Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Second Coming of Christ

"And does not Rudolf Steiner, in speaking of the new advent, place before us the task of 'participating with our whole soul in this event' in order that we may become 'true men'? For in this, as in so much else, Rudolf Steiner and Novalis are completely one: Rudolf Steiner, who speaks to us of 'the growing together of the experience of being in and with Christ and the experience of real and true humanity' and indicates that '"Christ gives me my humanity" must be the fundamental feeling which wells up in the soul and pervades it'; and Novalis, who also testifies to this out of his personal spiritual experience:

Through Him am I a man become;
My destiny transfigured shines through Him . . ."

-- Sergei Prokofieff, Eternal Individuality: Towards a Karmic Biography of Novalis, p. 44

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Glorious Grief

Yet all my labors and you, glorious grief,
Awaken my beleagered spirit,
Showing it new paths, letting it sense the heights.
Whither now a way for my heart opens.

— Raphael

Friday, February 26, 2010


"I give this memory to you to call forth. I do this by the reality of which I am about to perform, to lay down to remain. You may come to know of My Being here with you in this very world, by calling forth that first time of which I did enter deep into the world, to be with you."

Source: Accessed: 2010-02-26. (Archived by WebCite® at

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Look to the real, practical, material life,
but look to it so that it does not dull you to the spirit
which is at work in it.

Look to the spirit--
but not for the sake of transcendental enjoyment
or out of supersensible egotism,
but look to it because you want to apply it
selflessly in practical life, in the material world.

Make use of the ancient saying:
"Spirit is never without matter,
Matter, never void of spirit,"
in such a way that you say:

We want to do all material things in the light of the spirit
and we want to look for the light of the spirit in such a way
that warmth springs up for our practical lives.

--Rudolf Steiner [trans. Joanna van Vliet]

Monday, February 22, 2010

The characteristic difference between the Buddha and the Christ revelations

"The characteristic difference between the Buddha and the Christ revelations is that the Buddha addressed himself to people who were not yet meant to gain awareness of the self, of an I that went through successive incarnations. We have to see this if we are to get the right understanding of Buddhism. I have frequently referred to an analogy used in later Buddhism which says that a true Buddhist sees the principle which goes from incarnation to incarnation as a mango fruit planted in the ground which produces a new tree which in turn produces new fruit. All the new mango has in common with the old is the name and the shape. Characteristically, Buddhists would not speak of a real I that continued through different incarnations. They did not do so because in the East, a real I did not come to full awareness. We can still see today that when people who base themselves on the teachings of the East want to understand the Western point of view they cannot penetrate to the point where the I comes into play."
--Rudolf Steiner, The Fifth Gospel, February 10, 1914

Friday, February 19, 2010

"The eternal feminine draws us ever onward and upward"--Goethe

Novalis, Hymns to the Night, no. 3:

Once when I was shedding bitter tears, when, dissolved in pain, my hope was melting away, and I stood alone by the barren mound which in its narrow dark bosom hid the vanished form of my life -- lonely as never yet was lonely man, driven by anxiety unspeakable -- powerless, and no longer anything but a conscious misery. -- As there I looked about me for help, unable to go on or to turn back, and clung to the fleeting, extinguished life with an endless longing: -- then, out of the blue distances -- from the hills of my ancient bliss, came a shiver of twilight -- and at once snapt the bond of birth -- the chains of the Light. Away fled the glory of the world, and with it my mourning -- the sadness flowed together into a new, unfathomable world -- Thou, Night-inspiration, heavenly Slumber, didst come upon me -- the region gently upheaved itself; over it hovered my unbound, newborn spirit. The mound became a cloud of dust -- and through the cloud I saw the glorified face of my beloved. In her eyes eternity reposed -- I laid hold of her hands, and the tears became a sparkling bond that could not be broken. Into the distance swept by, like a tempest, thousands of years. On her neck I welcomed the new life with ecstatic tears. It was the first, the only dream -- and just since then I have held fast an eternal, unchangeable faith in the heaven of the Night, and its Light, the Beloved.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Ash Wednesday" by T. S. Eliot


Because I do not hope to turn again

Because I do not hope

Because I do not hope to turn

Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope

I no longer strive to strive towards such things

(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)

Why should I mourn

The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know

The infirm glory of the positive hour

Because I do not think

Because I know I shall not know

The one veritable transitory power

Because I cannot drink

There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is

nothing again

Because I know that time is always time

And place is always and only place

And what is actual is actual only for one time

And only for one place

I rejoice that things are as they are and

I renounce the blessèd face

And renounce the voice

Because I cannot hope to turn again

Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something

Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us

And pray that I may forget

These matters that with myself I too much discuss

Too much explain

Because I do not hope to turn again

Let these words answer

For what is done, not to be done again

May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly

But merely vans to beat the air

The air which is now thoroughly small and dry

Smaller and dryer than the will

Teach us to care and not to care

Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death

Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.


Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree

In the cool of the day, having fed to sateity

On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been


In the hollow round of my skull. And God said

Shall these bones live? shall these

Bones live? And that which had been contained

In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:

Because of the goodness of this Lady

And because of her loveliness, and because

She honours the Virgin in meditation,

We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled

Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love

To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.

It is this which recovers

My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions

Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn

In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.

Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.

There is no life in them. As I am forgotten

And would be forgotten, so I would forget

Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said

Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only

The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping

With the burden of the grasshopper, saying

Lady of silences

Calm and distressed

Torn and most whole

Rose of memory

Rose of forgetfulness

Exhausted and life-giving

Worried reposeful

The single Rose

Is now the Garden

Where all loves end

Terminate torment

Of love unsatisfied

The greater torment

Of love satisfied

End of the endless

Journey to no end

Conclusion of all that

Is inconclusible

Speech without word and

Word of no speech

Grace to the Mother

For the Garden

Where all love ends.

Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining

We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each


Under a tree in the cool of day, with the blessing of sand,

Forgetting themselves and each other, united

In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye

Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity

Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.


At the first turning of the second stair

I turned and saw below

The same shape twisted on the banister

Under the vapour in the fetid air

Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears

The deceitul face of hope and of despair.

At the second turning of the second stair

I left them twisting, turning below;

There were no more faces and the stair was dark,

Damp, jaggèd, like an old man's mouth drivelling, beyond


Or the toothed gullet of an agèd shark.

At the first turning of the third stair

Was a slotted window bellied like the figs's fruit

And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene

The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green

Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.

Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,

Lilac and brown hair;

Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind

over the third stair,

Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair

Climbing the third stair.

Lord, I am not worthy

Lord, I am not worthy

but speak the word only.


Who walked between the violet and the violet

Who walked between

The various ranks of varied green

Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour,

Talking of trivial things

In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour

Who moved among the others as they walked,

Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand

In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour,

Sovegna vos

Here are the years that walk between, bearing

Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring

One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing

White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.

The new years walk, restoring

Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring

With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem

The time. Redeem

The unread vision in the higher dream

While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.

The silent sister veiled in white and blue

Between the yews, behind the garden god,

Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke

no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down

Redeem the time, redeem the dream

The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew

And after this our exile


If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent

If the unheard, unspoken

Word is unspoken, unheard;

Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,

The Word without a word, the Word within

The world and for the world;

And the light shone in darkness and

Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled

About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word

Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence

Not on the sea or on the islands, not

On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,

For those who walk in darkness

Both in the day time and in the night time

The right time and the right place are not here

No place of grace for those who avoid the face

No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny

the voice

Will the veiled sister pray for

Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,

Those who are torn on the horn between season and season,

time and time, between

Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait

In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray

For children at the gate

Who will not go away and cannot pray:

Pray for those who chose and oppose

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Will the veiled sister between the slender

Yew trees pray for those who offend her

And are terrified and cannot surrender

And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks

In the last desert before the last blue rocks

The desert in the garden the garden in the desert

Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.

O my people.


Although I do not hope to turn again

Although I do not hope

Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss

In this brief transit where the dreams cross

The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying

(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things

From the wide window towards the granite shore

The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying

Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices

In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices

And the weak spirit quickens to rebel

For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell

Quickens to recover

The cry of quail and the whirling plover

And the blind eye creates

The empty forms between the ivory gates

And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth

The place of solitude where three dreams cross

Between blue rocks

But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away

Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit

of the garden,

Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood

Teach us to care and not to care

Teach us to sit still

Even among these rocks,

Our peace in His will

And even among these rocks

Sister, mother

And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,

Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Understanding the Holy Spirit

Rudolf Steiner, The Fifth Gospel, lecture 3 (October 3, 1913):

When I said yesterday that the personalities who we usually call the apostles of Christ Jesus experienced a certain awakening which began at the so-called Pentecost, I didn't mean to claim that it happened in full consciousness. Nevertheless, when clairvoyant consciousness immerses itself in the souls of those apostles, it recognizes the images in those souls. But in the apostles themselves it was less images than – if I may say so – life, as a direct experience, as feeling and force of soul.

And what the apostles were then able to say, by which they even attracted the Greeks of those times, by which they gave the impulse for what we call Christian development, that which they carried within them as power of the soul, of the mind, flowed from what lived in their souls as the living force of the Fifth Gospel. They were able to speak as they spoke, act as they acted, because they bore in their souls the things we are now deciphering as the Fifth Gospel, although they didn't tell these things with the same words which one must use to relate the Fifth Gospel now. For they had received like an awakening the fecundation through all-embracing cosmic love, and under the influence of this fecundation they continued to act. And here we are at the point where we must speak of the earthly life of Christ in the sense of the Fifth Gospel.

It isn't easy to describe all this in words using contemporary concepts. But we can approach that greatest of earthly secrets by using many of the concepts and ideas with which we are already familiar through our spiritual scientific considerations. If we want to understand the Christ-being, we must use the concepts we already have through our spiritual scientific analyses in a somewhat different form.

Let us consider, in order to gain some clarity, what is usually called the baptism by John in the Jordan. It is compared in the Fifth Gospel, in relation to the earthly life of Christ, with the act of conception in a human being. The life of Christ from then until the Mystery of Golgotha is understood when we compare it with the life of an embryo in the mother's body. It is in a sense the embryonic life of the Christ-Being which this being lived through from the baptism in the Jordan till the Mystery of Golgotha.

We must understand the Mystery of Golgotha itself as an earthly birth — that is, the death of Jesus as the earthly birth of Christ. And we must look for his actual earth-life after the Mystery of Golgotha, when Christ was in contact with the apostles, when they were in another state of consciousness, as I indicated yesterday. That is what followed the actual birth of the Christ-being, and what is described as the Ascension and the immediately following outpouring of spirit, which in respect to the Christ-Being we must understand as corresponding to what we are accustomed to see as the entrance into the spiritual world upon human death. And the life of Christ in the earthly sphere since the Ascension, or since Pentecost, we must compare with what the human soul experiences when it is in the so-called Devachan, or Spirit-land.

We also see, my dear friends, that in the Christ-Being we have a being before us about which we must completely change all the concepts we have acquired about the successive stages of human life. The human being goes, after a short interval called purification-time, Kamaloka-time, to the spiritual world in order to prepare for the next life on earth. The human being lives though a spiritual life after death. From Pentecost on, the Christ-being experiences immersion in the earth-sphere — what for the human being is the transition to the Spirit-land. Instead of going to a Davachan, to a spiritual region, as man does after death, the Christ-Being made the sacrifice to seek the earth as his heaven. The human being leaves the earth in order — if we may use a common expression — to change his place of residence to heaven. Christ left heaven in order to change his place of residence to earth.

I beg you to see this in the right light, and to combine it with the feeling about what happened through the Mystery of Golgotha, in which his actual sacrifice consisted: namely in leaving the spiritual spheres in order to live with the earth and the human beings on the earth and to consolidate the impulse he gave for further human evolution on earth. This means that before the baptism in the Jordan this being did not belong to the earthly sphere. He descended from the over-earthly sphere to the earthly sphere. And what was experienced between the baptism by John and Pentecost had to be lived out in order to transform the heavenly being of Christ into the earthly being of Christ.

It is saying infinitely much when this secret is revealed here with the words: Since the Pentecost event the Christ-being is with human souls on the earth; previously he had not been with human souls on the earth. What the Christ-Being underwent between the baptism by John and Pentecost happened in order for the place of residence in the spiritual world could be exchanged for the place of residence in the earthly sphere. That happened so the divine-spiritual Christ-being could take on the necessary form in order to be able to be in community with human souls. Why did the events of Palestine take place? In order for the divine-spiritual being of Christ to be able to take on the form needed to be in community with human souls on the earth.

That this event in Palestine was unique is something which I have previously often indicated: the descent of a higher, unearthly being into the earthly sphere and the remaining of this unearthly being together with the earthly sphere until the earthly sphere undergoes the corresponding transformation. Since that time the Christ-Being is active on the earth.

If we want to clearly understand the Pentecost event in the sense of the Fifth Gospel, we must use the concepts we have developed in spiritual science. It has been brought to your attention that in ancient times there were Mysteries, initiations, through which the human soul was raised to participation in spiritual life. This pre-Christian initiation process can be seen most clearly when one observes the so-called Persian or Mithras mysteries. There were seven stages of initiation. The person who was to be raised to the higher stages of spiritual experience was led first to what was symbolically called the “Raven” stage; he became an “occulter”, a “hidden one”. In the third degree he became a “Fighter”, in the fourth a “Lion”, in the fifth he took on the name of the people to whom he belonged. In the sixth degree he became a “Sun-Hero”, in the seventh a “Father”. For the first four degrees it is sufficient today to say that he was gradually led deeper and deeper into spiritual experience. In the fifth degree the person reached the capacity for an expanded consciousness, which enabled him to become a spiritual guardian of his people. Therefore he was assigned the name of the corresponding people. When someone at that time was initiated into the fifth degree, he had a certain participation in the spiritual life.

We know from a lecture cycle that I gave here that the nations of the earth are led by what we call in the hierarchies of spiritual beings archangeloi or archangels. The person initiated in the fifth degree participated in the life of the archangels. Initiates in the fifth degree were needed in the cosmos. Therefore an initiation in this fifth degree existed on earth. When such a person was initiated in the mysteries and received the soul-content which corresponded to the fifth degree, the archangel looked at the soul of such a person and read in that soul as we read in a book that informs us of certain things which we must know in order to accomplish something. The archangel read in the person who was initiated in the fifth degree what a nation [an ethnic group] needed. Initiates of the fifth degree must be formed on earth in order for the archangeloi to lead correctly. Those initiates are the intermediaries between the leaders of the ethnic group and the people of the nation. They carry up to the sphere of the archangels what is needed in order for the nations to be correctly led.

How could this fifth degree be attained in pre-Christian times? It could not be attained while the soul remained in the body. The human soul had to be elevated out of the body. The initiation consisted of the soul being elevated out of the body. And while out of the body the soul experienced what gave it the content I have just described. The soul had to abandon the earth and enter the spiritual world in order to attain what it had to attain.

When the sixth degree of the old initiation was reached, the Sun-Hero degree, then in the soul of such a Sun-Hero reigned not only what is necessary to lead a people, but what is higher than that. If, my dear friends, you observe the evolution of humanity on the earth, you will see how nations arise and disappear, how they develop. Nations are born and die as individuals are. What a nation has accomplished for the earth must, however, be retained in the earth's evolution. Not only must a nation be led and guided, but also what that nation [or people] accomplishes on earth must be preserved beyond that nation. In order for this to happen the Sun-Heroes were necessary. In the higher worlds it is possible to read what lives in the soul of a Sun-hero and gain the strength which carries over the achievements of a nation into the work of humanity as a whole. And just as he who was to be initiated in the fifth degree of the ancient mysteries had to leave his body in order to accomplish what was necessary, he who would be a Sun-hero had to leave his body and take as residence in the sun.

These are things which for contemporary consciousness sound almost incredible, perhaps even foolish. But the Pauline words are appropriate — that wisdom, which can be divine, can be thought foolish by men. The Sun-Hero lived together with the whole solar system during the time of his initiation. The sun was his dwelling, as the earth is for the normal man. As mountains and streams surround us, the planets of the solar system surrounded the Sun-Hero during his initiation. The Sun-Hero had to be carried out to the sun during his initiation. That could only be achieved when he was out of the body in the ancient mysteries. And when he returned to his body he remembered what he had experienced and could use it as the ability to further the evolution of humanity, for the benefit of humanity as a whole. The Son-Heroes left their bodies during the initiation and reentered them when they returned and had the strength which could transfer a nation's work to the evolution of humanity as a whole.

And what did those Sun-Heroes experience during the three-and-a-half days of their initiation? What did they experience when they were on the sun? Togetherness with Christ, who was not yet on the earth before the Mystery of Golgotha! All the ancient Sun-Heroes had gone to the higher spiritual spheres. For it was only there that one could experience togetherness with Christ in ancient times. It was from that world, to which the initiates had to ascend, that Christ descended to the earth.

We can therefore say that what was achieved by a few through the initiation procedure in ancient times was achieved as a natural event by Christ's apostles during Pentecost. Whereas previously one had to ascend to Christ, he now descended to the apostles. And the apostles had become in a certain sense men who carried within themselves the same content which the ancient Sun-Heroes had had in their souls. The spiritual power of the sun had streamed into the souls of men and was subsequently active in human evolution. In order for that to happen, the events of Palestine were necessary.

