ACIM Text Reading for May 3
Chapter 14 ~ Teaching for Truth
V. Your Function in the Atonement
When you accept a brother’s guiltlessness you will see the Atonement in him. For by proclaiming it in him you make it yours, and you will see what you sought. You will not see the symbol of your brother’s guiltlessness shining within him while you still believe it is not there. His guiltlessness is your Atonement. Grant it to him, and you will see the truth of what you have acknowledged. Yet truth is offered first to be received, even as God gave it first to His Son. The first in time means nothing, but the First in eternity is God the Father, Who is both First and One. Beyond the First there is no other, for there is no order, no second or third, and nothing but the First.
You who belong to the First Cause, created by Him like unto Himself and part of Him, are more than merely guiltless. The state of guiltlessness is only the condition in which what is not there has been removed from the disordered mind that thought it was. This state, and only this, must you attain, with God beside you. For until you do, you will still think that you are separate from Him. You can perhaps feel His Presence next to you, but cannot know that you are one with Him. This cannot be taught. Learning applies only to the condition in which it happens of itself.
When you have let all that obscured the truth in your most holy mind be undone for you, and therefore stand in grace before your Father, He will give Himself to you as He has always done. Giving Himself is all He knows, and so it is all knowledge. For what He knows not cannot be, and therefore cannot be given. Ask not to be forgiven, for this has already been accomplished. Ask, rather, to learn how to forgive, and to restore what always was to your unforgiving mind. Atonement becomes real and visible to those who use it. On earth this is your only function, and you must learn that it is all you want to learn. You will feel guilty till you learn this. For in the end, whatever form it takes, your guilt arises from your failure to fulfill your function in God’s Mind with all of yours. Can you escape this guilt by failing to fulfill your function here?
You need not understand creation to do what must be done before that knowledge would be meaningful to you. God breaks no barriers; neither did He make them. When you release them they are gone. God will not fail, nor ever has in anything. Decide that God is right and you are wrong about yourself. He created you out of Himself, but still within Him. He knows what you are. Remember that there is no second to Him. There cannot, therefore, be anyone without His Holiness, nor anyone unworthy of His perfect Love. Fail not in your function of loving in a loveless place made out of darkness and deceit, for thus are darkness and deceit undone. Fail not yourself, but instead offer to God and you His blameless Son. For this small gift of appreciation for His Love, God will Himself exchange your gift for His.
Before you make any decisions for yourself, remember that you have decided against your function in Heaven, and then consider carefully whether you want to make decisions here. Your function here is only to decide against deciding what you want, in recognition that you do not know. How, then, can you decide what you should do? Leave all decisions to the One Who speaks for God, and for your function as He knows it. So will He teach you to remove the awful burden you have laid upon yourself by loving not the Son of God, and trying to teach him guilt instead of love. Give up this frantic and insane attempt that cheats you of the joy of living with your God and Father, and of waking gladly to His Love and Holiness that join together as the truth in you, making you one with Him.
When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer. Only your own volition seems to make deciding hard. The Holy Spirit will not delay in answering your every question what to do. He knows. And He will tell you, and then do it for you. You who are tired will find this is more restful than sleep. For you can bring your guilt into sleeping, but not into this.
Unless you are guiltless you cannot know God, Whose Will is that you know Him. Therefore, you must be guiltless. Yet if you do not accept the necessary conditions for knowing Him, you have denied Him and do not recognize Him, though He is all around you. He cannot be known without His Son, whose guiltlessness is the condition for knowing Him. Accepting His Son as guilty is denial of the Father so complete, that knowledge is swept away from recognition in the very mind where God Himself has placed it. If you would but listen, and learn how impossible this is! Do not endow Him with attributes you understand. You made Him not, and anything you understand is not of Him.
Your task is not to make reality. It is here without your making, but not without you. You who have tried to throw yourself away and valued God so little, hear me speak for Him and for yourself. You cannot understand how much your Father loves you, for there is no parallel in your experience of the world to help you understand it. There is nothing on earth with which it can compare, and nothing you have ever felt apart from Him resembles it ever so faintly. You cannot even give a blessing in perfect gentleness. Would you know of One Who gives forever, and Who knows of nothing except giving?
The children of Heaven live in the light of the blessing of their Father, because they know that they are sinless. The Atonement was established as the means of restoring guiltlessness to minds that have denied it, and thus denied Heaven to itself. Atonement teaches you the true condition of the Son of God. It does not teach you what you are, or what your Father is. The Holy Spirit, Who remembers this for you, merely teaches you how to remove the blocks that stand between you and what you know. His memory is yours. If you remember what you have made, you are remembering nothing. Remembrance of reality is in Him, and therefore in you.
The guiltless and the guilty are totally incapable of understanding one another. Each perceives the other as like himself, making both unable to communicate, because each sees the other unlike the way he sees himself. God can communicate only to the Holy Spirit in your mind, because only He shares the knowledge of what you are with God. And only the Holy Spirit can answer God for you, for only He knows what God is. Everything else that you have placed within your mind cannot exist, for what is not in communication with the Mind of God has never been. Communication with God is life. Nothing without it is at all.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for May 3
I thank my Father for His gifts to me.
