Wednesday, November 27, 2013
A Thanksgiving Message
Love Is The Way I Walk In Gratitude
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. I could think of no better message than the Lesson on gratitude in A Course In Miracles (ACIM). This Lesson  tells me there are two kinds of gratitude. The first is an ego-based thankfulness, which often is simply veiled hostility. When I pray “Thank You, God, for You have blessed me with all this bounty…” am I really implying that those who don’t have the kind of bounty I have are not blessed, or not blessed as fully as I? The second is sincere gratitude for the connectedness of all living things. As Allen Watson says, “Today I am joyful that the gifts I have received belong to everyone. I am grateful for every living thing, every person I meet…. I recognize that if anyone is diminished, I am diminished, and I thank God that ‘…everything has earned the right to love by being loving,’ for all is part of my [True] Self.” [A Workbook Companion, Volume II, Circle Publishing, 2006, p. 63]
From ACIM, A Workbook for Students, Part II, Lesson 195:
“Gratitude is a lesson hard to learn for those who look upon the world amiss. The most that they can do is see themselves as better off than others. And they try to be content because another seems to suffer more than they. How pitiful and deprecating are such thoughts! For who has cause for thanks while others have less cause? And who could suffer less because he sees another suffer more? Your gratitude is due to Him alone Who made all cause of sorrow disappear throughout the world.
“It is insane to offer thanks because of suffering. But it is equally insane to fail in gratitude to One Who offers you the certain means whereby all pain is healed, and suffering replaced with laughter and with happiness. Nor could the even partly sane refuse to take the steps which He directs, and follow in the way He sets before them, to escape a prison that they thought contained no door to the deliverance they now perceive.
“Your brother is your ‘enemy’ because you see in him the rival for your peace; a plunderer who takes his joy from you, and leaves you nothing but a black despair so bitter and relentless that there is no hope remaining. Now is vengeance all there is to wish for. Now can you but try to bring him down to lie in death with you, as useless as yourself; as little left within his grasping fingers as in yours.
“You do not offer God your gratitude because your brother is more slave than you, nor could you sanely be enraged if he seems freer. Love makes no comparisons. And gratitude can only be sincere if it be joined to love. We offer thanks to God our Father that in us all things will find their freedom. It will never be that some are loosed while others still are bound. For who can bargain in the name of love?
“Therefore give thanks, but in sincerity. And let your gratitude make room for all who will escape with you; the sick, the weak, the needy and afraid, and those who mourn a seeming loss or feel apparent pain, who suffer cold or hunger, or who walk the way of hatred and the path of death. All these go with you. Let us not compare ourselves with them, for thus we split them off from our awareness of the unity we share with them, as they must share with us.
“We thank our Father for one thing alone; that we are separate from no living thing, and therefore one with Him. And we rejoice that no exceptions ever can be made which would reduce our wholeness, nor impair or change our function to complete the One Who is Himself completion. We give thanks for every living thing, for otherwise we offer thanks for nothing, and we fail to recognize the gifts of God to us.
Then let our brothers lean their tired heads against our shoulders as they rest a while. We offer thanks for them. For if we can direct them to the peace that we would find, the way is opening at last to us. An ancient door is swinging free again; a long forgotten Word re-echoes in our memory, and gathers clarity, as we are willing once again to hear.
“Walk, then, in gratitude the way of love. For hatred is forgotten when we lay comparisons aside. What more remains as obstacles to peace? The fear of God is now undone at last, and we forgive without comparing. Thus we cannot choose to overlook some things, and yet retain some other things still locked away as ‘sins.’ When your forgiveness is complete you will have total gratitude, for you will see that everything has earned the right to love by being loving, even as your Self.
“Today we learn to think of gratitude in place of anger, malice and revenge. We have been given everything. If we refuse to recognize it, we are not entitled therefore to our bitterness, and to a self-perception which regards us in a place of merciless pursuit, where we are badgered ceaselessly, and pushed about without a thought or care for us or for our future. Gratitude becomes the single thought we substitute for these insane perceptions. God has cared for us, and calls us Son. Can there be more than this?
“Our gratitude will pave the way to Him, and shorten our learning time by more than you could ever dream of. Gratitude goes hand in hand with love, and where one is the other must be found. For gratitude is but an aspect of the Love, which is the Source of all creation. God gives thanks to you, His Son, for being what you are: His Own completion and the Source of love, along with Him. Your gratitude to Him is one with His to you. For love can walk no road except the way of gratitude, and thus we go who walk the way to God.” [The Workbook for Students, Lesson 195]
#5 November, 2013