by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
I have been studying A Course in Miracles since 1977, so that is 45 years. As a result, that means I’m either spiritually enlightened or a slow learner! I am fond of saying the latter, but if, as the Course tells us, “enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all,” then enlightenment is awareness, and that’s what the Course has brought me. I am more aware when I choose fear or make compromises to peace; it’s no longer a comfortable experience for me. Therefore, I choose again much faster than before, which is an enlightening approach!
As I mentioned, I have been traveling the path of A Course in Miracles for a long time. A year after my brother Richard and I started our study, we began Miracle Distribution Center in 1978. Throughout 2023, when the Center turns 45, I will share more about the Center’s history. For this article, however, I want to share a couple of personal thoughts.
During those early years, my brother and I developed personal friendships with not only the original personalities of the Course but also with students around the world back before it was easy to connect internationally through the internet. I feel like our long, rich history with the Course and fellow travelers on this spiritual path have given us a unique perspective that has matured over the years.
I have often been asked what I think is in the future for me or the Center, and my answer is not about planning but rather about purpose. First, I want to remember every day that “I am here only to be truly helpful” (T-2.V.A.18) in my life and the life of the Center.
When we started the Center, we didn’t know what it would be, but we knew it was here to be truly helpful, so I am still enthusiastic about keeping the work of the Center going because of how it continues to bless so many. The Center’s work has a unique and vital place in the Course’s history because it provides valuable support to students of the Course, old and new. I hear from so many students worldwide who want and need this material’s life-changing power. We are honored to provide this support in an accessible way, whether with the Course Daily Lesson emails, our weekly livestream meetings, our magazine, The Holy Encounter, or any of the many free services found on our website.
As I mentioned, I know “I am here only to be truly helpful” (ibid) for others and myself. This is an interesting time in our history. We have experienced a pandemic and a speed-up of hate and conspiracy thoughts becoming almost commonplace. It has given us a lot of opportunities to put the Course into practice and to heal more quickly. And, when we make a mistake, to choose again.
If you remember the story of the Course’s scribe Helen Schucman and her personal messages from Jesus, she was told that the Course came into being at this time because the world situation was worsening. Teachers of God were needed now more than ever before. The Course was not born into the world because we had done so well, but because it was so needed.
Therefore, it is time for all of us to be faithful and vigilant in doing the work of the Course: practicing our lessons, applying the ideas in easy and challenging times, and not being complacent and waiting for the other person to forgive or be kind first. Forgiveness is our job, and healing is our gift to give and thereby receive.
As the Course beautifully tells us in the text, while we think we abide outside the gate of heaven, we are here “to heal and comfort and to bless.” (T-31.VI.1:8) How do we do this? Well, we certainly do not know, and so we must ask for Help. As the Course tells us, the moment we ask for help, it is given us.
“This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You, certain that Your direction gives me peace.”
This instant is your holy instant of release, and you have the mighty help of God’s Voice through the Holy Spirit. Don’t let one more instant pass in fear, worry, pain, or anger. Ask for help and then remember your job: You are here “to heal and comfort and to bless.” (T-31.VI.1:8)
Now that we know we do not walk alone and what our purpose is in any situation, it’s time to begin. I’m honored and privileged to have walked this path with my fellow Course students for the past 45 years. Here’s to 45 more!