Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Altar of Existence

Rudolf Steiner [1915]:

The terrible suffering which is poured over the world is nevertheless necessary for the course of existence as a whole. For the blood which now flows will be the symbol of a certain refreshing of spiritual life at a particular time in the future, and this is necessary for the whole evolution of humanity. Then will the souls, who now go through the gate of death so early, descend again; but most of them will descend different from what they would have been had they reached the limits of life in material existence, and then died. It is Cosmic Wisdom which now calls away a number of souls, that they may be allowed to perceive even in their retrospective tableau and experiences, deep spiritual secrets connected with the earth. That, too, is Cosmic Wisdom, for these souls are thus filled with that which they will behold in stronger form when they come to see it again; they will have been strengthened by the shorter earth life which they have undergone. That is the true Wisdom of the Cosmos. And so we must say that much of what rightly gives us pain when we are only able to regard it from the standpoint of earthly existence shows us its redeeming side when we observe it from the standpoint of spiritual vision. Thus it is with the whole of life.
     Certainly, my dear friends, earthly pain cannot be at present avoided through such a consideration. It must be experienced. For that is the very condition for its compensation. If we did not experience it in the physical world it could never be compensated. But although we must suffer many things in the physical world, there are nevertheless moments in which we can place ourselves at the standpoint of the spiritual. Then we shall recognize that much of that which must appear to us as painful from a lower point of view is a tribute which must be offered to the higher spiritual worlds and the wise beings therein, in order that the evolution of the whole Cosmos and of human existence may go forward not in a one-sided manner, but in every direction. The expiation for much suffering must be achieved, and to this end the suffering itself must first be endured. Spiritual science cannot indeed spare us that, but it can teach us to lay it on the altar of existence, to seek the compensation, and to recognize the Wisdom of the Cosmos, in spite of all the pain which for higher ends it must cause. This is what spiritual science can give us as a precious unction for the whole of human existence. Thus from this standpoint also and right from the feelings which spiritual science can arouse in us, let us regard the powerful events of our time, and say again that which we have often repeated here:

From the fighters' courage,
From the blood of battles,
From the mourners' suffering,
From the people's sacrifice,
There will ripen fruits of Spirit
If with consciousness the soul
Turns her thought to Spirit Realms.