From what source did Christ's sojourn on earth grow? It grew from deepest suffering, from a suffering which exceeds all human understanding of suffering. In order to conceive of all this correctly, it is again necessary to overcome certain obstacles of contemporary consciousness.

Recently a book was published which I can enthusiastically recommend, because it was written by a very intelligent man and proves what nonsense even intelligent people can say about spiritual things. I mean Maurice Maeterlinck's Vom Tode (“About Death”). Among many nonsensical things, he affirms that when a person dies he is a spirit, and can no longer suffer because he has no physical body. Maeterlinck, a very intelligent man, suffers under the illusion that only the physical body can suffer and a dead person can therefore not suffer. He doesn't notice the phenomenal, almost incredible nonsense it is to affirm that only the physical body, which consists of physical forces and chemical elements, can suffer. As if a stone could suffer! The physical body cannot suffer; it is the soul that suffers. It has come to the point where people think the opposite of what makes sense about the simplest things. There would be no kamaloca-suffering if the spirit could not suffer. It is just because it has been relieved of the physical that suffering exists in kamaloca. Whoever believes that a spirit cannot suffer cannot have a correct idea of the infinite suffering of Christ during his time in Palestine.

Before I speak of this suffering however, I must bring something else to your attention. We must be aware that with the baptism in the Jordan by John a spirit descended to the earth, lived on the physical plane for three years and experienced death on Golgotha, a spirit who, before the baptism in the Jordan, had lived in circumstances which were completely different from earthly ones. What does that mean? It means, anthroposophically speaking, that that spirit had no earthly karma. I beg you to keep this in mind. A spirit lived for three years in the body of Jesus of Nazareth without having an earthly karma in his soul. Therefore all of Christ's earthly experiences have a completely different meaning than that of a normal human soul. When we suffer, when we have this or that experience, we know that the suffering is founded in karma. That was not the case for the Christ spirit. He had to go through a three-year earthly experience without a karmic burden. What did that mean for Him? Suffering without karmic meaning, truly unearned suffering, innocent suffering! The Fifth Gospel is the anthroposophical Gospel and shows us the only three-year earthly life for which the concept of karma in the human sense is not applicable.

A further consideration of this Gospel teaches us something else about those three years, which we have compared to the life of an embryo, created no karma, was not charged with guilt. A life was lived on the earth that was not conditioned by karma and also created no karma. One must assimilate all these concepts in the profoundest sense in order to correctly understand those extraordinary events of Palestine, which are otherwise inexplicable. For how greatly have they been misunderstood over the ages! And what impulses have they nevertheless given! Their profound meaning is often ignored.

How thoughtless one passes over things which are profoundly meaningful. Perhaps many of you have heard of the book Leben Jesu (“The Life of Jesus”) by Ernest Renan, which was published in 1863. One reads this book without recognizing its significance. Perhaps one day people will wonder at how many people read this book without realizing how peculiar it is. What is peculiar about it is that it is a mixture of a sublime description and cheap novel. Read “The Life of Jesus” with this idea in mind, read what he makes of Christ, who for him is of course mainly Christ Jesus. He makes him out to be a hero who originally had good intentions, who was a great benefactor of humanity, who however was seduced by the mob's enthusiasm and more and more surrendered to it and tells them what they want to hear.

In great style Renan uses for Christ what is often used by lesser talents. It often happens that when people see something spreading, Theosophy for example, they use the following criticism: At the beginning you had good intentions, but then came those evil followers to hear what they wanted to hear and little by little you were seduced. That is how Renan handles Christ Jesus. He doesn't hesitate to describe the resurrection of Lazarus as a kind of fraud which Christ Jesus allowed to happen as a means of impressing the masses. He doesn't hesitate to lead Christ Jesus into a kind of raging fury and finally be seduced by the people's instinctual desires. Thus a cheap novel is mixed with a sublime presentation. What is remarkable is that someone with healthy feelings should be shocked upon hearing of a person who originally had the best intentions but is finally seduced by the mob's instincts and allows all kinds of fraud to be perpetrated. Renan is not shocked however, but has only beautiful words for that person. Curious, isn't it? But is an indication of how attracted people are to Christ even though they don't understand him. It can go so far that such a person makes the life of Christ into a cheap novel and then can't find enough admiring words to draw people's attention to him. It's only possible with a being in whom something entered as entered into the Christ Jesus. Oh, much karma would have been amassed in the three years of Christ's life on earth if his life had been as Renan describes it. In the future, however, it will be recognized that such a description collapses with the knowledge that a life was lived on earth without karma having been created. That is the message of the Fifth Gospel.

The Fifth Gospel tells us that on the occasion of the baptism in the Jordan the words which appear in the Gospel of Luke are an accurate rendition of what a highly developed clairvoyant consciousness would have heard: “This is my beloved son, today I have begotten him.” [Luke, 3, 22] And it is an accurate description of what occurred: the begetting, the conception of Christ on earth.

It the following days we will speak of the Being who descended into the body of Jesus; now we will only emphasize that Jesus of Nazareth had come [to the Jordan], and gave his body to the Christ being. The Fifth Gospel tells us – what we can read with retroactive clairvoyant vision – that at the beginning of Christ's wandering on earth he was not fully incorporated in the body of Jesus, that only a loose connection existed between the Christ being and the body of Jesus of Nazareth. It was not like that of a normal person's connection between soul and body, rather that, when necessary, the Christ-Being could leave Jesus of Nazareth's body. While Jesus of Nazareth's body was as sleeping, the Christ being went wherever it was necessary.

