ACIM Reading for December 18
MOTHER OF THE WORLD
Peace is a woman, mother to the world,
Whom God has sent to lay a gentle hand
Across a thousand children’s fevered brows.
In its cool certainty there is no fear,
And from her breasts there comes a quietness
For them to lean against and to be still.
She brings a message to their frightened hearts
From Him Who sent her. Listen now to her
Who is your mother in your Father’s Name:
“Do not attend the voices of the world.
Do not attempt to crucify again
My first-born Son, and brother still to you.”
Heaven is in her eyes, because she looked
Upon this Son who was the first. And now
She looks to you to find him once again.
Do not deny the mother of the world
The only thing she ever wants to see,
For it is all you ever want to find.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 18
Judgment and love are opposites. From one
Come all the sorrows of the world. But from
The other comes the peace of God Himself.
Forgiveness looks on sinlessness alone, and judges not. Through this I come to You. Judgment will bind my eyes and make me blind. Yet love, reflected in forgiveness here, reminds me You have given me a way to find Your peace again. I am redeemed when I elect to follow in this way. You have not left me comfortless. I have within me both the memory of You, and One Who leads me to it. Father, I would hear Your Voice and find Your peace today. For I would love my own Identity, and find in It the memory of You.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #74: I read in Absence from Felicity about how Helen used shopping as a defense against Jesus. It almost totally preoccupied her, and succeeded in keeping Jesus safely away from her attention. My work and commitments are doing the same for me. Although I never thought I was using them as a defense — only being normal. Can this be avoided?
A: A major focus of the teaching and training of the Course is to get us to think in terms of purpose. “What do I want to come of this? What is it for?” (T.17.VI.2:1.2); “The test of everything on earth is simply this; ‘What is it for?’ The answer makes it what it is for you. It has no meaning of itself, yet you can give reality to it, according to the purpose that you serve” (T.24.VII.6:1.2.3). There are only two purposes that are open to choice in our minds. Either we have chosen to reinforce our belief in separation or to undo this belief, and there is never an instant when we are not making this choice. Another way of stating this is that we are always choosing either to push the love of Jesus away, or join to with it. This means that it is never the activity that we are engaged in that is the problem or the reason we are not peaceful, it is the choice we are making to use the activity to keep us separate or in conflict, etc.
The Course teaches that we made the world to be a distraction and a smokescreen, so that we would forget entirely that we have a mind that at every instant is choosing to identify with the ego’s or with the Holy Spirit’s thought system. We become preoccupied with our work, our families, etc., never realizing the underlying purpose that has been chosen in our minds. We justify our immersion in our lives in the world by saying, “Everyone does that” or “It’s normal.” But it is all very purposeful, as reflected in this statement: “Every special relationship you have made has, as its fundamental purpose, the aim of occupying your mind so completely that you will not hear the call for truth” (T.17.IV.3:3). We, of course, are not aware that this is going on, which is why the Course is so helpful.
In view of this, your question regarding how to avoid using work, or anything else, as a defense against the love of Jesus in a sense is the wrong question, or focus. As the above quote indicates, that is the very purpose of our being in the world with all of our obligations and commitments — to be preoccupied with what is outside our minds so that we will forget entirely that we have a mind that is choosing at every instant. In that sense, then, we can’t avoid using the world as a defense, because that is why we are here! So what would help you most is simply to be honest about this as your underlying intention in being busy. The purpose is not what you think, just as Jesus informs us in Lesson 5 that we are never upset for the reason we think. Helen knew this clearly. She knew that her shopping was a way of keeping Jesus away. If you can be clear about that, the problem will not be worsened by guilt over the dishonesty. Being afraid to get close to love is not sinful, therefore, shame and guilt are not justified. Fear is not a sin, and it has no effect on Jesus’ love for you. When Helen knew she was ready to accept Jesus’ love, her experience was that he told her she didn’t have to go shopping anymore, and there was no sense of sacrifice. She was always clear about the purpose of what she was doing. That is what we all need to aim for. We are never busy for the reason we think!
The correction comes when we first recognize the purpose we have chosen in our wrong minds, and then ask Jesus or the Holy Spirit to help us shift our purpose so that we would use everything as a means of undoing the separation and seeing our interests as shared with everyone else’s rather than in conflict with them. The challenge is learning how to do both — how to be aware of what is going on in our minds and at the same time conscientiously fulfilling our obligations and responsibilities in the world to the best of our ability. It is possible to do this, but it takes a great deal of practice. That is what the exercises in the workbook are designed to do. We learn how to function in the world effectively, while learning that we are not of the world.