MEETING MARI

by Celia Hales. Published in the current issue of the free online newsletter, The Embrace (Glenn Hovemann, publisher).

The year was 2004, three years after Mari Perron had published the first part of A Course of Love with New World Library. Like Mari, I was living in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. And, like Mari, I was a seeker.

My story about Mari actually began more than two years earlier with a morning spent in the Barnes & Noble bookstore in my neighborhood. As I was browsing the shelves, my eyes lit upon a pink volume, a lovely pink volume. And, fittingly, for the pink book jacket, the book was called A Course of Love. I picked it up and flitted through the pages. Soon I was sitting in one of those overstuffed chairs at the bookstore, scanning the volume.

I sat there for two hours, reading all that I could devour. In the back of the book was a testimonial to the truth of the volume by four friends of Mari.

I was a skeptic. I believed that these people were truthful, honest, but I didn’t believe that the work was genuine. I would later change my mind.

Some months went by. I saw another copy of the pink-jacketed ACOL in yet another bookstore. This time I purchased it. This time I read the book carefully. I was becoming entranced by the fact that it just might be genuine. And I felt that I ought to publish a book review for Jon Mundy’s Miracles magazine, something that I routinely did for other books that caught my eye and that seemed appropriate to the Course in Miracles community.

I had read from my copy of the New World Library edition that Mari was in the Twin Cities area. Eventually I got on the phone and tried to locate her, suddenly interested in having a conversation with her about A Course of Love. It wasn’t hard to find her. And soon we were talking. She agreed to meet me at the nearby coffee shop owned by her family. And so my engagement with A Course of Love really began.

We met on my morning off from work. I got there first, and settled down with coffee to await Mari. Soon, from across the table, she stood, leaning over to meet my eye.

I said something like, “You’re just a regular person!” with some surprise. Mari was pretty, with long hair, a little curly, drawn back in a knot at the nape of her neck. She looked very, very pleasant.

She responded, “That’s why some people think I couldn’t do this.”

By “this,” I knew she meant channeling Jesus. Would a “regular person” be chosen for such a task?
Our conversation lasted at least an hour. Mari told me that she had two other parts, now, of A Course of Love. I told her I wanted to write a book review, and she offered to send me the books.

In the midst of our conversation, Mari’s daughter Mia came over to greet us. After an introduction, Mari lamented that A Course of Love had not “taken off” the way that she would have liked. Mia said something prophetic: She said that it took a while for A Course in Miracles to take off, and that it would just take some time for A Course of Love to become known as well.

Our conversation continued. Suddenly, Mari said, “I have been praying that someone would come to me to help me get the word out about A Course of Love.”

I was stunned. Mari thought that I was an answer to her prayer.

I thought she had the wrong person. I was A Course in Miracles enthusiast, and I thought that she needed a younger generation to come along and help her. I thought she was mistaken.

Now, 11 years later and six years into writing a blog on both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, I think Mari might have been right all along. Right about a mission for me, right about Jesus as her channeler. My love for A Course of Love has grown over the years. Its heart-centered approach to salvation piques my curiosity.
Now many others are drawn to ACOL, due largely to Glenn Hovemann’s Take Heart Publications and the new combined volume. Yes, Jesus’s “continuation” of A Course in Miracles has an ever-widening and increasingly enthusiastic audience.

And I am no longer a skeptic. To my mind Jesus had “unfinished business” with us, after A Course in Miracles. And A Course of Love answers many of the questions that we have had after reading A Course in Miracles. Now Jesus not only takes us by the hand and leads us beyond the ego, but he tells us how to establish a new identity—in this body but beyond this body, the “elevated Self of form.”

We are on the threshold of a newly created world. The voice Mari heard in her head, Jesus himself, is ever with all of us as we transform ourselves and our world.

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