Rev. Tony Ponticello

Rev. Tony Ponticello

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.

Thursday, 29 April 2021 08:07

The Courage to Confront the Ego

Dear Miracle Workers,
 
I am aware of the tremendous courage it takes to confront the ego. There is a profound bravery that we have to find when we challenge the the ego’s dark cornerstones – the sickness, aging, and inevitable death belief. There is an appearance of a very organized group of collaborators that I have labeled “the sickness and death lobby.” This group continues to advocate and argue for – lobby for – the reality of sickness and death.
 
We are living through the manifest example of the control the sickness and death lobby has. The current pandemic gives us examples enough. The divisiveness of the society – mask or not mask, vaccine or no vaccine – is just another example of the divisiveness we continue to see elsewhere (ie: government). The insanity of the world continues to manifest. “This is an insane world, and do not underestimate the actual extent of its insanity.” (OrEd.Tx.13.50)
 
Never underestimate the strength of the ego’s defense for its belief system. “The ego will begin to attack your motives as soon as they become clearly out of accord with its perception of you. This is when it will shift abruptly from suspiciousness to viciousness.” (OrEd.Tx.9.42) Just observe how vicious both sides of the pandemic debate can get when they see the “other side” as disagreeing. Watch them both resort to extreme guilt projection.
 
The best way for us to handle the seeming attack is to understand we not in this alone. We call on our Mighty Companions. All of us regular ACIM students gathering with the CMC are here for each other. We hold hands as we look at the ego. We find our courage; we find our sanity. “Only the sane can look on stark insanity and raving madness with pity and compassion but not with fear.” (OrEd.Tx.19.100)
 
(First appeared in *Miracles Weekly* #284, Apr. 27 2021)
Sunday, 25 April 2021 06:29

04.25.21 Video "It's Time"

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ACIM tells us quite clearly, "The emphasis of this course always remains the same—it is at this moment that complete salvation is offered you, and it is at this moment that you can accept it." (OrEd.Mn.24.6) If it always "at this moment" then …it’s time for us all to do it. I still witness many students putting their healing off into the future. I still witness many students putting their happiness off into the future. "For the past is gone, the future but imagined. These concerns are but defenses against present change of focus in perception. Nothing more." (OrEd.WkBk.181.4) IT’S TIME! It is time to heal and be healed. It’s time to save and be saved. It’s time to extend peace and to embrace peace for ourselves. And it’s time to be happy and have fun – to be glad! Let’s stop refusing those moments to gladden ourselves. This week's Sunday Gathering will be one of those moments. Don’t refuse to experience it! IT’S TIME!

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The past year reminds me of the opening line in A Tale of Two Cities. “It was the best of time. It was the worst of times.” All over the media we hear continually how vulnerable we are, how we need to protect ourselves and stay “safe” with: masks, distance, vaccines, etc. Yet ACIM tells us, “Your safety lies in truth and not in lies. Love is your safety. Fear does not exist. Identify with love, and you are safe.” (WkBk.SpTp261.5) Identifying with love and keeping your heart open is the key. Those who have done this have connected, joined, and even prospered during this year. Now as the world begins to open up again we need these better tools to stay in our awareness of safety and even invulnerability. What are the main ways to do this? Rev. Tony shares his tips and tools for making this, and every time – “the best of times.”!! 26 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

Wednesday, 07 April 2021 21:55

The Window Is Open

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)

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We hope to see many of you (all of you?) on Easter Sunday for a truly happy and festive Sunday Gathering! Please join us and bring an Easter treat to share for after the Gathering. A chocolate Easter bunny, Easter eggs, how about a plate of ham … or a glass of champagne!!! (We always had champagne at the CMC Easter Sunday pot-lucks). We’ll all share our Easter treat together after the Gathering is over. We’ll get happy! Rev. Tony is promising a truly JoyFull Easter Celebration. "The time of Easter is a time of joy and not of mourning. Look on your risen Friend and celebrate his holiness along with me. For Easter is the time of your salvation, along with mine." (OrEd.Tx.20.4) Do you have a new Easter hat (a bonnet?). Now is the time!! 25 min. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

Thursday, 01 April 2021 12:00

Happy Easter — Time for Chocolate?

