ACIM Text Reading for May 6
Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth
IX. The Reflection of Holiness
The Atonement does not make holy. You were created holy. It merely brings unholiness to holiness; or what you made to what you are. Bringing illusion to truth, or the ego to God, is the Holy Spirit’s only function. Keep not your making from your Father, for hiding it has cost you knowledge of Him and of yourself. The knowledge is safe, but where is your safety apart from it? The making of time to take the place of timelessness lay in the decision to be not as you are. Thus truth was made past, and the present was dedicated to illusion. And the past, too, was changed and interposed between what always was and now. The past that you remember never was, and represents only the denial of what always was.
Bringing the ego to God is but to bring error to truth, where it stands corrected because it is the opposite of what it meets. It is undone because the contradiction can no longer stand. How long can contradiction stand when its impossible nature is clearly revealed? What disappears in light is not attacked. It merely vanishes because it is not true. Different realities are meaningless, for reality must be one. It cannot change with time or mood or chance. Its changelessness is what makes it real. This cannot be undone. Undoing is for unreality. And this reality will do for you.
Merely by being what it is, does truth release you from everything that it is not. The Atonement is so gentle you need but whisper to it, and all its power will rush to your assistance and support. You are not frail with God beside you. Yet without Him you are nothing. The Atonement offers you God. The gift that you refused is held by Him in you. The Holy Spirit holds it there for you. God has not left His altar, though His worshippers placed other gods upon it. The temple still is holy, for the Presence that dwells within it is holiness.
In the temple, holiness waits quietly for the return of them that love it. The Presence knows they will return to purity and to grace. The graciousness of God will take them gently in, and cover all their sense of pain and loss with the immortal assurance of their Father’s Love. There, fear of death will be replaced with joy of life. For God is Life, and they abide in Life. Life is as holy as the Holiness by which it was created. The Presence of Holiness lives in everything that lives, for Holiness created life, and leaves not what it created holy as itself.
In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here. Yet no reflections of the images of other gods must dim the mirror that would hold God’s reflection in it. Earth can reflect Heaven or hell; God or the ego. You need but leave the mirror clean and clear of all the images of hidden darkness you have drawn upon it. God will shine upon it of Himself. Only the clear reflection of Himself can be perceived upon it.
Reflections are seen in light. In darkness they are obscure, and their meaning seems to lie only in shifting interpretations, rather than in themselves. The reflection of God needs no interpretation. It is clear. Clean but the mirror, and the message that shines forth from what the mirror holds out for everyone to see, no one can fail to understand. It is the message that the Holy Spirit is holding to the mirror that is in him. He recognises it because he has been taught his need for it, but knows not where to look to find it. Let him, then, see it in you and share it with you.
Could you but realise for a single instant the power of healing that the reflection of God, shining in you, can bring to all the world, you could not wait to make the mirror of your mind clean to receive the image of the holiness that heals the world. The image of holiness that shines in your mind is not obscure, and will not change. Its meaning to those who look upon it is not obscure, for everyone perceives it as the same. All bring their different problems to its healing light, and all their problems find but healing there.
The response of holiness to any form of error is always the same. There is no contradiction in what holiness calls forth. Its one response is healing, without regard for what is brought to it. Those who have learned to offer only healing, because of the reflection of holiness in them, are ready at last for Heaven. There, holiness is not a reflection, but rather the actual condition of what was but reflected to them here. God is no image, and His creations, as part of Him, hold Him in them in truth. They do not merely reflect truth, for they are truth.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 6th
All that I give is given to myself.
Today’s idea, completely alien to the ego and the thinking of the world, is crucial to the thought reversal that this course will bring about. If you believed this statement, there would be no problem in complete forgiveness, certainty of goal, and sure direction. You would understand the means by which salvation comes to you, and would not hesitate to use it now.
Let us consider what you do believe, in place of this idea. It seems to you that other people are apart from you, and able to behave in ways which have no bearing on your thoughts, nor yours on theirs. Therefore, your attitudes have no effect on them, and their appeals for help are not in any way related to your own. You further think that they can sin without affecting your perception of yourself, while you can judge their sin, and yet remain apart from condemnation and at peace.
