Health is Inevitable; Contagion is Not!

Kay Ramsdell Olson
Published by The Christian Science Sentinel, 10.24.2020
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We’d probably chuckle at the notion that one could catch good health from someone else. Yet, the founder of this magazine, Mary Baker Eddy, writes regarding one facing contagion, “If he believed as sincerely that health is catching when exposed to contact with health people, he would catch their state of feeling quite as surely and with better effect than he does the sick man’s” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 229).

To believe that one can catch disease may seem natural—but it isn’t. This belief grows out of human customs and the habit of thinking about ourselves as vulnerable to evil. In a sense, we have been educated to believe that sickness and contagion are normal. Mrs. Eddy’s major work, Science and Health, teaches the way to overcome this false education and to defend oneself from its bad effects.

This book explains that the underlying cause of all sickness, whatever its characteristics, is fear. So the first thing to do in prayerfully defending ourselves from disease is to eliminate fear. Science and Health states, “Always begin your treatment by allaying the fear of patients” (p. 411).

Fear sometimes seems rampent. During certain seasons, television commercials and newspaper stories promote the fear of contagion, although much of what they do is meant as a public service. At the beginning of winter, my local newspaper included a pullout section devoted entirely to the listing of contagious diseases (colds, flu, and so on), their symptoms, and methods of prevention or cure. The supposed inevitability of illness that often is conveyed by such materials engenders fear, resignation, and superstition.

What does one do to allay fear? It is a rule in the practice of Christian Science to reassure oneself and those who ask for help in prayer that man is exempt from disease and danger. As the idea of God, Spirit, man is spiritual, not material. Our true consciousness, or individuality—the man we really are—is the immediate expression of God. Since God surely includes no element or thought of disease, sickness cannot be found in what He creates. As Christ Jesus amply proved, an understanding of this unity with Him allays fear and can prevent or cure disease.

What does one do to allay fear?

Instead of resigning oneself to the prevailing belief that disease is a fact and contagion a law, we have a sure defense. In Psalms we find, “My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart” (7:10). Instead of resignation, our defense is a vigorous, silent establishment in thought of the truth that God’s man is permanently sustained as His perfect likeness. Since there is no other power or presence to interfere with or touch man, no evil power or presence can invade us.

I used to think prayer was only a plea to God to protect me or fix me up. When my children were small, I found Christian Science and learned that prayer includes firm, grateful acknowledgement of His goodness and my inclusion in it. One time, our two boys had measles. I took our two younger girls to my parents’ home to give me more time to care for the boys. I vividly remember a moment of prayer as I stood with the girls on the front porch, waiting for my dad to open the door. In my thought, the word no! was as loud as thunder. I could see the word in capital letters! It was a rejection of the whole theory of disease and contagion and an equally powerful affirmation of the well-being of these children.

With that one word—NO!—and the power behind it, any fear I might have entertained that contagion was unavoidable was blotted out. While the girls were expected by my neighbours to catch the measles, they never did. The boys soon returned to school with no further problem.

Science and Health declares: “Insist vehemently on the great fact which covers the whole ground, that God, Spirit, is all, and that there is none beside Him. There is no disease” (p. 421).

On this basis, to believe in an unseen, disease-laden power floating in the atmosphere, ready to pounce on an unsuspecting, unwitting, unconsenting victim, is as superstitious as believing in a hidden danger that results from walking under a ladder. It is imperative, however, to turn daily to our ever-present God and gratefully to acknowledge the fact of His allness.

No, we don’t catch good health. We have good health, continuously, unfailingly, by virtue of our real selfhood as the offspring of God.

Copyright © 2021, The Christian Science Board of Directors

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