Mari’s Blog

Pope Francis and “A Course of Love”

Pope Francis and “A Course of Love”

This Course requires no thought and no effort. There is no prolonged study and the few specific exercises are not required. This Course has succeeded in ways you do not yet understand and have no need to understand. These words have entered your heart and sealed the rift between your mind and heart. (C:32.4)

Now that the Pope’s movie/documentary: “Pope Francis – A Man of

his Word,” is out, I remembered an article in “Science of Mind,” or maybe I was organizing and just found it—who knows. I don’t know about you, but I can rarely trace the “actuality” of the trail that leads me to start either a piece of writing or a treasure hunt for greater understanding of a fleeting insight.

This article didn’t contain any direct “heart and mind” quotes, and when I looked on-line, I couldn’t find any there, and yet I feel confident that I’ve heard the Pope speak them and that the writer of this article, “A Compassionate Heart, a Courageous Soul,” one of Pope Francis’ U.S. editors, describes this language accurately. He did so in ways that sounded just like A Course of Love.

Gary Jansen shares that, “The lesson here is that mindfulness is good, and coupled with heartfulness, it can lead to a powerful union of head and heart, ultimately leading to union with God.”


“Francis would caution that our intellect is only part of who we are. In fact, our thoughts can often get in the way of our hearts….”


And so, I let A Course of Love speak for itself, and share some of what Jesus says about this union.

I.1 This course was written for the mind—but only to move the mind to appeal to the heart.

The heart is needed to guide the mind in a way that it does not desire to be guided, a way that is one of joining, a way that does not allow the mind’s separate stance, its rules, or its right answers. The heart is needed because it is who and where you are and responds in love to what is one with it. We are one heart. We are one mind. The route to oneness and union, to life in form that accepts oneness and union, to a humanity restored to wholeness, is through the heart of the mind. I:6.7

You were your Self before you began your learning, and the ego cannot take your Self from you but only can obscure it. Thus the teachings you need now are to help you separate the ego from your Self, to help you learn to hear only one voice. This time we take a direct approach, an approach that seems at first to leave behind abstract learning and the complex mechanisms of the mind that so betray you. We take a step away from intellect, the pride of the ego, and approach this final learning through the realm of the heart. This is why . . . we call this course A Course of Love. P:43-44

C:21.7 No matter which path you follow, the path of the mind or the path of the heart, you will not get where you are wanting to go until they are joined. You might imagine three paths—one path representing mind, one path representing heart, and one path representing wholeheartedness. The path of neither mind nor heart alone will take you where the path of unity will take you, and the journey will not be the same.

C:29.5 Wholeheartedness is unity regained. Your return to unity is your return to your full power and your ability to be of quite literal service to God and your brothers and sisters.

C:29.20 Choose anew and let the power of heaven come together to seal the rift between your mind and heart, and make you whole once again.

Through mindfulness you will remember who you are.
Through wholeheartedness you will be who are. T1:5.14

T1:6.4 Union is the mind and heart being joined in wholeheartedness. It is your union with your Self. Union with your Self is union with God.

D:7.8 [A]ll that lives is from the same Source, and there is nothing more alive than mind and heart combined in the spirit of wholeheartedness.

D:12 We are, in Christ consciousness, one Christ. We are, in wholeheartedness, one heart and one mind.

Pope Francis is spoken of in terms of “his humanness and his divinity” in one breath, and in another, of his “simplicity, authenticity and honesty.” With our embrace of wholeheartedness, this is our promise too.

I also invite you to celebrate, along with Sebastián Blaksley, and the entire ACOL family, the publication of the Spanish edition of Un Curso de Amor. This very weekend Sebastián will be representing our Course at a book fair in Buenos Aires. He was, in younger years, before Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis, a student, and his father a teacher, in the school that Bergoglio headed, and the family continues to visit the Pope in Rome. The coming of Un Curso de Amor to Argentina, home to the Italian born Pope for many years, is also home to Sebastian and the home base from which it will be extended to the Spanish speaking world. You can view his website here:!/-bienvenido/



Quotes from “A Compassionate Heart, A Courageous Soul,” written by Gary Jansen, Science of Mind, December 2017

Love and Miracles in Philadelphia (and Minnesota)

Love and Miracles in Philadelphia (and Minnesota)

When I left for my trip to Philadelphia, the trees in Minnesota weren’t budded yet. They were only fringed with new growth, delicate and feather-like, too fragile to even hold color. When I returned, the change of spring had arrived.

It feels like a metaphor for the ACIM/ACOL event, “Love and Miracles in Philadelphia,” and for what the trip revealed: a change in the landscape, the blossoming of new growth.


Any time we have a “first” we are talking about change.