The Fifth Gospel shows us that the body of Jesus of Nazareth was not always present when the Christ being appeared to the apostles, but that Jesus of Nazareth's body stayed somewhere else and the spirit, the Christ-Spirit, appeared to the apostles. But the appearance was such that it could be confused with Jesus of Nazareth's body. They probably noticed a difference, but the difference was too small for them to clearly recognize. The four gospels don't say much about it, but the Fifth Gospel does. The apostles could not always clearly differentiate and say: Now Christ Jesus stands physically before us, or now only the Christ-Spirit. They mostly took the appearance to be the Christ-Spirit (to the extent they recognized him) in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. But during the three years the spirit gradually bound itself ever more closely to the body of Jesus of Nazareth, so that the etheric Christ-Being came to closely resemble the body of Jesus of Nazareth.

Please note how different all this was with respect to a normal human being. The normal person is a microcosm related to the macrocosm, an image of the whole macrocosm. What is expressed in the human physical body can be understood in this way. What the human being on earth becomes is a reflection of the cosmos. The reverse is the case with the Christ-Being. The macrocosmic Sun-Being formed itself according to the image of the human microcosm, contracted and pressed more and more until it resembled the human microcosm. Just the reverse!

At the beginning of the Christ's earthly life, just after the baptism in the Jordan, the connection with the body of Jesus of Nazareth was loosest. The Christ-Being was still almost completely outside the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore what the Christ-Being did as he walked on the earth was completely over-earthly. He healed in a way which no earthly force could heal; he spoke to the people with such intensity that it was a divine intensity. But gradually he became more and more similar to the body of Jesus of Nazareth, contracted, pressed more and more into earthly conditions until the divine power deserted him. The Christ-Being went through this process as he came more and more to resemble the body of Jesus of Nazareth, something which, in a certain sense, can be considered to be a devolving evolution. The Christ-Being had to feel the godly power weakening as he became similar to the body of Jesus of Nazareth. A god gradually became a man.

As someone who sees his body weaken and die under extreme pain, so the Christ-Being saw his divine content disappear in that he became ever more similar, as an etheric being, to the body of Jesus of Nazareth, to the point where he was so similar that he could feel fear like a man. The other Gospels describe this when Christ Jesus goes up to the Mount of Olives with his disciples and the Christ-Being in the body of Jesus of Nazareth has the sweat of fear on his brow. It was the humanizing, the gradual humanizing of Christ and the increasing similarity to the body of Jesus of Nazareth. In the same measure as the etheric Christ-Being approached similarity to the body of Jesus of Nazareth, Christ became man. Divine miraculous power left him. Here we see the Passion from the point when he came to the Jordan, to where the astonished crowds saw what he could do and said: no being on earth has ever done these things. That was when the Christ-Being had little similarity to the body of Jesus of Nazareth. From that moment of amazed bystanders it took the three years to come to the point where the Christ-Being was so similar to the body of Jesus of Nazareth that in that wasted body he could no longer answer Pilate's, Herod's or Caiphas's questions. So identical had he become to the weak, wasting body of Jesus of Nazareth, that he remained silent to the question by the high priest of the Jews: Did you say that you will destroy the temple and in three days rebuild it? The Christ-Being no longer spoke from the decaying body of Jesus of Nazareth and stood dumb before Pilate, who asked: Did you say that you are the king of the Jews? The way of the Passion went from the baptism in the Jordan to powerlessness. And soon the masses, who had previously been amazed at the Christ-Being's over-earthly miraculous power, no longer admired him, but stood in front of the cross mocking the weakness of the god who became man with the words: You helped others, now help yourself! That was the Passion path — endless suffering, to which was added sorrow for humanity at that moment of the mystery of Golgotha.

That pain and suffering, however, gave birth to the spirit which poured out on the apostles at Pentecost. From that pain was born the all-embracing cosmic love which descended with the baptism in the Jordan from the over-earthly, heavenly spheres into the earthly sphere – which became similar to a human body and realized the moment of highest divine powerlessness in order to give birth to the impulse which we know as the Christ-Impulse in the subsequent evolution of humanity.

These are things we must keep in mind if we want to understand the full meaning of the Christ-Impulse, as it will have to be understood in the future in order for humanity to advance in its path of evolution and culture.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sunburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Regarding the Holy Spirit

Rudolf Steiner, The Fifth Gospel, lecture 2 (October 2, 1913, in Oslo, Norway):

