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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions

II. The Power of Holiness

1. You may still think that holiness is impossible to understand, because you cannot see how it can be extended to include everyone.  And you have been told that it must include everyone to be holy.  Concern yourself not with the extension of holiness, for the nature of miracles you do not understand.  Nor do you do them.  It is their extension, far beyond the limits you perceive, that demonstrates you do not do them.  Why should you worry how the miracle extends to all the Sonship when you do not understand the miracle itself?  One attribute is no more difficult to understand than is the whole.  If miracles are at all, their attributes would have to be miraculous, being part of them.

2. There is a tendency to fragment, and then to be concerned about the truth of just a little part of the whole.  And this is but a way of avoiding, or looking away from the whole, to what you think you might be better able to understand.  For this is but another way in which you would still try to keep understanding to yourself.  A better and far more helpful way to think of miracles is this:  You do not understand them, either in part or in whole.  Yet they have been done through you.  Therefore your understanding cannot be necessary.  Yet it is still impossible to accomplish what you do not understand.  And so there must be Something in you that does understand.   

3. To you the miracle cannot seem natural, because what you have done to hurt your mind has made it so unnatural that it does not remember what is natural to it.  And when you are told what is natural, you cannot understand it.  The recognition of the part as the whole, and of the whole in every part is perfectly natural, for it is the way God thinks, and what is natural to Him is natural to you.  Wholly natural perception would show you instantly that order of difficulty in miracles is quite impossible, for it involves a contradiction of what miracles mean.  And if you could understand their meaning, their attributes could hardly cause you perplexity.

4. You have done miracles, but it is quite apparent that you have not done them alone.  You have succeeded whenever you have reached another mind and joined with it.  When two minds join as one and share one idea equally, the first link in the awareness of the Sonship as one has been made.  When you have made this joining as the Holy Spirit bids you and have offered it to Him to use as He sees fit, His natural perception of your gift enables Him to understand it, and you to use His understanding on your behalf.  It is impossible to convince you of the reality of what has clearly been accomplished through your willingness while you believe that you must understand it or else it is not real. 

5. How can faith in reality be yours while you are bent on making it unreal?  And are you really safer in maintaining the reality of illusions than you would be in joyously accepting truth for what it is, and giving thanks for it?  Honor the truth that has been given you and be glad you do not understand it.  Miracles are natural to the One Who speaks for God.  For His task is to translate the miracle into the knowledge which it represents, and which is hidden to you.  Let His understanding of the miracle be enough for you, and do not turn away from all the witnesses that He has given you to His reality. 

6. No evidence will convince you of the truth of what you do not want. Yet your relationship with Him is real.  Regard this not with fear, but with rejoicing.  The One you called upon is with you.  Bid Him welcome and honor the witnesses who bring you the glad tidings He has come.  It is true, just as you fear, that to acknowledge Him is to deny all that you think you know.  But what you think you know was never true.  What gain is there to you in clinging to it, and denying the evidence for truth?  For you have come too near to truth to renounce it now, and you will yield to its compelling attraction.  You can delay this now, but only a little while.  The Host of God has called to you, and you have heard.  Never again will you be wholly willing not to listen.

7. This is a year of joy, in which your listening will increase, and peace will grow with its increase.  The power of holiness and the weakness of attack are both being brought into your awareness.  And this has been accomplished in a mind firmly convinced that holiness is weakness and attack is power.  Should not this be a sufficient miracle to teach you that your Teacher is not of you?  But remember also that whenever you listened to His interpretation the results have brought you joy. Would you prefer the results of your interpretation, considering honestly what they have been?  God wills you better.  Could you not look with greater clarity on whom God loves with perfect love?

8. Do not interpret against God’s Love, for you have many witnesses that speak of it so clearly that only the blind and deaf could fail to see and hear them.  This year determine not to deny what has been given you by God.  Awake and share it, for that is the only reason He has called to you.  His Voice has spoken clearly, and yet you have so little faith in what you heard, because you have preferred to place still greater faith in the disaster you have made.  Today, let us resolve together to accept the joyful tidings that disaster is not real, and that reality is not disaster.  Reality is safe and sure, and wholly kind to everyone and everything.  There is no greater love than to accept this and be glad.  For love asks only that you be happy and will give you everything that makes for happiness.

9. You have never given any problem to the Holy Spirit He has not solved for you, nor will you ever do so.  You have never tried to solve anything yourself and been successful.  Is it not time you brought these facts together and make sense of them?  This is the year for the application of the ideas that have been given you.  For the ideas are mighty forces, to be used and not held idly by.  They have already proved their power sufficiently for you to place your faith in them, and not in their denial.  This year invest in truth, and let it work in peace.  Have faith in Him Who has faith in you.  Think what you have really seen and heard and recognize it.  Can you be alone with witnesses like these?[1]

In our humanity, we seek to understand that which simply cannot be understood with a finite mind.  We search for truth and bewail the fact that truth always seems out there in the vast universe, far beyond our means to grasp it, hold it in our little bony fingers, squeeze it close to our fleshy hearts, squeeze the very life out of it to suit our fragile selves and make it work for us, protecting us from all the lost and the heathen who have not yet managed to figure it out for themselves.  In our great quest for truth, we want to make sure we get there before anyone else, planting our flag upon it, stamping our name upon it, making sure everyone knows it is our truth and we found it first.  And if you want to join with us in “our” truth, here are the rules, here are the fees, here are our expectations and belief systems. 