There were two obvious and public “firsts” at the Center for Contermporary Mysticism where “Love and Miracles in Philadelphia” took place. One was that Jon Mundy and I were presenting together to nearly a hundred women and men eager to hear of ACIM and ACOL in a spirit of unity. The other was that my long-time creative partner and spirit sister Mary Love joined me, and shared for the first time, how the transforming power of A Course of Love affected her life. While in many ways we’ve shared ACOL from day one, in others, equally true, we’re now experiencing it in a “new” way.

The experience of the audience made up another hundred “firsts,” and there were side-bar firsts of meeting each other, of sharing one, or a half-dozen heartfelt connections, or having an encounter, perhaps, with one of the two ACOL publishers who were in attendance—Glenn Hovemann who oversees ACOL’s publishing worldwide, and Sebastian Blaksley who is bringing ACOL to the Spanish speaking world. There was a sharing of inspiration, of ideas, of stories.

Jon and I began a full day together on Saturday, speaking of our mystical experiences and, for the rest of the day, spoke mainly on the complementarity of ACIM and ACOL, answering audience questions to close out the day. On Sunday Mary joined us and we were each guided by our hearts to the sharing that we did.

What expanded through this sharing was union and relationship.
A joining of Heart and Mind
                                      A Course of Love and A Course in Miracles

 There were openings upon openings, like to the budding of the trees and flowers going on as we met.

There was more at work than any of us know.

Back at home afterwards, I faced fully the new situation with the backyard cabin that is home to my writer’s soul. Now I had the time to sit looking out at the logs that are all that remain of my maple tree, the nearest, and dearest, and most profusely photographed of my tree friends. The maple was a magnificent, towering shelter where the squirrels I feed would sit looking in the cabin window as if sharing a meal with me; the tree whose limbs embraced the cabin and hid us from view. It was the tree that was dying and threatening the cabin, and that, in the first thaw of winter, before the new snows came, was taken down.

I’d looked out the window from the house during the unending refusal of winter’s yield to spring, and see the cabin standing out there all alone, looking so exposed and bare without the maple’s presence. I felt as if nothing would ever be the same and I’d be exposed too, not sheltered as I like to be in that “out of the world” way that the cabin and the maple had always provided.

Yet now the change of spring is filling in the blank spaces. The trees that remain are receiving more light, and they’re standing in all their glory, full and lush.

When things change, new life begins.

Something has begun. The field in which we meet has widened and there’s a thaw, a new spring, a new warmth, and blooming going on.

Here are links to the Love and Miracles Saturday videos, to the video of the Sunday event published to the site of our host: The Center for Contemporary Mysticism, and to Miracles Magazine.

Saturday morning, Part 1: Jon Mundy

Saturday morning, Part 2: Mari Perron

Saturday afternoon, Part 3: Mari Perron & Jon Mundy

Saturday afternoon, Part 4: Q & A, Jon, Mari, our host Joe Irwin, and the audience

Sunday afternoon: Jon Mundy, Mari Perron, and Mary Love with an additional question and answer period.

Miracles Magazine:

We are drawn out of ourselves by love

We are drawn out of ourselves by love

[Y]our heart is the well of spirit from which true answers are drawn. Your heart is a full well, a wellspring from which you can continually draw with no danger of ever drawing an empty bucket. You need never thirst again when you have accepted this. D:11.10

I was drawn out of myself by love during the 2018 Course in Miracles Conference (CMC), mainly by one person or another, or by different configurations of people engaging in dialogue. But I was also “drawn out” by the quirkiness and inclusion of this particular conference, a conference hard to describe to anyone who has never attended one. The organizers are dressed in sparkly vests and hats and have been known to disrobe from time to time in controversial and revealing ways of sharing vulnerability and forgiveness. In the spirit of all this weirdness, no one questions being led in song by a man whose voice croaks (Rev. Tony), or having a Mick Jagger-esq performer (Rev. Rudy, who definitely can sing) strut the main aisle. It is a dramatic display, birthed primarily from the creative zeal of Rev. Tony Ponticello, who’s genius, once you get familiar with him (which you can’t help but do) is a blessed force laced with comedy and control.

You can’t help it. You are drawn out of yourself by love.

From within my quiet life, I am not particularly eager to participate in such events ahead of time—and must recover afterwards. This is my third CMC Conference though, and I’m feeling now that I’m beginning to hit my stride with the things—with their over-the-top nature and the intensity of it all. I actually enjoyed myself and was “in joy” over the people I got to meet and to know on a deeper level than I imagined could occur.

One of my favorite contemplatives, Thomas Merton, first spoke to me of “being drawn out of ourselves by love.” He also speaks of love as a “happening.” I spoke during the conference of the three things I feel most surely bring us out of the sphere of subject/object relating and into the sphere of happening: sharing, dialogue, and creation of the new. They all happened there—in San Francisco. These ways ask us, no matter our proclivity for solitary pursuits, to remain open and available to human encounter and exchange, and to embrace tolerance over fundamental beliefs.