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)

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The Course message about absolute power is a challenging thing. Many shy away from claiming this, and usually approach the Course with the idea of incremental, and therefore limited, increases in power. However the Course is clear that there is nothing our holiness cannot do. In other words, our power is infinite, unlimited, and … absolute! "Your holiness, then, can remove all pain, can end all sorrow, and can solve all problems. It can do so in connection with yourself and with anyone else." (OrEd.WkBk.38.2) There is no time like the present moment (actually there is no time but the present moment) to claim our unlimited power. The world tells us that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” but ACIM tells us just the opposite. Absolute power saves us and heals us absolutely. Join us on Sunday as we allow the teaching here to transform our experience of self. "Your holiness reverses all the laws of the world. It is beyond every restriction of time, space, distance, and limits of any kind. Your holiness is totally unlimited in its power because it establishes you as a Son of God, at one with the Mind of his Creator." (OrEd.WkBk.38.1) 23m. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

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(Have a piece of birthday cake ready to eat on Sunday – Honestly!!) Sunday March 7th the CMC celebrates its 34th birthday. On the 1st Sunday of March in 1987 Rev. Tony Ponticello and Rev. Larry Bedini (our co-founders) met with a handful of others to have our first meeting as the new legal entity the Community Miracles Center! This Sunday we celebrate that momentous day. As a special celebration every one of our 8 CMC Board Members will take a part in the Sunday Gathering and also say a few words about what this day means for them. Rev. Tony will give the main address. After we sing "Happy Birthday" we’ll all eat a piece of cake together so have a piece of cake ready for after the Gathering. If you are thinking of getting us a “birthday present” consider a special $34 donation – $1 for every terrific year of service to the ACIM Community. A couple of people have already done just that that. 22m. SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

Thursday, 04 March 2021 07:30

My Freedom Loving Heart Still Swells

Dear Miracle Workers,
 
In 2019 CMC ran a wonderful ACIM Conference in Boston, MA. I got substantial time in Boston before and after the Conference. Boston is a wonderful city with a rich American history. The American Revolution started in Boston with key events like: the Boston Massacre in 1770, the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and Paul Revere’s midnight ride in 1775.
 
We think of these things in a romantic and idealized way. Many hearts swell with pride at the ideas of freedom that the American Revolution put forth. However as we practice ACIM the idea of conflict, fighting, war, and the attendant death and destruction become increasingly abhorrent. What do we do then with our strong emotional feelings about freedom and our desire for it? ACIM addresses this directly, "You have heard many arguments on behalf of 'the freedoms,' which would indeed have been freedom if man had not chosen to fight for them. ... Yet the argument that underlies the defense of freedom is perfectly valid. Because it is true, it should not be fought for, but it should be sided with." (OrEd.Tx.7.11)
 
Fighting for anything is founded in an “us versus them” philosophy, and directly reinforces ideas of lack, victimization, and separation. However, siding with an idea is a force of positive evolution – both personal evolution and societal evolution. Our human culture has been steadily evolving for millennia. Truly barbaric global savageries, and manifestations of mass inhumanity – like slavery – have all but faded from our world.
 
Today the USA is having an important conversation about personal freedoms and protected constitutional rights. My heart still swells with pride about these things, but I know that fighting for them is a philosophical and spiritual error. However siding with them is still my dedicated calling and practice. I continue to champion freedom.
 
