“Love inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way” – why, honey, how romantic!

Google Alerts is a helpful web tool if you want to track the way the broad public think about a particular subject of interest to you.  Like most internet-connected males, one of my Google Alerts is for me!  More importantly, as someone whose day job is to represent Christian Science in the media, one of my Google Alerts tracks articles, comments, etc. about Mary Baker Eddy.

Among many other things, the wise words of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science frequently appear on quotation sites or in people’s blogs.   Nevertheless, it took me a little by surprise to see a familiar quote of hers in a blog titled Favorite Meaningful Messages under a heading of Romantic One Liners.  “Love inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way” is one line and it is a meaningful message.   But is it romantic?!

I certainly can’t recall wooing my wife Jenny while we were courting, or wowing her in our 21 years of marriage since, by looking lovingly into her eyes and whispering “Well, honey, love inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way”.  The idea behind these words, though, has been invaluable to both of us in our marriage.

Mary Baker Eddy was certainly not averse to romantic love.  One of her more practical and compassionate “one liners” is “Husbands, hear this and remember how slight a word or deed may renew the old trysting-times.”  The main thrust of her life-work and her writings, though, is the kind of love which romantic love, at its best, can hint at, but which goes far broader and deeper: the understanding and expression of God’s love that is powerful enough to heal.  “The way” that most engaged her thought was “the way” in which one could faithfully follow the Way-shower, Christ Jesus.  And the line preceding the quoted phrase about love inspiring, illumining, and designating the way is “Love for God and man is the true incentive in both healing and teaching”.

Following years of, as she put it, God “graciously preparing” her – and after a dramatic healing of her own in 1866 propelled her deeper than ever into Bible research as to the “how” of the healings of Jesus and the early disciples – Mary Baker Eddy’s ensuing career was certainly no path strewn with (romantic) roses.   She encountered hostility, prejudice, slander, disbelief and betrayal along the pathway of progress that was illuminated and designated for her as she prayed.  Yet she never wavered in following it, motivated by her deep desire to “reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing” and to share as widely as possible the freedom that can bring.  She did this by healing and teaching others and by publishing her ideas in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

It was out of this life that she was able to say, with the authority of experience, that divine Love, God “inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way”.

Many people today – like these – can testify to the benefits still being brought about by Mary Baker Eddy’s devotion to proving and articulating, in systematic language, the spiritual perception of the Bible’s meaning that enables lives to be transformed for the better.  The reconciliation of reason and revelation she discerned through her own scriptural study and practical healing proofs has brought to light, and captured for posterity, how the love of divine Love, God, is the best guide for the way forward to be inspired, illumined, designated and wisely lead in all aspects of human life…

Including in relationships…

Including in romantic relationships…

Hmm.  Maybe the author of Favorite Meaningful Messages has a point after all! And many thanks to the blog for including this thought-provoking quote.

 

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Categories: Mary Baker Eddy, Uncategorized, Women's spiritual leadership

Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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5 Comments on ““Love inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way” – why, honey, how romantic!”

  1. September 26, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    It’s both!

    That’s the exact line that helped me figure out an important relationship years ago. I was dating two different men and both relationships were moving along towards marriage. Rather than fretting about which one was Mr. Right, I prayed using that line you cite above by Mary Baker Eddy. I could see the whole situation moving through those important words or phases one at a time – inspires, illumines, designates, leads.

    Inspires – I hadn’t really thought of marriage since life was good and there were a lot of things I wanted to accomplish before settling down. But the situation required that I consider marriage from several angles including getting a grasp on a deeper spiritual meaning of that relationship.

    Illumines – As I studied and prayed about marriage, a new respect for it grew and I became willing to consider that step and put aside my list of personal goals.

    Designates – So which one would it be? Considering the first two words helped me consider both men from a different angle – seeing beyond personality and appearance into what could be called spiritual characteristics or qualities. It soon became evident which relationship was the right one for marriage and we were engaged and married in less than 3 months.

    Leads the way – A reliance on Divine Love to lead the way through 23 years of marriage helped avoid all kinds of shipwreck while developing our life together which included a family.

    I’ve also used this line for guidance in business/management decisions. It’s a really helpful guide for any of the big decisions in life. And the great thing is you don’t really have to worry about the end result, just focus on the next step.

    Thanks for this post Tony – it brought back a lot of great memories!

  2. September 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    A sweet example of the potency of this idea, Sarah. Thank you for sharing it!

  3. Jane
    December 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    I love this passage, but I just want to mention that it’s slightly misquoted from Mary Baker
    Eddy’s book. It’s “love inspires, ILLUMINES, designates and leads the way.”

  4. December 22, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    Thanks for alerting me to this mistake, Jane. I have made the changes needed in the title and in the article. Have a good Christmas!

  5. Alice (East Palatka, FL)
    June 23, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Thank you. This was absolutely the right message at the right time.

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