It is far better to admit that we don’t know anything about truth or miracles or God, for that matter.  It is far better to humbly assert the truth of the matter; we do not have to understand God or the love or the miracles that are wrought through us.  I do not have to convince you of the truth of any of this nor do you have to convince me.  In our humanity we are simply not equipped to understand or be able to explain the things of God, miracles or otherwise.  But Jesus tells us that there is holiness within us that does understand, that in our holiness miracles are not supernatural, but natural.  In our holiness, we think like God thinks.  We know that in any single part of Creation is God and that in God is every single part of Creation – we know that in our holiness – and the only reason we have forgotten it and seem to have cast this aside is because we chose humanity over our divinity; we chose to make something different than Spirit and become flesh. 

If we were Spirit there would be no such thing as a miracle, for miracles are natural in holiness.  There is no reason to understand miracles because in Spirit minds are joined and know everything there is to know. 

Jesus tells us that all of us have done miracles whenever we have reached another mind and joined with it.  Sharing one idea equally, a link in the awareness of our Brotherhood in Christ is made.  We recognize our holiness and in this recognition we want nothing for ourselves alone.  Our craven egos are out of the picture.  I want no glory; I want no appreciation; I want no recognition at all nor do you.  We absolutely do not have to understand it, be able to explain it, to defend it or try to prove it to anyone in the flesh.  We do not perform miracles to get rich or famous or draw a following to ourselves.  When we are delivered from that which torments us, steals our joy, sickens our bodies, and separates us from God and from each other – we know it has happened and we are blessed.  And yet it is impossible to explain this to anyone in the flesh for only in the Spirit can we know truth.   There is not a technique to this.  There are not certain incantations and bub-hubba-bubbas to murmur.  There is no laying on the hands required or dunking each other in water.  We are not putting on a show and trying to win others for Christ. 

Jesus says that when two minds join as one and share one idea equally, the first link of the awareness of the Sonship as one has been made.  Several years ago my mind joined as one with my husband’s mind and the mind of a brother who had been diagnosed with a crippling and severe form of degenerative back disease.  One of the most amazing, to me, at the time was the fact that neither James nor I had reason to particularly like this guy.  Yet when we saw him in such poor shape, our hearts and minds were joined in total empathy, lack of judgment, love, and concern.  I remember being so touched by his condition that I cried in compassion.  And yet it was not my tears that healed him or touched the heart of God.  It was the words that were spoken through Holy Spirit through me. 

For when I prayed for him, I prayed that he would be able to be a good father to his children, to be able to provide for them and enjoy them.  In holiness, the Spirit showed him that he did not want to choose disability, but to choose healing.  Holy Spirit knew that this was his choice.  It was not a decision that I could make for him.  No matter how much I may have pleaded with God, spoke in tongues, cried out in anguish for his painful condition – in the end it was his choice to choose healing even as it was his choice to choose disability. 

Holy Spirit showed me how it is always our choice to choose.  We are seldom aware of this.  We think that sickness befalls us; we think that health is reserved for those who have good genes and are “lucky.”  We seldom take the responsibility for our health, often choosing sickness and disability to get out of doing things, to get attention, to get out from under the heavy burden of choices we made in the past, of separation, of our humanity.  This seems a ruthless way in which to view poor health, and yet to resist this spiritual concept puts us at a great disadvantage – for our egos thrive in a mind that is full of fear, vulnerability, and weakness.  When we see ourselves as helpless pawns in a world where anything and anyone can attack us at anytime for any reason we unwittingly project this to others and draw forth discord, disease, and death to our door.  When we see ourselves as Sons of God, invulnerable, strong, and loving, joyful, and peaceful we mindfully extend our holiness to others and attract holiness to ourselves. 

Holy Spirit understands these concepts for us and the more we are willing to consciously choose holiness the less we will unconsciously go along dippity-do-dahing with ego, taking everything that comes along in a fearful state of defense and attack which leaves us wide open to all the fearful things that ego has planned for those it has entranced. 

Miracles come naturally to us when we walk in the joy of Holy Spirit.  We honor God and the truth He has given us by not trying to understand it with our finite minds but accepting it with the same grace in which it has been extended to us and giving thanks for having been delivered from the certain disease of mortality.  Miracles are then naturally occurring events to those who speak for God, for when we speak for God we speak for love, for joy, for peace.  We speak of fulfilling our responsibilities and being a blessing and not a burden to others.  We speak of freedom and not of captivity.  We speak of strength and not of weakness. 

