ACIM Supplemental Lesson for November 21
Song of Prayer
II. False versus True Healing
S-3.II.1. False healing merely makes a poor exchange of one illusion for a “nicer” one; a dream of sickness for a dream of health. 2 This can occur at lower forms of prayer, combining with forgiveness kindly meant but not completely understood as yet. 3 Only false healing can give way to fear, so sickness will be free to strike again. 4 False healing can indeed remove a form of pain and sickness. 5 But the cause remains, and will not lack effects. 6 The cause is still the wish to die and overcome the Christ. 7 And with this wish is death a certainty, for prayer isanswered. 8 Yet there is a kind of seeming death that has a different source. 9 It does not come because of hurtful thoughts and raging anger at the universe. 10 It merely signifies the end has come for usefulness of body functioning. 11 And so it is discarded as a choice, as one lays by a garment now outworn.
S-3.II.2. This is what death should be; a quiet choice, made joyfully and with a sense of peace, because the body has been kindly used to help the Son of God along the way he goes to God. 2 We thank the body, then, for all the service it has given us. 3 But we are thankful, too, the need is done to walk the world of limits, and to reach the Christ in hidden forms and clearly seen at most in lovely flashes. 4 Now we can behold Him without blinders, in the light that we have learned to look upon again.
S-3.II.3. We call it death, but it is liberty. 2 It does not come in forms that seem to be thrust down in pain upon unwilling flesh, but as a gentle welcome to release. 3 If there has been true healing, this can be the form in which death comes when it is time to rest a while from labor gladly done and gladly ended. 4 Now we go in peace to freer air and gentler climate, where it is not hard to see the gifts we gave were saved for us. 5 For Christ is clearer now; His vision more sustained in us; His Voice, the Word of God, more certainly our own.
S-3.II.4. This gentle passage to a higher prayer, a kind forgiveness of the ways of earth, can only be received with thankfulness. 2 Yet first true healing must have come to bless the mind with loving pardon for the sins it dreamed about and laid upon the world. 3 Now are its dreams dispelled in quiet rest. 4 Now its forgiveness comes to heal the world and it is ready to depart in peace, the journey over and the lessons learned.
S-3.II.5. This is not death according to the world, for death is cruel in its frightened eyes and takes the form of punishment for sin. 2 How could it be a blessing, then? 3 And how could it be welcome when it must be feared? 4 What healing has occurred in such a view of what is merely opening the gate to higher prayer and kindly justice done? 5 Death is reward and not a punishment. 6 But such a viewpoint must be fostered by the healing that the world cannot conceive. 7 There is no partial healing. 8 What but shifts illusions has done nothing. 9 What is false cannot be partly true. 10 If you are healed your healing is complete. 11 Forgiveness is the only gift you give and would receive.
S-3.II.6. False healing rests upon the body’s cure, leaving the cause of illness still unchanged, ready to strike again until it brings a cruel death in seeming victory. 2 It can be held at bay a little while, and there can be brief respite as it waits to take its vengeance on the Son of God. 3 Yet it cannot be overcome until all faith in it has been laid by, and placed upon God’s substitute for evil dreams; a world in which there is no veil of sin to keep it dark and comfortless. 4 At last the gate of Heaven opens and God’s Son is free to enter in the home that stands ready to welcome him, and was prepared before time was and still but waits for him.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 21
My Father gives all power unto me.
The Son of God is limitless. There are no limits on his strength, his peace, his joy, nor any attributes his Father gave in his creation. What he wills with his Creator and Redeemer must be done. His holy will can never be denied, because his Father shines upon his mind, and lays before it all the strength and love in earth and Heaven. I am he to whom all this is given. I am he in whom the power of my Father’s Will abides.
Your Will can do all things in me, and then extend to all the world as well through me. There is no limit on Your Will. And so all power has been given to Your Son.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #219: How does A Course in Miracles view the issues of demon possession which some religious organizations treat as real? Does the Course really claim that evil does not exist? Does the Course claim that there is no battle between Good and Evil? And, I am sure it states somewhere in the Course, if my memory is correct, that we do not heal but God does. How then does the Course explain faith healers? I am referring to the legitimate cases supported by the Catholic Church, cases involving individuals that have the stigmata. If the crucifixion is not important they why would these people be afflicted with the wounds of the crucifixion?
