Our Mission in the World Is Individual
From Addresses by Martha Wilcox
In our work today, I shall speak much of the individual; I shall stress the importance of the individual, and I shall emphasize the need of the individual doing much metaphysical work within himself and for himself. Scientifically speaking, there is no one else but himself for whom the individual can work. Scientifically speaking, we, as individual man, include the universe, or we include all others and everything within our individual self, and as our individual self. When we see what we call another, we are seeing somewhat of ourselves; and in order to respect and love ourselves or love individual man, we must respect and love others. In order to serve others, we must likewise serve ourselves. As we, individually, are lighted with Truth and Love, we find that our whole world of people and things within ourselves is automatically lighted. All men in unity is the one Christ within us, is individual man, our real self.
We Must Be True to Ourselves
“Thou must be true thyself, if thou the truth would’st teach; Thy heart must overflow, if thou another’s heart would’st reach.” (Mis. 98:27) And Mrs. Eddy emphatically tells us that Truth must be written “first on the tablet of one’s own heart” (’02 2:5), in order to serve one’s self and, in this way, serve others. The past few years the Christian Scientists have prayed, and worked, and struggled to disperse the Truth of Christian Science throughout the world, but today we are praying and striving as never before to gain a rapid spiritual growth within ourselves. Why? Because today it is demanded of the Christian Scientist that he be so clear in his mentality, that he is able to translate every phase of human life into its reality, and give concrete proof of healing and salvation to a sick and war-torn world.
Each Christian Science practitioner and student should be so filled with the spirit of service and love, that he can instantly answer the urgent calls for help. But such proofs can be given only by those individuals in Christian Science whose natures are transformed through prayer, righteous prayer, fervent prayer; prayer as understood in Christian Science, which is an “absolute faith that all things are possible to God.” (S&H 1:2) Mrs. Eddy speaks with emphasis about prayer. She says, “One thing I have greatly desired, and again earnestly request, namely, that Christian Scientists, here and elsewhere, pray daily for themselves; not verbally, nor on bended knee, but mentally, meekly, and importunately.” (My. 18:4-7; Mis. 127:7 11) Do we as individuals pray daily for ourselves? Not for someone else, nor for something else, but for ourself? Jesus is our example, and he spent hours in prayer.
First: Mrs. Eddy requests us to pray mentally. I wonder if we really understand how blessed we are, to be able to pray mentally. How blessed we are that our individual mind, through the enlightenment of Truth, can become that state of spiritual understanding wherein Christ or individual man is the only man.
Second: Mrs. Eddy requests us to pray with a spirit of meekness; that is, we are to pray, and realize, and understand with the sense of peace, and calmness, and sureness that David had when, without armor or sword, he slew Goliath. David spoke with a sense of meekness when he said, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name (meaning the character) of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou has defied. The battle is the Lord’s.” (I Sam. 17:45, 47)
When we pray meekly, our state of mind is one of calmness, and sureness, and innocency; a state of pure consciousness wherein God’s reciprocal law of Being is in operation universally. Daniel, when in the lions’ den, understood this reciprocal law of Being. His mind was not dual. He did not believe that his mind was God’s presence and also believe there was a wicked king and ferocious beasts outside his mind. Daniel, because of his conscious oneness and completeness and perfection with divine Mind, knew that he included the king and the lions of God’s creation within himself. And Daniel knew that the king and the lions, because of their conscious oneness and completeness and perfection with divine Mind, included him within themselves. The king and the lions were in Daniel’s completeness and perfection, and Daniel made up something of the king’s and the lion’s completeness and perfection.
Daniel knew that God or Mind was verified in that very place as one and all. He knew that he and the king and the lions were reciprocal to each other, and each and all were governed by God’s reciprocal law of Being. It was Daniel’s sureness of this reciprocal law of infinite Good that dispelled the seeming evil in his individual consciousness, and in the consciousness of the king and the lions.
Third: Mrs. Eddy requests us to pray importunately; that is, insistently. When our need is very great, when we are sorely perplexed, when our whole heart and being yearn to be uplifted, then we are to pray importunately. Jesus prayed importunately when Lazarus came forth from the grave. To pray importunately does not mean to reach out or up desperately to some power outside our own self. To pray importunately is our own persistent and insistent effort to be that state of truth or understanding or realization that is the Christ, the real man that we already are.
In proportion as we pray daily for ourselves; that is, pray mentally, meekly, and importunately as the occasion demands, we gain spiritual growth rapidly. It might be well for each individual here today to look deep into his own heart and see if he really desires rapid spiritual growth, and if he is earnestly striving and praying for it. If we really desire rapid spiritual growth, we must work and pray to accomplish two things. First, we must dematerialize matter; and second, we must impersonalize personality.
