Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The brotherhood of man and the deed of Christ

Rudolf Steiner:

"It is understanding which can guide us with respect to this second virtue: Love. It is that which, through the Christ impulse, has become the special virtue of the mind soul or intellectual soul; it is the virtue which may be described as human love accompanied by human understanding. Sympathy in grief and joy is the virtue which in the future must produce the most beautiful and glorious fruits in human social life, and in one who rightly understands the Christ impulse, this sympathy and this love will originate quite naturally, it will develop into feeling. It is precisely through the anthroposophical understanding of the Christ impulse that it will become feeling.

Through the Mystery of Golgotha Christ descended into earthly evolution; His impulses, His activities, are here now, they are everywhere. Why did He descend to this Earth? In order that through what He has to give to the world, evolution may go forward in the right way. Now that the Christ impulse is in the world, if through what is unmoral, if through lack of interest in our fellow-men, we destroy something, then we take away a portion of the world into which the Christ impulse has flowed. Thus because the Christ impulse is now here, we directly destroy something of it. But if we give to the world what can be given to it through virtue, which is creative, we build. We build through self-surrender. It is not without reason that it has often been said that Christ was first crucified on Golgotha, but that He is crucified again and again through the deeds of man. Since Christ has entered into the Earth development through the deed upon Golgotha, we, by our unmoral deeds, by our unkindness and lack of interest, add to the sorrow and pain inflicted upon Him. Therefore it has been said, again and again: Christ is crucified anew as long as unmorality, unkindness, and lack of interest exist. Since the Christ impulse has permeated the world, it is this which is made to suffer.

Just as it is true that through evil, which is destructive, we withdraw something from the Christ impulse and continue the crucifixion upon Golgotha, it is also true that when we act out of love, in all cases where we use love, we add to the Christ impulse, we help to bring it to life. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me” (Matthew 25:40) — this is the most significant statement of love, and this statement must become the most profound moral impulse if it is once anthroposophically understood. We do this when with understanding we confront our fellow-men and offer them something in our actions, our virtue, our conduct toward them which is conditioned by our understanding of their nature. Our attitude toward our fellow-men is our attitude toward the Christ impulse itself.

It is a powerful moral impulse, something which is a real foundation for morals, when we feel: “The Mystery of Golgotha was accomplished for all men, and an impulse has thence spread abroad throughout the whole world. When you are dealing with your fellow-men, try to understand them in their special characteristics of race, color, nationality, religious faith, philosophy, etc. If you meet them and do this or that to them, you do it to Christ. Whatever you do to men, in the present condition of the Earth's evolution, you do to Christ.” This statement: “What ye have done to one of My brothers, ye have done unto Me,” will at the same time become a mighty moral impulse to the man who understands the fundamental significance of the Mystery of Golgotha. So that we may say: Whereas the gods of pre-Christian times gave instinctive wisdom to man, instinctive valor and bravery, so love streams down from the symbol of the cross, the love which is based upon the mutual interest of man in man.

Thereby the Christ impulse will work powerfully in the world. On the day when it comes about that the Brahmin not only loves and understands the Brahmin, the Pariah the Pariah, the Jew the Jew, and the Christian the Christian; but when the Jew is able to understand the Christian, the Pariah the Brahmin, the American the Asiatic, as man, and put himself in his place, then one will know how deeply it is felt in a Christian way when we say: “All men must feel themselves to be brothers, no matter what their religious creed may be.” We ought to consider what otherwise binds us as being of little value. Father, mother, brother, sister, even one's own life one ought to esteem less than that which speaks from one human soul to the other. He who in this sense does not regard as base all that impairs the connection with the Christ impulse cannot be Christ's disciple. The Christ impulse balances and compensates human differences. Christ's disciple is one who regards mere human distinctions as being of little account, and clings to the impulse of love streaming forth from the Mystery of Golgotha, which in this respect we perceive as a renewal of what was given to mankind as original virtue."

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