A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 31

ACIM Reading for December 31

MOTHER OF THE WORLD
Peace is a woman, mother to the world,
Whom God has sent to lay a gentle hand
Across a thousand children’s fevered brows.
In its cool certainty there is no fear,
And from her breasts there comes a quietness
For them to lean against and to be still.
She brings a message to their frightened hearts
From Him Who sent her. Listen now to her
Who is your mother in your Father’s Name:
“Do not attend the voices of the world.
Do not attempt to crucify again
My first-born Son, and brother still to you.”
Heaven is in her eyes, because she looked
Upon this Son who was the first. And now
She looks to you to find him once again.
Do not deny the mother of the world
The only thing she ever wants to see,
For it is all you ever want to find.

~ Helen Schucman

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 31

This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You,Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

1. And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What does A Course in Miracles mean by forgiving your brother? What if he does not accept the forgiveness, or is no longer physically present? Does this mean I can no longer forgive him? 

A) Our answer is a continuation of the answer to the previous question. We are asked in the Course to forgive others for what they have not done to us. This is understood only by remembering that there is in truth no one out there to forgive. What we really forgive (or release) are the projections of guilt we have placed upon figures in our dreams that we scripted to be our special love or special hate partners.  Therefore, it does not matter if these persons are physically present, know us personally, or even if they have already died. They continue to be present in our minds through our unforgiving thoughts, and the opportunity to ask for help to forgive these thoughts and projected images always remains. 

The effects of our forgiveness are also fully present in our minds, joined with the minds of others. If other people choose not to accept our forgiveness in their dreams, the healed thought in our minds is no less efficacious. As the Course teaches, the Holy Spirit holds this forgiveness in the minds of the others until they are ready to accept it. That is the process Jesus is referring to as well when he says to us in the Course: 

I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance.  They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt (T-5.IV.8:3-5).

Likewise, he saves our loving thoughts towards others, and holds them until they are ready to accept them for themselves. 

Judy_Helen_Kenneth

 

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A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 30

ACIM Reading for December 30

THE GREETING
Say but “I love you” to all living things,
And they will lay their blessing over you
To keep you ever safe and ever sure
That you belong to God and He to you.
What but “I love you” could the greeting be
Of Christ to Christ, Who welcomes but Himself?
And what are you except the Son of God,
The Christ Whom He would welcome to Himself?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 30

LESSON 327

I need but call and You will answer me.

1. I am not asked to take salvation on the basis of an unsupported faith. For God has promised He will hear my call, and answer me Himself. Let me but learn from my experience that this is true, and faith in Him must surely come to me. This is the faith that will endure, and take me farther and still farther on the road that leads to Him. For thus I will be sure that He has not abandoned me and loves me still, awaiting but my call to give me all the help I need to come to Him.

2. Father, I thank You that Your promises will never fail in my experi­ence, if I but test them out. Let me attempt therefore to try them, and to judge them not. Your Word is one with You. You give the means whereby conviction comes, and surety of Your abiding Love is gained at last.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If God does not even know about us or the world, what is the meaning or purpose of prayer?

A) Prayer in the traditional sense has no place in the theory or practice of A Course in Miracles. For most formal religions, prayer implores a God perceived to be outside oneself to intercede, intervene, or otherwise be involved in a perceived problem affecting oneself or others. The problem is thus always seen as being outside the mind, and outside the person’s ability to solve. And God, in the sense seen in the classical Greek plays, is perceived as the deus ex machina (literally meaning “God out of the machine”) who suddenly and quite magically enters into our world to fix what has gone awry, just as was done in the performances of the ancient plays when an actual machine appeared on stage carrying the god who made all things right at the end.  If God were to operate in this way (including of course Jesus or the Holy Spirit, His representatives in the dream), then He would be violating the Course’s “prime directive” (to borrow a term from Star Trek), which is not to make the error real (T-9.IV.4:1-6; “The Song of Prayer” p. 9, S-2.1.3:3-4), which trying to fix an illusory problem in an illusory world would certainly do.

That is why Jesus states early in the text that “the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything” (T-3.V.6:3). And of course asking for help of the Holy Spirit to access our right minds is a form of this prayer. Forgiveness undoes the mind’s misthought that there actually is a problem that has to be resolved. The real problem, naturally, is the belief that there is a problem in the first place. And so we need not pray for an external figure to remove an external problem. Rather, we pray for help in reminding ourselves that indeed there is only one problem (the belief in separation) and one solution (Atonement), and moreover, this problem has alreadybeen solved (W-pI.79, 80). The answer but waits for our acceptance.

For a more complete treatment of the subject of prayer, the reader is referred to the scribed pamphlet, “The Song of Prayer,” [Note: this pamphlet is now included in teh Third Edition of ACIM] specifically, the first section called “Prayer.”

tiny mad idea

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 29

ACIM Reading for December 29

STILLNESS
My soul is still. It does not know the thoughts
My mind imagines. It does not perceive
My meaningless endeavors, nor the goals
Of sin and madness in which I believe.
Immovable my soul remains, and sure
Of immortality, in peace so deep
That all the shocks I feel can not come near
Its limitless tranquility. I sleep,
And dream of evil and decay and death,
Of which my soul knows nothing, Perfectly
It rests in its Creator and in me.

~ Helen Schucman

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 29

LESSON 326

I am forever an Effect of God.

1. Father, I was created in Your Mind, a holy Thought that never left its home. I am forever Your Effect, and You forever and forever are my Cause. As You created me I have remained. Where You established me I still abide. And all Your attributes abide in me, because it is Your Will to have a Son so like his Cause that Cause and Its Effect are indistin­guishable. Let me know that I am an Effect of God, and so I have the power to create like You. And as it is in Heaven, so on earth. Your plan I follow here, and at the end I know that You will gather Your effects into the tranquil Heaven of Your Love, where earth will vanish, and all separate thoughts unite in glory as the Son of God.

