User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

On Sunday, January 23, 2022 Rev. Tony Ponticello gave a talk for the Community Miracles Center's Sunday Gathering. A lightly edited transcription of the talk is presented here.

Pushing Ear Out to ListenThank you very much for being here. I am extremely happy to be here, for all kinds of reasons, for multiple reasons. When I say I'm happy to be here, I'm happy that my body is here. Most of you know that I was diagnosed with a severe case of Covid-19 on Thursday, January 6th. What makes it severe was that they told me that they didn't think I was going to live, and I don't believe it gets anymore severe than that. The words I got from the emergency room (E.R.) doctor after he proceeded to tell me what an expert he was and how many patients he had seen, were these exact words, "I don't think you're going to make it."

I've never been told that I was expected to die by a medical professionals before. It was an experience, let me tell you. It was shocking, but it was also transformational in many ways. I'm going to talk a little bit about that. Going through this experience though, and then healing — I am now Covid free — has been life changing. I am now Covid negative and, I don't have to quarantine anymore. Getting through this, I feel that a certain layer of the world illusion has been stripped away. I'm still very aware that we're all different on the surface, but that's the point, it's just the surface Underneath the surface there is this vast truth of our wholeness, of our oneness, and our eternal connection with each other.

Send CMC a tax-deductible donation via PayPal or your Credit Card to support this work. "Thank you!"

One of the things that I truly experienced going through this was connection, simple connection with so many — with everyone really — and with so many individually. I am so grateful. I know many of you did a lot to connect with me, to help me, and just to tell me that you were praying for me and that you loved me. Thank you. Just really, really thank you. It meant everything to me, and I think it's part of why my body is here today.

Okay, I do want to clear up a few things. I did not go to the emergency room because I was in extreme distress and felt the need for the emergency room. I went to the emergency room because I was told that they were doing an alternative therapy there called monoclonal antibody therapy. I went there to get that therapy because I felt good about that therapy. I'd heard good things about that treatment. I wanted that therapy. I drove there. I drove to the emergency room. They were very incredulous of that, but actually I drove, I parked, I walked into the emergency room.

At my hospital, Kaiser here in San Francisco, the emergency room is on a hill. And so, when you walk into the emergency room, you're walking up a steep hill. My breathing was compromised at that time. I was ill. I mean, there's no question about it, I was truly, very ill. They tested me for Covid-19. They did that Q-tip-like tests where they stick a thin Q-tip far up your nose. It hurt. I cried out in pain. They left it in for about 10 seconds then they twisted it around. I cried out in pain again. It was really painful. After awhile I was told I tested positive for Covid-19. I was not surprised because there had been Covid in my apartment since Christmas day, and it's a small apartment. Okay, so I tested positive.

What I really want to talk about today is guidance. The experience of going through all of this, being told by the E.R. doctor — after he told me what an expert he was — that he did not think I was going to make it, the experience was a very powerful connection to guidance. I recently focused on a new quote about guidance that I had forgotten about. We went through the Epilogue from the Workbook recently. It's this one, "We will be told exactly what God wills for us each time there is a choice to make. And He will speak for God and for your Self, thus making sure that hell will claim you not and that each choice you make brings Heaven nearer to your reach." (OrEd.WkBk.Ep.5)

We will be told exactly what God wills for us. I felt that as shocking as what the E.R. doctor told me was in the moment he told it to me, I was also being told by the Holy Spirit what His will for me was. And it wasn't to check into the hospital with an extremely small chance of recovery (according to the E.R. doctor), to be given Remdesivir (recent studies showed a range of between 26% to 50% death rate for those put on Remdesivir) and to agree to being put on a ventilator (recent studies showed a range of between 50% to 90% death rate for those put on ventilators). I wasn't going to be given Remdesivir nor was I agreeing to being hooked up to a ventilator which was what the doctors were pressuring me to agree to (a second doctor came in later and applied extreme pressure to have me check into the hospital). My guidance was something else. As difficult and challenging as all this all was, I knew what Holy Spirit wanted me to do, and it wasn't agreeing to Remdesivir and a ventilator.