Our considerations will begin with the so-called Pentecost event. In the first lecture I indicated that our investigation can at least begin with this event. For this event presents itself to clairvoyance as a kind of awakening which the personalities on a certain day, Pentecost, experienced — the personalities normally called the apostles or disciples of Christ Jesus. It is not easy to evoke an exact perception of all those extraordinary events, and we will have to recall – from the depths of our souls, so to speak – much of what we have already gained from our anthroposophical considerations if we want to combine exact perceptions with all which our lecture cycle has to say about this subject.
The apostles felt like awakened individuals who had lived for a long time in an unusual state of consciousness. It was really like a kind of awakening from a deep sleep, from a strange, dream-filled sleep, in which one carries out the everyday tasks of life as reasonable people do, so that others do not notice that one is in a different state of consciousness. Then came the moment when it seemed to the apostles that they had lived through a long time as in a dream from which they awoke with the Pentecost event. And they experienced this awakening in an extraordinary way: they really felt as though something we can only call the substance of all-encompassing love had descended on them from out of the universe. The apostles felt impregnated by all-encompassing love and awakened from the described dream-like state. As though they had been awakened by all that which as the source of the power of love pervades and warms the universe, as though this source of the power of love had penetrated the soul of each one of them. They seemed very strange to the others who heard how they talked. Those others knew that they had previously led very simple lives, but some of them had been acting strangely in the previous days, as though lost in dreams. Now, however, they were as transformed: like people who had achieved a new state of mind or soul disposition, like people who had lost all the narrow restrictions, all the egotism of life, who had gained an infinitely wide heart and all-embracing tolerance, a deeply heartfelt understanding of all that is human on earth. They could also express themselves so that everyone present could understand them. One felt also that they could see into each heart and soul and clarify the secrets of the soul, so they could comfort the other, could tell him exactly what he needed.
It was of course astonishing that such a transformation could happen to a number of people. But those people who experienced the transformation, who had been awakened by the cosmic spirit of love, those people felt in themselves a new understanding for what had acted in common in their souls, but which they had until then not understood. Now, in that instant, understanding of what actually happened on Golgotha appeared before their minds' eye. And if we look into the soul of one of those apostles, the one usually called Peter in the other gospels, clairvoyant observation sees his normal consciousness as having been completely obliterated from the moment the gospels usually call the denial. He looked back to the denial scene, when he was asked if he had a connection to the Galilean, and he knew now that he denied it because his consciousness had begun to fade and an abnormal state to take its place, a kind of dream state, which meant removal into a completely different world. For him it was like a person who upon waking in the morning remembers the last events before going to sleep the night before; that's how Peter remembered what is called the denial, the triple denial before the cock crowed twice. And then the intermediate state of Peter's consciousness unfurled. It wasn't filled with mere dream-images, but with images presented by a kind of higher state of consciousness, which presented an experience of purely spiritual matters. And everything that happened, that Peter had slept through since that time, appeared before his soul as a clairvoyant dream. Above all he learned to see the event, about which one can truly say he slept through, because for a full understanding of that event the fecundation by all-encompassing love was necessary. Now the images of the mystery of Golgotha appeared before his eyes in a way similar to how we can recall them with clairvoyant vision if we establish the necessary conditions.
Frankly, it is with a unique feeling that one decides to put into words what is revealed when looking into the consciousness of Peter and the others who were gathered on that Pentecost day. One can only bring one's self to speak of these things with a holy awe. One could even say that he is almost overcome with awareness that he is treading on the holy ground of human esteem when expressing what is revealed to the soul's vision. However, it seems to him necessary, due to certain spiritual considerations, to speak of these things in our times; with full knowledge that other times will come in which these things will meet with more understanding than is the case now. For in order to understand much of what will be said at this opportunity, the human soul must free itself of quite a few things which are necessary to it during this cultural period.

First of all, something which is offensive to contemporary natural scientific consciousness appears to clairvoyant vision. Nevertheless, I feel myself obliged to express in words as well as I can what appears to the soul's vision. I can't do anything about it if what I must say is communicated to less prepared minds and souls and the whole thing is exaggeratedly described as something which cannot stand up to the scientific concepts which dominate the present time.

The clairvoyant glance first falls on an image that depicts a reality which is also indicated in other gospels, but which presents a very special view when selected from the fullness of views which clairvoyant observation can receive when looking back in time. Clairvoyant observation is drawn to a kind of darkening of the earth. And one feels, as in an imagination, the meaningful moment when for hours the physical sun is darkened over the land of Palestine, over the site of Golgotha, like an eclipse of the sun.
One has the impression that spiritual-scientifically trained observation can now verify if a physical eclipse of the sun really occurred over that land: that for this observation the whole human environment takes on a completely different aspect. I would like to put aside what human technology has to say about a solar eclipse. A strong mind and the conviction that all had to happen as it did are necessary in order to withstand the demonic powers which arise during a solar eclipse. But I prefer not to go into that further, only to bring to your attention the fact that during such a moment what otherwise can only be obtained through difficult meditation appears light-filled. One sees plants and animals differently, every butterfly looks different. It is something which in the deepest sense can bring forth the conviction of how in the cosmos a certain spiritual life – which belongs to the sun and what one sees in the sun also as its physical life – is connected to life on the earth. And how when the physical glow is drastically darkened by the covering moon, it is different from when the sun simply doesn't glow during the night. The appearance of the earth around us is quite different during a solar eclipse than when it is night. One feels the group-souls of the plants and animals arise during a solar eclipse. One feels a dimming of the corporality of plants and animals and a brightening of their group-souls.

This experience is especially strong for clairvoyant observation when directed towards the moment in earthly evolution which we call the Mystery of Golgotha. And then one learns what this notable natural phenomenon means. I really can't help it if I am obliged to read in the occult text about a natural phenomenon as it occurred exactly at that point in the earth's evolution – as it has of course also earlier and later occurred – in contradiction to contemporary materialistic thinking. When one opens a book and reads the text, one has the impression that what one should read comes forth from the letters. Thus also from the cosmic letters comes forth the necessity of reading something which humanity should learn. It appears as a word written in the cosmos, as a cosmic phonetic symbol.

And what does one read when he opens his soul to it? Yesterday I pointed out that during Greek times humanity had developed to the point in which through Plato and Aristotle it rose to a very high level of learning, of intellectuality. In many respects the knowledge achieved by Plato and Aristotle could not be superseded in later times, for the summit of human intellectuality had already been reached. And when we consider that this intellectual knowledge was made extremely popular in the Greek and Italian peninsulas by wandering preachers during the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, when we consider how this knowledge was spread in a way which we cannot understand, then one has the possibility of an impression of reading the letters of the occult cosmic text. When one has attained to clairvoyant consciousness he can say: everything which humanity had gathered as knowledge in pre-Christian times comes under the sign of the moon, which from the viewpoint of the earth travels through space, and it is the moon because for higher human perception this knowledge had not enlightened, had not solved riddles, but for higher perception was darkening, as the moon darkens the sun during an eclipse. That is what one reads.
So at that time knowledge was not enlightening, but acted as a darkening of the riddle of the world, and one feels as a clairvoyant the darkening of the higher, spiritual regions of the world through the knowledge of ancient times, which acted in respect to higher knowledge as the moon acts during a solar eclipse. And this external event is an expression of man having achieved a stage in which man's self-created knowledge was placed in front of higher knowledge as the moon stands before the sun during an eclipse. In that solar eclipse one feels humanity's darkening of the sun within the earth's evolution written in an awesome sign of the cosmic occult text. I said that contemporary consciousness can consider this offensive because it has no understanding of the spiritual power in the universe. I do not wish to speak of miracles in the usual sense, of the breaking of natural laws, but I can do no other than inform you how one can read that solar eclipse – how one can do no other than position one's soul before that solar eclipse as though reading what that natural event signifies: With moon-knowledge an eclipse of the higher solar message occurred.
And then one's clairvoyant consciousness perceives the raised cross on Golgotha on which the body of Jesus hangs between the two thieves. Then the removal from the cross and the burial appears – and I might add that the more one tries to avoid this image the stronger it appears. Now a second powerful sign appears which must be read in order to understand it as a symbol of what has happened in the evolution of humanity: One follows the image of Jesus taken down from the cross and laid in the tomb, and one is thoroughly shaken by an earthquake which went through the area.