2. Let us today behold earth disappear, at first transformed, and then, forgiven, fade entirely into God’s holy Will.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If, as A Course in Miracles suggests, the world totally misunderstood Jesus’ message two thousand years ago, why did he wait so long to correct it?

A) Again, this thoughtful question is based upon a linear view of time, in which two thousand years appear to be an inordinately long period of time for the error to be corrected. Clearly, the ones asking such a question are projecting onto Jesus their own impatience and, most likely, their unforgiveness of the various Christian Churches that have superimposed the ego thought system onto the ego-free teachings of the true Jesus.

A more profound way of addressing this question is to consider that being ego-free, anyone in the real world — as is Jesus — does not really choose to do anything. Having chosen the Holy Spirit once and for all, there is nothing more to choose. Therefore, there is no longer a decision maker in the mind that activates the body and interacts with the world, as is the ego’s very important need. Truly advanced teachers of God — Teachers of teachers — God do not do; they are. They do not plan, choose, deliberate, or behave as does a person who believes in the reality of the ego thought system. Their simple presence of love takes its shape around the needs of those who still identify with a world of form, much as water takes its shape according to the container in which it has been put, or the bed of the river shapes the flow of the water coursing through it.

In this context, therefore, we can understand that the appearance of Jesus within the world’s dream two thousand years ago was the result of the Son’s readiness to experience the Love of God within his dream. It is as if the mind of the Son — the only true sphere of experience there is — partially opened the door of his mind that had screened out the presence of the Holy Spirit. The mind, previously darkened by guilt, thus allowed some light in, and this light took the form of Jesus, the Son of Light, whose presence within the ego’s world of darkness reminds us all that we too are children of the Light.

The fear that this light engendered — for it constitutes a grave threat to the ego’s thought system of darkness — led to the Son’s closing the door to protect his individual self, and this took the form of seeking to destroy Jesus and then his message, as the history of Christianity attests. This is why the gospel writers changed the entire message of Jesus and rooted it in the crucifixion, which reflected the ego’s underlying plan to perpetuate its own thought system of betrayal, suffering, and death. Jesus comments on this dynamic in the Course in several places. We look at two such passages; one general to the dynamics of the Son’s mind, and the other specific to Jesus himself.

As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear and sometimes to stark terror (T- 1 8.111.2: 1).All who believe in separation have a basic fear of retaliation and abandonment.  They believe in attack and rejection, so that is what they perceive and leach and learn.  These insane ideas are clearly the result of dissociation and projection. What you teach you are, but it is quite apparent that you can teach wrongly, and can therefore teach yourself wrong. Many thought I was attacking them, even though it was apparent I was not. An insane learner learns strange lessons. What you must recognize is that when you do not share a thought system, you are weakening it. Those who believe in it therefore perceive this as an attack on them. This is because everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are (T-6.V-B.1:1-9).

The reader should also consult “Atonement without Sacrifice” and “The Message of the Crucifixion,” the opening sections of Chapters 3 and 6 in the text, for even more specific comments by Jesus about the misunderstanding of his message, and how and why it happened.

And now, two thousand years later, we see that the door to the Son’s closed mind opened again to allow in the light of truth, and the result is the original message of Jesus, presented in a contemporary twentieth (soon to be twenty-first) century form. Needless to say, there have been other expressions of this light in the Christian (and non-Christian) world, but, again, we shall remain only within the context of A Course in Miracles.

The advantage of answering the question in this way is that one is able to avoid the anthropomorphizing of Jesus — making him think, plan, and behave the way we would — which would only once again foster the belief that we have captured him within the ego’s dream, making him one of us, instead of our becoming like him. Above all, it is always essential to keep in mind that God has no true response to the thought of separation, even though, as we have already seen, the metaphoric language of A Course in Miraclesoften portrays it so.  First and foremost, if God knew about the “tiny, mad idea,” it would have had to be real. Therefore, the Holy Spirit and Jesus — as messengers of God within the dream, and being the Voices of the plan of the Atonement which states that the dream of separation never happened — would also have to share in this non-response to error. It is Their simple light-filled presence within our minds — darkened by thoughts of sin, guilt, and fear — that help us. They do nothing; it is only our egos that act and react. And as long as we experience this thought of separation in the specific forms of specialness that comprise our individual lives, we must experience this Help in specific forms as well. But these forms are determined by our ego scripts, not by any specific intervention of the divine.

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A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 28

ACIM Reading for December 28

The Song of Prayer

3.- IV. The Holiness of Healing1. How holy are the healed! For in their sight their brothers share their healing and their love. Bringers of peace,–the Holy Spirit’s voice, through whom He speaks for God, Whose Voice He is,–such are God’s healers. They but speak for Him and never for themselves. They have no gifts but those they have from God. And these they share because they know that this is what He wills. They are not special. They are holy. They have chosen holiness, and given up all separate dreams of special attributes through which they can bestow unequal gifts on those less fortunate. 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.

2. As witness to forgiveness, aid to prayer, and the effect of mercy truly taught, healing is blessing. And the world responds in quickened chorus through the voice of prayer. Forgiveness shines its merciful reprieve upon each blade of grass and feathered wing and all the living things upon the earth. Fear has no haven here, for love has come in all its holy oneness. Time remains only to let the last embrace of prayer rest on the earth an instant, as the world is shined away. This instant is the goal of all true healers, whom the Christ has taught to see His likeness and to teach like Him.

3. Think what it means to help the Christ to heal! Can anything be holier than this? 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. Do not ask partial healing, nor accept an idol for remembrance of Him Whose Love has never changed and never will. You are as dear to Him as is the whole of His creation, for it lies in you as His eternal gift. What need have you for shifting dreams within a sorry world? Do not forget the gratitude of God. Do not forget the holy grace of prayer. Do not forget forgiveness of God’s Son.

4. You first forgive, then pray, and you are healed. Your prayer has risen up and called to God, Who hears and answers. You have understood that you forgive and pray but for yourself. And in this understanding you are healed. In prayer you have united with your Source, and understood that you have never left. This level cannot be attained until there is no hatred in your heart, and no desire to attack the Son of God.

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. Nor will your judgment fail to reach to God, for you will give the role to Him you see in His creation. 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. Now healing is impossible, for He is blamed for your deception and your guilt. He Who is Love becomes the source of fear, for only fear can now be justified. Vengeance is His. His great destroyer, death. 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.

6. Come unto Me, My children, once again, without such twisted thoughts upon your hearts. You still are holy with the Holiness which fathered you in perfect sinlessness, and still surrounds you with the Arms of peace. Dream now of healing. Then arise and lay all dreaming down forever. 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. 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.

7. He comes for Me and speaks My Word to you. I would recall My weary Son to Me from dreams of malice to the sweet embrace of everlasting Love and perfect peace. 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. Be still an instant. Underneath the sounds of harsh and bitter striving and defeat there is a Voice that speaks to you of Me. Hear this an instant and you will be healed. Hear this an instant and you have been saved.

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. 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. While you wait in sorrow Heaven’s melody is incomplete, because your song is part of the eternal harmony of love. Without you is creation unfulfilled. Return to Me Who never left My Son. Listen, My child, your Father calls to you. Do not refuse to hear the Call for Love. Do not deny to Christ what is His Own. Heaven is here and Heaven is your home.

9. Creation leans across the bars of time to lift the heavy burden from the world. Lift up your hearts to greet its advent. See the shadows fade away in gentleness; the thorns fall softly from the bleeding brow of him who is the holy Son of God. How lovely are you, child of Holiness! How like to Me! How lovingly I hold you in My Heart and in My Arms. How dear is every gift to Me that you have made, who healed My Son and took him from the cross. Arise and let My thanks be given you. And with My gratitude will come the gift first of forgiveness, then eternal peace.

10. So now return your holy voice to Me. The song of prayer is silent without you. The universe is waiting your release because it is its own. Be kind to it and to yourself, and then be kind to Me. I ask but this; that you be comforted and live no more in terror and in pain. Do not abandon Love. 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 December 28

LESSON 325

All things I think I see reflect ideas.

1. This is salvation’s keynote: What I see reflects a process in my mind, which starts with my idea of what I want. From there, the mind makes up an image of the thing the mind desires, judges valuable, and therefore seeks to find. These images are then projected outward, looked upon, esteemed as real and guarded as one’s own. From insane wishes comes an insane world. From judgment comes a world condemned. And from forgiving thoughts a gentle world comes forth, with mercy for the holy Son of God, to offer him a kindly home where he can rest a while before he journeys on, and help his brothers walk ahead with him, and find the way to Heaven and to God.

2. Our Father, Your ideas reflect the truth, and mine apart from Yours but make up dreams. Let me behold what only Yours reflect, for Yours and Yours alone establish truth.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What should one say to a stranger, family member, or friend who asks what A Course in Miracles is?

A) Basically, there is no wrong or right way to answer this question, whether it be a stranger, family member, or friend that is asking about the Course.  Ultimately, everyone must go within and try to get the ego self out of the way, and then ask for help in how to respond. Specifically, one should pay careful attention to any of the various forms of ego specialness that would interfere in speaking to others about A Course in Miracles. These include: 1) feeling oneself to be important because one is associated with such a spiritually advanced teaching that comes from Jesus himself, and therefore one wants the listeners to be impressed, if not depressed because they are not Course students; 2) discomfort related to the figure of Jesus, both as the author of A Course in Miracles as well as its central figure; and 3) discomfort related to the Course itself — its religious and distinctively Christian and patriarchal language, not to mention its radical teachings which include the key metaphysical principle that God did not create the physical or material universe.

Therefore, while there are no correct or incorrect words to use in talking about A Course in Miracles, there is a correct way to proceed. And this entails asking Jesus or the Holy Spirit for help in getting one’s ego out of the way so that the most loving words will flow through us. In truly letting Them be the Guides for speaking, one can be sure that the Course’s integrity will be maintained, and at the same time one is free to be sensitive to the needs and level of understanding of the person being spoken to. Here, as elsewhere, we can see that the process is always the same, regardless of the specific situation. That is why Jesus repeatedly speaks of his Course as being simple.

Source: http://www.miraclestudies.net/Question72.html

teach not that i died in vain

 

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 27

ACIM Reading for December 27

The Song of Prayer

3.- III. Separation versus Union1. False healing heals the body in a part, but never as a whole. Its separate goals become quite clear in this, for it has not removed the curse of sin that lies on it. Therefore it still deceives. Nor is it made by one who understands the other is exactly like himself. For it is this that makes true healing possible. When false, there is some power that another has, not equally bestowed on both as one. Here is the separation shown. And here the meaning of true healing has been lost, and idols have arisen to obscure the unity that is the Son of God.