When you “forgive” a sin, there is no gain to you directly. You give charity to one unworthy, merely to point out that you are better, on a higher plane than he whom you forgive. He has not earned your charitable tolerance, which you bestow on one unworthy of the gift, because his sins have lowered him beneath a true equality with you. He has no claim on your forgiveness. It holds out a gift to him, but hardly to yourself.
Thus is forgiveness basically unsound; a charitable whim, benevolent yet undeserved, a gift bestowed at times, at other times withheld. Unmerited, withholding it is just, nor is it fair that you should suffer when it is withheld. The sin that you forgive is not your own. Someone apart from you committed it. And if you then are gracious unto him by giving him what he does not deserve, the gift is no more yours than was his sin.
If this be true, forgiveness has no grounds on which to rest dependably and sure. It is an eccentricity, in which you sometimes choose to give indulgently an undeserved reprieve. Yet it remains your right to let the sinner not escape the justified repayment for his sin. Think you the Lord of Heaven would allow the world’s salvation to depend on this? Would not His care for you be small indeed, if your salvation rested on a whim?
You do not understand forgiveness. As you see it, it is but a check upon overt attack, without requiring correction in your mind. It cannot give you peace as you perceive it. It is not a means for your release from what you see in someone other than yourself. It has no power to restore your unity with him to your awareness. It is not what God intended it to be for you.
Not having given Him the gift He asks of you, you cannot recognize His gifts, and think He has not given them to you. Yet would He ask you for a gift unless it was for you? Could He be satisfied with empty gestures, and evaluate such petty gifts as worthy of His Son? Salvation is a better gift than this. And true forgiveness, as the means by which it is attained, must heal the mind that gives, for giving is receiving. What remains as unreceived has not been given, but what has been given must have been received.
Today we try to understand the truth that giver and receiver are the same. You will need help to make this meaningful, because it is so alien to the thoughts to which you are accustomed. But the Help you need is there. Give Him your faith today, and ask Him that He share your practicing in truth today. And if you only catch a tiny glimpse of the release that lies in the idea we practice for today, this is a day of glory for the world.
Give fifteen minutes twice today to the attempt to understand today’s idea. It is the thought by which forgiveness takes its proper place in your priorities. It is the thought that will release your mind from every bar to what forgiveness means, and let you realize its worth to you.
In silence, close your eyes upon the world that does not understand forgiveness, and seek sanctuary in the quiet place where thoughts are changed and false beliefs laid by. Repeat today’s idea, and ask for help in understanding what it really means. Be willing to be taught. Be glad to hear the Voice of truth and healing speak to you, and you will understand the words He speaks, and recognize He speaks your words to you.
As often as you can, remind yourself you have a goal today; an aim which makes this day of special value to yourself and all your brothers. Do not let your mind forget this goal for long, but tell yourself:
All that I give is given to myself. The Help I need to learn
that this is true is with me now. And I will trust in Him.
Then spend a quiet moment, opening your mind to His correction and His Love. And what you hear of Him you will believe, for what He gives will be received by you.
Q #356: I have seen in print A Course in Miracles referred to as “a Christian teaching.” It is not, of course. However, I am hard pressed to find an appropriate adjective to describe the Course. It is a non-dualistic, psychological, philosophical, channeled teaching. Is there an easier way to say it?
A: Sometimes it is sufficient to describe the Course simply as a spiritual path that focuses on peace and forgiveness. Often, that is enough. If people want to know more than that, they will ask, and then you can expand as much as is appropriate. You could add, for example, that it is not a religion; there are no rituals and no clergy; it is a course of individual study and practice that helps us to remember God through forgiveness. If you are asked whether it is Christian, in addition to saying that it is not a religion, etc., you might say that there are many biblical terms in the Course, but they have a very different meaning, not the traditional meaning as presented in the Bible — expanding, again, as appropriate. Depending on the questions and those who are asking, you can then get into the psychological and metaphysical dimensions of the Course, and how it came.