ACIM Text Reading for November 5
Clarification of Terms
Forgiveness – The Face of Christ
Forgiveness is for God and toward God but not of Him. It is impossible to think of anything He created that could need forgiveness. Forgiveness, then, is an illusion, but because of its purpose, which is the Holy Spirit’s, it has one difference. Unlike all other illusions it leads away from error and not towards it.
Forgiveness might be called a kind of happy fiction; a way in which the unknowing can bridge the gap between their perception and the truth. They cannot go directly from perception to knowledge because they do not think it is their will to do so. This makes God appear to be an enemy instead of what He really is. And it is just this insane perception that makes them unwilling merely to rise up and to return to Him in peace.
And so they need an illusion of help because they are helpless; a Thought of peace because they are in conflict. God knows what His Son needs before he asks. He is not at all concerned with form, but having given the content it is His Will that it be understood. And that suffices. The form adapts itself to need; the content is unchanging, as eternal as its Creator.
The face of Christ has to be seen before the memory of God can return. The reason is obvious. Seeing the face of Christ involves perception. No one can look on knowledge. But the face of Christ is the great symbol of forgiveness. It is salvation. It is the symbol of the real world. Whoever looks on this no longer sees the world. He is as near to Heaven as is possible outside the gate. Yet from this gate it is no more than just a step inside. It is the final step. And this we leave to God.
Forgiveness is a symbol, too, but as the symbol of His Will alone it cannot be divided. And so the unity that it reflects becomes His Will. It is the only thing still in the world in part, and yet the bridge to Heaven.
God’s Will is all there is. We can but go from nothingness to everything; from hell to Heaven. Is this a journey? No, not in truth, for truth goes nowhere. But illusions shift from place to place; from time to time. The final step is also but a shift. As a perception it is part unreal. And yet this part will vanish. What remains is peace eternal and the Will of God.
There are no wishes now for wishes change. Even the wished-for can become unwelcome. That must be so because the ego cannot be at peace. But Will is constant, as the gift of God. And what He gives is always like Himself. This is the purpose of the face of Christ. It is the gift of God to save His Son. But look on this and you have been forgiven.
How lovely does the world become in just that single instant when you see the truth about yourself reflected there. Now you are sinless and behold your sinlessness. Now you are holy and perceive it so. And now the mind returns to its Creator; the joining of the Father and the Son, the Unity of unities that stands behind all joining but beyond them all. God is not seen but only understood. His Son is not attacked but recognized.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 5
The gift of Christ is all I seek today.
What but Christ’s vision would I use today, when it can offer me a day in which I see a world so like to Heaven that an ancient memory returns to me? Today I can forget the world I made. Today I can go past all fear, and be restored to love and holiness and peace. Today I am redeemed, and born anew into a world of mercy and of care; of loving kindness and the peace of God.
And so, our Father, we return to You, remembering we never went away; remembering Your holy gifts to us. In gratitude and thankfulness we come, with empty hands and open hearts and minds, asking but what You give. We cannot make an offering sufficient for Your Son. But in Your Love the gift of Christ is his.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #318: In C.1.3:2 it says that the term “soul” is only used in direct biblical quotations. Yet I’ve found that Jesus does use the term several times throughout A Course in Miracles without directly quoting the Bible. “The more ‘religiously’ ego-oriented may believe that the soul existed before, and will continue to exist after a temporary laps into ego life” (T.4.II.9:5).
A: You are right in pointing out that the references to the term “soul” in the Course are not direct quotations. All but one of the references, however, do refer to well known Biblical statements regarding the soul, such as “losing your soul” (T.12.VI.1). In the Clarification of Terms it is used to contrast the Course’s use of the term “spirit.” In this section it is not referring to any specific Biblical passage, but reflects traditional religious views of the soul, including Christian belief which is based on the Bible’s teaching. Hopefully, finding these imperfections is not an impediment to learning the message of the Course and practicing its teachings. That would certainly not profit the man or the soul.
Q #319: In “Jesus: the Manifestation of the Holy Spirit” excerpt, on page 6, you state “The goal however is ultimately to realize the hand we hold is our Own.” And, later, “Eventually we would realize that when we reach out for help, we are really reaching out to ourselves.” Could you please elaborate on these statements?
A: A Course in Miracles teaches that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are symbols which represent the part of our minds which holds the memory of God and reflects His love. When it speaks of taking Jesus’ hand, or asking for help, it is making use of these symbols because we, who have dissociated ourselves from our minds and are mistakenly identified with the body, need them. This is best described when the Course tells us: “You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize” (T.18.VIII.1:7).
Since we believe we are bodies living in a world of form, the Course uses form to make its message personal and relevant to us. It meets us on the level of form because that is where we think we are. It is also more direct, i.e., in passages that clearly describe the nature of the mind and our true identity (See: T.18.VI.8). There is nothing outside the mind, and therefore, no hand to take (neither ours nor Jesus’), and nothing but the mind itself to choose the truth or the ego’s lie of separation.
Both of the statements you mention are based on this level of the Course’s teaching. Key words in the statements are “ultimately” and “eventually.” They point to the time when we will have learned that our true identity is the mind. Only then will we realize that the power of choice is ours, and all of our asking has been a reminder to ourselves that we can return to the mind to choose our oneness with God rather than separation. Until then, we need to use any symbol that is helpful to us, such as holding Jesus’ hand and asking the Holy Spirit’s help, to let go of the fear of the power of our minds.