The conference is serving now—sort of sneaking up on me to serve as a touchstone to the question that I’ve been hanging out with since November when, for various reasons, the busyness of my life increased, and my creative/contemplative time decreased. When I get away from that zone of deep interiority, I admit that I feel away from myself and my way of being. Then I begin to yearn for it.

Strangely enough, what I feel in that deeply interior place, is similar to what I felt at the conference. It is a spacious place where I am the same as everyone else…and most uniquely me. How that can be I cannot say, but I can feel. It has to do with the way that art is one person’s expression and yet has a universal voice (which is what makes it art). It is the way that we are many and that we are one. It is the way of our Creator’s love. Never is one loved more than another, yet each are loved for who they are.

This is, and was, a great breeding ground for connection and dialogue.

I left San Francisco with a list of folks interested in engaging in dialogue, and with a sense that dialogue thrived in that “coming together” atmosphere that crossed boundaries of thinking, loyalties, and solo reasoning. A dialogue between ACOL and ACIM—has begun. The dialogue between those of us representing ACOL and the publishers of the Course in Miracles Society (CIMS) edition of ACIM, (often referred to as the “original” or “pearls” edition)—felt like a reuniting, and a dialogue between those wedded to the “standard” (FIP) edition and those who embrace the original scribing was furthered.

We are drawn out of ourselves by love.

From the third treatise of ACOL:

[I]t will matter that someone will look at you and see that you are not so different than he or she. It will matter that someone will look at you and be drawn to the truth of him- or herself that is seen reflected there. What I am saying is that your differences can serve our purpose until differences are no longer seen. What I am saying is that you can remain confident in your personal self, knowing that your personal self will serve those you are meant to serve. What you have seen as your failings or weaknesses are as valuable as are your successes and strengths.

What has separated you will also unite you. 

Turn around and say good morning to the night

Turn around and say good morning to the night

Here in Minnesota, I often look out in the late afternoon and see that the sun, held in a gloomy pre-evening sky, looks exactly like the moon. It’s a time when one could easily awaken and wonder if it is day or it is night. This is the time of the solstice.

Many ancient celebrations marked the solstice with various meanings, one of which was the victory of light over darkness. It is literally the time after which day gets longer and night shorter.

But the solstice is not exactly the reason for this blog, just a happy coincidence, or possibly a metaphor about light. I came to be writing on this subject because of an Elton John song, “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.” It would not leave my mind since the writing of my recent article in The Embrace.

Many of you may have seen it. It is a response to what is said about A Course of Love in Gary Renard’s new book. The article is called “Is the World an Illusion?” Today’s blog has to do with how I felt after writing it and receiving the responses to it that I did. It is also about the season in which it has come to be. A season that guided wise men to find a Messiah in a child born in Nazareth. A season that began in history, in documented human events. A season of miracles.

Some of you may also know that Jon Mundy has opened his Miracles
Magazine to A Course of LoveAs he writes, “We’re going to begin working together with the January/February 2018 edition of Miracles. Sixteen pages will be turned over to reflection from the teaching of A Course of Love. Let the dialogue begin. It’s the way we can all grow while holding onto our inner peace, traveling ever forward to the Ocean and the Universal Oneness we all share.”

It is, indeed a season of miracles here and now for A Course of Love, for me, for us.


Even though Elton John’s song seemed to arrive in relation to that article, it wasn’t until today that his words called me to write. For some reason, these words, “Turn around and say good morning to the night” were the ones most frequently revolving, running over and over within me, as if from an old record album with a skip.

To me, it’s a song about redemption, a song that begins by saying that “Until you’ve seen this trash can dream come true/You stand at the edge while people run you through.” The next refrain is: “And I thank the Lord there’s people out there like you.”

I didn’t go so far as to look to see if there was a story from whence the song came, but I debated whether to name this blog as I did or to let his words speak for my own thankfulness for “people out there like you.” I chose the former because it spoke to me so of change, and the particular change that began with the birth of Jesus, a change that continues today in you and me.

The birth of Jesus is associated with the coming of light, which in turn is associated with knowledge. The presence of Jesus on Earth, brought new knowing into the world.

I cannot say enough that this change is “the light of knowing.” It is not knowing “about” something but the knowing itself, the experience, the felt presence of knowing as of another being altogether, an alive knowing, a “touching into the consciousness from which we came and in which we dwell” knowing. It is contact. It is interaction. It is relationship. It is to be an experience and an expression and a voice of the One, from all of us who can accept the knowing of Oneness as a field in which we abide. This is the actual state of affairs around which the current called “life,” with all of its distinction, flows.