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #276, Mar. 4 2021)
Wednesday, 17 February 2021 22:49

Stop Telling the Story of Your Body Life

Dear Miracle Workers,
 
Let us challenge ourselves. Let us now live our lives from a higher order of being. Let us live our lives by grace. We no longer need to believe the common story of human existence, body life – born at a precise time, on a certain day, in a specific year. The story tells how we are then, destined to die at another time, on a different day, in some future year. "[The body] takes the central place in every dream, which tells the story of how it was made by other bodies, born into the world outside the body, lives a little while and dies, to be united in the dust with other bodies dying like itself." (OrEd.Tx.27.77)
 
This body life story is an hallucination. The fact that this story seems real, it just that – a fact. That fact doesn't make it real. “What the world is, is but a fact. You cannot choose what this should be. But you can choose how you would see it. Indeed, you must choose this.” (OrEd.Mn.11.1) The fact of body life only makes body life something that can be talked about and communicated to others. That communication is also something that keeps the hallucination going. Every time we rehearse and repeat the story of our body lives to ourselves, and to others, we strengthen our belief in it. We make the body life hallucination more solid. A first step to stopping the imprisonment to physical body life is to stop telling the story.
 
Contrary to popular belief, it is always the story that comes first. The word is always where it begins. "In the beginning was the word." (Jn.1.1)
 
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #274, Feb. 17 2021)
Thursday, 11 February 2021 22:43

Being "Active Workers"

Dear Miracle Workers,
 
One of the biggest challenges of the ACIM student is how to deal with the world that we seem to find ourselves in. (There’s a key right there. We only SEEM to find ourselves in this world. LOL) The different approaches here are as varied as are ACIM students themselves. Some believe that ACIM would not have us engage in the world at any level. They would tell you that ACIM is a mind discipline and is not involved with the world at all. Practice to them is only about forgiving their misperceptions (hopefully with the help of the Holy Spirit) and staying as “normal” as possible.
 
I get a slightly different message from ACIM. To start, there is the early passage about us all joining the Great Crusade with its slogan of “Listen, learn and DO!” The full quotation reveals more support for world engagement, "The slogan for the Crusade is ‘Listen, learn and do’: Listen to my voice, learn to undo error, and do something to correct it. The first two are not enough. The real members of my party are active workers." (OrEd.Tx.1.31) This is quite clear that listening, and even learning, are not enough for us in the atonement. True members of Jesus’ team are “active workers.”
 
I surely understand, and am in agreement, that the first step is to identify misperceptions and then offer them to the Holy Spirit for correction. However I believe then we must be open to be led by Holy Spirit as to how to effectively engage in the world and we need to be willing to do it. "In everything be led by Him and do not reconsider." (OrEd.Tx.13.81) The “everything” I interpret as meaning – ah – EVERYTHING. That includes our activities and behaviors in the world.
 
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #273, Feb. 11 2021)

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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.

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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.

Thursday, 21 January 2021 22:04

A Peaceful Transition of True Power

Dear Miracle Workers,
 
Today, January 20th we witnessed a display we call “the peaceful transition of power.” The 45th President, Donald Trump, left the White House and Washington DC. Last night he gave a dignified farewell speech. He called us to pray for the new administration, and he extended our whole country's “best wishes” to them. Today Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President and Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first female and woman of color Vice President.
 
Many were worried, fearful, that this peaceful transition would not happen. This fear was repeated and repeated. Millions felt the effect. Yet, it did happen and it was dignified on both sides. It was also creative and beautiful. Garth Brooks sang an emotional a cappella "Amazing Grace". Lady Gaga sang a powerful "The Star Spangled Banner". What had been predicted as a private, indoor inauguration event turned out to be a fairly normal, outdoor, public event. President Biden was clear, powerful, pertinent, and inspired.
 
Hopefully those who were so worried will see this as a manifested healing, a “miracle," a demonstration of the goodness of people. As inspiring as all these events are, I am choosing to see this as merely a symbolic reminder of the true, peaceful, transition of power that we all are involved with, the transfer of the power we gave to the ego, to the true power we now see flows unlimited and eternal from the Holy Spirit. Let us open up to that transfer and accept it with open mind and heart. "You who perceive yourself as weak and frail, with futile hopes and devastated dreams, born but to die, to weep, and suffer pain, hear this: all power is given you in earth and Heaven. There is nothing that you cannot do." (OrEd.WkBk.191.11)
 
(originally published in Miracles Weekly #270, Jan. 21, 2021)
Sunday, 10 January 2021 12:00

01.10.21 Video "Having Trust in the World"

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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)

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