I also had an interesting experience about Jesus during these last three weeks. I've talked about Jesus on and off before. I don't have the same experience of Jesus that some people have. I never talk to Jesus, but I do perceive Jesus in my vicinity many times. Jesus is usually just kind of sitting over there on the corner, kind of over there (Rev. Tony gestures), on my bed right now. He's sitting over there on the corner. He is just a calm, certain presence, comforting. The different experience I had about Jesus over the past three weeks is that he held me. He held me while I was going through this. He would be standing up in back of me with his arms around me on my shoulders holding me, just being there and holding me. It was very comforting — very, very comforting.

A Course in Miracles, also in the Epilogue of the Workbook, there's a little Jesus handoff. Jesus hands us off to the Holy Spirit. He says this, "And now I place you in His hands, to be His faithful followers, with Him ..." meaning the Holy Spirit, "... as Guide through every difficulty and all pain that you may think is real." (OrEd.WkBk.Ep.4) I was aware of that too. I don't get guidance directly from Jesus anyway. I get comfort, security, and confidence from Jesus. However, guidance I get from the Holy Spirit and that increased during this bout with Covid-19. I got guidance directly from the Holy Spirit, so the Holy Spirit hand-off worked perfectly for me.

That's what I did when the E.R. doctor told me that he didn't think I was going to make it. In that moment I got guidance from the Holy Spirit that I had a different agenda and that I knew what to do, and my guidance didn't relate to what the doctor was telling me at all.

Okay A Course in Miracles has some, of course, amazing passages about healing, and this one was key for me. I love this one because it's so simple, and it's so matter of fact. "God wants us to be healed, and we do not really want to be sick, because it makes us unhappy. Therefore, in accepting the idea for today, we are in agreement with God. He does not want us to be sick. Neither do we. He wants us to be healed. So do we." (OrEd.WkBk.70.6) We don't want to be sick; God doesn't want us to be sick. God wants us to be healed; we want to be healed. We just need to sit with that. That's a pragmatic, basic, bottom line truth.

Here's another one that relates to this idea of God not wanting us to be sick, we're not wanting to be sick either — saying similar things with slightly different words. "Certainly sickness does not appear to be a decision. Nor would anyone actually believe he wants to be sick. Perhaps he can accept the idea in theory, but it is rarely, if ever, consistently applied to all specific forms of sickness." (OrEd.Mn.22.4) We don't want to be sick. Sometimes maybe we think we can twist our logic around and think that it somehow buys us something we do want. However, we don't want to be sick. God doesn't want us to be sick. We have to accept that ground of being, and I accepted that ground of being on Thursday, January 6th. Even though I was feeling pretty poorly, and having a great difficulty breathing, even knowing, I had a little "brain fog." (It's a known symptom of Covid-19.) It was challenging just to think. I'm going to remind you of that key idea that I'm basing this talk on, "We will be told exactly what God wills for us each time there is a choice to make." (OrEd.WkBk.Ep.5)

I thought of that idea when they were trying, they really tried, the E.R. doctor and that other doctor that they brought in from the hospital tried very, very desperately to get me to check into the hospital. That was my only chance of survival they told me.

The second doctor they sent me was a woman, and she had more of a loving affect and concern, deeply concerned. I believe her concern for me was genuine. She pleaded, pleaded with me to stay, to check myself into the hospital. It was my only chance of survival. She wanted me to live, "Stay. Help us make you live." But I was told exactly what God wills and that wasn't what God wills. And so, I appreciated what felt genuine about her concern, but I still said, "No." They were incredulous that I was saying, "No." She left, ten minutes later she came back, pleaded again for about another fifteen minutes. I still said, "No."

