Do we have a chalice list?

I am working on a newsletter article about my new understanding of miracles based on concrete examples in the early dictation. One example in particular has been occupying me lately on a personal level.

In this example, Helen has an intense dislike of a friend of Bill’s named Wally. Jesus returns to this again and again, emphasizing how important it is for her to “get over” it. Jesus refers her to two miracles principles as her answer. One (#7 in the FIP Course) implies that she needs to purify her own mind so that she can give him a miracle. The other (#8 in the FIP Course) implies that by giving him this miracle, she will be giving from her greater abundance and thus filling his lack.

What is really grabbing me about this example, though, is the language Jesus includes about returning Wally’s “chalice.” In the earliest bit of guidance about this, after saying that Jesus referred her to the two miracle principles, she adds, “That’s why He gave me the chalice for Wally. It belongs to him but he cannot find it.”

So Wally has a “chalice,” one that he can’t find even though it belongs to him. That’s why Jesus has given it to Helen, so she can give it back to Wally. There is a problem, however: Wally threw it away because he doesn’t want it. He is thus afraid of it coming back. Therefore, it’s not clear whether he is ready to accept it back or not. Here is Helen’s exchange with Jesus:

Helen: re. Wally’s chalice: does this mean he is on my list?

Jesus: Not necessarily…You of all people should know that it frightens people if you hand them back their own chalice. [Here Helen puts an asterisk, which refers to this comment at the bottom of the page:] The whole problem is that they threw it away and are denying it. Therefore they are now afraid of it. This should cause you not trouble at all in understanding.

Whether he is or not depends on a three-way readiness. I am always ready. Your job is to take care of your readiness. His readiness is up to him. At present he is a potential candidate.

But Amy is on it now. She is a child you hurt.

 This suggests that Helen has an actual list of people whose chalices she is supposed to hand back. Based on the examples of Wally and Amy, someone is on the list because of three things: First, they have thrown their chalice away and need it returned to them. Second, Helen has apparently helped them throw it away. This is a guess, but she intensely dislikes Wally and has hurt Amy, so that seems to be a theme here. Third, they are ready to have their chalice handed back. For this reason, Wally is only potentially on the list, as his readiness is in question. For those on the list, though, like Amy, she is supposed to purify her mind of her hurtfulness toward them, and then perform the miracle of handing them back their chalice, as a way of filling that hole in them.

The chalice, of course, is the cup you drink from at the Eucharist, which also makes it a symbol for the Holy Grail, the cup used by Jesus at the last supper. It is referred to later in the Course as the chalice of Atonement. What does it symbolize? Well, in the story of the last supper, drinking from this cup meant taking in the blood of Jesus. While the Course is not too crazy about that cannibalistic symbolism, there is an interpretation that the Course apparently approves of, since it uses the chalice as a positive image. I think we can surmise that the Course would see drinking from this cup as taking in the innocent and holy spirit of Jesus (rather than his blood), or taking in the spirit of the Christ.

In this symbolism, however, we don’t just drink from the chalice. We own the chalice. It is ours. This means that the innocent and holy spirit of Christ is ours. It is our possession. This is a powerful idea. Imagine that everyone you meet actually owns this chalice. It sits on their inner altar, as part of who they are.

Now go a step further. Imagine that one day, long, long ago, they decided that they didn’t want the chalice. So they threw it away. Can you imagine tossing the Holy Grail into the kitchen wastebin? Once they did, they seemed to lose what it contained. They seemed to lose their innocence and holiness. A light went out inside their heart, and they struggled on as a receptacle of gloom.

Now imagine that there are certain people in your life whose chalice you are supposed to return, because they are ready for it and because you helped them throw it away. Do any individuals spring to mind?

Take the first person that comes to mind and say to them, “I hand you back your chalice.” You might even picture yourself physically handing them back their sacred chalice, and in so doing, handing them back that innocence and holiness that was their most precious possession, that was the core of their positive identity. They had not really lost it. It was always theirs. But having thrown it away, they forgot it was theirs.

It is OK to do this silently with anyone, but realize that if you do this in some outward way, it should be guided by the Holy Spirit. The fact is that if you really mean it, this act of handing back their chalice might be too much for them. It might be more than they are ready for, as was apparently the case with Wally.

Anyway, this is what I’ve been focusing on doing in my practice the last few days. My practice as been spotty, so I’m taking another crack at it today with renewed commitment. Yet in the moments I have spent with it, it feels very powerful. I feel it wakes me up to a core issue that is always there, yet almost always unseen. We are all walking around missing our chalice, feeling bereft in its absence, looking for it, yet also afraid of it. I find that when I say “I hand you back your chalice,” I feel uplifted. It feels really good. Yet if I’m honest, I also feel ambivalent. The fact is that I’m not convinced they deserve it back! I’m hoping, however, that what conviction I do have will see me through.