Today let us be thankful. We have come to gentler pathways and to smoother roads. There is no thought of turning back, and no implacable resistance to the truth. A bit of wavering remains, some small objections and a little hesitance, but you can well be grateful for your gains, which are far greater than you realize.
A day devoted now to gratitude will add the benefit of some insight into the real extent of all the gains which you have made; the gifts you have received. Be glad today, in loving thankfulness, your Father has not left you to yourself, nor let you wander in the dark alone. Be grateful He has saved you from the self you thought you made to take the place of Him and His creation. Give Him thanks today.
Give thanks that He has not abandoned you, and that His Love forever will remain shining on you, forever without change. Give thanks as well that you are changeless, for the Son He loves is changeless as Himself. Be grateful you are saved. Be glad you have a function in salvation to fulfill. Be thankful that your value far transcends your meager gifts and petty judgments of the one whom God established as His Son.
Today in gratitude we lift our hearts above despair, and raise our thankful eyes, no longer looking downward to the dust. We sing the song of thankfulness today, in honor of the Self that God has willed to be our true Identity in Him. Today we smile on everyone we see, and walk with lightened footsteps as we go to do what is appointed us to do.
We do not go alone. And we give thanks that in our solitude a Friend has come to speak the saving Word of God to us. And thanks to you for listening to Him. His Word is soundless if it be not heard. In thanking Him the thanks are yours as well. An unheard message will not save the world, however mighty be the Voice that speaks, however loving may the message be.
Thanks be to you who heard, for you become the messenger who brings His Voice with you, and lets It echo round and round the world. Receive the thanks of God today, as you give thanks to Him. For He would offer you the thanks you give, since He receives your gifts in loving gratitude, and gives them back a thousand and a hundred thousand more than they were given. He will bless your gifts by sharing them with you. And so they grow in power and in strength, until they fill the world with gladness and with gratitude.
Receive His thanks and offer yours to Him for fifteen minutes twice today. And you will realize to Whom you offer thanks, and Whom He thanks as you are thanking Him. This holy half an hour given Him will be returned to you in terms of years for every second; power to save the world eons more quickly for your thanks to Him.
Receive His thanks, and you will understand how lovingly He holds you in His Mind, how deep and limitless His care for you, how perfect is His gratitude to you. Remember hourly to think of Him, and give Him thanks for everything He gave His Son, that he might rise above the world, remembering his Father and his Self.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #685: In the workbook of A Course in Miracles, I was engaged with Lesson 122, and a very beautiful lesson it is, when a word in paragraph 10 caught my attention: “We are close indeed to the appointed ending of the dream” (W.pI.122.10:4). Could you please elaborate on “appointed?”
A: In this context, the ending of the dream is “appointed” because it is certain, and in reality it is already accomplished, because “… the separation never occurred“ (T.6.II.10:7). Everyone will come to this realization in his/her own time, and will awaken from the dream: “Forget not once this journey is begun the end is certain. Doubt along the way will come and go and go to come again. Yet is the ending sure. No one can fail to do what God appointed him to do” [accept the identity God has given to His Son] (C.ep.1:1,2,3,4).
The “appointed” moment does not refer to a specific time in the dream, but refers to a decision in the mind that is outside of time and space. However, Jesus knows that we believe we are actually separate from God, living in time and space, and so he speaks to us on the level of our experience in the dream. He tells us throughout the Course that to end the dream all that is required is for us to remember the truth that we have denied, to forget everything else, and in an instant we would awaken. That is why the ending is “close”; it is always only an instant away.
While we continue to choose separation, however, we use time as a delay mechanism to defend our choice: “Delay is of the ego, because time is its concept” (T.5.III.5). Time is one of the ego’s best defenses for its tale of sin, guilt, and fear. Only in time can we defend our belief in the punishment from God we think is our due for the terrible “sin” of choosing against Him in the past. The ego insists that one of these days God will get us. We also use our concept of time to project salvation outside of ourselves to a distant moment in the future, because we are afraid of accepting it in the present. Thus, contrary to the popular saying “time waits for no man,” time is actually under the command of the ego. For its purpose of refusing to accept our oneness with God, which would end the dream, we have all the time in the world. Time will indeed wait for us to choose again, because we made it up explicitly to serve our delay tactics. That is why, in our experience, the dream seems to be lasting eons. In the insanity of our split minds, we both fear it will last forever, and hope it will. In his kindness, Jesus assures us it will end, but not abruptly: “Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality. Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition” (T.16.VI.8:1,2).
The “appointed” end of the dream, therefore, is as certain as the Holy Spirit tells us it is, and only as close as we want it to be. In the text, we are told “Time is your friend, if you leave it to the Holy Spirit to use. He needs but very little to restore God’s whole power to you. He Who transcends time for you understands what time is for” 15.I.15:1,2,3).The dream’s concept of time serves the Holy Spirit’s purpose when we use it to heal our minds of the thought of separation, seeing each moment as an opportunity to choose forgiveness rather than judgment in the present. Thus the past “sin” and future punishment are released of their power to delay us on our journey, bringing the truth closer to our awareness.