Catherine H. Anwandter of Santiago, Chile
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Lasting satisfaction is found through awakening to one's true identity, to what God made man to be, Catherine H. Anwandter, C.S.B., told an audience yesterday in The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
"As we recognize and live our true identity," Mrs. Anwandter said, "we yield to the will of the all-loving, intelligent Mind and this gives us a sense of fullness or completeness rather than limitation."
A Christian Science teacher and practitioner from Santiago, Chile, Mrs. Anwandter is on tour as a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship. She is the first Christian Scientist from South America to lecture in The Mother Church. Her lecture was entitled, "How to Find Lasting Satisfaction."
Mrs. Anwandter was introduced by William Milford Correll, the First Reader of The Mother Church.
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
One summer day some years ago my husband and I were getting ready to leave on a holiday. He was quite unlike himself. What with having to get his business and the house in order, he was thoroughly nervous and cross. To make matters worse, late that evening he found a rough-looking character, asleep on our porch. My husband was annoyed and angry and in his impatience he dropped his house key. The man picked it up and refused to give it back, saying he didn't have it. He was so belligerent, we called the police. The police took the man away, assuring us they'd return the key if they found it on him. But hours passed and no key was returned. If we left the next morning without finding the key, a stranger would have access to our house.
Thinking it over, I felt this incident had come about because of our own irritation, hurry and impatience. But I felt sure we'd get our key back if we'd straighten out our thoughts and feelings, if we'd change them to gratitude for all the good we had, and if we'd feel more love for this man. Then we could trust God to direct us how to solve our problem in the best way for everyone involved. We made a sincere effort to change our thinking — from a state of worry and confusion to a sense of God-governed order.
And very early the next morning my husband went to the police station in one last effort to get back the key before we left.
But the police were adamant that the man had been thoroughly searched and no key found and he was about to be released. My husband pleaded to speak to him once more. And when he saw my husband, he ran toward him and greeted him with a friendly gesture, saying, "Sir, you've come for your key. The police didn't find it on me because I slipped it into my shoe when they searched me. Here it is." What a tremendous change came about in that man as he responded to the law of Love.
To me there's something symbolic about this. I feel it shows how disturbed thinking of whatever kind may disturb our experience. And that the real key to harmony and satisfaction is to know our God-given selfhood and express it — and so displace the error in our thought that produces the discord. Then our experience swings back to normal.
Sometimes we're inclined to blame others for our dissatisfaction. Or else we whine, "If only I could get this or that, I'd be happy." The next thing we find is we've got this or that; but if there's been no change of thinking in ourselves, all we have are new grounds for complaint and dissatisfaction.
This is the ceaseless sound of human desires and disappointments. It typifies mankind's endless search for satisfaction. Behind this search is a feeling after more permanent values that will bring real and continuing satisfaction. And the key to that search is spiritual identity.
We're all familiar with the story of one who knew this so well — Christ Jesus. He knew who he was and what he had to do, and he lovingly did it. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, had this to say about Jesus; "Individuality and Life were real to him only as spiritual and good, not as material or evil" (Unity of Good, p.46). Only the spiritual and good — this was individuality and Life to him. Can this be the key we are looking for? Can this view of identity as spiritual and good unlock the door to true satisfaction? This is what I shall talk about this evening.
So let's first consider what identity really is.
Usually we think of our identity chiefly in material terms as physical identity — or human personality. Perhaps more or less along the lines of an identification card. In my country everyone has to carry such a card. Mine gives my name, birthplace, age, nationality, address. It has an uncomplimentary photograph of me I don't want anyone to see, and my fingerprints. That's me so far as the police, the banks, and the public officials are concerned! But I'm not satisfied that it's really me. Would you be?
Of course there are other ways we may be identified. Our neighbors may identify us by our appearance. To them we're rich or poor, young or old, healthy or sick, friendly or standoffish. Also our status or position in society may be a way of identifying us. How many cars do we own? Where do we live? What education have we had?
