[acimlessons_list] LESSON 357 - DECEMBER 23
sue at circleofa.org
Wed Dec 22 06:03:54 EST 2010
LESSON 357 - DECEMBER 23
"Truth answers every call we make to God,
Responding first with miracles, and then
Returning unto us to be itself."
See complete instructions in separate document.
A short summary:
* Read the commentary paragraph slowly and personally.
* Pray the prayer, perhaps several times.
* Morning and evening: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind
* Hourly remembrance: Repeat the idea and then spend a quiet moment in
* Frequent reminders: Repeat the idea often within each hour.
* Response to temptation: Repeat the idea whenever upset, to restore peace.
* Read the "What Is" section slowly and thoughtfully once during the day.
An idea is conveyed here, one that is a running theme through the Course,
that we find our way to God through others; we see Christ first in our
brothers, and then in ourselves (1:2). When we call to God, truth always
responds. The first response is "miracles," which we offer to others through
our forgiveness. Then, truth returns to us "to be itself."
Your holy Son is pointed out to me, first in my brother;
then in me. (1:2)
This is the way of A Course in Miracles. "As I look upon Your Son today,"
that is, as I see the Christ in those around me, "I hear Your Voice
instructing me to find the way to You, as You appointed that the way shall
be" (1:4). We hear the Voice that directs us to God as we look on Christ in
others. Another way of stating this theme is that we see the face of Christ,
and then remember God.
The two stages of the answer are 1) miracles, and 2) the apprehension of
truth as itself.
Miracles, in the form of forgiveness offered to my brothers, are only a
symbol of the truth. Forgiveness is only "truth's reflection" (1:1). In the
miracle I see the Son of God, first in my brother and then in myself.
As miracles accumulate and our mind is trained, truth itself begins to dawn,
which is the realization of our Identity with God. That isn't our worry,
says the Course. We don't need to work to make that happen. Concentrate on
the first step, and the second will come of itself. It is God's gift to us.
Many spiritual paths, I think, make a mistake in focusing on God-realization
directly. The effort may eventually work because the purpose is right, but
it takes a long time, and enormous effort (see T-18.VII.4:9-11). The effort
to do what is not doable, to make happen what has already happened, to find
what we have never lost, can become a struggle of endless frustration, a
perfect vehicle for the continuation of the ego. This kind of spiritual
seeking results in the type of person who is "too heavenly minded to be of
any earthly use." Here we find the Pharisee who passes by the injured
traveler because he does not want to be tainted. The religious bigot. The
self-righteous fundamentalist. His prayers are so important that he ignores
his family and its needs.
The Course is saying that the path to heaven is "through forgiveness here"
(W-pII.256.1:1). Don't get lost in the search for an abstract experience of
union with God. Rather, practice forgiveness. Pay attention to the
practical. Concentrate on union with your brother, and union with God will
be given you. Work with the material given you, the relationships that are
at hand. Don't try to run away in some spiritual retreat; it will fail. You
will be attempting to grasp at something you are not capable of grasping
now. You can't skip over this process. The way to God is through your
brother; he is your savior. There is no other way.
The path of the Course is anything but narcissistic or solitary. It teaches
us clearly that we cannot find God alone, or in ourselves alone; and we
cannot find God anywhere unless we find Him everywhere. "He is approached
through the appreciation of His Son" (T-11.IV.7:2). By learning to see those
around us as the Son of God, as God's perfect creation, we learn that we are
part of that creation as well. This leads us to the memory of God Himself.
The way to God lies through the person next to us:
"Behold his sinlessness, and be you healed." (1:5)
WHAT AM I?
This passage is reminiscent of the paragraph in the introduction to Review
Let this review be then your gift to me. For this alone
I need; that you will hear the words I speak, and give
them to the world. You are my voice, my eyes, my feet,
my hands through which I save the world. The Self from
which I call to you is but your own. To Him we go
together. Take your brother's hand, for this is not a way
we walk alone. In him I walk with you, and you with me.
Our Father wills His Son be one with Him. What lives
but must not then be one with you? (W-pI.rV.In.9:1-9)
Christ sees through our eyes. Our ears are those that hear the Voice for
God. Our minds are the minds that join together. As bringers of salvation,
we have only one single function: to hear the words Jesus speaks, and give
them to the world. And what is the kernel of those words? Seeing the world
with no thought of sin; hearing the message that the world is sinless;
joining in union to bless the world.
Am I a blessing to those around me, or a burden? Do I lift guilt from them,
or do I lay it on them? I have not really grasped the message of the Course
until I have realized that I am here to be a channel of God's grace to the
world and to release everyone I come in contact with from their guilt, most
especially from the guilt that I have laid upon them.
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