2. Healing-to-separate may seem to be a strange idea. And yet it can be said of any form of healing that is based on inequality of any kind. These forms may heal the body, and indeed are generally limited to this. Someone knows better, has been better trained, or is perhaps more talented and wise. Therefore, he can give healing to the one who stands beneath him in his patronage. The healing of the body can be done by this because, in dreams, equality cannot be permanent. The shifts and change are what the dream is made of. To be healed appears to be to find a wiser one who, by his arts and learning, will succeed.
3. Someone knows better; this the magic phrase by which the body seems to be the aim of healing as the world conceives of it. And to this wiser one another goes to profit by his learning and his skill; to find in him the remedy for pain. How can that be? True healing cannot come from inequality assumed and then accepted as the truth, and used to help restore the wounded and to calm the mind that suffers from the agony of doubt.

4. Is there a role for healing, then, that one can use to offer help for someone else? In arrogance the answer must be “no.” But in humility there is indeed a place for helpers. It is like the role that helps in prayer, and lets forgiveness be what it is meant to be. You do not make yourself the bearer of the special gift that brings the healing. You but recognize your oneness with the one who calls for help. For in this oneness is his separate sense dispelled, and it is this that made him sick. There is no point in giving remedy apart from where the source of sickness is, for never thus can it be truly healed.

5. Healers there are, for they are Sons of God who recognize their Source, and understand that all their Source creates is one with them. This is the remedy that brings relief which cannot fail. It will remain to bless for all eternity. It heals no part, but wholly and forever. Now the cause of every malady has been revealed exactly as it is. And in that place is written now the holy Word of God. Sickness and separation must be healed by love and union. Nothing else can heal as God established healing. Without Him there is no healing, for there is no love.

6. God’s Voice alone can tell you how to heal. Listen, and you will never fail to bring His kindly remedy to those He sends to you, to let Him heal them, and to bless all those who serve with Him in healing’s name. The body’s healing will occur because its cause has gone. And now without a cause, it cannot come again in different form. Nor will death any more be feared because it has been understood. There is no fear in one who has been truly healed, for love has entered now where idols used to stand, and fear has given way at last to God.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 27

LESSON 324

I merely follow, for I would not lead.

1. Father, You are the One Who gave the plan for my salvation to me. You have set the way I am to go, the role to take, and every step in my appointed path. I cannot lose the way. I can but choose to wander off a while, and then return. Your loving Voice will always call me back, and guide my feet aright. My brothers all can follow in the way I lead them. Yet I merely follow in the way to You, as You direct me and would have me go.

2. So let us follow One Who knows the way. We need not tarry, and we cannot stray except an instant from His loving Hand. We walk together, for we follow Him. And it is He Who makes the ending sure, and guarantees a safe returning home.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) If A Course in Miracles is a universal teaching, why did it come in such sectarian (i.e., Christian) terms. Doesn’t that limit its worldwide applicability?

A) While the basic message of A Course in Miracles is universal — “God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation” ( M-1.3:5) — its form certainly is not, nor is it meant to be. We have already quoted Jesus’ words to the effect that this is a “special curriculum,” which clearly reflects that it has a special audience: the Western world that has grown up under the strong influence of Christianity and 20th-century psychology, an influence that has not been very Christian nor spiritual. This is why the Course’s language is so Western, and, more specifically, Christian and psychodynamic in statement. As the specific spiritual path we call A Course in Miracles, the Course is simply not meant to have worldwide applicability. Other cultures and religious traditions have, and will continue to have their own spiritual paths, just as we in the Western world now have the Course, among many others. As we have repeatedly pointed out in this book, the universal joining with all people is the content of the universal course, but the specific ways in which people learn this lesson constitutes the forms of the “special curriculum,” of which A Course in Miracles is simply one example. Forms, almost by definition, are not the same and cannot blend together. Therefore they cannot be universal, or for all people. This is why Jesus teaches in the introduction to the clarification of terms, to repeat and extend this important statement:

A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed (C-in.2:5-6).

This “universal experience,” it goes without saying, is love, and A Course in Miracles is but one form of regaining it.

Source: http://www.miraclestudies.net/Question67.html

kingdom of god

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 26

ACIM Reading for December 26

The Song of Prayer

3.- II. False vs: True Healing1. False healing merely makes a poor exchange of one illusion for a “nicer” one; a dream of sickness for a dream of health. This can occur at lower forms of prayer, combining with forgiveness kindly meant but not completely understood as yet. Only false healing can give way to fear, so sickness will be free to strike again. False healing can indeed remove a form of pain and sickness. But the cause remains, and will not lack effects. The cause is still the wish to die and overcome the Christ. And with this wish is death a certainty, for prayer is answered. Yet there is a kind of seeming death that has a different source. It does not come because of hurtful thoughts and raging anger at the universe. It merely signifies the end has come for usefulness of body functioning. And so it is discarded as a choice, as one lays by a garment now outworn.

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. We thank the body, then, for all the service it has given us. 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. Now we can behold Him without blinders, in the light that we have learned to look upon again.

3. We call it death, but it is liberty. It does not come in forms that seem to be thrust down in pain upon unwilling flesh, but as a gentle welcome to release. 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. 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. For Christ is clearer now; His vision more sustained in us; His Voice, the Word of God, more certainly our own.

4. This gentle passage to a higher prayer, a kind forgiveness of the ways of earth, can only be received with thankfulness. 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. Now are its dreams dispelled in quiet rest. Now its forgiveness comes to heal the world and it is ready to depart in peace, the journey over and the lessons learned.

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. How could it be a blessing, then? And how could it be welcome when it must be feared? What healing has occurred in such a view of what is merely opening the gate to higher prayer and kindly justice done? Death is reward and not a punishment. But such a viewpoint must be fostered by the healing that the world cannot conceive. There is no partial healing. What but shifts illusions has done nothing. What is false cannot be partly true. If you are healed your healing is complete. Forgiveness is the only gift you give and would receive.

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. 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. 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. 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 December 26

LESSON 323

I gladly make the “sacrifice” of fear.

1. Here is the only “sacrifice” You ask of Your beloved Son; You ask him to give up all suffering, all sense of loss and sadness, all anxiety and doubt, and freely let Your Love come streaming in to his awareness, healing him of pain, and giving him Your Own eternal joy. Such is the “sacrifice” You ask of me, and one I gladly make; the only “cost” of restora­tion of Your memory to me, for the salvation of the world.

2. And as we pay the debt we owe to truth,—a debt that merely is the letting go of self-deceptions and of images we worshipped falsely—truth returns to us in wholeness and in joy. We are deceived no longer. Love has now returned to our awareness. And we are at peace again, for fear has gone and only love remains.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) What about groups that meet on A Course in Miracles

A) Let us begin with the statement that there is absolutely nothing in A Course in Miracles about groups, meeting with other people, or joining together on the level of form, etc. The significance of this is that it illustrates how the process of studying the Course occurs on the level of the mind, and is in truth a self-study course, Its emphasis is always on joining with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, in the mind, and asking Their help to perceive differently a seemingly external relationship, or any situation for that matter. This is the meaning of forgiveness. Our experience of being in a body, interacting with other bodies, becomes the classroom in which we ask our Teacher to help us change our minds.  The only joining then that is truly meaningful is with Jesus or the Holy Spirit, and that should always and only be the Course student’s focus, what in the text is referred to as “The Greater Joining” (T-28.IV). Since, as is stated in the section with that title, the Holy Spirit is in all the minds of the separated Sons, by joining with Him — which, again, is the true meaning of forgiveness — one has already joined with everyone. The actual words from the text are: 

The Holy Spirit is in both your minds [you and your brother], and He is One because there is no gap that separates His Oneness from Itself. The gap between your bodies matters not, for what is joined in Him is always one (T-28.IV.7:1-2). 

Thus it is irrelevant for the purposes of forgiveness that there be or not be a “gap between bodies.” We are already joined. Forgiveness undoes the seeming gap that exists between our minds, and returns to our awareness the fact of our oneness with each other and with our Source. 

All too often students of A Course in Miracles forget this greater joining, and because of the good feeling that so often comes from externally being with others, they feel that thisis what Jesus is talking about when he discusses joining. In truth, however, his focus is always on the removal of the barriers of specialness that we have placed between ourselves and others. And these barriers are always thoughts within our wrong minds, as the Holy Spirit is a Thought within our right minds. And so our attention should always be placed on bringing the ego’s thoughts of specialness to the Holy Spirit’s thoughts of forgiveness — once again, within the mind. Only then can we be sure that our external joining with others is truly of Him and not the ego. 

Certainly, there can nothing wrong with any student of A Course in Miracles joining externally with other students. However, the focus of Course students cannot be behavior, but always the inner teacher whom we choose to guide our behavior. Therefore, the bottom line is to try as best as possible to have our actions — whether they involve studying the Course, or anything else — originate in the sincere attempt to bring our ego involvement to Jesus before engaging in the activity. 

If students feel led to be a part of some sort of Course group or organization, they should always be vigilant that such involvement does not become a substitute for their own individual work — study and practice — with the material itself. Otherwise, they will easily fall into the lap of specialness, which can be defined, as we saw earlier, as using anything as a substitute for the Love of God. To make our opening point again, there is a reason for Jesus saying nothing at all in the Course about joining together in groups. And students should always be mindful of his sole emphasis in A Course in Miracles, which is on the individual student’s relationship with the Holy Spirit, based upon the willingness to practice forgiveness. 

hostage or host

 

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 25

ACIM Reading for December 25

The Song of Prayer

3.- I. The Cause of Sickness1. Do not mistake effect for cause, nor think that sickness is apart and separate from what its cause must be. It is a sign, a shadow of an evil thought that seems to have reality and to be just, according to the usage of the world. It is external proof of inner “sins,” and witnesses to unforgiving thoughts that injure and would hurt the Son of God. Healing the body is impossible, and this is shown by the brief nature of the “cure.” The body yet must die, and so its healing but delays its turning back to dust, where it was born and will return.

2. The body’s cause is unforgiveness of the Son of God. It has not left its source, and in its
pain and aging and the mark of death upon it this is clearly shown. Fearful and frail it seems to be to those who think their life is tied to its command and linked to its unstable, tiny breath. Death stares at them as every moment goes irrevocably past their grasping hands, which cannot hold them back. And they feel fear as bodies change and sicken. For they sense the heavy scent of death upon their hearts.

3. The body can be healed as an effect of true forgiveness. Only that can give remembrance of immortality, which is the gift of holiness and love. Forgiveness must be given by a mind which understands that it must overlook all shadows on the holy face of Christ, among which sickness should be seen as one. Nothing but that; the sign of judgment made by brother upon brother, and the Son of God upon himself. For he has damned his body as his prison, and forgot that it is he who gave this role to it.

4. What he has done now must God’s Son undo. But not alone. For he has thrown away the prison’s key; his holy sinlessness and the remembrance of his Father’s Love. Yet help is given to him in the Voice his Father placed in him. The power to heal is now his Father’s gift, for through His Voice He still can reach His Son, reminding him the body may become his chosen home, but it will never be his home in truth.

5. Distinctions therefore must be made between true healing and its faulty counterpart. The world of opposites is healing’s place, for what in Heaven could there be to heal? As prayer within the world can ask amiss and seeming charity forgive to kill, so healing can be false as well as true; a witness to the power of the world or to the everlasting Love of God.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 25

LESSON 322

I can give up but what was never real.

1. 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.

2. 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) According to A Course in Miracles, how should children be reared?

