"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
A Course in Miracles
TEXT
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND

CHAPTER 15
The Purpose of Time

IV. Littleness Versus Magnitude

22 Be not content with littleness, but be sure you understand what littleness is and why you could never be content with it. Littleness is the offering you gave yourself . You offered this in place of magnitude, and you accepted it. Everything in this world is little because it is a world made out of littleness in the strange belief that littleness can content you. When you strive for anything in this world with the belief that it will bring you peace, you are belittling yourself and blinding yourself to glory. Littleness and glory are the choices open to your striving and your vigilance. You will always choose one at the expense of the other.

23 Yet what you do not realize each time you choose is that your choice is your evaluation of yourself . Choose littleness and you will not have peace, for you will have judged yourself unworthy of it. And whatever you offer as a substitute is much too poor a gift to satisfy you. It is essential that you accept the fact, and accept it gladly, that there is no form of littleness that can ever content you. You are free to try as many as you wish, but all you will be doing is to delay your homecoming. For you will be content only in magnitude, which is your home.

24 There is a deep responsibility you owe yourself, and one which you must learn to remember all the time. The lesson will seem hard at first, but you will learn to love it when you realize that it is true and constitutes a tribute to your power. You who have sought and found littleness, remember this: Every decision which you make stems from what you think you are and represents the value that you put upon yourself. Believe the little can content you, and by limiting yourself, you will not be satisfied. For your function is not little, and it is only by finding your function and fulfilling it that you can escape from littleness.

25 There is no doubt about what your function is, for the Holy Spirit knows what it is. There is no doubt about its magnitude, for it reaches you through Him from Magnitude. You do not have to strive for it because you have it. All your striving must be directed against littleness, for it does require vigilance to protect your magnitude in this world. To hold your magnitude in perfect awareness in a world of littleness is a task the little cannot undertake. Yet it is asked of you in tribute to your magnitude and not your littleness. Nor is it asked of you alone.

26 The power of God will support every effort you make on behalf of His dear Son. Search for the little, and you deny yourself His power. God is not willing that His Son be content with less than everything. For He is not content without His Son, and His Son cannot be content with less than His Father has given him. We asked you once before, "Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God?" Let this question be asked you by the Holy Spirit in you every time you make a decision. For every decision you make does answer this and invites sorrow or joy accordingly.

27 When God gave Himself to you in your creation, He established you as host to Him forever. He has not left you, and you have not left Him. All your attempts to deny His magnitude and make His Son hostage to the ego cannot make little whom God has joined with Him. Every decision you make is for Heaven or for hell and will bring you awareness of what you decided for . The Holy Spirit can hold your magnitude, clean of all littleness, clearly and in perfect safety in your minds, untouched by every little gift the world of littleness would offer you. But for this, you cannot side against Him in what He wills for you.

28 Decide for God through Him. For littleness and the belief that you can be content with littleness are the decisions you have made about yourself. The power and the glory that lie in you from God are for all who, like you, perceive themselves as little and have deceived themselves into believing that littleness can be blown up by them into a sense of magnitude that can content them. Neither give littleness, nor accept it. All honor is due the host of God. Your littleness deceives you, but your magnitude is of Him Who dwells in you and in Whom you dwell. Touch no one, then, with littleness, in the name of Christ, eternal Host unto His Father.

29 In this season (Christmas), which celebrates the birth of holiness into this world, join with me, who decided for holiness for you . It is our task together to restore the awareness of magnitude to the host whom God appointed for Himself. It is beyond all your littleness to give the gift of God, but not beyond you . For God would give Himself through you. He reaches from you to everyone and beyond everyone to His Son's creations, but without leaving you. Far beyond your little world but still in you, He extends forever. Yet He brings all his extensions to you as host to Him.

