The Demand of Spiritual Discovery (Summary)
Otto Bertschi, C.S.B., of Zurich, Switzerland
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The challenge "to think in new dimensions" has reached a critical point in the world's religious development, according to Otto Bertschi, C.S.B., of Zurich.
The touring Christian Science lecturer told a public audience that: "The moment is here when mankind as a whole must keep pace" with the rapid social changes and scientific developments taking place.
"Spiritual education of the most profound and far-reaching kind" has become essential, he asserted — "not just for a spiritual elite, for a privileged few," but for everyone regardless of "age, nationality, race, or creed."
We must search more deeply, he said, each one discovering for himself the spiritual realities of God's nature and presence.
We must learn "how divinity reaches humanity and awakens an individual to express his true being as the son of God."
Mr. Bertschi's lecture was titled "The Demand of Spiritual Discovery".
"Unless we have found out the spiritual basis of reality," said Mr. Bertschi, "then regardless of how remarkable a world the physicists develop for us, we shall be faced with the same old dilemma of no permanent solution to the problems which are at the root of all unhappiness, frustration, inadequacy, and illness."
Solutions will be found, the lecturer indicated, when the dynamics of "spiritual discovery" are more widely understood.
"Open-mindedness and willingness to think in new dimensions" are vital to religion and prayer, since they may require "as revolutionary a change in our thinking as was required of those who once thought the earth was flat."
He noted that "a discoverer has an intuitive sense which impels him to carry on where others fail or don't even start. He's a pioneer, an objective thinker — usually far in advance of his time."
Mr. Bertschi then went on to describe the discovery of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy in similar terms.
He said that "her intuitive sense of God . . . told her that God is never the cause of misery but that He heals all suffering." She "saw that the basic mistake of mankind throughout the ages was to think of God in terms of a finite personality.
"She gradually realized that the Scriptures abound with statements that indicate or imply God to be infinite Spirit, Soul, Truth, Love, Life, divine Mind, or intelligence, and the divine Principle or source of all true law."
Continuing her "spiritual researches," Mrs. Eddy reasoned that "Christ Jesus had imparted to his disciples the understanding of already existing spiritual law, or divine Truth" — and that "such an understanding affects our total experience. It enables us to demonstrate true being."
The lecturer related some actual cases in which serious illnesses were healed entirely as a result of prayer based on these ideas.
He described one of the healings in these terms.
"The warmth of spiritual satisfaction was the essence of the experience . . . the result of the presence of Christ — the power of God — in terms which he could fully grasp . . . He had 'discovered' his true spiritual selfhood as the conscious, constant expression of God. He had taken down a self-imposed mental barrier . . . He saw his true spiritual selfhood so vividly" that it made the physical healing which quickly followed "seem incidental."
In explanation of such experiences, Mr. Bertschi quoted a statement by Mrs. Eddy in the preface (xi) to her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus' time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural."