II. SECTION 13. What is a Miracle?
- A miracle is a correction. It does not create, nor really change at all. It merely looks on devastation and reminds the mind that what it sees is false. It undoes error but does not attempt to go beyond perception, nor exceed the function of forgiveness. Thus it stays within time’s limits. Yet it paves the way for the return of timelessness and love’s awakening, for fear must slip away under the gentle remedy it brings.
- A miracle contains the gift of grace, for it is given and received as one. And thus, it illustrates the law of truth the world does not obey, because it fails entirely to understand its ways. A miracle inverts perception which was upside down before, and thus it ends the strange distortions that were manifest. Now is perception open to the truth. Now is forgiveness seen as justified.
- Forgiveness is the home of miracles. The eyes of Christ deliver them to all they look upon in mercy and in love. Perception stands corrected in His sight, and what was meant to curse has come to bless. Each lily of forgiveness offers all the world the silent miracle of love. And each is laid before the Word of God, upon the universal altar to Creator and creation in the light of perfect purity and endless joy.
- The miracle is taken first on faith because to ask for it implies the mind has been made ready to conceive of what it cannot see and does not understand. Yet faith will bring its witnesses to show that what it rested on is really there. And thus the miracle will justify your faith in it, and show it rested on a world more real than what you saw before; a world redeemed from what you thought was there.
- Miracles fall like drops of healing rain from heaven on a dry and dusty world, where starved and thirsty creatures come to die. Now they have water. Now the world is green. And everywhere the signs of life spring up, to show that what is born can never die, for what has life has immortality.
Today we begin our ten-day study of miracles. While we may be accustomed to thinking of miracles as changing water into wine or cleansing the leper or raising the dead, Jesus informs us in our introduction that we are to think of miracles as a correction. A miracle does not create something out of nothing. Miracles do not change things from “not there” to there. A miracle looks on what the ego made and reminds the mind of what our flesh eyes cannot see. Miracles “rub out” what is standing in our way of beholding what is really there and has been there all along. Miracles are only needed within the bounds of time, for in reality, there is no need to correct, all is as it was created.
This morning for illumination I was reminded of the term, “Putting Christ back in Christmas.” The miracle in this case would simply be remembering that no matter what has happened to the Christian celebration of Christ’s birth, the word “Christ,” never left it. It was always there whether one forgot it or not. No matter what insanity came to take the place of simply, calmly, quietly acknowledging one day of the year, one season of the year, as a holy time set apart for gratitude and recognition of joy and peace, the holiday itself was made with Christ in mind. We can stop making it a day to go into debt, to stress ourselves with material ways in which to show our love for Him, to overindulge ourselves with food and drink and glitz and glamor, and simply acknowledge His humble birth. We can remember the promise of peace on earth, joy to the world, goodwill toward humanity. The miracle would be remembering the word “Christ,” in the word “Christmas,” and celebrating what was always there, instead of the devastation which the ego would offer in its place.
In staying with this example of a miracle, we see the “gentle remedy” in remembering that Christ was always in Christmas. We did not have to create something from nothing. It was always there, right in front of our noses – it is simply a matter of seeing past the tacky substitutes, the destructive fiction that would stand in place of the humility, the devotion, the purity and innocence that His coming brings. There is no need to go on rants against Santa Claus; condemn those who promote or fall prey to commercialism or use the holiday as a reason for excess. We simply remember that Christ is what Christmas is all about in the first place. And remembering Christ, the madness fades away. Christmas is no longer a special day, but rather symbolizes how every day, every hour, every minute in time becomes a time to draw close to Him, to become one with Him.
Jesus tells us in paragraph two that miracles contain the gift of grace, bringing back to our awareness that what we receive and give cannot be divided, evaded, or deconstructed. Ego world turns this concept askew and we spend our lives being afraid to love lest we love and there is no return; being afraid to forgive, lest we are not forgiven; being afraid to trust, to respect, to acknowledge the unquantifiable gifts of God. When a miracle takes place in our minds, when we see reality, we get past all the suspicions, the petty accounting, the grudges we hold toward those who took and did not return – we see past the spaces and outlines in time and the gift of grace allows us to see the whole story. Nothing is ever given which is not received; nothing is ever received which is not given. We are interconnected because we are one. You cannot withhold what you get from me; I cannot withhold what I get from you, for what we get we give and what we give we get. When we finally understand this concept all fear is gone; all forgiveness is justified. We are not forgiving what really took place; we are forgiving the illusion that you withheld from me what was mine; and that I withheld from you what was yours.
