Forgiveness offers everything I want
Lesson 121 is both well-integrated into the workbook curriculum of A Course in Miracles and a handy guide to what forgiveness means to students of the course. With its overview of what forgiveness is and how it functions in our daily practice, we are better-equipped to tackle the dramatic promise of lesson 122.
Forgiveness offers everything we want.
Yet we have to ask – we have to go into – what is it that we actually want? Winning lottery tickets? Hot sex? Calorie-free ice cream sundaes? And end to this or that politician’s career? A house on the beach?
The external thing that we want – and we all want them, to one degree or another, in one form or another – is in fact a symbol of what we actually want. What we want is what the external thing points to – and, in the end, it always points to clarity, certainty, meaningfulness. It points to happiness and peace.
Thus the promise of Lesson 122 is not that we’ll secure the material abundance bodies crave but rather the gentle tranquility of a mind no longer imprisoned in – no longer mercilessly subject to – the body’s drives and appetites. It’s not that the body goes away but that our focus shifts with respect to it. This shift begets happiness.
In A Course in Miracles, the peace and joy of a healed (and healing) mind are themselves indicated by another symbol, one which encapsulates all the others to simplify our learning: forgiveness shows us the face of Christ.
[Forgiveness] lets you recognize the Son of God, and clears your memory of all dead thoughts so that remembrance of your Father can arise across the threshold of your mind . . . What gifts but these are worthy to be sought? (W-pI.122.3:2, 4)
Whatever uncertainty we have, whatever sacrifice we think we’ve made, whatever suffering we believe we undergo undergo, whatever doubt plagues our mind . . . forgiveness is “the perfect answer and solution to them all (W-pI.122.4:2). It is effectively an open door unto the perfect peace and happiness of Heaven, offering us salvation in the simplest form imaginable. We merely ask the Teacher of God to show us the Face of Christ, and then wait in quiet confidence that what is true will be revealed to us because it is true.
Accept salvation now. It is the gift of God, and not the world. The world can give no gifts of any value to a mind that has received what God has given as its own (W-pI.122.7:3-5).
In lesson 121, our practice emphasizes our brothers and sisters as objects of love and hate, inviting us to learn how in truth they are the same, and we with them. Today, we step into the gentle abstraction of love itself, without insisting on (indeed, refusing to settle for) anything that readily reduces to form.
Before the light you will receive today the world will fade until it disappears, and you will see another world arise you have no words to picture. Now we walk directly into the light, and we receive the gifts that have been held in store for us since time began . . . (W-pI.122.12:1-2).
The Face of Christ is not literally the face of the one who studied with John the Baptist, suffered under Rome’s imperial cruelty, and lived on in the collective of followers who survived him. Rather, it is “the great symbol of forgiveness” (C-3.4:5).
It is salvation. It is the symbol of the real world. Whoever looks on this no longer sees the world. He is as near to Heaven as is possible outside the gate. Yet from this gate it is no more than just a step inside. It is the final step. And this we leave to God (C-3.4:6-12).
We are ready, you and I, to enter into the light in which our proximity to Heaven is made real, delivering us unto the open arms and welcome of God. This is the unity which forgiveness reflects, the Will of God which is the “bridge to Heaven” (C-3.5:2-3). Shall we cross it now, hand in hand?