But identification by comparison is never satisfactory. There's always someone who seems better off, more attractive, or more fortunate. And even should we reach the highest position we aspire to, that in itself isn't sufficient to ensure satisfaction. This was the conclusion reached by the Preacher in the Bible. As he said, he had made great works, had gathered for himself "silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings" and was greater than all who were before him in Jerusalem . . . and, behold, all this was vanity, emptiness (Eccl. 2:1-11). We must surely agree with him.
So we shouldn't identify ourselves or others on the basis of possessions, appearance, or personality.
But how can we answer satisfactorily the question, What am I? If they say I'm a material mortal, possessing more or less money and talents, or a human personality with a mixture of good and bad qualities — all subject to change and uncertainty — this isn't a good enough answer. Such identification can't bring lasting satisfaction because it's not based on values that last.
Where then do we look for identification, if not in matter? Let me approach this from the point of view of my own experience many years ago.
I was threatened with tuberculosis and had a serious knee condition. All the different medical treatments I could find didn't help. They left me weaker than before, and unable to walk.
At this point life seemed to me full of contradictions and I could see no reason for living. I had a morbid desire to die and to end what I considered the farce called life.
Then after months in bed, I heard of Christian Science. What happened next was the direct result of the enlightenment that came to my thinking. In Christian Science I found a new and wholly satisfying sense of life — the understanding of man's identity as the Son of God. I began to see identity as the constant expression of the nature of God and the spiritual forces of good. This unfolded the true idea of my being. The spiritual truths I began to grasp changed my whole outlook. They dissolved my deep dissatisfaction. I felt sustained and strengthened; and in a few days I was perfectly healed. I could walk freely, and the symptoms of tuberculosis disappeared completely.
What's more I'd found the answer to the question, "What am I?" This answer provided me with the key to a new purpose in living — to express the fullness of spiritual being which really satisfies. But let me explain further. My interest in Christian Science led me at once to Mary Baker Eddy's major work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and this book opened the Bible to me. I began to read and enjoy its wonderful message as never before.
The Bible says in the very beginning that God created man in His own image, after His likeness. It also declares that God is Spirit, Love, Life, entirely good, everywhere and always present, measureless power. I now saw that man as the likeness of Spirit must be wholly spiritual, and as the image of good must express only good.
With the study of Jesus' teachings my new understanding of man was taken further. Jesus clearly stated that he was the son of God and referred to himself as one with the Father. I began to think of this oneness of Father and son, of God and man, in terms of the sun and its rays. The ray is never separated from the sun and always expresses the light, heat and power of the sun. So man, spiritually understood as expressing God, has always his distinct identity and individuality; but these are spiritual, and good. Because they express the nature, qualities and power of God. And so I began to see that I was ever at one with God, and my genuine identity was always expressing Him.
In the months that followed prayer gained a new value for me. It wasn't just a repetition of certain words and of fervent supplications to a distant God, but it became the familiar way of communicating with the Father, of understanding His will and of trusting His care.
You might say I was born again. Born in the sense of awakening to a new identity, a new sense of selfhood. There was no longer that human sense of person full of contradictions, of hopes and fears, of human joys and anguish. The spiritual truth of being was dawning in my consciousness.
My further study of the Bible and Science and Health also showed me the very important difference between the Adam or material concept of man and the Christ-idea. The Adam story shows man as fallen from grace into sin and suffering. Instead of listening to God's voice, he has supposedly responded to the suggestion that he's physical and he identifies himself as a physical entity instead of a spiritual immortal consciousness. On the other hand, the truth of spiritual identity, the true idea of man as the Son of God, is what we understand to be the Christ. And because Jesus lived and demonstrated this true identity, this divine sonship, so competely, he's called Christ Jesus, or Jesus the Christ.
Christ, then, is a name not just for the man Jesus but for the eternal Truth, the divine message he brought to man. Mrs. Eddy writes: "Christ presents the indestructible man, whom Spirit creates, constitutes, and governs" (Science and Health, p. 316). I came to see this indestructible man as a description of my own true identity. In spiritual reality, all of us are the indestructible creation of Spirit, God. The individual expressions of God, wholly spiritual and good. This truth is the key to fulfillment and satisfaction for all men.
