ACIM Supplemental Reading for November 23
Song of Prayer
IV. The Holiness of Healing
S-3.IV.1. How holy are the healed! 2 For in their sight their brothers share their healing and their love. 3 Bringers of peace,–the Holy Spirit’s voice, through whom He speaks for God, Whose Voice He is,–such are God’s healers. 4 They but speak for Him and never for themselves. 5 They have no gifts but those they have from God. 6 And these they share because they know that this is what He wills. 7 They are not special. 8 They are holy. 9 They have chosen holiness, and given up all separate dreams of special attributes through which they can bestow unequal gifts on those less fortunate. 10 Their healing has restored their wholeness so they can forgive, and join the song of prayer in which the healed sing of their union and their thanks to God.
S-3.IV.2. As witness to forgiveness, aid to prayer, and the effect of mercy truly taught, healing is blessing. 2 And the world responds in quickened chorus through the voice of prayer. 3 Forgiveness shines its merciful reprieve upon each blade of grass and feathered wing and all the living things upon the earth. 4 Fear has no haven here, for love has come in all its holy oneness. 5 Time remains only to let the last embrace of prayer rest on the earth an instant, as the world is shined away. 6 This instant is the goal of all true healers, whom the Christ has taught to see His likeness and to teach like Him.
S-3.IV.3. Think what it means to help the Christ to heal! 2 Can anything be holier than this? 3 God thanks His healers, for He knows the Cause of healing is Himself, His Love, His Son, restored as His completion and returned to share with Him creation’s holy joy. 4 Do not ask partial healing, nor accept an idol for rememberance of Him Whose Love has never changed and never will. 5 You are as dear to Him as is the whole of His creation, for it lies in you as His eternal gift. 6 What need have you for shifting dreams within a sorry world? 7 Do not forget the gratitude of God. 8 Do not forget the holy grace of prayer. 9 Do not forget forgiveness of God’s Son.
S-3.IV.4. You first forgive, then pray, and you are healed. 2 Your prayer has risen up and called to God, Who hears and answers. 3 You have understood that you forgive and pray but for yourself. 4 And in this understanding you are healed. 5 In prayer you have united with your Source, and understood that you have never left. 6 This level cannot be attained until there is no hatred in your heart, and no desire to attack the Son of God.
S-3.IV.5. Never forget this; it is you who are God’s Son, and as you choose to be to him so are you to yourself, and God to you. 2 Nor will your judgment fail to reach to God, for you will give the role to Him you see in His creation. 3 Do not choose amiss, or you will think that it is you who are creator in His place, and He is then no longer Cause but only an effect. 4 Now healing is impossible, for He is blamed for your deception and your guilt. 5 He Who is Love becomes the source of fear, for only fear can now be justified. 6 Vengeance is His. 7 His great destroyer, death. 8 And sickness, suffering and grievous loss become the lot of everyone on earth, which He abandoned to the devil’s care, swearing He will deliver it no more.
S-3.IV.6. Come unto Me, My children, once again, without such twisted thoughts upon your hearts. 2 You still are holy with the Holiness which fathered you in perfect sinlessness, and still surrounds you with the Arms of peace. 3 Dream now of healing. 4 Then arise and lay all dreaming down forever. 5 You are he your Father loves, who never left his home, nor wandered in a savage world with feet that bleed, and with a heavy heart made hard against the love that is the truth in you. 6 Give all your dreams to Christ and let Him be your Guide to healing, leading you in prayer beyond the sorry reaches of the world.
S-3.IV.7.He comes for Me and speaks My Word to you. 2 I would recall My weary Son to Me from dreams of malice to the sweet embrace of everlasting Love and perfect peace. 3 My Arms are open to the Son I love, who does not understand that he is healed, and that his prayers have never ceased to sing his joyful thanks in unison with all creation, in the holiness of Love. 4 Be still an instant. 5 Underneath the sounds of harsh and bitter striving and defeat there is a Voice that speaks to you of Me. 6 Hear this an instant and you will be healed. 7 Hear this an instant and you have been saved.
S-3.IV.8. Help Me to wake My children from the dream of retribution and a little life beset with fear, that ends so soon it might as well have never been. 2 Let Me instead remind you of eternity, in which your joy grows greater as your love extends along with Mine beyond infinity, where time and distance have no meaning. 3 While you wait in sorrow Heaven’s melody is incomplete, because your song is part of the eternal harmony of love. 4 Without you is creation unfulfilled. 5 Return to Me Who never left My Son. 6 Listen, My child, your Father calls to you. 7 Do not refuse to hear the Call for Love. 8 Do not deny to Christ what is His Own. 9 Heaven is here and Heaven is your home.