30 Is it a sacrifice to leave littleness behind and wander not in vain? It is not sacrifice to wake to glory. But it is a sacrifice to accept anything less than glory. Learn that you must be worthy of the Prince of Peace, born in you in honor of Him Whose host you are. You know not what love means because you have sought to purchase it with little gifts, thus valuing it too little to be able to understand its magnitude. Love is not little, and love dwells in you, for you are host to Him. Before the greatness that lives in you, your poor appreciation of yourself and all the little offerings you have given slip into nothingness. Holy Child of God, when will you learn that only holiness can content you and give you peace?

31 Remember that you learn not for yourself alone, no more than I did. It is because I learned for you that you can learn of me. I would but teach you what is yours, so that together we can replace the shabby littleness that binds the host of God to guilt and weakness with the glad awareness of the glory that is in him. My birth in you is your awakening to grandeur. Welcome me not into a manger but into the altar to holiness, where holiness abides in perfect peace. My Kingdom is not of this world because it is in you. And you are of your Father. Let us join in honoring you, who must remain forever beyond littleness.

32 Decide with me, who have decided to abide with you. I will as my Father wills, knowing His Will is constant and at peace forever with Itself. You will be content with nothing but His Will. Accept no less, remembering that everything I learned is yours. What my Father loves, I love as He does, and I can no more accept it as what it is not than He can. And no more can you . When you have learned to accept what you are, you will make no more gifts to offer to yourselves, for you will know you are complete, in need of nothing, and unable to accept anything for yourself. But you will gladly give, having received. The host of God need not seek to find anything.

33 If you are wholly willing to leave salvation to the plan of God and unwilling to attempt to grasp for peace yourself, salvation will be given you. Yet think not you can substitute your plan for His. Rather, join with me in His that we may release all those who would be bound, proclaiming together that the Son of God is host to Him. Thus will we let no one forget what you would remember. And thus will you remember it.

34 Call forth in everyone only the remembrance of God and of the Heaven that is in him. For where you would help your brother be, there will you think you are. Hear not his call for hell and littleness, but only his call for Heaven and greatness. Forget not that his call is yours, and answer him with me. God's power is forever on the side of His host, for it protects only the peace in which He dwells. Lay not littleness before His holy altar, which rises above the stars and reaches even to Heaven because of what is given it.

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Lesson 168
Your grace is given me. I claim it now.

1 God speaks to us. Shall we not speak to Him? He is not distant. He makes no attempt to hide from us. We try to hide from Him and suffer from deception. He remains entirely accessible. He loves His Son. There is no certainty but this, yet this suffices. He will love His Son forever. When his mind remains asleep, He loves him still. And when his mind awakes, He loves him with a never-changing Love.

2 If you but knew the meaning of His Love, hope and despair would be impossible, for hope would be forever satisfied; despair of any kind unthinkable. His grace His answer is to all despair, for in it lies remembrance of His Love. Would He not gladly give the means by which His Will is recognized? His grace is yours by your acknowledgment. And memory of Him awakens in the mind which asks the means of Him whereby its sleep is done.

3 Today we ask of God the gift He has most carefully preserved within our hearts, waiting to be acknowledged. This the gift by which God leans to us and lifts us up, taking salvation's final step Himself. All steps but this we learn, instructed by His Voice. But finally He comes Himself and takes us in His arms and sweeps away the cobwebs of our sleep. His gift of grace is more than just an answer. It restores all memories the sleeping mind forgot; all certainty of what love's meaning is.

4 God loves His Son. Request Him now to give the means by which this world will disappear, and vision first will come with knowledge but an instant later. For in grace you see a light that covers all the world in love and watch fear disappear from every face as hearts rise up and claim the light as theirs. What now remains that Heaven be delayed an instant longer? What remains undone when your forgiveness rests on everything?

5 It is a new and holy day today, for we receive what has been given us. Our faith lies in the Giver, not our own acceptance. We acknowledge our mistakes, but He to Whom all error is unknown is yet the One Who answers our mistakes by giving us the means to lay them down and rise to Him in gratitude and love.