Perhaps the relation between that solar eclipse and the earthquake will someday be better understood scientifically, for certain teachings which are prevalent today but incoherent, indicate a relation between solar eclipses and earthquakes and even firedamps in mines. That earthquake was a consequence of the solar eclipse. That earthquake shook the tomb in which Jesus' body lay – and the stone which had been placed before the tomb was ripped away and a crevice opened in the ground and the body fell onto the crevice. Further vibrations caused the ground to close over the crevice. And when the people came in the morning the tomb was empty, for the earth had received Jesus' body; the stone, however, remained apart from the tomb.

Let us follow the sequence of images! Jesus dies on the cross. Darkness suddenly covers the earth. Jesus' body is laid in the tomb. An earthquake opens the earth's crust and Jesus' body is received by the earth. The crevice caused by the quake closes. The stone is thrown aside. These are all factual events; I can do naught else but describe them as such. May those who wish to approach these things from a natural scientific viewpoint judge as they wish and use every possible argument against them. What clairvoyant observation sees is as I have described it. And if someone wishes to say that such things cannot happen, that a symbol is placed in the cosmos as a powerful sign-language to indicate that something new has occurred in human evolution; when someone wishes to say that the divine powers do not write about what happens on the earth with such sign-language as a solar eclipse and an earthquake, I can only reply: All respect to your belief that it can not be so. But it happened anyway! I can imagine that an Ernest Renan, who wrote the peculiar “Life of Jesus” would come and say: One does not believe such things, for one only believes what can be duplicated by experiment. But that argument is unfeasible, for would a Renan not believe in the ice age although it is impossible to reproduce it by experiment? It is of course impossible to reproduce the ice age, and nevertheless all scientific investigators believe in it. It is also impossible to reproduce that once-occurring cosmic sign. Nevertheless, it happened.
We can only approach these events if we clairvoyantly take the path which I have indicated, if we first examine Peter's or one of the other apostle's souls, who felt themselves fecundated by all-encompassing cosmic love. Only if we look into their souls and see how they experienced things do we find via this detour the ability to observe the raised cross on Golgotha, the darkening of the earth and the earthquake which followed it. That the eclipse and the quake were normal natural events is not denied; but he who follows these events clairvoyantly reads them as I have described, insofar as he has created the necessary conditions in his soul. For in fact what I have described was for Peter's consciousness something which had crystallized from the basis of the long sleep. From the many images which crossed through Peter's consciousness the following were emphasized: The cross raised on Golgotha, the eclipse and the quake. Those were for Peter the first fruits of the fecundation by all-encompassing love at the Pentecost event. And now he knew something which he had not previously known: that the event of Golgotha really took place, and that the body which hung on the cross was the same body with which he had often wandered in life. Now he knew that Jesus died on the cross, that this death was really a birth, the birth of that spirit who as all-encompassing love exuded in the souls of the apostles gathered at Pentecost. Peter sensed it as a ray of the infinite, aeonic love. He sensed it as what was born as Jesus died on the cross. An awesome truth penetrated Peter's soul: a death only seemed to have taken place on the cross.
In reality that death, preceded by infinite suffering, was the birth of what entered his soul like a ray. With the death of Jesus something entered the earth which had previously existed only externally: all-encompassing cosmic love. That's easy to say abstractly. But one must penetrate the Peter-soul for a moment to imagine how it felt: In the instant that Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross at Golgotha, something had been born to the earth which previously only existed in the cosmos. The death of Jesus of Nazareth was the birth of cosmic love within the earth's sphere.

That is the first insight which we can gather from what we call the Fifth Gospel. With what is called in the New Testament the arrival, the pouring out of the spirit, begins with what I have now described. The apostles, due to their soul constitution, were not able to accompany the death of Jesus of Nazareth except with an anomalous consciousness.
Peter, also John and James, recollected still another moment in his life, which can only be revealed to us in all its grandeur through the Fifth Gospel. He with whom they wandered led them to the mount and said: Stand guard! And they fell asleep. Their souls were already being gradually overtaken by the sleeping state. Their normal consciousness sank into a sleep which lasted through the event of Golgotha, and out of which beamed what I have been trying to describe in stammering words. And Peter, John and James had to recall how they fell into that state and how now, as they looked back, the great events dawned on them which had to do with the physical body of him with whom they had wandered. And gradually, as dreams emerge in human consciousness, in human souls, the previous days emerged in the apostles' consciousness. What emerged was the whole time which they had experienced from the Mystery of Golgotha to Pentecost, which had remained hidden in their subconscious. Especially the ten days between the so-called Ascension until the Pentecost event seemed to be a period of deep sleep. Looking back, however, the time between the Mystery of Golgotha and the Ascension of Christ Jesus emerged day by day. They had experienced it, but it only emerged now, and in a remarkable way.

