Ministerial Meandering 23-29 August, 2021
Two things have come into my mind more than once this week, and I thought I’d share them with you; one this week, and one next week.
I have been reading for some time the daily message of Emmet Fox. That may not be a name you are familiar with; he was an Irish New Thought spiritual leader who lived from 1886 to 1951 and moved to New York in 1931, where he became a minister in the Church of Divine Science.
Divine Science and New Thought are very much interwoven and New Thought holds that Infinite Intelligence, or God, is everywhere, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and "right thinking" has a healing effect.
While I think he has some good points, he bothers me a lot by his suggestions that prayers will always be answered in the affirmative, and that you only get sick and stay sick because of your state of mind.
I am aware that we have a number of people in our parish who are sick; some in mind, some in body - and some in both. And while I believe that we can do a lot to help ourselves by our state of mind and our attitude to life in general, that is not always the case. Some illnesses require outside help. I do not think that our prayers to God will always be answered in the way we would like, either. As has been said many times - we often don’t get what we want, but we get what we need.
So for those of you who are avid followers of Emmet Fox, I would urge a sense of caution or you may find yourself in an horrendous spiral of self-recrimination, wondering why you aren’t getting any better, or your mood is really low - and beating yourself up about it when what you actually need is some help or support from outside yourself. I believe that healing is always there - but it doesn’t always take the form we expect it to take. And sometimes relief from pain is found only in the next life.
I could dwell on the fact that I live with prostate cancer - but what would be the point? It was found incidentally, and I now live with the repercussions of less than perfect surgery, but - to date - no recurrence of my cancer. No point in my thinking that I brought it on myself or that I could have cured it without the help of a surgeon. Healing sometimes comes from outside, as I say.
Be always cognizant of the fact that God is mystery, and how He works is rarely understandable to us, and books that make it all seem easy and readily comprehensible usually miss the point somewhere.