Rev. Tony Ponticello is CMC Minister #20. He was ordained on Oct. 17, 1997. He is Executive Minister of Community Miracles Center and serves on the CMC Board as President. He is the Master of Ceremonies for the CMC Sunday Gathering and teaches 2 other CMC classes.
Dear Miracle Workers,
I believe that we are currently in a “window of opportunity” – "a favorable opportunity for doing something that must be seized immediately.” We in the USA appear to be coming out of the pandemic now. The New York Times reports that rates of death have been dropping steadily since reaching a high seven day average of 3,352 on January 12. Yesterday, April 5, the 7 day average was 794. I am not going to speculate at what is causing this. At the level of cause it is, of course, the mind. Apparently the mind has decided to let this pandemic go. In the illusion one can cite vaccine distribution and mitigation strategies – if we are guided to.
What I feel is that people have grown tired of thinking and worrying about sickness. I believe a certain percentage of them are looking for something else. They may, on the surface, be happy about a vaccine being available and life returning more to normal. But deep inside they have a knowing that another virus could be right around the corner any time, and vaccines and mitigation are only temporary fixes. These are the ones who are currently “ripe” for A Course in Miracles and the true healing that solid practice of it brings.
I feel the Holy Spirit is asking for our help now. He will send to us the ones who can hear the miracle healing message we have to share. Holy Spirit will tell us who they are, and what to say to them. However we have to be ready. We have to not interfere. "[Holy Spirit] will tell you exactly what to do to help anyone He sends to you for help and will speak to him through you if you do not interfere." (OrEd.Tx.9.28) The window is open.
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #281, Apr. 6 2021)
Dear Miracle Workers,
Easter is mentioned by name 12 times in the version of ACIM that I use. Christmas is only mentioned 5. Organized Christianity considers Easter to be the highest of holy days. Considering the frequency of mentions ACIM has, apparently Jesus considers it very important too. In the USA we tell people to be “merry” at Christmas, the usual greeting for Easter is “Happy Easter.” ACIM states, ”The time of Easter is a time of joy and not of mourning." (OrEd.Tx.20.4)
Considering the resurrection comes after the Good Friday crucifixion (aways made me wonder what was so “good” about it) the traditional Easter celebration was frequently tinged with the energy of torture and death. Plus organized Christianity tended to venerate the crucifixion itself. It made the cross the symbol of the faith. Many Christian churches have graphic, bloody, life size versions of Jesus (looking very much in pain) being crucified, prominently display in them. The one I grew up in did. Forty days of Lent focused on this painful event. Making a quick switch to joy and happy on Easter Sunday morning after 40 days of mourning was usually not very successful. ACIM spends lots of energy working to correct this misperception. "Let us not spend this holy week brooding on the crucifixion of God's Son, but happily in the celebration of his release. For Easter is the sign of peace, not pain." (OrEd.Tx.20.1)
Find something really fun to celebrate this Easter. The traditional Easter symbols are actually pagan fertility symbols – the rabbit, the egg. It’s associated with Spring and the birth of new life. While celebrating fertility might not be the most practical thing (maybe it is for some) a little happy chocolate indulgence might go a long way to bring some manifested joy to the faces of many.
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #280, Apr. 1 2021)
The message of the Course is very consistent on this issue. The world we experience is an internal mental construct of our own making. There is no one actually out there but ourselves. "... you will begin to learn and understand ... when you met someone else, you had thought that he was someone else. And every holy encounter in which you enter fully will teach you this is not so." (OrEd.Tx.8.22) Actually there is no “out there” at all. It is all a dream, or better yet, an hallucination our mind is having. "What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up?" (OrEd.Tx.20.73) Let’s treat the question asked here as literal and not rhetorical. What would our experience of life be IF we understood that we made the world up? I believe then we would walk the world as Miracle Workers like Jesus did, and this is exactly what ACIM is calling us to do.
This is a famous phrase used by the British television comedy sketch group Monty Python in the 1970s. It was used to introduce something that was possibly bizarre, and had no relation to the previous segment. ACIM sometimes speaks of possible “future” states that seem quite bizarre and have no relation to the current world and its science as we know it. Look at this phrase from ACIM, "[The Real World] is not lit with artificial light, and night comes not upon it. There is no day that brightens and grows dim." (OrEd.Tx.12.59) This is not talking about Heaven or Reality, but the healed world, the last step before Heaven. Yet how could this be? Perhaps this teaching from A Course of Love gives us a clue, "This is a harmony and cooperation that might one day extend to the sun and a demonstration that the sun need not rise – or perhaps need not set – and the earth would still be safely spinning in its orbit." (D:6.12) I call on everyone to let go of what seems scientific and possible, and to prepare for something completely different – something truly miraculous.
This past week we were challenged by the image of sisters, brothers, and others, storming the USA Capital building in Washington, DC. Armed force had to be used to turn back the people. Violence erupted and some people appear to have died. One woman was apparently shot and killed inside the Capital building itself. Surely we all want to be a healing influence in this situation. The Song of Prayer says, "You first forgive, then pray, and you are healed." (So.3.IV.4.1) Forgiveness is always the first step - but I see that many have formed strong, special hate relationships that they are very invested in. People will challenge their special love relationships much easier than the special hate ones. I know we all want to be part of this healing, then it is time to do the unthinkable, forgive the unforgivable, and then start trusting the world. "The teachers of God have trust in the world, because they have learned it is not governed by the laws the world made up." (OrEd.Mn.4.3)
Many people appear to be looking for ways to escape from the challenges of life - as if life itself was a problem. Life is a gift, an enormous treasure, and a big work responsibility. There is a quote usually attributed to Abraham Lincoln, although he probably never said it, "Folks are about as happy as they have made their minds up to be." How true. Let's make up our minds to be happy this new year. What I know is we will never be happy if we are not fulfilling our function given us by Holy Spirit, and Holy Spirit doesn't give us the function of escaping physical life since physical life isn't a problem. Holy Spirit has big plans for us. He wants us to be leaders. "Let us together follow in this way that truth points out to us. And let us be the leaders of our many brothers who are seeking for the way but find it not." (WkBk.SpTp361.2) This is not escape. This is work responsibility accepted.
We are in the midst of the Jewish Festival of Lights - Chanukah. Sunday will be day 3 of the 8 day celebration. Chanukah is a wonderful holiday to mesh with the ACIM teaching. The story always relates the miracle of how after reclaiming the Temple the Temple's menorah lamp burned for 8 days even though there was only 1 days worth of fuel oil. Looking out at the world it can seem as if many peoples' - and perhaps our own - fuel oil is running low. The light can seem to be flickering. However our steady light can shine into the lamps of others and ignite their eternally burning flame illuminating and thus reclaiming their Temples. Hallelujah! "The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark. It is everywhere, and it is eternal." (OrEd.Tx.9.91)
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #265, Dec. 9 2020)
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #265, Dec. 9 2020)
Thanksgiving has always been a time to focus on gratitude, abundance, and joy. That begins a Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Holiday Season which also has a foundation in abundance and joy. This year (2020) we face challenges that we have not had before. Many usual abundant celebrations seem restricted, less, or fragmented ... that seems to speak of lack. Yet it is still the ACIM student's challenge to understand that perceptions of lack are "faulty" or broken. Abundance or wholeness is the only ground of being that is a reflection of eternal truth. "42. Wholeness is the perceptual content of miracles. It thus corrects or atones for the faulty perception of lack anywhere." (OrEd.Tx.1.61) Let's look at some practical ways to see wholeness and abundance in the midst of a holiday season challenging us with lack, loss, and fragmentation. Let's manifest abundance miracles instead.