Excuse me if I add a personal comment. I must admit that I was astonished when I became aware of how what they experienced between the Mystery of Golgotha and the so-called Ascension emerged in the apostles' souls. Images like these: Yes, you were together with him who was born on the cross, you encountered him – like when one wakes up in the morning and it seems like out of a dream emerges: you were with someone during the night. But it was peculiar how the individual events emerged in the apostles' souls. They had to ask themselves: Who was it with whom we were together? And they didn't recognize him again and again. They knew: We certainly wandered around with him – but they didn't recognize him in the form in which he then stood before them, and which now appeared in images as they received fecundation by all-encompassing love. They saw themselves wandering after the Mystery of Golgotha with him whom we call Christ. And they saw how he had really taught them about the kingdom of the spirit. And they were able to understand how they had wandered with the being who was born on the cross, how this being – the all-encompassing love born from the cosmos – was their teacher, how they were not mature enough to understand what this being had to say, how they had to receive it with the subconscious powers of their souls and couldn't receive what this being had to give with normal reason, how they went like sleepwalkers alongside Christ during those forty days and couldn't understand with normal reason what he had to give them. He appeared to them as their spiritual teacher and instructed them in secrets which they could only understand when he transferred them to a completely different consciousness. And now they realized that they had been with the Christ, had walked with the resurrected Christ. Now they realized what had happened to him. But how did they recognize that he was really the same one with whom they had traveled with love before the Mystery of Golgotha? That happened as follows.
Let us imagine that such an image appeared before the soul of one of the apostles after Pentecost. He saw that he had walked with the resurrected one. But he didn't recognize him. He saw a heavenly spiritual being, but he didn't recognize him. Another image, which showed that the apostles had really been with Christ Jesus before the Mystery of Golgotha, interfered with the purely spiritual one. There was a scene in which they felt they were instructed in the secrets of the spirit by Christ Jesus. But they didn't recognize him, they saw themselves standing before this spiritual being. And in order to recognize him, this image was transformed into the image of the Last Supper, which they had experienced together with Christ Jesus. Just imagine that the apostle had before him the supersensible experience of the resurrected one and, as though hovering in the background, the image of the Last Supper. Then they recognized that the one with whom they had wandered with love was the same as the one who now taught them, in a completely different form, which he had taken on after the Mystery of Golgotha. It was a flowing together of the memories from the sleeping consciousness with the memories which preceded it. They experienced two images: one image of the occurrences after the Mystery of Golgotha, and one of the occurrences before their consciousness had been dimmed. They therefore realized that the two beings belong together: the resurrected one and he with whom they had lovingly wandered a relatively short time ago. And they thought: Before we were awakened through the fecundation by all-encompassing love, our normal consciousness was taken away. And Christ, the resurrected one, was with us. He had taken us into his kingdom without our knowing it; he wandered with us and revealed to us the secrets of his kingdom, which now, after the Pentecost-Mystery, emerge as having been experienced in a dream.
This is what causes such astonishment: the coinciding of an image of an apostle's experience with the Christ after the Mystery of Golgotha with an image before the Mystery of Golgotha, which they experienced in the physical body in a normal state of consciousness.

We have begun to indicate what can be read in the so-called Fifth Gospel, and I would like to say a few words to you at the end of this report as an aside. I feel myself obliged to speak of these things now. What I would like to say though, is the following. I know very well that we live in a time in which much is being prepared for the earthly future of humanity, and that we within our – now Anthroposophical – Society, should realize that something must be prepared for the future in human souls. I know that the time will come when one will be able to speak of such things in a different way than is allowed in our times. For we are all children of our time. But a near future will come in which one can speak more precisely, in which perhaps much of what can be perceived today only by way of indication will be much more precisely perceived in the spiritual Script of Becoming. Such times will come, even though it seems so improbable to the people of today. Nevertheless, it is just for this reason that a certain obligation exists to speak of these things today as a kind of preparation. And although I had to overcome a certain resistance to speak on this theme, the obligation for preparation in these our times outweighed the resistance. That led to my speaking to you for the first time about these things.
When I say “overcoming”, please understand the word as it is meant. I explicitly request that what I have to say on this occasion be understood as a stimulation, as something which in the future will be explained much better and more precisely. And you will understand the word “overcoming” better if you allow me to make a personal remark. It is completely clear to me that for the spiritual investigation to which I have devoted myself, it is at first extremely difficult to extract many things from the Script of the World – especially things of this nature! And I would not be surprised if the word “indication”, which I used, may have a more difficult and broader meaning than it normally has. I can not at all say that I am able today to say precisely what is in the Spiritual Script. For it is very difficult and takes much effort to extract images from the Akasha Record which have to with Christianity. It takes much effort to give these images the necessary condensation, to hold them fast, and I consider it my karma that my duty is to say what I am saying. Without doubt it would cost me less effort if in my early youth I had received a real Christian upbringing. I did not have that; I was brought up in a completely free cultural environment. My education was purely scientific. And for that reason it costs me effort to find these things about which I am obligated to speak.

I make this personal comment for two reasons: because of a peculiar unscrupulousness, a foolish, silly fairy tale about my relationship with certain Catholic currents is being spread about. Not one word of this is true. And what that which is often called Theosophy today has come to may be judged by the fact that such unscrupulous assertions and rumors come from that source. And because we are obliged to tell the truth and not avoid such assertions, this personal remark is made.

On the other hand, due to my lack of contact with Christianity during my youth I feel more objective about Christianity and believe that I have been led to Christianity and to Christ by the spirit. Especially in this area I think I have a certain right to claim objectivity and lack of prejudice. Perhaps one can rely more on the words of a person who comes from a scientific background, who in his youth was distant from Christianity, than one who had a relationship with Christianity from early youth on. But when you hear these words, you may feel an indication of what lives in me when I speak about the secrets which I would like to call the secrets of the so-called Fifth Gospel.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"That Your Joy Might Be Full"

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

--John 15:1-13

Monday, February 1, 2010

Batter My Heart

Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

--John Donne, Holy Sonnets. XIV