I am a columnist for the Danbury News-Times Forum on Faith column. Here is my most recent article:
Progressing in Earth’s Preparatory School
The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, asserted in her bestselling book Science and Health with Keys to the Scriptures, that “Earth’s preparatory school must be improved to the utmost.” She considered all of life a process of learning and growing, in preparation for eternity. Referring to Jesus’ parable of the talents in the book of Matthew, she said, “The talents He gives we must improve.”
This emphasis on progress is important to Christian Scientists because we accept progress as a law of God. Each of us has both the capacity and an imperative for improvement. This life-long learning process is especially valuable to reexamine at the beginning of a new school year.
Mrs. Eddy wrote that, “The teachers of schools…should be selected with as direct reference to their morals as to their learning… The pure and uplifting thoughts of the teacher, constantly imparted to pupils, will reach higher than the heavens of astronomy; while the debased and unscrupulous mind, though adorned with gems of scholarly attainment, will degrade the characters it should inform and elevate.”
She had noticed that spirituality has a direct effect on the learning experience. And by “spirituality” here, neither a religious nor a denominational outlook is implied as much as a non-material one, based on qualities and attributes, such as love and hope, grace and goodness, kindness and tolerance. She knew that learning and practicing these things are what matters most.
One could list hundreds of these spiritual qualities and attributes, and then work to express them more consciously, more often, and more fully. Wonderful things happen when this is done. Doors open where there were previously only dead ends. Physical healing may be experienced, fears can abate, relationships enhanced or grief assuaged. But another likely result will be that you will find more success in whatever you are pursuing.
I have seen this statement by Mary Baker Eddy to be true: “Business men and cultured scholars have found that Christian Science enhances their endurance and mental powers, enlarges their perception of character, gives them acuteness and comprehensiveness and an ability to exceed their ordinary capacity. The human mind, imbued with this spiritual understanding, becomes more elastic, is capable of greater endurance, escapes somewhat from itself, and requires less repose. A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms.”
How many positive qualities and attributes can you list? Once you’ve started your list, consider how you might practically improve one of the things on the list, and then endeavor to do just that. Could you be more patient? More generous? More charitable? More compassionate? More honorable? How about more honest, or more fair, or more diligent? Are you industrious, enthusiastic, cheerful and orderly? Do you manifest flexibility, perseverance, and beauty?
Working on these things is actively participating in “earth’s preparatory school.” If we’re still here on earth, we haven’t graduated yet; so we’d better keep studying and experimenting in this laboratory of life. This study can be both delightful and serious, but it is ongoing. Mrs. Eddy remarked that, “Good demands of man every hour, in which to work out the problem of being.” The blessings of doing this are enormous!