I learned, too, that God doesn't punish man, or make him suffer, for God is unchanging divine Love, and supremely just. He's ever imparting all that is good to us and to all creation. I began to understand that the suffering and injustices in the world are caused by the Adam-concept of man, by material thinking, by selfish and wicked motives and ignorant beliefs which in Christian Science are termed mortal mind.
This supposed mind is entirely separate from the divine Mind, God, and opposed to God. It reproduces the pictures and images of sickness and hatred and fear, and then ignorantly or maliciously blames God for causing these wrong conditions. It was this mortal mind with its Adam-concept of man that I had to let go of, replacing it with the Christ-idea.
I began to assert my spiritual understanding of man as the reflection of God, endowed with God's substance, qualities and spiritual forces. I learned that the unchanging laws of God, good, rebuke the selfishness and suffering caused by immorality, dishonesty and strife among mortals. That these godless states of mortal thought are annulled by the ever-operative laws of God.
I began to see that all the divine qualities are permanent and ever available to each one of us because they belong to God, the source of man's being. As we reflect these qualities, we let the Christ-light of God's presence and power enlighten our lives, and it steadily casts out the Adam darkness of material sense.
This understanding of our spiritual identity liberates us from a physical and personal concept of ourselves. It heals and comforts. It satisfies our longing for something higher and better than is found in human standards of living and in material beliefs about God and man. You can see now why along with being healed I gained a real reason for staying alive, for living.
Mrs. Eddy answers the question, "What am I?" in these words: "I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 165).
In this way Christian Science gives mankind a scientific and reliable understanding of the Christ. It progressively reveals man's spiritual identity which transcends all material appearances and can be practically demonstrated in present experience — as health, happiness, beauty, intelligence, kindness, purity, moral uprightness.
But it's not sufficient just to understand that our true identity is spiritual. If our right sense of identity is to bring us lasting satisfaction, we have to learn how we can best express it. So let's look again to the example of Christ Jesus.
Of course, others came before Jesus who had a feeling for their spiritual selfhood. Moses, for instance, sensed his true selfhood as related to the great and good Spirit, or the "I AM" that is God. And some even prophesied the day when this truth of our selfhood would be more fully explained, lived, and demonstrated by one whom they called the Messiah or Christ, the divinely anointed.
As brought out earlier, when Jesus came to fulfill the prophecies, his message and his actions revealed the Christ as the full expression of infinite Spirit.
Jesus taught and demonstrated this Christ, Truth, by healing the sick, reforming the sinner, and restoring to life ones who had died or were on the point of dying. And he also gave us simple spiritual rules for expressing our spiritual identity. When a young man asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life, Jesus replied: "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself" (Luke 10:27).
Love turns our thought to the great spiritual source of all good — to our divine Principle, God. This turning to God as our eternal Father brings into consciousness the presence of good, and the power of divine Love. The so-called miracles of the prophets, of Jesus, and of the early Christians hinge on this spiritual realization of man's oneness with his divine Principle, Love. This realization satisfies. It brings into our experience the healing, helping, saving power of good.
From Moses right through to the book of Revelation, the Bible reiterates this great fact. As we love God and avail ourselves of His law, divine Love is with us in our thoughts and in our feelings. It saves, guides, and provides all good.
This saving presence of God is the Christ, Truth, the true idea of God, called in the Bible at times Immanuel or God-with-us. All revelation in the Bible brings out this spiritual truth. It's the key to all healing.
Christ Jesus used this key with incomparable effect, but he understood that each one must recognize and use it for himself. So he told his followers to love one another, to love their neighbors as themselves, and to love their enemies. In other words, each one of us must recognize every man in his true identity as the Son of God. As we follow Jesus' example in love for God and in lovingly recognizing the true identity of all men, we've taken the first step in learning to express our own true identity.
The second important step in expressing our spiritual identity is to avail ourselves of spiritually scientific law, the law of God. Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science has made this possible. It has shown us that God is our only Mind and that our real consciousness is ever expressing the thoughts of this Mind. These loving and wise thoughts, accepted and acknowledged as ours, operate in human consciousness as law to dispel the discordant projections of mortal mind, even as light dispels darkness.