A) As the Course states: “The curriculum is highly individualized, and all aspects are under the Holy Spirit’s particular care and guidance” (manual, p. 67; M-29.2:6). Therefore, A Course in Miracles does not teach any specific behavior at all, including how to rear children. But what the Course does teach is that if you are a parent, or someone who works with children, it is incumbent on you to ask continuously for the help of the Holy Spirit. In that way, everything you think and do and say will be coming from your right mind, and not your ego.

Many students of A Course in Miracles have related to us that once they started studying the Course, they were reluctant to make judgments about their children’s behavior, or even to discipline them out of fear of making judgments about them and telling them they were wrong. This is a distortion of what Jesus is teaching. Primarily, one can understand that being a parent or working closely with children is a very intense classroom that we have chosen, precisely because of the constant judgments that need be made about what is in the child’s best interest — decisions a child is not capable of knowing — when the child will clearly choose something that will be hurtful to it. As Jesus states in the text:

Babies scream in rage if you take away a knife or scissors, although they may well harm themselves if you do not (T-4.11.5:2).

Secondly, learning how to get oneself out of the way in order to access the right mind, and perhaps disciplining a child by saying — without guilt or anger — “No, this behavior will not be tolerated,” can be very important landmarks in the process of one’s own growth.

Therefore, as with anything else, there is no right or wrong way of rearing children, no specific way according to A Course in Miracles. There is only the individual’s way of asking the Holy Spirit’s help in practicing forgiveness. His Love is always the same, and finds its particular expression through each particular individual in each particular circumstance. Our responsibility is to remove, with His help, our ego’s interferences so that we may be more directly guided by this Love — in all relationships, with children or adults.

infinite patience

 

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 24

ACIM Reading for December 24

The Song of Prayer

3. Healing- Introduction1. Prayer has both aids and witnesses which make the steep ascent more gentle and more sure, easing the pain of fear and offering the comfort and the promises of hope. Forgiveness’ witness and an aid to prayer, a giver of assurance of success in ultimate attainment of the goal, is healing. Its importance should not be too strongly emphasized, for healing is a sign or symbol of forgiveness’ strength, and only an effect or shadow of a change of mind about the goal of prayer.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 24

11.What Is Creation?

1. Creation is the sum of all God’s Thoughts, in number infinite, and everywhere without all limit. Only love creates, and only like itself. There was no time when all that it created was not there. Nor will there be a time when anything that it created suffers any loss. Forever and forever are God’s Thoughts exactly as they were and as they are, unchanged through time and after time is done.

2. God’s Thoughts are given all the power that their own Creator has. For He would add to love by its extension. Thus His Son shares in creation, and must therefore share in power to create. What God has willed to be forever One will still be One when time is over; and will not be changed throughout the course of time, remaining as it was before the thought of time began.

3. Creation is the opposite of all illusions, for creation is the truth. Creation is the holy Son of God, for in creation is His Will complete in every aspect, making every part container of the whole. Its oneness is forever guaranteed inviolate; forever held within His holy Will, beyond all possibility of harm, of separation, imperfection and of any spot upon its sinlessness.

4. We are creation; we the Sons of God. We seem to be discrete, and unaware of our eternal unity with Him. Yet back of all our doubts, past all our fears, there still is certainty. For love remains with all its Thoughts, its sureness being theirs. God’s memory is in our holy minds, which know their oneness and their unity with their Creator. Let our function be only to let this memory return, only to let God’s Will be done on earth, only to be restored to sanity, and to be but as God created us.

5. Our Father calls to us. We hear His Voice, and we forgive creation in the Name of its Creator, Holiness Itself, Whose Holiness His Own creation shares; Whose Holiness is still a part of us.

LESSON 321

Father, my freedom is in You alone.

1. I did not understand what made me free, nor what my freedom is, nor where to look to find it. Father, I have searched in vain until I heard Your Voice directing me. Now I would guide myself no more. For I have neither made nor understood the way to find my freedom. But I trust in You. You Who endowed me with my freedom as Your holy Son will not be lost to me. Your Voice directs me, and the way to You is opening and clear to me at last. Father, my freedom is in You alone. Father, it is my will that I return.

2. Today we answer for the world, which will be freed along with us. How glad are we to find our freedom through the certain way our Father has established. And how sure is all the world’s salvation, when we learn our freedom can be found in God alone.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Can A Course in Miracles be completed in one year, as the workbook seems to suggest?

A) This question rests on the premise that only the one-year training program of the workbook for students comprises the total mind-training (or mind-retraining) that is the principal goal of A Course in Miracles. Not so. The workbook is only one aspect of a curriculum that consists of three parts: the text, which contains the theory and theology of  the Course; the workbook for students, the one-year series of lessons that help the student begin the mind-training program of the Course; and the manual for teachers, which serves as a summary of many of the Course’s teachings, as well as helping to define what Jesus means by a teacher of God.

Any serious student of A Course in Miracles recognizes that the total curriculum cannot in any way be completed in one year. Rather, it is a lifetime’s work, and the workbook, which, again, is a specific one-year training program, is the means which would ensure that students proceed in the correct manner. Once they are in touch with their right minds and understand the process of forgiveness that the Course sets forth, students are then able to spend the rest of their lives in daily practice with Jesus or the Holy Spirit as their Teachers. As the workbook states at the end:

This course is a beginning, not an end. Your Friend goes with you (W-ep.1:1-2).

the way to god

 

A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 23

ACIM Reading for December 23

The Song of Prayer

2.- III. Forgiveness-for-Salvation1. Forgiveness-for-Salvation has one form, and only one. It does not ask for proof of innocence, nor pay of any kind. It does not argue, nor evaluate the errors that it wants to overlook. It does not offer gifts in treachery, nor promise freedom while it asks for death. Would God deceive you? He but asks for trust and willingness to learn how to be free. He gives His Teacher to whoever asks, and seeks to understand the Will of God. His readiness to give lies far beyond your understanding and your simple grasp. Yet He has willed you learn the way to Him, and in His willing there is certainty.

