Friday, April 28, 2006

Wholesome chastisements

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These passages from this week’s Bible Lesson have been food for thought:

My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.


Through the wholesome chastisements of Love, we are helped onward in the march towards righteousness, peace, and purity, which are the landmarks of Science.

--Science and Health

In doing a little independent study, I came across this note I’d written in the margins of one of Mary Baker Eddy’s books years ago:

What feels like chastisement is the forcible rejection of evil by perfection.

Nobody likes that feeling, but the process is inevitable. Our own perfection requires that any evil we’re accepting be displaced. Forcibly. And sometimes not on our own timetable. Ha—if we waited until we *wanted* to get better, we never would!

Yet still, I find this comforting. Even the experience of feeling chastised can tell us that we are inextricably linked to the divine Father-Mother. Having the capacity to grow and change is an outgrowth of that connection. Without being linked to the Divine through the tender love of the Christ, we would never improve. Improvement itself is an indication of our eternal connection.

But of course, improvement starts with self-knowledge, with the uncovering of that which needs improvement. Not always fun. On that score, this week in particular ranks very low on the fun-meter for me, because I’ve made some uncomfortable discoveries in areas where I need a fundamental shift in thinking.

I guess I’m grateful to know this now even though the mental and spiritual work ahead seems daunting. And I would fight it if I weren’t convinced already that “resistance is futile” (in Star Trek parlance) when it comes to spiritual growth. So I may as well get it over with, right? Which means today, getting down to it as much as I can. “[T]he the human self must be evangelized. This task God demands us to accept lovingly to-day, and to abandon so fast as practical the material, and to work out the spiritual which determines the outward and actual” (Science and Health).

So here I go! It should be an interesting weekend.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 4/29/2006 10:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few months ago, when I blew the dust off my Science and Health and started reading it in a way I never did back in Sunday School, the word 'chemicalization' jumped out at me. It took me a while to figure out where Mrs. Eddy was going with that word. But since then, I've figured out she means a kind of frothing up of things after a change begins, before things settle back down. Like when vinegar and baking soda come to a froth, before they settle down to a nice pH 7 neutral solution. I try to see chastisement now as a kind of chemicalization; the stirring up and apparent worsening of underlying problems is often a necessary step in their elimination.


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