ACIM Text Reading for October 3
Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision
VIII. Choose Once Again
Temptation has one lesson it would teach, in all its forms, wherever it occurs. It would persuade the holy Son of God he is a body, born in what must die, unable to escape its frailty, and bound by what it orders him to feel. It sets the limits on what he can do; its power is the only strength he has; his grasp cannot exceed its tiny reach. Would you be this, if Christ appeared to you in all His glory, asking you but this:
- “Choose once again if you would take your place among the saviors of the world,
- or would remain in hell, and hold your brothers there.”
For He has come, and He is asking this.
How do you make the choice? How easily is this explained! You always choose between your weakness and the strength of Christ in you. And what you choose is what you think is real. Simply by never using weakness to direct your actions, you have given it no power. And the light of Christ in you is given charge of everything you do. For you have brought your weakness unto Him, and He has given you His strength instead.
Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, “My brother, choose again.” He would not leave one source of pain unhealed, nor any image left to veil the truth. He would not leave you comfortless, alone in dreams of hell, but would release your mind from everything that hides His face from you. His Holiness is yours because He is the only power that is real in you. His strength is yours because He is the Self that God created as His only Son.
The images you make cannot prevail against what God Himself would have you be. Be never fearful of temptation, then, but see it as it is; another chance to choose again, and let Christ’s strength prevail in every circumstance and every place you raised an image of yourself before. For what appears to hide the face of Christ is powerless before His majesty, and disappears before His holy sight. The saviors of the world, who see like Him, are merely those who choose His strength instead of their own weakness, seen apart from Him. They will redeem the world, for they are joined in all the power of the Will of God. And what they will is only what He wills.
Learn, then, the happy habit of response to all temptation to perceive yourself as weak and miserable with these words:
- “I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing. And I am His Son.”
Thus is Christ’s strength invited to prevail, replacing all your weakness with the strength that comes from God and that can never fail. And thus are miracles as natural as fear and agony appeared to be before the choice for holiness was made. For in that choice are false distinctions gone, illusory alternatives laid by, and nothing left to interfere with truth.
You are as God created you, and so is every living thing you look upon, regardless of the images you see. What you behold as sickness and as pain, as weakness and as suffering and loss, is but temptation to perceive yourself defenseless and in hell. Yield not to this, and you will see all pain, in every form, wherever it occurs, but disappear as mists before the sun. A miracle has come to heal God’s Son, and close the door upon his dreams of weakness, opening the way to his salvation and release. Choose once again what you would have him be, remembering that every choice you make establishes your own identity as you will see it and believe it is.
Deny me not the little gift I ask, when in exchange I lay before your feet the peace of God, and power to bring this peace to everyone who wanders in the world uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear. For it is given you to join with him, and through the Christ in you unveil his eyes, and let him look upon the Christ in him.
My brothers in salvation, do not fail to hear my voice and listen to my words. I ask for nothing but your own release. There is no place for hell within a world whose loveliness can yet be so intense and so inclusive it is but a step from there to Heaven. To your tired eyes I bring a vision of a different world, so new and clean and fresh you will forget the pain and sorrow that you saw before. Yet this a vision is which you must share with everyone you see, for otherwise you will behold it not. To give this gift is how to make it yours. And God ordained, in loving kindness, that it be for you.
Let us be glad that we can walk the world, and find so many chances to perceive another situation where God’s gift can once again be recognized as ours! And thus will all the vestiges of hell, the secret sins and hidden hates be gone. And all the loveliness which they concealed appear like lawns of Heaven to our sight, to lift us high above the thorny roads we traveled on before the Christ appeared. Hear me, my brothers, hear and join with me. God has ordained I cannot call in vain, and in His certainty I rest content. For you will hear, and you will choose again. And in this choice is everyone made free.
I thank You, Father, for these holy ones who are my brothers as they are Your Sons. My faith in them is Yours. I am as sure that they will come to me as You are sure of what they are, and will forever be. They will accept the gift I offer them, because You gave it me on their behalf. And as I would but do Your holy Will, so will they choose. And I give thanks for them. Salvation’s song will echo through the world with every choice they make. For we are one in purpose, and the end of hell is near.
In joyous welcome is my hand outstretched to every brother who would join with me in reaching past temptation, and who looks with fixed determination toward the light that shines beyond in perfect constancy. Give me my own, for they belong to You. And can You fail in what is but Your Will? I give You thanks for what my brothers are. And as each one elects to join with me, the song of thanks from earth to Heaven grows from tiny scattered threads of melody to one inclusive chorus from a world redeemed from hell, and giving thanks to You.
And now we say “Amen.” For Christ has come to dwell in the abode You set for Him before time was, in calm eternity. The journey closes, ending at the place where it began. No trace of it remains. Not one illusion is accorded faith, and not one spot of darkness still remains to hide the face of Christ from anyone. Thy Will is done, complete and perfectly, and all creation recognizes You, and knows You as the only Source it has. Clear in Your likeness does the light shine forth from everything that lives and moves in You. For we have reached where all of us are one, and we are home, where You would have us be.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 3
The Word of God is given me to speak.