6 And He descends to meet us as we come to Him, for what He has prepared for us He gives and we receive. Such is His Will because He loves His Son. To Him we pray today, returning but the words He gave to us through His own Voice, His Word, His Love:

7 Your grace is given me. I claim it now. Father, I come to You. And You will come to me who asks. I am the Son You love.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 168
Your grace is given me. I claim it now.

We are speaking to God directly in this Lesson as we affirm, "Your grace is given me. I claim it now." (W.168) We are told, "God speaks to us," (W.168.1.1) so why would we not speak directly to Him? Of course, it is His presence in our right minds that is communicating with us all the time. "He is not distant." (W.168.1.3) His presence is with us in every moment. Grace is an aspect of God's Love, which can be recognized and received by us because it has already been given and is already in us and with us. All we need do is return to the place in our minds where He is. If ideas leave not their source, we have never left Him. We are in Him and He is in us.
 
This Lesson assures us, over and over, how much God loves us. Jesus assures us again and again that God's Love is the only certainty there is. "There is no certainty but this, yet this suffices." (W.168.1.8) His love is forever and always accessible, always present, continually speaking to us, never changing, and never distant from us. No matter what we think we have done and how guilty or how lost we feel in this world of illusion, the truth is---God is always with us. There is no vengeance and no punishment possible from a loving God Who knows only love and knows His Son. If we really knew how much we were loved, we could never despair. It is not a love from some impersonal, inattentive God. It is not a neutral force, a universal power, nor a void. "And He descends to meet us, as we come to Him." (W.168.6.1) When we experience love, it is the closest we come to Heaven on earth.
 
Sometimes we get discouraged on this path. We think we will never make it. We believe God is somewhere "out there" and distant from us. Yet here is our invitation to just say yes to God and to express the willingness to know Him and hear Him. "His grace is yours by your acknowledgment." (W.168.2.5) Jesus tells us that the gifts of God's love and grace are in our hearts, preserved there always, and just ". . . waiting to be acknowledged." (W.168.3.1) These come to us through forgiveness, which is learned. Grace is the result of forgiveness.
 
This Course provides us with the process in which we learn, step by step, how to undo the makings of the ego so we can hear God's Voice. In the undoing of the ego thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, we can find our way out of our despair, so the joy that is our natural state is restored. It is up to us. We are the commanders of this journey. Jesus is our big brother and our model and the Holy Spirit is our Guide. We are the only ones who can decide how much we will take in of the message Jesus is teaching. It is up to us as to how much we will allow His guidance to be heard. We are in charge of the process. We are the ones who must take the steps along the way, being guided by the Holy Spirit, until God takes the final step. "But finally He comes Himself, and takes us in His Arms and sweeps away the cobwebs of our sleep." (W.168.3.4) Only then is our memory restored to what our sleeping mind has forgotten and will not know until we are fully awake in God.
 
"Our faith lies in the Giver, not our own acceptance." (W.168.5.2) We don't need to worry about our limitations and our hesitation, but we need only focus on our faith in God's ability to give us His gifts. How does this happen? It happens by acknowledging our mistakes and being willing to bring them for Correction so there is an open space where truth can enter uncluttered by our egoic thoughts.
 
Our acceptance is bounded by mistakes, but perfection is not being asked of us. Yes, we need to look honestly at our mistakes, but to God, mistakes are unknown, and forgiveness is the means we are given to lay them down. Over and over we are assured, in this Lesson, how much God loves and accepts us and does not see our mistakes. In fact, God only knows us to be safely at home‑‑‑the home we never left. When we awaken from this dream, we will know this too. "Today we ask of God the gift He has most carefully preserved within our hearts, waiting to be acknowledged." (W.168.3.1) All we are required to do is to open to the gift that has always been there. Keeping it concealed is to continue to decide to do it all on our own, while the gift that would satisfy all our hopes is awaiting our acceptance. Our part is to claim the gift. We are entitled. There is no need for any kind of entreaty to God. We don't have to beg or beseech God, but only to accept. All that is needed is our consent. His gifts are freely given, awaiting our acceptance. It is about our willingness to say and mean, "Father, I come to you." (W.168.6.7)
 
