ACIM Text Reading for April 13
Chapter 12 ~ The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum
VIII. The Attraction of Love for Love
Do you really believe that you can kill the Son of God? The Father has hidden His Son safely within Himself, and kept him far away from your destructive thoughts, but you know neither the Father nor the Son because of them. You attack the real world every day and every hour and minute, and yet you are surprised that you cannot see it. If you seek love in order to attack it, you will never find it. For if love is sharing, how can you find it except through itself? Offer it and it will come to you, because it is drawn to itself. But offer attack and love will remain hidden, for it can live only in peace.
God’s Son is as safe as his Father, for the Son knows his Father’s protection and cannot fear. His Father’s Love holds him in perfect peace, and needing nothing, he asks for nothing. Yet he is far from you whose Self he is, for you chose to attack him and he disappeared from your sight into his Father. He did not change, but you did. For a split mind and all its works were not created by the Father, and could not live in the knowledge of Him.
When you made visible what is not true, what is true became invisible to you. Yet it cannot be invisible in itself, for the Holy Spirit sees it with perfect clarity. It is invisible to you because you are looking at something else. Yet it is no more up to you to decide what is visible and what is invisible, than it is up to you to decide what reality is. What can be seen is what the Holy Spirit sees. The definition of reality is God’s, not yours. He created it, and He knows what it is. You who knew have forgotten, and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourself to oblivion.
Because of your Father’s Love you can never forget Him, for no one can forget what God Himself placed in his memory. You can deny it, but you cannot lose it. A Voice will answer every question you ask, and a vision will correct the perception of everything you see. For what you have made invisible is the only truth, and what you have not heard is the only Answer. God would reunite you with yourself, and did not abandon you in your distress. You are waiting only for Him, and do not know it. Yet His memory shines in your mind and cannot be obliterated. It is no more past than future, being forever always.
You have but to ask for this memory, and you will remember. Yet the memory of God cannot shine in a mind that has obliterated it and wants to keep it so. For the memory of God can dawn only in a mind that chooses to remember, and that has relinquished the insane desire to control reality. You who cannot even control yourself should hardly aspire to control the universe. But look upon what you have made of it, and rejoice that it is not so.
Son of God, be not content with nothing! What is not real cannot be seen and has no value. God could not offer His Son what has no value, nor could His Son receive it. You were redeemed the instant you thought you had deserted Him. Everything you made has never been, and is invisible because the Holy Spirit does not see it. Yet what He does see is yours to behold, and through His vision your perception is healed. You have made invisible the only truth that this world holds. Valuing nothing, you have sought nothing. By making nothing real to you, you have seen it. But it is not there. And Christ is invisible to you because of what you have made visible to yourself.
Yet it does not matter how much distance you have tried to interpose between your awareness and truth. God’s Son can be seen because his vision is shared. The Holy Spirit looks upon him, and sees nothing else in you. What is invisible to you is perfect in His sight, and encompasses all of it. He has remembered you because He forgot not the Father. You looked upon the unreal and found despair. Yet by seeking the unreal, what else could you find? The unreal world is a thing of despair, for it can never be. And you who share God’s Being with Him could never be content without reality. What God did not give you has no power over you, and the attraction of love for love remains irresistible. For it is the function of love to unite all things unto itself, and to hold all things together by extending its wholeness.
The real world was given you by God in loving exchange for the world you made and the world you see. Only take it from the hand of Christ and look upon it. Its reality will make everything else invisible, for beholding it is total perception. And as you look upon it you will remember that it was always so. Nothingness will become invisible, for you will at last have seen truly. Redeemed perception is easily translated into knowledge, for only perception is capable of error and perception has never been. Being corrected it gives place to knowledge, which is forever the only reality. The Atonement is but the way back to what was never lost. Your Father could not cease to love His Son.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for April 13
God’s will for me is perfect happiness.
1. Today we will continue with the theme of happiness. This is a key idea in understanding what salvation means. You still believe it asks for suffering as penance for your “sins.” This is not so. Yet you must think it so while you believe that sin is real, and that God’s Son can sin.
2. If sin is real, then punishment is just and cannot be escaped. Salvation thus cannot be purchased but through suffering. If sin is real, then happiness must be illusion, for they cannot both be true. The sinful warrant only death and pain, and it is this they ask for. For they know it waits for them, and it will seek them out and find them somewhere, sometime, in some form that evens the account they owe to God. They would escape Him in their fear. And yet He will pursue, and they can not escape.
3. If sin is real, salvation must be pain. Pain is the cost of sin, and suffering can never be escaped, if sin is real. Salvation must be feared, for it will kill, but slowly, taking everything away before it grants the welcome boon of death to victims who are little more than bones before salvation is appeased. Its wrath is boundless, merciless, but wholly just.
4. Who would seek out such savage punishment? Who would not flee salvation, and attempt in every way he can to drown the Voice which offers it to him? Why would he try to listen and accept Its offering? If sin is real, its offering is death, and meted out in cruel form to match the vicious wishes in which sin is born. If sin is real, salvation has become your bitter enemy, the curse of God upon you who have crucified His Son.
5. You need the practice periods today. The exercises teach sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin will never happen, for it has no cause. Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God’s Son. There is no sin. We practice with this thought as often as we can today, because it is the basis for today’s idea.
6. God’s Will for you is perfect happiness because there is no sin, and suffering is causeless. Joy is just, and pain is but the sign you have misunderstood yourself. Fear not the Will of God. But turn to it in confidence that it will set you free from all the consequences sin has wrought in feverish imagination. Say:
God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
There is no sin; it has no consequence.
So should you start your practice periods, and then attempt again to find the joy these thoughts will introduce into your mind.
7. Give these five minutes gladly, to remove the heavy load you lay upon yourself with the insane belief that sin is real. Today escape from madness. You are set on freedom’s road, and now today’s idea brings wings to speed you on, and hope to go still faster to the waiting goal of peace. There is no sin. Remember this today, and tell yourself as often as you can:
God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
This is the truth, because there is no sin.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) Have there been people who have successfully completed A Course in Miracles (and are in the real world), and who are they?
A) When this is asked during workshops, we sometimes tell people (with a straight face) that there is a list, but we keep it locked in a safe in the office. In truth, however, this is a question no one could truly answer, for how would one know? To begin with, the chances are that someone who is truly in the real world would not go around broadcasting the fact. Second, people usually think of “success” in the Course in terms of certain external criteria that can be seen, and these criteria would clearly not be shared by everyone. One of our favorite stories to illustrate this last point is the earnest young man who came up to Kenneth after a week-end workshop in a midwestern city saying: “I know you must be a very advanced person, because you don’t smoke cigarettes, don’t drink coffee, and don’t keep running to the bathroom.” Other criteria of “spirituality” include not locking one’s car door or house because one “trust[s] my brothers, who are one with me” (W-pI.181), or giving up insurance policies because one “place[s] the future in the Hands of God” (W-pI. 194). The point naturally is that such judgments about spiritual advancement are always based on externals, without the one who judges knowing what the content is behind the form, regardless of the form’s “spiritual” appearance.
Moreover, implicit in questions like this is a latent fear of being unable to achieve the Course’s goal. Hearing about others who have often can provide the external witness, when Jesus’ expressed confidence in his students is not enough.
The bottom line, whenever one is tempted to indulge in such thoughts of spiritual specialness, is always to focus on one’s own Atonement lessons, thereby avoiding the distraction of thinking of others who have or have not “made it.” As peace returns to the student’s mind, the question will already have departed from it.