ACIM Text Reading for July 15
Chapter 19 ~ The Attainment of Peace
i. The Lifting of the Veil
Forget not that you came this far together, you and your brother. And it was surely not the ego that led you here. No obstacle to peace can be surmounted through its help. It does not open up its secrets, and bid you look on them and go beyond them. It would not have you see its weakness, and learn it has no power to keep you from the truth. The Guide Who brought you here remains with you, and when you raise your eyes you will be ready to look on terror with no fear at all. But first, lift up your eyes and look on your brother in innocence born of complete forgiveness of his illusions, and through the eyes of faith that sees them not.
No one can look upon the fear of God unterrified, unless he has accepted the Atonement and learned illusions are not real. No one can stand before this obstacle alone, for he could not have reached this far unless his brother walked beside him. And no one would dare to look on it without complete forgiveness of his brother in his heart. Stand you here a while and tremble not. You will be ready. Let us join together in a holy instant, here in this place where the purpose, given in a holy instant, has led you. And let us join in faith that He Who brought us here together will offer you the innocence you need, and that you will accept it for my love and His.
Nor is it possible to look on this too soon. This is the place to which everyone must come when he is ready. Once he has found his brother he is ready. Yet merely to reach the place is not enough. A journey without a purpose is still meaningless, and even when it is over it seems to make no sense. How can you know that it is over unless you realise its purpose is accomplished? Here, with the journey’s end before you, you see its purpose. And it is here you choose whether to look upon it or wander on, only to return and make the choice again.
To look upon the fear of God does need some preparation. Only the sane can look on stark insanity and raving madness with pity and compassion, but not with fear. For only if they share in it does it seem fearful, and you do share in it until you look upon your brother with perfect faith and love and tenderness. Before complete forgiveness you still stand unforgiving. You are afraid of God because you fear your brother. Those you do not forgive you fear. And no one reaches love with fear beside him.
This brother who stands beside you still seems to be a stranger. You do not know him, and your interpretation of him is very fearful. And you attack him still, to keep what seems to be yourself unharmed. Yet in his hands is your salvation. You see his madness, which you hate because you share it. And all the pity and forgiveness that would heal it gives way to fear. Brother, you need forgiveness of your brother, for you will share in madness or in Heaven together. And you will raise your eyes in faith together, or not at all.
Beside you is one who offers you the chalice of Atonement, for the Holy Spirit is in him. Would you hold his sins against him, or accept his gift to you? Is this giver of salvation your friend or enemy? Choose which he is, remembering that you will receive of him according to your choice. He has in him the power to forgive your sin, as you for him. Neither can give it to himself alone. And yet your saviour stands beside each one. Let him be what he is, and seek not to make of love an enemy.
Behold your Friend, the Christ Who stands beside you. How holy and how beautiful He is! You thought He sinned because you cast the veil of sin upon Him to hide His loveliness. Yet still He holds forgiveness out to you, to share His holiness. This ‘enemy’, this ‘stranger’ still offers you salvation as His Friend. The ‘enemies’ of Christ, the worshippers of sin, know not Whom they attack.
This is your brother, crucified by sin and waiting for release from pain. Would you not offer him forgiveness, when only he can offer it to you? For his redemption he will give you yours, as surely as God created every living thing and loves it. And he will give it truly, for it will be both offered and received. There is no grace of Heaven that you cannot offer to your brother, and receive from your most holy Friend. Let him withhold it not, for by receiving it you offer it to him. And he will receive of you what you received of him. Redemption has been given you to give your brother, and thus receive it. Whom you forgive is free, and what you give you share. Forgive the sins your brother thinks he has committed, and all the guilt you think you see in him.
Here is the holy place of resurrection, to which we come again; to which we will return until redemption is accomplished and received. Think who your brother is, before you would condemn him. And offer thanks to God that he is holy, and has been given the gift of holiness for you. Join him in gladness, and remove all trace of guilt from his disturbed and tortured mind. Help him to lift the heavy burden of sin you laid upon him and he accepted as his own, and toss it lightly and with happy laughter away from him. Press it not like thorns against his brow, nor nail him to it, unredeemed and hopeless.
Give faith to your brother, for faith and hope and mercy are yours to give. Into the hands that give, the gift is given. Look on your brother, and see in him the gift of God you would receive. It is almost Easter, the time of resurrection. Let us give redemption to each other and share in it, that we may rise as one in resurrection, not separate in death. Behold the gift of freedom that I gave the Holy Spirit for you. And be you and your brother free together, as you offer to the Holy Spirit this same gift. And giving it, receive it of Him in return for what you gave. He leadeth you and me together, that we might meet here in this holy place, and make the same decision.
