Love. Love when it's easy. Love when it's hard. Love yourself. Love others. In fact, love everyone, all the time, like sun shines and rain falls.
Think this is an over simplification? Try it and watch what happens.
Sourced in God, your love isn’t personal, but it is powerful. Let your prayers lead you to deeper discoveries of what it means to be the image and likeness of the divine Love that is God. Let Love show you what you are, how extraordinary you are as God’s own ray of love-light. Real love is pure and strong and healthy.
You ARE made perfect in love just like your Father-Love. You are built to express love just like your Mother-Love. Why not start there in prayer?
The alpha and omega, the beginning and the end of you is love. It is your divine right to see it. You must see it. You can see it. Love.
Real love is indestructible. The greatest injustices perpetrated against one haven’t the power to alter the innate capacity to love. Love is a spiritual faculty, deep and constant. As the image and likeness of God, we each reflect the divine Love that is God. There is no avoiding Love. There is no stopping love. Love loves, so we love.
Love is power. Love heals. It’s a fact that hate can’t persist in the presence of the pure goodness and unselfed love of divine Love. Discerning the true spiritual nature of man as the image and likeness of Love, we witness Love’s power, we experience dominion over evil.
Real love is practical. It isn’t wishy-washy, colorless, or flat. It isn’t lukewarm. Love is a spiritual force, active, resilient, prompt to respond. Love is tender and firm. Divine Love is our Mother. She nourishes, clothes, shelters and protects us. Love is our Shepherd searching tirelessly, finding us when we are lost. Love is our Father. He has graven us on the palms of His hands – that tender spot where we are safe and secure. We live uncrushable lives in Love.
In a short essay titled "Love", Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy wrote,
"What a word! I am in awe before it. Over what worlds on worlds it hath range and is sovereign! the underived, the incomparable, the infinite All of good, the alone God, is Love...
Here are a few earlier posts from this blog that bring out aspects of the love of Love.
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A blog reader (and patient) who will remain anonymous has been encouraging me to write a post on the importance of loving oneself. A couple of days ago, she wrote me an email explaining how important this concept has been to her in recent days. I asked if she was willing for her thoughts to be shared on the blog. Her reply? "Of course." So here you go!
From an email dated Saturday, October 20, 2012:
The injunction "Love thy neighbor as thyself" has been popping into my mind for the last few days, and I’ve been giving it a lot of thought.
I think most of us would find it not too hard - at least in most cases—to maybe not love, but at least like our neighbor. But us? Love ourselves? Even like ourselves? No way!
Once I asked a dear friend if she loved herself and she looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t even know what that means.” And she was love itself, a church-goer, generous to a fault, devoting all her time to helping others. How could she not know what that meant? I think lots of people would throw up their hands in horror if asked the same question. Yet all through the Bible, the subject is God’s great love for us.
So I was asking myself, what's wrong?
In the Bible there is a lot of talk about self-abnegation, self-sacrifice, and selfless love. Also, original sin. And to me, it’s this notion that we are basically sinners and worthless, therefore unworthy of love, that seems to have gotten the upper hand.
So the idea of loving oneself has become twisted into being irrelevant or into seeming like an ego trip of self-absorption or self-indulgence, to be rejected entirely by anyone seeking salvation. And then appears the natural extension of this neglecting to love oneself - self-hatred.
I think we have the wrong idea of love and of Love. And it is a better understanding of Love, of God as an unchanging Principle, teaching us to love even ourselves, that makes Christian Science revolutionary.
In Retrospection and Introspection, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Art thou unacquainted with thyself? Then be introduced to this self. Know thyself!”
Over these past several days when you have been working for me, I have begun to understand that knowing myself has to do with loving myself. That is, to know myself, and love my real self, I must see myself as Love sees me. And “love is patent, love is kind.”
So a healing has come. I can see that because God says I am loved and loveable, it’s being said and done and can’t be contradicted. I can yield, accept. Understanding this has overturned all the bad I’d been told about myself ever since I was little. And the baseless anger that had been eating at me for several months has just dissolved. I have become more patient and kind. I have totally quit bashing myself for anything and everything. And I have decided to love no matter what. Me. Others. Often expressed in just a smile, or even merely a pleasant expression. And in return I’ve had such blessings.
Passion. Whether it is for a special person, a valued project or a life goal – who doesn’t adore that feeling of heightened purpose and breathless, eager anticipation that we call passion? I am not talking about a mere physical reaction or emotional bond. Passion, in its spiritual sense, is the fire of inspiration and pure love for its subject.
Many go to great lengths to find something to be truly passionate about. When they do, they hope to sustain the feeling as long as possible. But when the initial fire dies down into embers, does this mean that the love and inspiration is coming to an end? Is there something we can do to fan the flame and rekindle the ardor of inspired commitment to that something or someone we love?
