A guest post written by Anne Stearns Condon
Also published in the March 10, 2012 Ventura County Star newspaper.
A movie entitled “Contagion” garnered attention last year, including some remarks from the authorities at CDC (Center for Disease Control). They claimed that the movie’s premise – a new virus both deadly and contagious which spreads around the globe in a few days – was a long shot. Not likely to happen but plausible.
I’m reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point.” He writes about how an idea spreads and permeates the atmosphere just like a virus does and how that creates contagiousness. He gives an example of a poisoning epidemic in several schools. In four of the five schools half of the children hadn’t eaten the so-called poisoned food; yet they became ill.
Why? Gladwell says because of mass hysteria. The fear makes people anxious and the anxiety musters up sickness. These manifestations, he proclaims, are wholly imagined.
My first serious encounter with contagion came years ago, when I was a young mother, living on a military base where my husband was a flight instructor. Our baby was about six months old. She was often in the company of a baby boy her age whose parents were good friends of ours.
This mother called me one day to report that her son had come down with a highly contagious disease and that other babies on the base were becoming sick too. She gave many frightening details. My baby hadn’t been exposed to her son or any other babies for several weeks, so I felt sure that this illness would not touch our home.
But it did. That night the baby exhibited all of the symptoms the mother had described, and by morning, the situation was alarming.
In all humility I prayed to God to remove my considerable fear. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote an article on “Contagion” in her work Miscellaneous Writings (pp. 228-9). It was the answer to my prayer. This is what I read: “Whatever man sees, feels, or in anyway takes cognizance of, must be caught through mind; inasmuch as perception, sensation, and consciousness belong to mind and not to matter….Common consent is contagious and it makes disease catching.”
Obviously I’d accepted the thought of contagion as being communicable. Instinctively I turned to the master of spiritual healing, Christ Jesus. I knew that, throughout his healing mission, he had cured a multitude of illnesses, including chronic and contagious diseases.
What came to mind was Jesus’ unconditional love for everyone and how he always demonstrated that love in his healing work. For instance, when visiting his disciple’s house, he saw that Peter’s mother-in-law lay sick with a high fever. The Bible reports that he “rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them” (Luke 4:39). What impressed me was how instantaneously the healing took place.
Inspired to follow Christ Jesus’ instructions to heal the sick, I began to reject the validity of contagious beliefs, replacing them with thoughts of God’s healing, saving power, and compassionate care for all His beloved children. The fear began to subside, and shortly I felt free from any anxiety. Very quickly my baby was well, and soon I heard that the other children were too.
This experience was a milestone in spiritual lessons learned. I realized that, as the Bible says of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. And the result of such trust brings this promise: “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling” (Psalms 91:2,10).