Holy Spirit in you and in me translates the miraculous on this plane to the knowledge of God and Sonship which miracles represent.  When James and I prayed for our diseased brother and he was healed, we did not accomplish this – Holy Spirit accomplished this through not only us, but through all the Sonship.  While we had no desire to take the credit, we did have a united desire to bring health to our unhappy brother.  When we prayed for other people they went unhealed.  So it was not anything special about us that healed our brother, and this is always a good thing to know!  Jesus tells us to rely only on Holy Spirit.  Our holiness knows; our finite minds will never understand miracles and will always find ways in which to pollute them with doubt, fear, and accusations of incredibility. 

I often think of Dr. Helen Schucman, the transcriber of this Course.  She could hardly believe that she would be the one in which Jesus would choose as a scribe for this curriculum.  While I believe that Jesus is speaking to all of us, I think that He was also speaking directly to unbelief in Dr. Schucman in paragraph five.  Dr. Schucman found it as difficult to put her ego aside as do we in order to believe in the amazing messages that were coming through her.  I love it when Jesus says – “Honor the truth that has been given you and be glad you do not understand it.”  I am so happy that she did honor the truth even though she did not understand it.  Following through and sharing it, publishing it, and overriding her ego’s resistance which was trying to convince her that she was perhaps insane.  We all owe a deep appreciation to our scribe for daring to bring this forth instead of hiding it in her closet or in a dresser drawer out of fear of the established religions or professional mockery and ridicule. 

Anyone who is on a quest for God, for truth, for reality should question, doubt, and raise concerns about what is being offered to them as truth.  We should all be very wary of any kind of voices, human or spiritual, that would demand unquestioning belief in and obedience to its commands.  Any spiritual teaching that uses specialness and flattery, as well as threats, fear, and slavish obedience and sacrifice to coerce us into a false sense of salvation is not of God no matter how long it as been around, no matter how many people have been martyred for the cause, no matter how holy and righteous and good it may claim to be.  For God is Love. This truth will always deliver us from fear not add to it. 

Jesus tells us to rejoice and not be afraid.  God is with us and will never leave us.  Welcome Him into our minds and hearts.  We are certainly not to crucify the ones who bring us this glad tiding – but rather honor them.  Everything we thought we knew was simply not true.  So why cling to it?  Why continue to honor that which enslaved you and demanded bloody sacrifices which filled you with horror and dread?  What possible gain is there in supporting and endorsing teachings that fill us with worry and fret over the state of each other’s soul when we know that souls belong to God and God is Love? Love attracts love and so we will never be lost no matter how long we delay.  However, God and His Hosts are calling to you.  You have heard.  And never again will you be willing to turn a deaf ear.  You have heard God is Love and now you know. 

Pay particular attention to paragraph seven.  Here Jesus is telling us that this is a year of joy.  We will listen and not interfere with the teachings of love.  Our peace will increase.  We will know the power of holiness and the weakness of attack in a mind that had been fully convinced otherwise!  This is our evidence that Holy Spirit is our Teacher and not our ego – this is a miracle accomplished already.  We experience joy when we listen to our holiness; we experience something else altogether when we go with our own perceptions and interpretations.  God wills us better than we can possibly do on our own. 

We are not to interpret against God’s Love but trust in it.  This year, this time, this moment determine not to deny what God has given to you as He has given to all of us.  Wake up.  God does not call to us to save us alone.   God awakens us to awaken holiness in others.  We are to build on the faith that we have in His Love, in His Voice within us, in what He has called us to do rather than the mundane go-round of flesh.  Jesus calls what we made here a disaster and it is about time we open our eyes and see it as a disaster as well.  A disaster posing as reality – filling us with vanity, fear, and dread.  Reality is safe and sure, wholly kind to everyone and that is certainly not what we are finding in this realm.  Accept anything less than this and you will not be happy, nor will you be able to share happiness with others. 

All problems given to holiness are solved for us in a way in which we cannot resolve them ourselves.  When we look at this deeply and honestly we will know this is true – it will all make sense to us.  In our personal application of these principles we find that the concepts we learn in our Course are only might forces when they are used, when they are shared.  Keep them to ourselves and they mean nothing.  Jesus asks us to put our faith in them, to invest in truth and let it work in peace.  We are no longer to entertain any sense of doubt and fear but rather have faith in God who has faith in us.  In your personal devotional practice, meditate upon what you have seen and heard and recognize God’s love and faith in you.  Recollect all the times that you were surrounded by love, by peace, by joy.  Remember the times that you were in touch with that which is not visible to flesh eyes or experienced with flesh senses.  You are not alone – God and all of Creation is with you.  Attest to the reality of this by trusting in your holiness and disavowing that which was made in opposition to truth. 


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 16 The forgiveness of illusions. II The power of holiness. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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