Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Becoming the Bride of Christ

"The Marriage of the Virgin" by Raphael

from Christ and the Human Soul. Lecture 4 of 4.
Rudolf Steiner, July 16, 1914:

The soul, if it reflects, can receive Christ in the following way. It can realize that there was once a time when man was within the bosom of the divine Logos. But man had to succumb to the temptation of Lucifer. He took death into himself; into him there passed the germ by which he would have brought a dead Earth to birth as a dead Jupiter. The endowment which, before the temptation, the human soul had been destined to receive for its Earth-existence was left behind. With Christ it entered again into man's Earth-existence.
When man takes Christ into himself, so as to feel permeated with Christ, he is able to say to himself: “The endowment which the gods had allocated to me before the Luciferic temptation, but which owing to the temptation by Lucifer had to remain behind in the Cosmos, enters into my soul with the Christ. The soul becomes whole again for the first time by taking the Christ into itself. Only then am I fully soul; only then am I again all that the gods intended me to be from the very beginning of the Earth.” “Am I really a soul without Christ?” man asks himself, and he feels that it is through Christ that he first becomes the soul that the guiding divine beings meant him to be. This is the wonderful feeling of “home” that souls can have with Christ; for out of the primal cosmic home of the soul of man the Christ descended, in order to give back to the soul of man that which had to be lost on Earth as a result of the temptation by Lucifer. The Christ leads the soul up again to its primordial home, the home allotted to it by the gods.
That is the bliss and the blessing in the actual experience of Christ in the human soul. It was this that gave such bliss to certain Christian mystics in the Middle Ages. They may have written much which in itself seems to be too strongly colored by the senses, but fundamentally it was spiritual. Such Christian mystics as those who joined Bernard of Clairvaux, and others, felt that the human soul was as a bride who had lost her bridegroom at the primal beginning of the Earth; and when Christ entered into their souls, filling them with life and soul and spirit, they experienced Christ as the soul-bridegroom who united Himself with the soul; the bridegroom who had been lost when the soul forsook her original home in order to follow Lucifer along the path of freedom, the path of differentiation between good and evil.
When the soul of man really lives into Christ, feeling that Christ is the living Being who from the death on Golgotha flowed out into the atmosphere of the Earth and can flow into the soul, it feels itself inwardly vivified through the Christ. The soul feels a transition from death into life.
So long as we have to live out our earthly existence in human bodies — and this will continue far into a remote future — we cannot hear directly the Music of the Spheres or have direct experience of the Cosmic Life. But we can experience the incoming of the Christ, and so we can receive, by proxy as it were, that which would otherwise come to us from the Music of the Spheres and the Cosmic Life.
Pythagoras, an Initiate of the ancient Mysteries, spoke of the Music of the Spheres. He had gone through the process whereby the soul passes out of the body, and he could then be carried away into the spiritual worlds. There he saw the Christ who was later to come to the Earth. Since the Mystery of Golgotha we cannot speak of the Music of the Spheres as did Pythagoras, but we can speak of it in another way. An Initiate might even today speak as Pythagoras did; but the ordinary inhabitant of the Earth in his physical body can speak of the Music of the Spheres and of the Cosmic Life only when he experiences in his soul, “Not I, but Christ in me”, for the Christ within him has lived in the Music of the Spheres and in the Cosmic Life. But we must go through this experience in ourselves; we must really receive the Christ into our souls.
Let us suppose that a man were to fight against this, that he did not wish to receive Christ into his soul. Then he would come to the end of the Earth period, and in the nebulous spirit-structure that had then taken shape out of the Earth-spirits arising in the course of human evolution, he would have all the phantom-like beings which had issued from him in former incarnations. They would all be there. The tendency indicated here would lead to a dead Earth, and this would pass over, dead, to Jupiter. At the end of the Earth period a man might have carried through and completely absolved his Karma; he might have made personal compensation for all his imperfect deeds; he might have become whole in his soul-being, in his ego, but the objective sin and guilt would remain. That is an absolute truth, for we do not live only for ourselves, so that by adjusting our Karma we may become egotistically more nearly perfect; we live for the world, and at the end of the ages the remains of our Earth incarnations will stand there like a mighty tableau if we have not taken into us the living Christ.
When we connect what was said yesterday with what is being said today (and it is really the same, only seen from two sides) we understand how Christ takes upon Himself the guilt and sin of Earth humanity, in so far as these are objective guilt and sin. And if we have inwardly realized this “Not I, but Christ in me”, the Christ in us, then He takes over the objective remains of our incarnations, and they stand there vivified by Christ, irradiated by Christ and permeated by His life. Yes, the remains of our incarnations stand there, and what do they come to, taken as a whole?
Because Christ unites them all — Christ who belongs to all mankind in the present and in the future — the remains of the single incarnations are all compressed together. Every human soul lives in successive incarnations. From each incarnation certain relics or remains are left, as we have described. Further incarnations will leave other remains, and so on, up to the end of the Earth period. If these relics are permeated by Christ, they are compressed together. Compress what is rarefied and you will get density. Spirit also becomes dense, and so our collective Earth-incarnations are united into a spiritual body. This body belongs to us; we need it because we evolve onwards to Jupiter, and it will be the starting-point of our embodiment on Jupiter. At the end of the Earth period we shall stand there with the soul — whatever the particular karma of the soul may be — and we shall stand there before our earthly relics which have been gathered together by Christ, and we shall have to unite with them in order to pass over with them to Jupiter.
We shall rise again in the body, in the earthly body that has condensed out of the separate incarnations. Truly, my dear friends, from a heart profoundly moved I utter these words: “In the body we shall rise again!”

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