A: One of the fundamental differences between Christian theology and A Course in Miracles is the Course teaching that sin is not real. In Christianity, the belief that sin is real is at the root of its entire belief system; it is synonymous with evil. These are, therefore, mutually exclusive teachings, and the beliefs and practices that follow from them are also mutually exclusive. In Christianity, the idea of sin is given different expressions in form, one of which is demon possession. In Christian thought, both sin and evil represent a will in opposition to God’s. This is the nature of sin. The Course, on the other hand, teaches that there is no sin, and no opposition to God’s Will is possible: “…sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin [e.g. demon possession] will never happen, for it has no cause. Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God’s Son. There is no sin” (W.pI.101.5:2,3,4). “What is opposed to God does not exist….” (W.pI.137.11:3).
Clearly what does not exist cannot do battle with what is real. According to the Course, only God is real. What appears to do battle in the world is the ego’s made-up idea of what is “good” conflicting with the ego’s made-up idea of what is “evil.” This is the battleground that is home to the ego thought system, but the Course tells us that it is not real. The Course teaching in this regard can be summed up: sin is not real, and so there can be no demon personifying sin; evil does not exist, and so there cannot be a battle between good and evil.
For a Christian believer, the crucifixion and the wounds of the crucified Jesus are very real. Inspired by devotion to these beliefs, a person with a very deep desire to share the sufferings of the crucifixion as a way of identifying with the historical Jesus could experience the physical manifestation of the wounds of the crucifixion, known as the stigmata. However, even the Catholic Church acknowledges that these physical marks can be caused by an intense psychological state, not divine intervention. This neither negates nor proves the person’s devotion. The stigmata has been experienced by persons who were psychologically imbalanced, as well as by those, such as St. Francis of Assisi, who are believed to be a saints. As with everything, the Course brings our focus to the content, never the form. All form, stigmata included, can be the result of the ego’s choice to separate, or, the choice to join in the mind with the Holy Spirit, Who reflects God’s love in the dream. The Course does not say the crucifixion was not important; it reinterprets it: “The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted” (T.6.I.4:6). Christianity teaches that God’s innocent Son, Jesus, died to atone for the sins of humanity, and thus reopened the gates of Heaven that were shut when Adam and Eve committed the original sin. The Course teaches that the gates of Heaven were never shut, and there is no sin. God’s one Son is made up of the entire Sonship, including Jesus (not exclusively Jesus). This one Son cannot be harmed, cannot suffer, and cannot die. All this is true, according to the Course, because the separation never happened, and the world and the body are not real. The events that occurred in the life of the historical Jesus have been interpreted by those who wrote down the Gospels, and by the leaders of religious institutions in accord with their belief system. We who identify with our bodies and believe in suffering and death bring these beliefs to our view of the crucifixion of Jesus. We assume that what would be true for us, if we were crucified, was true for him — that he felt betrayed and victimized, suffered agony, and died. Since Jesus did not identify with the body, and knew his true identity as a Son of God, this was not his experience of the crucifixion.
The Course teaches that true healing is of the mind, and only of the mind. This is accomplished through forgiveness, and leads to the undoing of the belief in the separation. This healing will result in peace, and may or may not have any manifestation in form. If true healing of this nature occurs, whatever happens in form is irrelevant. The mind that chooses to believe in the separation and the reality of the body can also choose to make the body sick. The Course is teaching us that another choice is also possible — the mind can choose against sickness. When a person seeks help in healing from a faith healer and the body is healed, it is because a choice for healing was made in the mind. The person then joins with the faith healer in the shared purpose of healing. This is true even when no physical contact occurs (M.5.II.2,3,4;III.1,2). The choice in the mind of the individual is the only explanation for any healing that occurs. The ultimate healing is awakening from the dream of separation, which is accomplished by undoing our belief in separation. Nothing really happens except that we will no longer be asleep, and will know ourselves in our true identity as God’s one Son. This is what is referred to when the Course says: “Healing does not come directly from God, Who knows His creations as perfectly whole. Yet healing is still of God, because it proceeds from His Voice and from His laws” (T.7.IV.1:4,5). What proceeds from His Voice and from His laws is the truth of who we are. It is healing in the sense that the mind will no longer be made sick or insane by the thought of separation.