In your devotional practice today, spend time with paragraph three. Read it as many times as it takes to realize that the field of forgiveness is where miracles take place. Remember that when Christ speaks of lilies of forgiveness, lilies represent humility, devotion, and innocence.
With humility we stop thinking that we are special. We stop thinking that we have a right to judge, to condemn, to hold others accountable. We say: I do not know the whole story, but I do know this: He is a child of God and God loves His own. In our humility we realize that just because somebody does not tickle us to pieces, does not agree with our political or religious inclinations, or treats us with disdain has no bearing on their salvation.
With devotion we dedicate time to God. At first it may be a few minutes a day, then a few hours, and then all of our time is devoted to Him because we come to realize that it is through our devotion we remember our oneness with God and all Creation.
In humilityand in devotion we recognize our innocence, our purity, and worthiness as God’s Son. We get past the time we spent steeped in a sense of sin and shame and suffering and loss. We see corruption not as part of ourselves or others, but as the lie about Creation, the perverted story of nature gone rogue, of a world of chaos, disasters, and fictionalized, fearful versions of reality seeming to be trapped in time and space, but in actuality only a mist that obscures the truth.
The lilies of forgiveness are nurtured in our minds and hearts as we come to our daily practice. We naturally extend love and mercy to all of those with whom we bore a grudge, who did us wrong, who left us for another, for we understand ourselves as one rather than the separate parts. When I bear a grudge toward you, I am bearing one toward myself. When I conceive that you did me wrong, I am conceiving that I wronged myself; when I think of you as having left me for another, I know that I abandon you and take up with others every time I speak a mean word or list your wrongdoings so that others will side with me against you. When we come to see this as the truth it is, when our universal oneness is no longer obscured by the lies of space, of time, of separation, this is the silent, holy miracle we offer the world. We lay down our arms against each other, and the joy and peace and everlasting love and God’s Kingdom comes, God’s Will is done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Our daily devotional practice prepares our minds for miracles. We come in faith. We come hoping that what we see and hear and experience in this realm is not reality; that there must be something more, a better way, a God who is not to be feared, but to be loved, a Creator with no contradictions, no craven need for flattery and unending praise, no Gifts that could be snatched away. We come hoping in faith and our hope turns to knowing and loving God, which justifies all our faith in Him. The miracle of love gives us a world more real than anything we experience in this realm, the miracle of love redeems us from insignificant little strutters puffed up on their own importance within the bizarre affairs of a fleeting world to our reality as one with Christ, God’s Son, extending Creation’s love, joy, and peace forever.
The world we see with our flesh eyes is where starved and thirsty creatures come to die. But miracles give us sight that never fades, that sees through lies, that knows the truth of the matter. Miracles give us the Vision of Christ. With Christ’s Vision, we see through that which was designed to conceal the truth. The world is green and signs of life spring up everywhere, Jesus tells us in the last paragraph. Miracles restore our consciousness, miracles show that what is born can never die, that God’s Creation extends forever, that the Christ in Christmas was never lost, only obscured by that which has no value.
The theme of our next ten lessons encourages us in the way of miracles for you are born to be a miracle worker, even as I am born to be a miracle worker. Christ’s vision is accomplished through our miracles. His Second Coming is our coming to know Him, to be one with Him, to stand with Him and save the world from all that obscures Creation as it was created. As we join with Him we join with each other. We see past all the ego bluff and fluff that would keep me on my side of the fence and you on yours. And we devote our minds to Him, our hearts to Him, and our lives to His purpose. We take our rightful place in His Kingdom, not bickering, not competing, not comparing, but by becoming one with Him. And He will lead us Home where miracles are a thing of a past long forgotten, a past that never really was.
A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Part II:13. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992) p. 473.
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