S-3.IV.9. Creation leans across the bars of time to lift the heavy burden from the world. 2 Lift up your hearts to greet its advent. 3 See the shadows fade away in gentleness; the thorns fall softly from the bleeding brow of him who is the holy Son of God. 4 How lovely are you, child of Holiness! 5 How like to Me! 6 How lovingly I hold you in My Heart and in My Arms. 7 How dear is every gift to Me that you have made, who healed My Son and took him from the cross. 8 Arise and let My thanks be given you. 9 And with My gratitude will come the gift first of forgiveness, then eternal peace.
S-3.IV.10.So now return your holy voice to Me. 2 The song of prayer is silent without you. 3 The universe is waiting your release because it is its own. 4 Be kind to it and to yourself, and then be kind to Me. 5 I ask but this; that you be comforted and live no more in terror and in pain. 6 Do not abandon Love. 7 Remember this; whatever you may think about yourself, whatever you may think about the world, your Father needs you and will call to you until you come to Him in peace at last.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 23
I can give up but what was never real.
I sacrifice illusions; nothing more. And as illusions go I find the gifts illusions tried to hide, awaiting me in shining welcome, and in readiness to give God’s ancient messages to me. His memory abides in every gift that I receive of Him. And every dream serves only to conceal the Self which is God’s only Son, the likeness of Himself, the Holy One Who still abides in Him forever, as He still abides in me.
Father, to You all sacrifice remains forever inconceivable. And so I cannot sacrifice except in dreams. As You created me, I can give up nothing You gave me. What You did not give has no reality. What loss can I anticipate except the loss of fear, and the return of love into my mind?
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #592: I have been a student of A Course in Miracles since the age of sixteen, but I am still having trouble releasing myself from the fear of hell that my over-zealous Baptist relatives imposed upon me when I was younger. I was taught to “pray” before I would eat a meal, and I find myself doing this every so often when I am stressed out, as if I was “sucking up” to God. Sometimes I find it easier to revert back to the rituals and idol worship when it seems my awakening is unattainable. My wife was recently deployed to Iraq, and even though I can contain the fear early in the day, later I start to feel overwhelmed and powerless, often performing the Baptist rituals out of desperation. It seems as if I am trying to communicate with two very conflicting ideas of God. What is the most effective method of prayer?
A: You express an experience common to many students who were raised with strong religious beliefs. You also have a lot of company in practicing rituals and idol worship, since that is the sum and substance of life in a body once the separation is taken seriously: “The world believes in idols. No one comes unless he worshipped them, and still attempts to seek for one that yet might offer him a gift reality does not contain” (T.29.VIII.8:4,5). Identifying with the body necessarily entails a vast array of rituals and idol worship in the form of physical, emotional and psychological care. Though not religious in nature, they are no different from religious beliefs in that they are used as substitutes for God and to defend the ego thought system based on the belief in separation. The underlying belief in our pursuit of comfort in rituals and idols, whatever form they may take, is that something external to the mind has caused our pain, and therefore something external can bring healing. It does not matter whether it be a prayer to a made-up notion of God, a favorite food, or a day at the beach. Having sided with the ego’s belief that the separation is real, we seek escape from the terrible pain of our guilt by hiding in the body and the world. Because we have made them our “friends,” we think they will shelter us from pain and bring us peace. We are mistaken; they won’t. But we are not completely convinced, because our strong attachment to our beliefs makes it difficult for us to reverse them. That is why the Course is a gentle learning process.
It is no more a sin to say a little prayer to a god that doesn’t exist, than it is to relax with enjoyable music: “You do but dream, and idols are the toys you dream you play with” (T.29.IX.4:4).
The important thing is to be aware of the fear, that causes the stress, that results in the ritualistic behavior. It can be very helpful to see this dynamic in operation and to acknowledge to Jesus or the Holy Spirit that you are afraid, concerned for your wife’s safety, and unsure of what to do to feel better. That would be an effective prayer. If then you sincerely invite him to be with you as you say your “Baptist” words, or do whatever you find comforting, they will not make you feel guilty. More importantly, the part of your mind that knows they are not the real answer, and are not what you truly believe, will be strengthened.
You may find it helpful to read “The Song of Prayer,” which is one of the Course supplements. It offers a very beautiful and comprehensive view of prayer in accord with the teaching of the Course.