2. You child of God, the gifts of God are yours, not by your plans but by His holy Will. His Voice will teach you what forgiveness is, and how to give it as He wills it be. Do not, then, seek to understand what is beyond you yet, but let it be a way to draw you up to where the eyes of Christ become the sight you choose. Give up all else, for there is nothing else. When someone calls for help in any form, He is the One to answer for you. All that you need do is to step back and not to interfere. Forgiveness-for-Salvation is His task, and it is He Who will respond for you.

3. Do not establish what the form should be that Christ’s forgiveness takes. He knows the way to make of every call a help to you, as you arise in haste to go at last unto your Father’s house. Now can He make your footsteps sure, your words sincere; not with your own sincerity, but with His Own. Let Him take charge of how you would forgive, and each occasion then will be to you another step to Heaven and to peace.

4. Are you not weary of imprisonment? God did not choose this sorry path for you. What you have chosen still can be undone, for prayer is merciful and God is just. His is a justice He can understand, but you cannot as yet. Still will He give the means to you to learn of Him, and know at last that condemnation is not real and makes illusions in its evil name. And yet it matters not the form that dreams may seem to take. Illusions are untrue. God’s Will is truth, and you are one with Him in Will and purpose. Here all dreams are done.

5. “What should I do for him, Your holy Son?” should be the only thing you ever ask when help is needed and forgiveness sought. The form the seeking takes you need not judge. And let it not be you who sets the form in which forgiveness comes to save God’s Son. The light of Christ in him is his release, and it is this that answers to his call. Forgive him as the Christ decides you should, and be His eyes through which you look on him, and speak for Him as well. He knows the need; the question and the answer. He will say exactly what to do, in words that you can understand and you can also use. Do not confuse His function with your own. He is the Answer. You the one who hears.

6. And what is it He speaks to you about? About salvation and the gift of peace. About the end of sin and guilt and death. About the role forgiveness has in Him. Do you but listen. For He will be heard by anyone who calls upon His Name, and places his forgiveness in His hands. Forgiveness has been given Him to teach, to save it from destruction and to make the means for separation, sin and death become again the holy gift of God. Prayer is His Own right Hand, made free to save as true forgiveness is allowed to come from His eternal vigilance and Love. Listen and learn, and do not judge. It is to God you turn to hear what you should do. His answer will be clear as morning, nor is His forgiveness what you think it is.

7. Still does He know, and that should be enough. Forgiveness has a Teacher Who will fail in nothing. Rest a while in this; do not attempt to judge forgiveness, nor to set it in an earthly frame. Let it arise to Christ, Who welcomes it as gift to Him. He will not leave you comfortless, nor fail to send His angels down to answer you in His Own Name. He stands beside the door to which forgiveness is the only key. Give it to Him to use instead of you, and you will see the door swing silently open upon the shining face of Christ. Behold your brother there beyond the door; the Son of God as He created him.

***
ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 23

LESSON 320

My Father gives all power unto me.

1. 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.

2. 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) Should children be taught A Course in Miracles?

A) Helen herself was fond of saying about A Course in Miracles: “Finally, there is a spiritual system for the intellectual.” It would seem to us that the only way children could be taught the Course is by their parents, teachers, etc., living it. As we know, children have the burden on their young shoulders of learning a vast amount of information related to coping with physical, psychological, and social demands within a world of multiplicity. To try to teach them that this is a world of illusions and dreams — all made as an attack on God — is to not only confound this learning, but to confuse them about how to relate to this world. Therefore, the wish to have a children’s version of the Course misses the whole point of the Course. What makes A Course in Miracles what it is, is the integration of its teachings on forgiveness with its non-dualistic metaphysics. Without that foundation you no longer have A Course in Miracles.

To be sure, it is always helpful to teach children in words and deed that God is a loving Creator Who does not punish His children. And there are many spiritualities that teach this which are perfectly adaptable for children. A Course in Miracles on the other hand, cannot be so adapted without losing its essence. However, those adult figures who relate to children and are students of the Course can help them undo the ego thought system that concludes with the premise that God will punish them because of their sins. Since parents and other authorities are the inevitable dream figures symbolizing God, they have the capacity to reinforce either the ego’s thought system of guilt and punishment, or the Holy Spirit’s thought system which corrects mistakes through forgiveness.

Source: http://www.miraclestudies.net/Question63.html

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A Course in Miracles Reading & Workbook Lesson for December 22

ACIM Reading for December 22

The Song of Prayer

2.- II. Forgiveness-to-Destroy

1. Forgiveness-to-destroy has many forms, being a weapon of the world of form. Not all of them are obvious, and some are carefully concealed beneath what seems like charity. Yet all the forms that it may seem to take have but this single goal; their purpose is to separate and make what God created equal, different. The difference is clear in several forms where the designed comparison cannot be missed, nor is it really meant to be.

2. In this group, first, there are the forms in which a “better” person deigns to stoop to save a “baser” one from what he truly is. Forgiveness here rests on an attitude of gracious lordliness so far from love that arrogance could never be dislodged. Who can forgive and yet despise? And who can tell another he is steeped in sin, and yet perceive him as the Son of God? Who makes a slave to teach what freedom is? There is no union here, but only grief. This is not really mercy. This is death.