In The Dialogues, we hear:

Fullness comes only from love, which is the source and substance of who we are being. I Am being you. You are being me. In this equation is fullness of being, which is love. Day 38.14

“Who we are being” seems to ask you and me to speak as clearly as we can about essential things. And so this response to Gary Renard’s claims (mine, and that of others as well) stayed with me. I believe it stayed because we may well be speaking of the greatest matter before us in our time.

Will we choose a way of oneness and relationship? Of heaven and earth? Of form and spirit? Will we dare to live meaningful, true lives? Are we willing to see ourselves—as neither greater nor lesser, as neither bound to external authority nor to who we have been as a consequence of teaching and learning—to see ourselves as the self given when we came, tabula rasa, heart and soul? Will we live by that from which we sprang and within which rests the ground of our being? Will we manifest that which we are, as we are, with all our “seeming imperfections?” (Day9.24)

This call to bring to life is the great feminine principle—not denying life, but asserting life and nurturing it into being—with care of the One, and the Many in the One.

You can only express the beauty and truth of who you are now, in the present. And you do. You just have not realized that you do. You have not desired to do so but desired to do something else! Desired to wait, desired to learn, desired to imitate. What might happen if you change what you desire? You might just realize your freedom. (Day9.25-26)

If we desire to have the freedom to be who we truly are, and to live from that freedom, you and I will create a new world. Alleluia! We need only stay steady and true to the light that shines from within.

With these words, I wish you all the blessings of truth in this season of light and, like Elton John, I thank the Lord there’s people out there like you.

If you’d like to experience the young Elton John, creator, singer, player of this amazing song, click here:

If you would like to subscribe to Miracles Magazine, go to and click the “Click Here” for Miracles magazine at the top of the menu. You can also mail a check to: Miracles Magazine ($40 or $35 Seniors) at PO Box 1000, Washingtonville, NY 10992.



What empties space for love to fill?

What empties space for love to fill?


Past the ego’s guarded gate: empowering revelations


After my mom’s death in August, I was taken by surprise to realize there were things I was holding against her and myself. Things I had not forgiven. Things that came to me the day after the funeral planning was done, and I was taking my usual morning walk. There, on the street, in the open space of that walk, up they came. I cried my eyes out, stalled between one step and the next. I cried first for myself and things I’d never acknowledged, and then for my mom and that I hadn’t reconciled these feelings while she was alive.

A few weeks later, “the ego’s guarded gate,” a phrase from the third treatise, A Treatise on the Personal Self, sprang into my mind.

What empties space for love for fill?

Each time you have “fallen” in love you have emptied a space for love to fill. Each time you have felt true devotion you have emptied a space for love to fill. You have been emptied of the ego-self as creative moments of inspiration filled you and emptied of the ego-self in moments of connection with God. Conversely, you have been emptied by the lessons of grief as the loss of love has led to a loss of self. You have been emptied by a loss of self due to illness or addiction, depression, or even physical exhaustion. All these things you have brought to yourself for they have been the only way past the ego’s guarded gate. T3:5.2-3

Grief is a space. My morning walk was a space. That I looked up from wiping my tears that day, and looked into the eyes of a young buck deer standing on the edge of our neighborhood park, provided another space. We looked at each other for minutes. Minutes! There was such gentleness in those minutes! I felt so relieved.

What was going through my mind, causing my tears was a short-form of what Jesus asks us to do in Chapter 19 of the Course: to review our lives. And how perfect is it that he responds immediately afterwards, in the book and in life, by offering us the embrace of love:

This is a call to move now into my embrace and let yourself be comforted. C:20.2

It is here that he speaks of the loss of the ego for the first time. “You are no longer the “I” of the ego.” We move and move and move…beyond the ego’s guarded gate.

In Learning in the Time of Christ, there’s another call:

a.32 The entrenched patterns of the past are difficult to dislodge even when they have been recognized. Individuals can be encouraged here to “watch the parade go by” as what has gone unhealed is brought forward for acceptance, forgiveness, and letting-go. With the letting-go of each old pattern or situation that seems fraught with peril, a cloud of despair will lift, a little more of darkness recedes, and a little more light is available to show the way.

After a parent’s death, as after the death of the ego, a space opens in which we can take on a new Self. A new authority. My dad died ten years ago. With the death of my mom, my parental “authority” is gone. It seems kind of strange, but it makes a difference. I feel a difference. And how strange that the tenderest, most heart churning moments of our lives can and do bring us a new authority. I felt this too.

 [T]here is no authority to whom you can turn. But in place of that “outside” authority, I give you your own authority, an authority you must claim in order for it to be your own.

Become the author of your own life. Live it as you feel called to live it. (D4.23-24)

With each acceptance, each forgiveness, each step past our barriers to love, you and I claim our authority, and become authors of our own lives.


(I used the above quote in an interview recently. You can listen to the interview here:

The topic was “Connection and Creativity.” You can find a copy of my “Call to Power for Women,” on the blog of my interviewer, Sharon Ann Wikoff:

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