Mrs. Eddy first glimpsed this fact as she was studying the Bible and put it to the test when she was suffering from the effects of a serious accident. The message of the Christ awakened in her consciousness a scientific sense of identity independent of matter and wholly dependent on God, Spirit. It corrected the physical condition with the spiritual forces of Life and good, and so restored her to a normal state of health.
Mary Baker Eddy was the first thinker to perceive and fully understand the Science — the spiritual law — back of Christ Jesus' teachings and healings. She grasped the basic idea — the Christ, Truth — that man isn't a material creation in any degree. He's wholly spiritual, the living expression of divine Mind, Spirit, Love, and he's governed by the laws of his divine Principle, good.
With intuitive certainty Mrs. Eddy saw that scientific reasoning cannot start from ignorant matter. It must start from the intelligent Mind as the one First Cause which is commonly called God. As she put this truth into practice in the years that followed her own healing, she demonstrated immediate proofs of its practical value. As she applied it scientifically and consistently, it healed, it regenerated and it saved men, women, and children from conditions that material means had failed to relieve.
The historical facts of Mrs. Eddy's life are interesting and inspiring. But her great achievement was to reveal the Christ as the standard for a scientific sense of man's true identity, demonstrable here and now in human experience. This means we can begin to abandon the narrow, personal, selfish way of thinking about ourselves, about our lives, or identities, and we can start out from God as our ever-present, intelligent, loving Mind, governing all through divine law.
To follow the loving example of Christ Jesus and to grasp the Science, the provable law, behind his life and teachings — these are the two essential steps in expressing our spiritual identity. To take these steps means that each of us must begin our lives anew, based on Spirit — like the rebirth I spoke of in my own healing.
This spiritual rebirth, or new beginning, is made clear in the story of Jesus and Nicodemus. You may remember Nicodemus was a Pharisee of good standing, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus one night, probably with the idea that he wouldn't be seen by his respectable neighbors.
Nicodemus reverently addressed Jesus, "Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God" (John 3:2). Jesus answered, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus argued, "How can a man be born when he is old?" Then Jesus explained that to be born again is to be born of Spirit. He compared Spirit to the wind that "bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth." And then he declared, "so is every one that is born of the Spirit" (John 3:2-8).
You can't see Spirit. You can't touch it. You just feel it — like the wind. You can always feel the love and the kindness and the goodness of Spirit. To be born of the Spirit is to find your real immortal source, your ever-continuing intelligent source and to be conscious that identity is simply the natural expression of this source, divine Mind, God.
In the many years of my own work in Christian Science, I've seen how this understanding of man's spiritual identity can heal all kinds of sickness and transform human character.
A woman I knew who was leading an immoral life experienced this spiritual rebirth. Her immoral behavior caused her a great deal of anguish. As a wife and mother she felt ashamed and deceitful. Fear and frustration and a feeling of unworthiness were causing her to be irritable and impatient with her family. The children were quarreling, and there was constant discontent in the home.
She really desired to overcome her temptations and sought help in various religions. But she found that confession and repentance barely scratched the surface of the problem.
Finally she found Christian Science. Instead of the expected condemnation and guilt, she now saw she could claim her God-made identity, and so be born anew. The true sense of selfhood as the blessed child of God was revealed to her awakening thought. This healed her, and she gave up the immoral relationship.
This woman learned the freedom of living to express God, good. The burden of self-accusation lifted. She was truly born again. She had perceived something of the absolute integrity of her spiritual identity and had begun to express it. This gave her a sense of truly lasting satisfaction.
The truth of identity is universal. It's available to everyone. It's not limited or humanly personal. So all of us can fulfill the Christly command to love our neighbor as ourself, and we can all avail ourselves of the law of Christ. We can do this, because we see that one infinite Principle, God, expresses Himself in everyone.
Now an all-important question remains: "Why does understanding and expressing our spiritual identity ensure us lasting satisfaction?" Because it enables us to do the will of God. And this is what really satisfies — when you avail yourself of the present good and loving thoughts emanating from divine Mind, and live them out in your life. When you discard the misleading beliefs of human will for the clear direction of divine will. Then you show forth in some measure the true ideal of man as the image and likeness of God — humanly exemplified by Christ Jesus and scientifically stated by Christian Science.
