“Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity”.
Mary Baker Eddy
(Retrospection and Introspection p.70)
- by thelifeofpimovie
- 11 months ago
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The Christian Science Practice – Open to Everyone
From the September 1993 issue of The Christian Science Journal
When your life has been touched by the healing power of Christian Science, it’s natural to want to share it with others. This interview with a Christian Science practitioner, Mary Ridgeway, shows just how naturally this desire can lead to public practice and how one’s life and family can be blessed along the way.
Is full-time employment in the Christian Science practice a calling anyone can aspire to? It’s a calling that’s natural for everyone to aspire to because everyone is a child of God. We’re all called to the practice of the truth of being. We become aware of this divine leading through the desire in our hearts to love God and mankind more fully.
I think there’s great power in the yearning of the heart to love and help one’s fellowman. I’ve not always been a Christian Scientist, but I always had a desire to help others. I was a musician studying music therapy in college. After graduating, I worked with people who had emotional disturbances. When I began to study Christian Science and to learn more about it, I had an even greater desire to help others. My heart was full of gratitude for Mrs. Eddy’s glorious spiritual understanding of God’s nature. When you get to know God through the study of Christian Science, how can you not want to help others know and demonstrate the source of all good?
What do you feel prepares one for the public practice? The desire for Christliness in one’s own life is the starting point: asking oneself, ‘Am I bringing the Christ to bear in every detail of my life?” Expressions of kindness, tenderness, compassion, and spiritual strength, whether involving church activities, family, or community life, constitute practice. When we bring these qualities to bear in our lives, we’re preparing for a public practice.
Do you love? Are you tender? Are you compassionate to your fellowman? Do you have the desire to help uplift thought above challenges or problems to a more spiritual view of life? If so, “Now is the accepted time” (II Cor. 6:2). Even a slight understanding of Truth and Love has a healing effect. Anyone who has a deep desire to follow Christ Jesus’ healing works should be encouraged to give time to public practice.
My practice has also been based on the deep spiritual lessons I’ve learned by having to pray deeply and strive for spiritual growth during some very challenging events in my own life. If we’re willing to let life experiences point us to Truth, to see God’s presence in the midst of the fiery furnace, then we’re being prepared for Christian Science practice.
How has your commitment to the practice affected your family? Let me begin to answer that question by addressing the common perception that you have to be away from your family. Sometimes you do. You get called, sometimes in the middle of the night or called away to another city. Those things do happen. But my family has never been neglected. There are many ways my family has been profoundly blessed and protected by the practice.
When I was first starting in the part-time practice, I became ill. The condition worsened until I wasn’t able to care for myself or our children. I had the normal feelings any mother would have. I was concerned about what they would do, who would take care of them, and so forth. Working through this problem taught me that I could love our children more when I loved God most. I had to love God most in order to learn how to really love them. This realization was essential to the complete healing I experienced.
I remember something our daughter said to somebody once that I thought was quite wonderful and I was very grateful for it. She said, “You know, my mother’s healing not only changed her life, but it changed mine as well.” I know that my commitment to the practice has blessed my family. One of our daughters has some friends who’ve asked her to pray for them. So I know she’s working with Christian Science, practicing it. Our other daughter has had some very deep challenges in her life and has been willing to stick to what she knows is good and practice it.
The practice has also blessed our marriage. It’s brought so much meekness, patience, and pure affection into our lives. I think my husband and I have grown in our appreciation for each other and support each other more consistently in our lives and work. I see harmony resulting in all of our family relationships, and I see spiritual growth.
Have you made financial sacrifices in order to practice? My Christian Science teacher stressed the practicality of this work. She said, “One can make a very good living being a Christian Science practitioner if you understand that it’s all demonstration.” I really believed her and took it to heart. I set about to try to prove it for myself and took a bit of a leap of faith when I opened my office.
I relied on Christ Jesus’ promise “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). I really felt that I was seeking the kingdom of God with the righteous activity of the public practice. And I was more grateful than I can tell you for the opportunity to be able to do this.
I think gratitude is infinitely important in the demonstration of supply. I gave a lot of thought, and still do, to Mrs. Eddy’s question and answer in Science and Health “Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more” (p. 3). This made it clear to me what I should be doing if I expected increase, whether it was patients, or money, or whatever.
The gratitude I felt for the good that was present was very deep. I endeavored to avail myself of all the blessings that I had. I made myself available to my patients—as available as I possibly could be. And I prayed diligently for myself and for everyone who came to me. I endeavored in every way to live the truth that I was learning.
This has been my experience. And it has brought much increase. My practice continues to grow, and my family and I are continually enriched.
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it,
do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might
be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom
and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord
unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work,
and increasing in the knowledge of God;…
giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us
meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
Colossians 1:9, 10, 12