In a long relationship between individuals, in a career or with organizations, duty or responsibilty can tend to take the place of joy and spontaneity; and inspired thinking and acting can suffocate under the daily grind. In this case, what we may have once fiercely loved can tend to become a trial of patience and a test of endurance. The Bible offers some insight into what happens when fresh thought fades into habitual patterns of thinking and acting. The apostle John delivered a message from the Revelator - from Jesus Christ - to a church in Ephesus, Greece that had fallen victim to daily routine. He warned: “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and thou hast… borne and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” (Revelation 2:2-4)
The way I see it, the Revelator commends the fact that they are hanging in there and plugging along. But what happened to the passion of their first love, the fervor for their purpose in laboring, working together? Kindly, John doesn’t leave them to flounder under this diagnosis. He also delivers some sage advice. He says, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.” (Revelation 2:5)
Here, passion is linked to vision, a spiritual vision involving inspiration. When we recapture the inspiration that initiated or spurred on a good idea or relationship, we have reconnected with the flame – the first love that restores joy and purpose.
When actions spring from renewed vision, they act like a fan drawing on a spark until the full blaze is restored. Find inspiration and you find a reason for being. Express the inspiration by doing the “first works” - approaching the relationship with a virgin attitude ("Fresh; new; unused; as virgin soil" - Webster's 1828 Revised Unabridged Dictionary) and the fire tends to spread to those around you.
During the first decade of marriage, my husband and I fell comfortably and naturally into the routine of work and family responsibilities. We had a sweet, loving relationship with mostly ups and very few downs. However, as steady and generally smooth as things were, we were still two people evolving at our own pace, with interests and activities that sometimes converged and often diverged. To a certain extent, we had let our relationship become a bit dusty. Nearing our tenth anniversary, I was longing to rediscover the fire of purpose in the relationship.
This wasn’t something I felt I could discuss with my husband. I didn’t know if he was feeling as out of sorts as I was. I certainly didn’t want to hurt him or frighten him by exposing my thoughts too soon. So before I brought anything to his attention, I decided to pray about my marriage – and to pray for my marriage. I had always felt our relationship was a gift from God, so it seemed perfectly normal to take my questions up in prayer.
Ours was a marriage formed in prayer. I had been praying daily to see the qualities of God expressed in a life-companion. When I met my husband, I recognized his divine qualities right away. After the marriage and over time, regular, consistent prayer for the marriage dropped off and was replaced by the general day-to-day business of the family. And the vision? The inspiration? The fire and passion? That, too, had slowly faded out as the relationship was more and more deprived of that element of prayer so essential to its formation.
So the Revalator's advice to that Ephesus church was on the mark for me. I rediscovered my “first love” through doing the “first works” – practicing again the consistent prayer that had brought us together in the beginning.
One of my issues with the marriage concerned the subject of spirituality. This was clearly a big part of my life. For him? Not so much. I was the church goer, he worked on Sundays. I was spiritually hungry - a genuine seeker. He seemed to have no spiritual curiosity whatsoever. So I asked God in prayer, “After ten years together, are we really on completely different life paths? Is there anything that we can do to bring these two different tracks together?”
As I did some spiritual study on the subject of marriage, I came across a statement that provoked me to wake-up. It is in Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures – a book that really brings the Bible’s message to life. On page 90, she writes, “The admission to one's self that man is God's own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea.”
I had been thinking that if only my husband would change, or admit to himself that he was spiritual, we could rediscover our bond. Now I realized it didn’t depend on him at all. He wasn’t the one thinking he wasn’t very spiritual. That was my issue. I saw that if I admitted to myself that my husband was God’s own likeness, this would set us both free to master the infinite possibilities of our marriage.
I took up daily prayer to watch for, and be a witness to, my husband’s spirituality, and I began to notice so many of his spiritual qualities. Marriage, to me, became a full-on commitment to witnessing to the best in each another. My sense of marriage was reborn. I discovered that the passion I had been seeking was present in direct proportion to my prayers and spiritual witnessing. Our life together was once again full of joy and inspiration. I never said a word to him about this prayer and spiritual renewal, because my struggles on the subject were between me and God. But he noted that the marriage was better than ever, and he was right.
Prayer isn’t just last minute emergency life-support. Prayer can be a permanent life-link to a passionate expression of Life, God. If you are looking for more passion in your life, for renewal of commitment, and fresh joy in your familly, your work, your church, I highly recommend a regimen of prayer that opens you to see more of the divine expressed in and around you. The admission to yourself that you and those in your midst are God’s own likeness, can set you free to live a truly inspired life – aflame with divine Love.
This post first appeared on this blog under the title "Aflame with Divine Love" on November 2, 2011. It has been revised and new links have been added.
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Over the centuries stepmothers have generally gotten a bad rap. Fairytales casting poor, beautiful children opposite nasty, vengeful step-parents, haven't much helped to break the negative stereotype. Pretty soon, we are going to see Julia Roberts, in an updated take on the story of Snow White, offering some new form of poisoned apple to her young charge.
Now I love Julia and will probably thoroughly enjoy seeing her in all her nasty glory on the big screen. But given a choice of which of her films best portrays the realities of step-parenting, I would mostly likely vote for "Stepmom" (1998). In this story, two women, played by Susan Sarandon and Julia, struggle with their respective parenting and step-parenting roles. Both learn painful, and sometimes funny, lessons and ultimately discover that what counts in parenting is an unselfed love.
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