Free your brother here, as I freed you. Give him the self-same gift, nor look upon him with condemnation of any kind. See him as guiltless as I look on you, and overlook the sins he thinks he sees within himself. Offer your brother freedom and complete release from sin, here in the garden of seeming agony and death. So will we prepare together the way unto the resurrection of God’s Son, and let him rise again to glad remembrance of his Father, Who knows no sin, no death, but only life eternal.
Together we will disappear into the Presence beyond the veil, not to be lost but found; not to be seen but known. And knowing, nothing in the plan God has established for salvation will be left undone. This is the journey’s purpose, without which is the journey meaningless. Here is the peace of God, given to you eternally by Him. Here is the rest and quiet that you seek, the reason for the journey from its beginning. Heaven is the gift you owe your brother, the debt of gratitude you offer to the Son of God in thanks for what he is, and what his Father created him to be.
Think carefully how you would look upon the giver of this gift, for as you look on him so will the gift itself appear to be. As he is seen as either the giver of guilt or salvation, so will his offering be seen and so received. The crucified give pain because they are in pain. But the redeemed give joy because they have been healed of pain. Everyone gives as he receives, but he must choose what it will be that he receives. And he will recognise his choice by what he gives, and what is given him. Nor is it given anything in hell or Heaven to interfere with his decision.
You came this far because the journey was your choice. And no one undertakes to do what he believes is meaningless. What you had faith in still is faithful, and watches over you in faith so gentle yet so strong that it would lift you far beyond the veil, and place the Son of God safely within the sure protection of his Father. Here is the only purpose that gives this world, and the long journey through this world, whatever meaning lies in them. Beyond this, they are meaningless. You and your brother stand together, still without conviction they have a purpose. Yet it is given you to see this purpose in your holy Friend, and recognise it as your own.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 15
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(167) There is one life, and that I share with God.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
(168) Your grace is given me. I claim it now.
God is but Love, and therefore so am I.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #112: I have recently experienced the loss of my second of two beloved pets. I found myself trying to use A Course in Miracles to “save” him prior to his death. I did not want to give him up and I became very angry when nothing I tried worked. In particular, I was reading lesson 320 in the workbook: “My Father gives all power unto me.” I understand that maybe I am confusing levels, but I wonder if someone can explain this to me to add more understanding of where my error lies. How can I use the Course to walk through this process of grief? The pain is so intense; I do not know how to ask for help.
A: It is quite understandable, in your desire to keep your beloved pet in your life, that you would try to use all means you see available to save him. And unless you read Lesson 320 in the context of the whole Course, it is very easy to see it as telling you that you should have the power, among other things, to save your pet’s life. But that is not what this lesson means. As with so many other words in A Course in Miracles, power has a specific meaning that is different from how we think of power from our ego-based perspective. To the ego, power refers to the capacity to change and control things in the world. But since the world, from Jesus’ perspective if not yet ours, is illusory, then this is no real power at all.
The Course says there are really only two kinds of power: the power to create and the power to choose or decide. The power to create, which involves simply the extension of the love that is our only reality, was given to us by God in our creation and remains within our mind even though we have covered it over and forgotten it. But this power functions only in the realm of spirit and has nothing to do with the ego world of bodies and form that we think is our reality.
When we seemed to turn our back on the power of creation out of our desire to be separate, the power we made for ourselves in its place was the power of decision (T.14.VI.5:6) — the power to turn away from the love of God and choose the ego in all its many expressions as our teacher and guide. But once we have made this power of decision real for ourselves, Jesus tells us we can give it another purpose (T.14.VI.5:6.7) — we can learn to choose the Holy Spirit instead of the ego as our Teacher and Guide, helping us to awaken from the nightmare dream of death and loss and grief that we have made our reality. For once we believe we are trapped within the world, the power to choose how we look at what we’ve made is the only real power available to us (T.12.VII.9:1.2). All the so-called powers of the world simply keep us rooted in the illusion, continuously reinforcing our belief in limits and loss, reflecting our choice for the ego and all its ramifications.
So when Lesson 320 says, “Your [God’s] Will can do all things in me, and then extend to all the world as well through me” (W.pII.320.2:1), it means that when we choose the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, all the guilt that we experience as a result of our choice for separation can be undone through forgiveness. That forgiveness can then extend through us to other minds that also believe they are trapped in a body in the world. In the context of your beloved pets, this would mean that you would first recognize your own choice to make suffering and death real, and would then bring those thoughts and the guilt that accompanies them to the Holy Spirit for release. And in that moment when you allow your own mind to be healed, the peace within you will extend to those around you, including your little friends who may still be experiencing pain and fear in their own minds. And you will know in that moment that separation is not real and no one and nothing, including death, can deprive you of love.
For a further consideration of how the Course looks at death and grief, you may also wish to look at Question #15, from November 13th, 2002. The important thing is to allow yourself to be gentle with the process of grieving