Josephine H. Carver, C.S.B., of Boston, Massachusetts
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
No man is ever satisfied until he finds a "great spiritual purpose" for his life, according to lecturer Josephine H. Carver, C.S.B..
Mrs. Carver challenged an audience here with a question she said everyone must face:
"Does life really have a purpose for us far beyond and greater than ourselves?"
For the better part of an hour, she explored this question from the standpoint that "our purpose is immense and our destiny includes all that can he called permanently good." It "involves knowing ourselves as we really are" — finding fulfillment in spiritual understanding.
"'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him,'" she quoted the Apostle Paul (I Cor. 2).
Mrs. Carver, a recognized teacher and practitioner of Christian Science from Boston, noted that "there probably isn't anyone here who at one time or another hasn't considered his reason for being.
"Many people have asked themselves, 'Why am I here?' 'What is the meaning of my life?' There are even those who question, 'Do I have any purpose at all?'"
She pointed to some of the modern symptoms of dissatisfaction and lack of purpose that contemporary theologian Paul Tillich calls "the anxiety of meaninglessness."
She said, "One of the surprises of this age of increased leisure and abundance is to find so many people with a sense of futility. This we encounter at a time when there are material comforts far beyond what our forefathers dreamed . . . It is estimated that every man, woman, and child in the United States has on an average 32 machines working for each one of them every day.
"But although we have many machines, as yet we know very little about how to get along with our own inner selves or with one another."
We will find the fulfillment we seek, said the lecturer, "when the larger meaning of our lives is clarified."
"Surely we're not given life for an insignificant reason," she declared.
"Surely we're alive and here because something much greater than ourselves is expressing its nature as our life and fulfilling its own purpose in all we really are or do.
"According to Christian Science that something greater than ourselves is primal cause. We term it God . . . We think of it as both knowable and provable. It is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives."
Mrs. Carver said that there is a "great need for exactness in knowing the nature of God." For "what we know of divine cause largely molds our experience."
This is why prayer is so essential.
She said that "prayer can be thought of in terms of getting at the truth . . . knowing what is true in the sight of God, the all-loving Father."
The object of prayer "isn't begging and pleading in the hope that a changeable and far-off supreme being will do something." Rather, it's to understand God.
Learn to Pray
The lecturer related the actual case of a woman who was healed of tuberculosis after learning to pray in this way.
"This became her life purpose — to understand God."
According to Christian Science, added Mrs. Carver, "everyone has the capacity to discover God's purpose, to find what Jesus called the kingdom of God within."
She quoted a statement by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science: "It is the purpose of divine Love to resurrect the understanding, and the kingdom of God, the reign of harmony already within us" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 154).
"If we see Life as God or endless good and dedicate ourselves to gaining an understanding of His good purpose, we shall find that this purpose includes the fulfillment or coming into our experience of all forms of good," commented Mrs. Carver.
"We shall steadily find this purpose fulfilled in us . . . It will become the meaning of our lives.
"There’s nothing more satisfying than to do this — to be man in the fullest sense.
"As we let go of mortal measurements of ourselves and others, we experience more of what is divinely true of man, what he really is — not one who is looking for a purpose or meaning for life, but one who is himself the fulfillment of divine purpose."