ACIM Reading for December 19
The Song of Prayer
1.- V. The Ladder Ends1. Prayer is a way to true humility. And here again it rises slowly up, and grows in strength and love and holiness. Let it but leave the ground where it begins to rise to God, and true humility will come at last to grace the mind that thought it was alone and stood against the world. Humility brings peace because it does not claim that you must rule the universe, nor judge all things as you would have them be. All little gods it gladly lays aside, not in resentment, but in honesty and recognition that they do not serve.
2. Illusions and humility have goals so far apart they cannot coexist, nor share a dwelling place where they can meet. Where one has come the other disappears. The truly humble have no goal but God because they need no idols, and defense no longer serves a purpose. Enemies are useless now, because humility does not oppose. It does not hide in shame because it is content with what it is, knowing creation is the Will of God. Its selflessness is Self, and this it sees in every meeting, where it gladly joins with every Son of God, whose purity it recognizes that it shares with him.
3. Now prayer is lifted from the world of things, of bodies, and of gods of every kind, and you can rest in holiness at last. Humility has come to teach you how to understand your glory as God’s Son, and recognize the arrogance of sin. A dream has veiled the face of Christ from you. Now can you look upon His sinlessness. High has the ladder risen. You have come almost to Heaven. There is little more to learn before the journey is complete. Now can you say to everyone who comes to join in prayer with you:
9 I cannot go without you, for you are a part of me.
And so he is in truth. Now can you pray only for what you truly share with him. For you have understood he never left, and you, who seemed alone, are one with him.
4. The ladder ends with this, for learning is no longer needed. Now you stand before the gate of Heaven, and your brother stands beside you there. The lawns are deep and still, for here the place appointed for the time when you should come has waited long for you. Here will time end forever. At this gate eternity itself will join with you. Prayer has become what it was meant to be, for you have recognized the Christ in you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 19
All gifts I give my brothers are my own.
1. As every gift my brothers give is mine, so every gift I give belongs to me. Each one allows a past mistake to go, and leave no shadow on the holy mind my Father loves. His grace is given me in every gift a brother has received throughout all time, and past all time as well. My treasure house is full, and angels watch its open doors that not one gift is lost, and only more are added. Let me come to where my treasures are, and enter in where I am truly welcome and at home, among the gifts that God has given me.
2. Father, I would accept Your gifts today. I do not recognize them. Yet I trust that You Who gave them will provide the means by which I can behold them, see their worth, and cherish only them as what I want.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A Course in Miracles began in 1965 with Dr. Helen Schucman hearing a Voice that said, “This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.” And take notes she did, for seven years. She recorded what she heard in stenographers’ notebooks, using her own personal form of shorthand. She would then read the material aloud to her colleague and supervisor, Dr. Bill Thetford, who would type everything on his typewriter. The material came through without titles, punctuation or paragraphs and Helen made rather arbitrary decisions about where these should be placed. This early first draft of the Course is known as the “URTEXT” (from “ur,” meaning “original” in German.)
Helen re-typed the manuscript twice, correcting errors and, as per instruction by the Voice of Jesus, removing passages that did not belong, such as discussions related to the field of psychology or material that was personal to her and Bill. This included answers they received to questions they had asked of the Voice. This material, located mostly in the first five chapters of the Text, had been helpful to them early in the process but was clearly never intended to be part of the curriculum. The editing process was always performed under the guidance of “the Voice” of Jesus, who specifically told Helen what to remove.
In 1972, Helen and Bill prepared a copy of this first, fully edited draft and gifted it to Hugh Lynn Cayce, who had been very encouraging to Helen in the early days of her scribing. (Hugh Lynn was the son of “sleeping prophet” Edgar Cayce and succeeded his father as president of their organization, the Association for Research and Enlightenment or A.R.E.) It was made clear to Hugh Lynn that this manuscript was not to be shared and he agreed to store it in a locked vault in the A.R.E. library. This draft of the manuscript came to be known as the “HUGH LYNN CAYCE VERSION” of the Course (or “HLC”).
Bill and Helen initially regarded the scribing of the Course as a response to their personal needs, and therefore considered it private and for their own use only. But as they began to share it with a few other trusted individuals, it became clear that the Course‘s appeal was broader than they could have imagined. It dawned on them that perhaps the Course might be of benefit to others, which meant that it would need additional editing in order to produce a better organized, more easily readable work. Dr. Kenneth Wapnick (who would become a well-respected teacher of the Course and the founder of FACIM, the Foundation for A Course in Miracles) was shown the “Hugh Lynn” draft in 1973. After reading it through twice, he agreed that some additional editing was in order, particularly with regard to Helen’s rather idiosyncratic capitalization and chapter determinations.