I've had an outpouring of love and support. So many have helped. So many just texted me or emailed me. I tried to respond to everyone. I probably missed a few, but it was my guidance that all of these projections and extensions of love and support were truly important and part of my healing and so valuable. I was under quarantine. I was Covid positive. I couldn't do anything. I mean, I couldn't go anywhere. Physically I would have had trouble doing much anyway. I needed oxygen just to get around my apartment. So ... I needed a lot of help. I do really want to thank Rev. Rudy, and Rev. Dusa Althea, and David, and Rev. Peter, a friend named Bart, and another man named Charles. All these people got things for me, got food for me, got medications for me, got supplements for me.

Also in this Epilogue it says, "You do not walk alone. God's angels hover close and all about. His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure: that I will never leave you comfortless." (OrEd.WkBk.Ep.6) So, I had a lot of angels, a lot of manifestation of angels as people, but I'm sure I had disembodied angels too. Angels are mentioned ten times in A Course in Miracles. Angels are very interesting ideas. I mean, they don't fit into the Trinity. They don't fit into classic Christian theology in any kind of practical way, but angelic beings and angelic presence are cross-denominational and factor into many religions. In fact, angelic presences with the same name, like archangel Michael, or Gabriel, are cross-denominational. I don't know what to say about angels, but I believe in them. There are angelic presences, and they helped me. And sometimes those angelic presences manifest as people, and those people helped me. I was so very, very grateful and moved. There was a point when as I realized I was getting better, but I was still quite compromised. However, I was emotionally raw and crying a lot, with joy at the love people were showing me. It was so, so moving.

I'm proud of myself too. I write a paragraph to my Healing Team every  night. I put out a Healing Team email every single day. I never missed a day. Even the day that I went to the emergency room, I didn't get home from the emergency room until about 11:30 p.m. at night. I was there 11 hours. I could tell that whole story. That was kind of a nightmare. I didn't think they were going to let me go. I didn't write the Healing Team email that night, but early the next morning, I wrote the Healing Team email and got the day's email out just a little late. Even with my brain fog, I got that out. I got Rev. Peter to agree to do the talk that next Sunday on January 9th, so we had a Sunday Gathering two and a half days later. We never missed a Sunday Gathering. I'm sure we could have, but we didn't. I believe all that Community Miracles Center functioning is a reason why I got well so quickly.

A few days are a little bit of a blur. I was feverish. As I said, one of the symptoms of severe Covid is what they call brain fog, you don't think well. So I don't remember a lot of stuff, but I do remember that on Sunday, January 9th, Rev. Peter spoke. I was there, though, running the service. I had the oxygen tubes in my nose. It was a challenge, but I also think it was the first day that I remember beginning to think, "I think I'm getting better." A little anecdote, the very first experience that I had that indicated to me that I was getting better was that I felt hungry. I had not felt hungry for five or six days, and then one day it was just, "I'm hungry." I thought, "That's normal. I must be getting better. I'm feeling hungry."

When the emergency room doctors said what they did, the Bible calls those the "lies of the serpent." They were trying to tell me that my only chance of survival was to agree to take Remdesivir, and to agree to a ventilator. Now, I want to just remind you, when they say get on a ventilator, that means they put you unconscious. They put a breathing tube down into your lungs. You won't accept that breathing tube if you're conscious, so they knock you out. People stay unconscious for weeks while this breathing tube is in them. They keep giving you the Remdesivir and other meds and hope the Covid-19 related pneumonia clears up. How healthy can being rendered unconscious be when you're struggling to breathe and live anyway? They're going to induce unconsciousness and that's going to help you? Really?