3. Another form, still very like the first if it is understood, does not appear in quite such blatant arrogance. The one who would forgive the other does not claim to be the better. Now he says instead that here is one whose sinfulness he shares, since both have been unworthy and deserve the retribution of the wrath of God. This can appear to be a humble thought, and may indeed induce a rivalry in sinfulness and guilt. It is not love for God’s creation and the holiness that is His gift forever. Can His Son condemn himself and still remember Him?

4. Here the goal is to separate from God the Son He loves, and keep him from his Source. This goal is also sought by those who seek the role of martyr at another’s hand. Here must the aim be clearly seen, for this may pass as meekness and as charity instead of cruelty. Is it not kind to be accepting of another’s spite, and not respond except with silence and a gentle smile? Behold, how good are you who bear with patience and with saintliness the anger and the hurt another gives, and do not show the bitter pain you feel.

5. Forgiveness-to-destroy will often hide behind a cloak like this. It shows the face of suffering and pain, in silent proof of guilt and of the ravages of sin. Such is the witness that it offers one who could be savior, not an enemy. But having been made enemy, he must accept the guilt and heavy-laid reproach that thus is put upon him. Is this love? Or is it rather treachery to one who needs salvation from the pain of guilt? What could the purpose be, except to keep the witnesses of guilt away from love?

6. Forgiveness-to-destroy can also take the form of bargaining and compromise. “I will forgive you if you meet my needs, for in your slavery is my release.” Say this to anyone and you are slave. And you will seek to rid yourself of guilt in further bargains which can give no hope, but only greater pain and misery. How fearful has forgiveness now become, and how distorted is the end it seeks. Have mercy on yourself who bargains thus. God gives and does not ask for recompense. There is no giving but to give like Him. All else is mockery. For who would try to strike a bargain with the Son of God, and thank his Father for his holiness?

7. What would you show your brother? Would you try to reinforce his guilt and thus your own? Forgiveness is the means for your escape. How pitiful it is to make of it the means for further slavery and pain. Within the world of opposites there is a way to use forgiveness for the goal of God, and find the peace He offers you. Take nothing else, or you have sought your death, and prayed for separation from your Self. Christ is for all because He is in all. It is His face forgiveness lets you see. It is His face in which you see your own.

8. All forms forgiveness takes that do not lead away from anger, condemnation and comparisons of every kind are death. For that is what their purposes have set. Be not deceived by them, but lay them by as worthless in their tragic offerings. You do not want to stay in slavery. You do not want to be afraid of God. You want to see the sunlight and the glow of Heaven shining on the face of earth, redeemed from sin and in the Love of God. From here is prayer released, along with you. Your wings are free, and prayer will lift you up and bring you home where God would have you be.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 22

LESSON 319

I came for the salvation of the world.

1. Here is a thought from which all arrogance has been removed, and only truth remains. For arrogance opposes truth. But when there is no arrogance the truth will come immediately, and fill up the space the ego left unoccupied by lies. Only the ego can be limited, and therefore it must seek for aims which are curtailed and limiting. The ego thinks that what one gains, totality must lose. And yet it is the Will of God I learn that what one gains is given unto all.

2. Father, Your Will is total. And the goal which stems from it shares its totality. What aim but the salvation of the world could You have given me? And what but this could be the Will my Self has shared with You?

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q) Does A Course in Miracles have to be studied, or is it enough just to do the workbook and read the text randomly, in whatever way I feel guided to do?

A) Again, there is no right or wrong in pursuing A Course in Miracles as a spiritual path. However, there are certain guidelines we can present that can help ensure that one’s work with the Course is not being guided by the ego. One such guideline is always to return to Jesus’ own instructions for his curriculum. The three books are set up as a college course, in which, to summarize this again, there is the basic textbook, which contains the theoretical material that the instructor (here of course it is Jesus) wishes the class to study, learn, and understand; the workbook, which as in a laboratory course for example, is the practical application of what is learned in the text; and the manual, which offers guidelines for all pupils, who in this curriculum are also teachers.

What does this mean for Course students? Simply, that they are asked by Jesus to study, learn, and understand his teaching material, as well as to practice the Course’s principles of forgiveness. That is why, for example, he does not require that students understand what is said in the workbook, as we have already seen in the quotation cited above (W-in.8-9). But he does not let his students off that hook when it comes to the text. Near the end of Chapter 1, he states very clearly:

This is a course in mind training. All learning involves attention and study at some level. Some of the later parts of the course rest too heavily on these earlier sections not to require their careful study. You will also need them for preparation. Without this, you may become much too fearful of what is to come to make constructive use of it. However, as you study these earlier sections, you will begin to see some of the implications that will be amplified later on (T-1.VII.4; italics ours).

In fact, during the Course’s dictation, Jesus was quite insistent to Helen and Bill that they study these notes, as he referred to the material. He was speaking in the manner of a college professor insisting that his students pay careful attention to what was being taught, and to study the lecture notes he was giving. It would be in direct contradiction to the wishes of Jesus not to study the text, as he specifically asks. To ignore these very specific instructions at the end of Chapter I provides still another example of students’ authority problems, wherein they believe that they know better than Jesus what is in their own best interests, not to mention how they should proceed with his Course.

Regarding the workbook, since it is not meant to be the teaching aspect of the curriculum, it need not be read nor studied in the manner that the text should be. Certainly, however, it needs to be practiced as the instructions indicate.  This being said, we nonetheless believe that students would do well in their work with A Course in Miracles — to enhance their understanding of it — to read carefully through the workbook itself at some point after they have gone through the lessons, as they would do with the text. Many would be astounded at what they would find there: a depth of teaching that can easily be overlooked as one does the lessons in the one-year training program.

Source: http://www.miraclestudies.net/Question62.html

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