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Bill disliked the editing process and stepped aside, while Helen and Ken began the difficult task of going through the entire manuscript together word-by-word, always consulting with Jesus whenever in doubt. Ken did not “take over” the process or force changes on Helen, as some have suggested. Those who knew Helen and her relationship to Ken find the idea laughable. Helen was petite but powerful: a force to be reckoned with. And Jesus always had “the last word.”
The result of this editing and reorganizing was an initial print run in August 1975 of 100 photo-offset copies, closely followed by two more such printings, for a total of 300 copies. This edition was copyrighted under Judith and Robert Skutch’s Foundation for Parasensory Investigation, which shortly after was guided by “the Voice” to change its name to Foundation for Inner Peace. These photo-offset copies came to be known as the “CRISWELL EDITION,” named for a friend of Judy’s who helped to orchestrate the printing.
As more people discovered the Course and began sharing it, demand for the books grew exponentially. Finding a publisher who would agree to publish such a large and unusual work without making any changes was proving to be difficult. Finally, Helen, Bill, Ken, and Judy decided to ask Jesus who should publish it. The answer they received was that only those who would make this their sole occupation and who would remain its stewards for the rest of their lives should publish it. Apparently, the four of them were to become publishers.
The First Edition (hardcover, in three volumes) was published by the Foundation for Inner Peace in June of 1976.
A Second Edition (which included the Preface, Clarification of Terms, a number of additional corrections, and a much-needed annotation system for referencing citations) was published in 1992.
A Mass Market Paperback was issued in 2004.
The Combined Third Edition, which included for the first time the Song of Prayer and Psychotherapy Supplements, was published in 2007.
In June of 1996, Penguin books, the Foundation for Inner Peace and the Foundation for A Course in Miracles filed a lawsuit against an organization known as Endeavor Academy for infringing on the copyright by publishing ACIM inappropriately (for example, combining the Course with material from the Bible, a violation of Jesus’s explicit instructions to keep the Course intact). In the process of this litigation, Ken mentioned in a deposition that an early draft of the Course was kept at the Association for Research and Enlightenment and that copies of the Urtext and Helen’s notebooks were on deposit at the Library of Congress. At some point following this deposition, someone removed the earlier draft (of the HLC Text) from a locked room at the ARE library, copied it and allowed it to be published under the title Jesus’ Course in Miracles. Someone also “borrowed” and copied the notebooks and Urtext from the Library of Congress (in violation of federal law). These were then distributed widely on the internet and subsequently published in book form by other organizations. The Foundation for Inner Peace has never been guided as part of its mission to publish these early rough drafts.
In 2004, the judge in the Endeavor case ruled that the 1975 copyright to the First Edition (the Criswell) was invalid due to evidence presented at trial that it had been distributed prior to the copyright registration. (The Foundation disputes this finding.) The judge’s decision, however, did not apply to the Urtext, the HLC, or Helen’s notebooks, contrary to what some have claimed. (This confusion was compounded by the posting of a document on the internet that was crafted to look like the official judgment of the court and appeared to invalidate multiple Foundation copyrights, but was in fact fraudulent.) In the wake of the copyright decision, other editions of the HLC were published under the titles A Course in Miracles: Original Edition and A Course in Miracles by Jesus. In 2017, The Circle of Atonement published an annotated edition of A Course in Miracles based on Helen’s original notebooks.
In 2014, in a subsequent lawsuit against Endeavor filed in Germany by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles (FACIM), the high court at Frankfurt-am-Main ruled that, contrary to the U.S. decision, all earlier drafts and editions of A Course in Miracles remained under copyright by FACIM. (That same year FACIM transferred its copyrights back to the Foundation for Inner Peace.) What this means is that the Foundation’s copyrights to Helen’s notebooks, the Urtext, the Hugh Lynn version, and even the first 1975 (Criswell) edition remain valid and enforceable throughout the European Union. All of the Foundation’s official translations of the Course were independently copyrighted and so remain valid throughout the world as well.
That’s probably more information than you wanted to know, but it should help explain why there are so many different versions of Course available today. Which leads to the next obvious question: Which version of the Course should a student use for study? Which version is the “correct” one? Which is “best”? (See FAQ 13.)
For additional detailed information on this subject, please see these two articles:
- “Editing History: The History of the Manuscripts of A Course in Miracles by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick”
- “Publishing History of A Course in Miracles by Joseph Jesseph”