Purpose: To ask for and experience the gift of God’s grace, which will give us first the gift of vision, and then eternal knowledge. This will momentarily lift us into Heaven, restore all forgotten memories and give us certainty of Love. This is a new and holy day.
Morning/evening quiet time: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
Begin with the prayer at the end of the lesson: “Your grace is given me. I claim it now. Father, I come to You. And You will come to me who ask. I am the son You love.” Make this prayer as heartfelt as you can. In it, you are lifting your heart to God and asking Him for the gift of grace, in which He leans down to you and raises you up to Him, restoring you to full awareness of Him and His Love. The next lesson will explain that such moments will only “replace the thought of time but for a little while” (W-pI.169.12:3), but this little while can change your life forever. So ask for it with all the desire you can, and then hold your mind in silent expectancy, poised, motionless, waiting for the descent of His grace. And when your mind wanders, repeat the prayer again to bring it back to that motionless waiting.
Hourly remembrance: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if circumstances do not permit).
Repeat the prayer and spend a moment waiting in stillness for God’s grace. Then thank Him for the reflections of grace you experienced in the hour gone by. And ask Him what He would have you do in the hour to come.
What is grace?
This lesson answers not in the impassive terms of a formal definition, but in the picture of a warm, personal conversation with God. “God speaks to us. Shall we not speak to Him?” (1:1-2). Grace is the concomitant of God’s Love, something that comes along with it as part of the package. He has always loved us (1:7-11). Grace is the effect or application of that love which guarantees His Love will be fully recognized and received. Grace is whatever it takes to bring us out of our sleep. It is the movement of love that woos us back to Him, the quiet whisper of His Voice in our minds that will not let us go, the careful planning of our curriculum to help us unlearn everything we have taught ourselves of fear, the activity of Spirit that works constantly to win back our trust, restore our joy, assuage our guilt. It is His answer to our despair. It is the means by which we recognize His Will (2:3-4).
His grace is given me. His grace is “a given,” a certainty, part of what it means that God is Love. It is a gift, always available, always being given, awaiting only my acknowledgment (2:5). It is “the gift by which God leans to us and lifts us up” (3:2). And ultimately, grace is that aspect of His Love in which “finally He comes Himself, and takes us in His Arms and sweeps away the cobwebs of our sleep” (3:4).
Shall I not, then, today, sit down for a few minutes of quiet conversation with this God of Love? Can I not take the time even to ask Him to grant me this grace, which He has already granted? Can I not express my willingness to receive it, to allow this sorry world to disappear from my sight, replaced by true vision? Can I not tell Him that I long, at least in part of myself, to be swept into His Arms? I may feel as though I am making some kind of surrender or concession; I may believe I am giving something up, or losing something dear to me. Yet if this opening to grace is surrender at all, it is surrender only to Love. It is a sigh of lost resistance to what I have always, always wanted. It is a loss of pretense, a falling back into what I have always been. It is surrender to my Self. It is capitulation to my Beloved; nothing more than that, and nothing less. It is the ultimate manifestation of “falling in Love.”
Do I doubt my own capacity to love, and to respond adequately to God’s immaculate, eternal Love? “Our faith lies in the Giver, not our own acceptance” (5:2). It is not the power of my choice or my faith that works the miracle, it is the power of Him Who gives it. His grace gives me the means to lay down all my errors (5:3), even when I doubt my own ability to do so. That is what grace is for. Grace supplies everything I think I lack. As God once said to the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Cor 12:9). What is grace? Everything we need to bring us home to God, whatever form that might take.