Defense Against Disease

Bea Roegge
Published by The Christian Science Sentinel, 6.30.2020
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Your Daughter Will Break Out With Measles on Christmas Day.” This is what the mother of one of our daughter’s friends told me on the telephone. She was being caring by telling me that she had unknowingly allowed our daughter to be exposed to the disease when she visited their home.

I felt a surge of fear for my children. But I had learned a lot about contagion a year or so before. And from this, I knew it was not the time to be afraid, but instead to prove, through prayer, that God does not create His children capable of harming one another through any means, including infectious diseases. I prayed. And our daughter never came down with measles—then or ever. Nor did I hear of any more cases in our school district.

The lesson I had learned earlier, and that helped me then, began when a close friend called to tell me that her son had impetigo. Over the following days she mentioned details of the disease. I listened sympathetically, but felt no concern for our children. After all, we hadn’t visited with that family recently. Actually, we had been out of town, visiting grandparents, and our children had not had contact with other children. So I felt we were safe.

But nevertheless, our daughter began showing symptoms of impetigo. I called a Christian Science practitioner to pray for her. The mental nature of contagion became apparent through this prayer. I learned that it is not enough to say that disease is of the body. The cause is mental, and the cure essentially rests in the quality of our thoughts and the understanding that God maintains us healthy and free from anything bad. Our daughter was quickly healed, and I learned this most important lesson. It is a lesson that I see to be increasingly valuable and pertinent in this age afflicted with threats of biological weapons and germ warfare.

This is not the first time in history, however, when disease and disaster have threatened. For centuries people have turned to the 91st Psalm in the Hebrew Testament as a source of protection against disease, whether it appears as an enemy’s attack or as a natural phenomenon. The psalm is full of assurance: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night … nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness…. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Ps. 91:1, 5, 9–11).

Understanding angels to be thoughts from God, we have a time-proven way for dealing with all pestilences and plagues, including man-made ones. So real protection is not so much physical as metaphysical. One might even say that our warfare over all evil, including contagion, however induced, is the spiritual battle for the supermacy of good. It is essentially mental warfare, in which one holds to the fact that God is good and all-powerful.

Under a heading designated “Mental Infection,” Mary Baker Eddy once wrote, “More certain is mental contagion than material” (My True Light and Life, Boston: The Writings of Mary Baker Eddy and The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity, 2002, p. 512). While recognizing that all inharmony of mind and body has more to do with the human mind than with the body, Mrs. Eddy insisted that the followers of Christian Science, which she called the law of good, obey civil laws, including those requiring vaccinations.

Those who accept the mental nature of disease do not dismiss exposure to contagious diseases and epidemics lightly. As was proven in my case, much more is required than listening sympathetically, or fearfully, to reports of contagion and its dangers. I have come to see that what is required involves looking at anything that is harmful squarely in the face, to see that it is obviously not God created, to deny its validity, and then to consciously reflect on spiritual truths relevant to the situation.

When we, or our loved ones, or our fellow humankind, are exposed to real or perceived health threats, we can turn to the truths embodied in the prayer Jesus taught his disciples when they asked him how they might pray as effectively as he did (see Matt. 6:9–13). Recognizing that God is the Father and Mother of all, we can accept that the laws of the divine government are operative here and now, “in earth, as it is in heaven,” as that prayer of Jesus says. In this way we can contribute to a mental climate where health is to be expected as our rightful condition.

It is essentially mental warfare, in which we hold to the facts that God is good and is all-powerful.

“A calm, Christian state of mind,” Mrs. Eddy has written, “is a better preventive of contagion than a drug, or than any other possible sanative method; and the ‘perfect Love’ that ‘casteth out fear’ is a sure defense” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 229). (You can read the entire short article from which this quotation was taken on the Internet by going to www.spirituality.com and entering contagion in the search box.)

Defending our dwellings—our homes and our thought—against fears of infection calls for alertness, but not alarm. Dwelling “in the secret place of the most High”—the consciousness of perfect, divine Love—and being filled with God’s messages, “[H]is angels,” we prove there is no room for contagion or the fear of it. We are assured that all who come to our thought, our true dwelling place, are also protected by our prayers. Abiding “under the shadow of the “Almighty” is far superior to existing under the shadow of illness and contagion. And what is really wonderful, we can stay shielded from infection. We can sing with the Psalmist, that no “plague” shall “come nigh” us. We’re defended by angels.

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