The Bible calls things like that the "lies of the serpent." At least they were for me. A Course in Miracles does use that term. It says, "When the ‘lies of the serpent' were introduced, they were specifically called ‘lies' because they are not true. When man listened, all he heard was untruth. He does not have to continue to believe what is not true unless he chooses to do so." (OrEd.Tx.2.13) Whatever those words may tell somebody else, that's a different story. But when the doctors were telling me that Remdesivir and being on a ventilator were my only chance of survival, I knew it was not true. I knew it wasn't true. And as such, it was the "lies of a serpent." That doesn't mean they were evil people. They were speaking from their perspective, but I didn't have to accept it. It was untruth for me.

The truth was I'd been ill and I had been getting progressively more ill for many days. However I had already amassed a huge orthomolecular protocol of vitamins, minerals,and oterh supplements. I had already connected with a licensed physician, an alternative physician, but a licensed physician. I already had alternative prescriptions that were being filled. I already knew what I was going to be doing medically. I knew what I was guided to do medically, and I felt good about what I was guided to do. When the doctors were suggesting checking into the hospital and agreeing to be rendered unconscious so that a breathing tube could be put down into my lungs, it wasn't difficult to know that I did not want to do that. That was not what Holy Spirit wanted me to do.

One of the more simple statements about guidance which I have quoted many times is, "In everything be led by Him and do not reconsider." (OrEd.Tx.13.81) I had my guidance from the Holy Spirit. I knew what the Holy Spirit wanted me to do. There was no reason to reconsider that just because these medical authorities were saying something else.

My healing has progressed. Last week, after the Sunday Gathering actually, I finally did a sophisticated at-home Covid-19 test and I tested negative, which means I had cleared the virus. I still had some residual symptoms. It takes a while for all the symptoms to go away. You clear the virus but you still may have a lot of symptoms and you still have a lot of recovery to do. However the negative test meant I wouldn't have to quarantine anymore. It was a great sign. That happened last week, so it's been a week now. And since then, I had been getting the message from the Holy Spirit to take this healing to an even higher level.

A Course in Miracles says, "Healing involves an understanding of what the illusion of sickness is for. Healing is impossible without this." (OrEd.Mn.5.1) If I'm going to heal at a deeper level, I have to understand why I manifested this illusion of sickness, because we A Course in Miracles students know we manifest these things. So, I manifested an illusion of sickness. At a surface level, yeah, there's a virus. The virus came into my apartment Christmas day. I understand. That's all well and good, but at a higher level, I brought all these experiences upon myself. My deeper healing, my transformational healing, is going to be about me truly engaging in those ideas. Why did I manifest Covid-19? I've set up a process so that I can truly engage in that question.

A Course in Miracles says, "It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain. Nothing external to your mind can hurt or injure you in any way. There is no cause beyond yourself that can reach down and bring oppression. No one but yourself affects you." (OrEd.WkBk.190.5) It's only our thoughts. I, on a surface level, healed from a viral infection, and that's true at that level. However, on a deeper level, I had thoughts that manifested all of that because nothing external from my mind can affect me. It's time for me, with the help of the Holy Spirit, with the help of a counselor and coach, to explore the deeper reasons of why I manifested this whole experience. It's time for me to explore my bout of Covid-19 with the energy of what a wonderful divine opportunity to transform, to heal, and to bring my spiritual progress to a higher and deeper level this is. I know that we will be told exactly what God wills for us every step of the way.

Thank you so very much. WooHoo!

Rev. Tony Ponticello is CMC's 20th minister. He currently (02.28.22) serves as the CMC's Executive Minister and is President of CMC's Board of Directors. He was ordained by the CMC on Oct. 17, 1997.

Pushing Ear Out to Listen

© 2021 Community Miracles Center, San Francisco, CA – All rights reserved.

Rev. Tony Ponticello
c/o Community Miracles Center
POB 470341
San Francisco, CA 94147

This article appeared in the January 2021 (Vol. 35 No. 11) issue of Miracles Monthly. Miracles Monthly is published by Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA. CMC is supported solely by people just like you who: become CMC Supporting Members, Give Donations and Purchase Books and Products through us.