Do we understand that what we call matter is merely a phase of mortal mind? Do we understand the illusory character of matter? Do we understand that matter is never substance, is never presence, and never occupies space? Do we understand that matter is non-existent, nothing? Do we understand that matter cannot do anything to us, and that we cannot do anything to matter, any more than the horizon can do something to us, or we can do anything to the horizon? Matter is like the horizon; it is delusion, deception, false appearance only, a false image in the human mind. To dematerialize matter, we must see to it that our individual consciousness is not active as these phases of mortal thought. In the practice of Christian Science, there is nothing more important than the dematerialization of matter.
The Qualities of Matter
The qualities of mortal mind which seem to make matter something are the qualities we call density, finiteness, boundary, divisibility, mutability, destructibility, separability, mortality; qualities which are unknown and unthinkable to conscious Mind. By dematerialization, that is, by taking all these qualities or characteristics from person and things, we have left only the pure qualities of conscious Mind; we have left only divine ideas or real man.
We find it no small task to dematerialize matter, and it seems even greater to impersonalize our belief in personality; but in order to grow spiritually, we must understand that personality is belief only, a false phase of mortal thought. Personality, like matter, has no real existence.
Personality is a lie or false human concept about our true individuality.
How do we impersonalize our belief in finite personality? We do it by stripping a so-called personality of all the qualities and characteristics that seem to constitute a personality; the qualities and characteristics of finiteness, corporeality, physicality, mortality, organic existence, etc. When we impersonalize these qualities and strip them from a so-called personality, we find at hand the individual man, the real man, still seen as our humanhood.
Jesus Impersonalized His Belief of the Multitude
Jesus impersonalized his belief of personality when he encountered the multitude. How did Jesus do this? It is recorded that he went at once up into a mountain or a high altitude of understanding that he might unsee the demands of these seeming many minds or many personalities. When we encounter the multitude, do we not see the multitude with its beliefs as external to us? Do we not at times go out to greet the multitude and try to meet its demands through human efforts and human responsibilities? Do we not sometimes even try to manage persons? Jesus did not do so. He went at once to a higher understanding of individual man, and we should do likewise. The multitude is always a false concept within our own mentality, and it is through our own within wisdom of Truth and Love that we see individual man as the only man present. It is the Christ within us that dispels the belief in personality and sees the Christ or real man in others.
In speaking of benevolence, it is far from my thought to belittle the support of our church organization. The maintenance of the Christian Science church organization is a duty and a privilege of each individual Christian Scientist, but there is a marked tendency on the part of Christian Scientists to substitute personal benevolence for scientific demonstration. Scientific demonstration in the matter of benevolence is a within process, wherein we see Christ or individual man present in his fullness and completeness. Scientific demonstration permits of no belief of depletion for anyone or anything, but reveals a greater fullness for the whole world.
Peter and John set an example for all of us in spiritual giving. They said to the lame man at the gate of the temple, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6) Peter and John gave what each man owes his brother, even a recognition of him as God’s own image. Such Christly perception heals and saves and is the greatest benevolence there is.
There is a marked tendency to bestow our goods upon others without a proper provision for ourselves, which often results in our own self-depletion. To be neglectful of oneself under the guise of unselfishness is not the way of wisdom. This is letting our benevolence drop to the level of a personal giver and a personal receiver. It is a far greater sense of benevolence to understand that man moves in reciprocal relation to every other idea. Man receives all that God gives, and through reflection gives all that he receives. We are being most benevolent when we refuse to accept the personal sense testimony of limitation and poverty, and understand that man consciously exists at the standpoint of infinite supply or infinity.
Selectivity in Our Practice
There are many students in the Association who are entering upon the practice of Christian Science. It is always well to do earnest praying in regard to taking patients. Not everyone who is sick is ready for Christian Science or even desires the spiritual awakening which is necessary for complete healing. Jesus counseled selectivity. He said to his disciples, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles (meaning those who did not want to worship God), and into any city of the Samaritans (meaning any evil consciousness) enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (meaning those who are trying to find the way).” (Matt. 10:5, 6) We wrong our cause when the choosing of our patients is not of divine guidance. Mrs. Eddy says, “Millions of unprejudiced minds — simple seekers for Truth, weary wanderers, athirst in the desert — are waiting and watching for rest and drink. Give them a cup of cold water in Christ’s name.” (S&H 570:14)
Our mission in the world is as individual as Jesus’ mission or Mrs. Eddy’s mission.
And we should be supremely content in the selfknowledge that we are fulfilling our individual mission in the world.
Our nature can be transformed only through prayer. We should understand and use the reciprocal law of Being.
We should dematerialize matter, and impersonalize personality.