turned her attention to listening for the Christ - the divine message that would meet the need...
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I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no
© 2011-2023 Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche, CSB. All rights reserved. Pages updated 2 December, 2022.