What is the Word of God? “My Son is pure and holy as Myself.” And thus did God become the Father of the Son He loves, for thus was he created. This the Word His Son did not create with Him, because in this His Son was born. Let us accept His Fatherhood, and all is given us. Deny we were created in His Love and we deny our Self, to be unsure of Who we are, of Who our Father is, and for what purpose we have come. And yet, we need but to acknowledge Him Who gave His Word to us in our creation, to remember Him and so recall our Self.
Father, Your Word is mine. And it is this that I would speak to all my brothers, who are given me to cherish as my own, as I am loved and blessed and saved by You.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #686: In the end of the text, Jesus says that all walk the world “uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear” (T31.VIII.7:1). I know that this may seem silly, but I just don’t believe that sometimes. I look at someone like Donald Trump; rich, secure, seemingly happy, and it doesn’t seem that he feels the way Jesus describes. I know enough now that this question probably reflects my fear that A Course in Miracles is asking sacrifice of me, but some people seem so happy without the Course.
A: It is important to remember that in the Course Jesus is addressing our minds; more specifically, the part of our minds that remembers the truth of who we really are (the right mind). However, since we have dissociated from our minds and identified with the ego, and thus with the body, we hear his words as applying to the body. He is not speaking to our bodies. It is the mind that identifies with the ego/body that walks the world “uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear.” Though they may not be apparent, the loneliness, uncertainty and fear that underlie everyone’s’ existence in the world are the motivation for everything that we seek: money, power, friends, and family. Having believed we are separate from our Source, we feel bankrupt and therefore compelled to fill our physical, psychological, and emotional warehouses to the brim with wealth, health and “happiness.” The ego is ingenious in making up itsinterpretation of “happiness,” “success,” “achievement,” even “love,” based on the deep sense of loss that inevitably accompanies the choice for separation. The world offers the illusion of happiness, and on its terms it seems to “work” for some people. They seem to “have it all.” It is possible to experience the satisfaction of getting what we want, or what we think we want, and it is this that the world calls happiness. However, as it turns out, it is never enough, not even the “perfect life” here in the world, and so we seek for more. No doubt Donald Trump, along with many other wealthy, and successful people, would admit that there are more fortunes and more power to be had: “You never can be too rich or too thin.”
Jesus tells us in the Course, that in choosing to identify with the body and seeking everything the world has to offer, we have short-changed ourselves. “To identify with the ego is to attack yourself and make yourself poor. That is why everyone who identifies with the ego feels deprived. What he experiences then is depression or anger, because what he did was to exchange Self-love for self-hate, making him afraid of himself. He does not realize this. Even if he is fully aware of anxiety he does not perceive its source as his own ego identification, and he always tries to handle it by making some sort of insane ‘arrangement’ with the world” (T.12.III.6:1,2,3,4,5, italics ours). The insane arrangements are all the things we do to avoid feeling the self-hatred, this is what compels us to seek outside of ourselves for comfort and fulfillment. Every value the world holds has its source in the pervasive feeling of emptiness that is the effect of choosing the ego instead of God. Yet nothing ever fills that void. Jesus tells the Donald Trump in all of us that the world/ego is a bad investment: “The ego is trying to teach you how to gain the whole world and lose your own soul. The Holy Spirit teaches that you cannot lose your soul and there is no gain in the world, for of itself it profits nothing. To invest without profit is surely to impoverish yourself, and the overhead is high. Not only is there no profit in the investment, but the cost to you is enormous. For this investment costs you the world’s reality by denying yours, and gives you nothing in return” (T.12.VI.1:1,2,3,4,5).
A close look at the satisfactions and “happiness” the world offer reveals that they are short spent and do not last. Every enjoyment is shadowed by the knowledge that it will end, not to mention that it is nothing but an illusion: “Illusions will not last. Their death is sure and this alone is certain in their world. It is the ego’s world because of this” (C.2.1:1,2,3). We cannot effectively extinguish the gnawing sense that everything we seek and achieve has an end, including this “life” in a body, and thus we become imprisoned by the relentless pursuit of pleasure, comfort, and meaning in the world. This often extends to the search for meaningful religious experience and fulfillment, in an attempt to calm our fear that we are, in fact, wrong about who we are, and wrong about everything we believe is true and meaningful. As the very first lesson in the workbook tells us: “Nothing I see…means anything” (W.pI.1). How, then, can what is meaningless bring us happiness, comfort, or peace? Not only is it meaningless, everything the world offers is actually a defense against recognizing what is meaningful, since it is the place made by the ego, “where God could enter not, and where His Son could be apart from Him” (W.pII.3.2:4).
There is no need to worry that we will have to sacrifice or be deprived of anything we think we need as long as we think we need it: “Only the Holy Spirit knows what you need. For He will give you all things that do not block the way to light. And what else could you need? In time, He gives you all the things that you need have, and will renew them as long as you have need of them. He will take nothing from you as long as you have any need of it. And yet He knows that everything you need is temporary, and will but last until you step aside from all your needs and realize that all of them have been fulfilled” (T.13.VII.12:1,2,3,4,5,6). Let’s not be fooled by anything else.