This understanding reveals why you are and what you are, and so satisfies.
It satisfies because it makes you increasingly willing and eager to mentally turn from the belief in a limited, mortal sense of identity to a higher sense as the Son of God. Just as my husband and I willingly turned from the disturbing thoughts about the man who took our key. When we recognized our own identity and his, we became calm, certain of a right solution to our problem.
As we recognize and live our true identity, we yield to the will of the all-loving, intelligent Mind and this gives us a sense of fullness or completeness rather than limitation. And so we give up the narrow, dissatisfied sense of selfhood for what the Bible calls "the mind of Christ" (I Cor. 2:16), the unselfed consciousness of universal good. As a result, we realize we're never alone. To each one of us the tenderness of God's love appears in our experience exactly in the way that expresses the completeness and perfection of our being.
Satisfaction is therefore a state of mind, coincident with spiritual reality. It's found only through enlightened spiritual thinking. It expresses itself humanly in whatever most fully and deeply satisfies here and now.
I know of a young man who suffered from an extreme sense of shyness. This caused him to blunder at moments when he was most required to express intelligence and ability. At the end of five years of successful university study he was required to take his final oral examination. Because of his shyness he was overcome with fear and failed. This plunged him into a state of frustration and despair. At this point he heard of Christian Science and sought help from a Christian Science practitioner. He learned that his true being consists in expressing the good, loving and intelligent qualities of God, his divine source. They're the spiritual forces constituting man's conscious identity in the likeness of God. That in this likeness there's no sense of inferiority, no human comparisons, no feeling of inadequacy — no fear of failure. He realized he could trust divine Mind to give him the right intelligent ideas and to keep him confident and poised. When he reappeared before the examining board, he did extremely well.
But more important was the new sense of assurance and satisfaction in life which was noticeable in his whole demeanor and behavior — no longer self-conscious and shy, but confident and free. He was aware of his God-given identity, and was satisfied.
The Bible says, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness" (Psalms 17:15). When you realize that your only identity is always emanating from its infinite divine source, you can awaken to a sense of abundant good. You can stop fearing lack of any kind because God's goodness is always expressing itself in your life.
We need to trust divine Love to provide wisely and continuously for every need. This isn't passive waiting for something to turn up, but it's the active reflection or expressing of the God-qualities which ensure success.
Our turning from fear of material lack and trusting the will of God brings the constant unfolding of good in our lives. Then our spiritual hunger is satisfied with the understanding of God and of our true spiritual selfhood. And our human needs, too, will be met.
This was demonstrated by a man I know who had struggled for years against tremendous odds in operating a factory. It was finally sold at a complete loss. And after all other help failed, he turned to Christian Science.
My friend began to trust divine Love to provide wisely and sufficiently for every need. He learned to obey God's will, the will of Love, tender and all-providing. This relieved the tension and distress. He learned not to fear poverty, not to try to force the demonstration of income.
Then, at a most unexpected moment, my friend met a business acquaintance who told him his company wanted to buy a piece of ground owned by my friend's family. It had been lying idle for years. The sale went through and brought him a new line of work which meant real prosperity for him and for his family.
The Bible promises everyone that "they shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures" (Psalms 36:8). Wasn't the Psalmist indicating that by responding to the ever-presence of the good that is God, Spirit, men can find at every moment exactly what they need to satisfy them spiritually and humanly?
Our need is to claim for ourselves and everyone this unlimited spiritual sense of selfhood Jesus taught and expressed. Then we can begin effectively to challenge for ourselves and all men the ignorant belief that identity is encased in a few trillion cells of matter, called a body. We can increasingly identify our individuality, not as a temporary, physical entity, but as a spiritual, intelligent, loving consciousness.
In the degree that you and I accept our enduring God-made self-hood, the divine plan enters our everyday experience — and gives purpose and meaning to our lives. It progressively supplants a selfhood ruled by human will with true identity ruled by the will of God, good. Then we find His power and wisdom guide and lead us into all true satisfaction. Because the real purpose of our being is to express God.
In the words of a poem by Mrs. Eddy (Poems, p. 79):
"Who doth His will —
His likeness still —