At times, the complexity of this world, with all its seeming issues, choices, and problems, can feel overwhelming. As I sat in meditation today and turned my thoughts over as they came into my mind, I felt such deep gratitude for this path and for my mighty companions. The light of the Holy Spirit is in our minds, inviting us into His tenderness. Here we can rest in confidence of His love and in this beautiful silent place where Jesus tells us the world cannot intrude. It is the sweet serenity of Heaven where we feel nothing but rest in the Heart of God. It has been given us and needs only to be received. This message is given over and over in this Lesson.
 
David Hoffmeister writes: "The world of business ends in quiet. The world of distractions ends in single-pointed awareness. The world of sadness ends in joy, and the world of sorrow ends in happiness and laughter! What but the Heart of God offers eternal gifts such as these? Being aware of the silence offered freely without price or condition, why wait for circumstances to change before embracing It?"
 
Why indeed? There is no need to try to find ways to redeem ourselves. We need not try to make amends, make excuses, blame anyone, numb ourselves, nor hope for death as a release from guilt. "Forgetfulness and sleep and even death become the ego’s best advice for dealing with the perceived and harsh intrusion of guilt on peace. Yet no one sees himself in conflict and ravaged by a cruel war unless he believes that both opponents in the war are real." (T.13.XI.1.1-2) (ACIM OE T.13.IV.35) All we need do is claim the grace that is given us now.
 
Later David says, "There is no true change in the world. It is a closed system of denial and the vain attempt to deny the Love of God. Yet anyone sincerely seeking truth cannot long be deceived about the unsubstantial nature of this world. Be glad the world is not real, for nothing of the world can ever offer the eternal Love of God. Be happy to lay the foolish business of the world aside in exchange for Inner Stillness. Sink deep into your mind and open to the experience that has been waiting for you all along. For Love waits on welcome, not on time and it is but your welcome that will bring love into awareness. There is no reason to wait for it, or read about it, or strive for it. It is here Now for the Asking. Ask and ye shall be Given."
 
All we need to do is return to the place in our minds where He is. We are the ones who chose to leave, and now we take the steps to return. We do so with willingness to look at the ego and keep bringing it to the light. We take time in silence to commune with God and to reflect on the importance of what we are doing on behalf of our happiness.
 
Let us make this a new and holy day. We open ourselves up to His Love and His embrace, as "He comes Himself, and takes us in His Arms and sweeps away the cobwebs of our sleep." (W.168.3.4) To allow this is to do the work of forgiveness by releasing all that stands in the way of our recognition of who we are. "Your grace is given me. I claim it now. Father, I come to You. And You will come to me who ask. I am the Son You Love . " (W.168.6.5‑9) It is a day of surrender. There is nothing to lose and nothing we are giving up in opening to grace and surrendering to love. It is our heart's desire and what we have always wanted. Nothing is lost except the illusory self we think we are---the one who suffers and feels despair and homelessness. It is not only for us, but for the world, because when our mind is healed, the Sonship is healed along with it. This is not a journey for myself alone, where only my healing is important. No, it is in concert with caring and compassion for all.
 
"Your home has called to you since time began, nor have you ever failed entirely to hear. You heard, but knew not how to look, nor where. And now you know. In you the knowledge lies, ready to be unveiled and freed from all the terror that kept it hidden. There is no fear in love. The song of Easter is the glad refrain the Son of God was never crucified. Let us lift up our eyes together, not in fear but faith. And there will be no fear in us, for in our vision will be no illusions; only a pathway to the open door of Heaven, the home we share in quietness and where we live in gentleness and peace, as one together." (T.20.II.8.5-12) (ACIM OE T.20.III.12)

Love and blessings, Sarah

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