We live in challenging times, apocalyptic times.
Apocalypse means ‘lifting the vail’. It is not so much the destruction that gives apocalypse its meaning but the experience that everything is being exposed, challenged to the core. Apocalypse is that what is on the inside is revealed- both the good and the bad.
Egotism is being revealed. For instance there are individuals buying much needed items and then selling them at high prices, profiting off suffering. Entering grocery stores these days, one can feel the panic in the air as individuals are stocking up for themselves.
And love is arising. The other day I went to our neighborhood park and there were many people talking and asking if we needed anything, if they could help. My neighbor, a Muslim man named Ali, asked if I needed any financial support or anything at all.
What is hidden in our hearts is being called out. But let us strive to cultivate freedom of conscience with each other and refrain from judgement and condemnation. For morality itself must not fall into the abyss. Let us remember that our moral decisions are only valuable for the hierarchies if they are chosen freely. Love can never be dictated, legislated or persuaded. Love can only be revealed, inspired from heart to heart. And only deeds of love are of any use for Christ and The Father. Therefore, let us refrain from dismissing others because they are going against our deepest held beliefs or because they are not being reasonable. We are called to write into our hearts that human beings can only be led by their free conscience if morality is to be real.
Let us also cultivate everything that can help subdue fear. For fear is unhelpful for our souls and unhelpful for our immune systems. We know that fear is largely snuffed-out in an environment of love and peace. Courage, gratitude, the will to help others despite the actual risk, these are medicine.
We may even choose to reduce our exposure to the fearful images in video games, movies and tv shows that burden our souls. Or we may choose to reduce our intake of animal meat. Many animals have been raised and slaughtered in such a way as to cause tremendous suffering and fear in them and when we ingest them, we also ingest these feelings into our souls. Perhaps it is also important to go into sleep with prayer and divine images as these work against the forces of fear in the environment. For those of us who are choosing to stay home in isolation, let us use this opportunity to go deeply inward, cultivate meditation, study and pray. It can also be a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our relationships with our loved ones and family. All of this can give our hearts strength!
Above all, let us not loose heart. Let us remember that the most important medicine is cultivating the feeling of Christ Jesus’ presence with us. He is offering us peace at every moment. Whether we are able to attend communion service, or whether it is best to stay at home, we can pray whenever possible ‘my heart be filled with your pure life, oh Christ’…..and try to feel His life filling our hearts.
And if we get sick for whatever reason, let us courageously meet it as a way to connect to the suffering of humanity and to Christ. For even though the dwelling is sick, the soul can always be made whole in and through Christ.
Contemplation by Rev. Jonah Evans
Relevant Excepts from GA 154, Rudolf Steiner
“….the important point we want to make today is that germs can become dangerous only if they are allowed to flourish. Germs should not be allowed to flourish. Even materialists will agree with this statement, but they will no longer agree with us if we proceed further and, from the standpoint of proper spiritual science, speak about the most favorable conditions for germs. Germs flourish most intensively when we take nothing but materialistic thoughts into sleep with us. There is no better way to encourage them to flourish than to enter sleep with only materialistic ideas, and then to work from the spiritual world with the ego and the astral body on those organs that are not part of the blood and the nervous system. The only other method that is just as good is to live in the center of an epidemic or endemic illness and to think of nothing but the sickness all around, filled only with a fear of getting sick. That would be equally effective. If fear of the illness is the only thing created in such a place and one goes to sleep at night with that thought, it produces afterimages, Imaginations impregnated with fear. That is a good method of cultivating and nurturing germs. If this fear can be reduced even a little by, for example, active love and, while tending the sick, forgetting for a time that one might also be infected, the conditions are less favorable for the germs…”
Steiner continues…”A short time ago, a very dear friend of ours died, and many of us attended his cremation. He would have celebrated his forty-third birthday tomorrow, on May 6. In the final years of his life, he suffered much. I would like to tell here, parenthetically as it were, a wonderful story from his last years as his wife told it to me. During his great suffering, our friend fought not against admitting to himself that he had to suffer, but against saying that he was ill. He was not ill, he said. He suffered, yes, but he was not ill, and he was adamant that such a statement should not be taken as quibbling but as something meaningful. This definition, “I suffer, but I am not ill,” arose from his awareness that what he carried within him as spiritual science, what supported and carried him inwardly, defeated all attacks of illness. He was aware that he suffered, but the health of his soul is so great that, when he compared it to his physical condition, he could not call himself ill. This definition is very important and well-suited to permeate our soul as a feeling.
Anyway, we saw how the person concerned spent his last years on earth in a sick body, in a suffering body. Yet he did not see himself as sick but only as suffering. If we compare that with the spiritual life that has now begun for our friend, we will have a worthy image of what connects our earth existence with life after death. It is a fact of the spiritual world that a series of Imaginations was prepared in his body, a body that showed the symptoms of illness. A series of Imaginations, powerful Imaginations, lived, so to speak, in the sick limbs. He was completely filled with the content of the spiritual worlds. They lived in him in such a way that they worked on all those organs we are usually not as aware of as we are of our brain and nervous system, that is, organs we experience on a more subconscious level. These powerful Imaginations lived in these organs, and all the more so, the more outwardly ill these organs became. They prepared themselves and now face the soul of the deceased as a mighty tableau of the spiritual world. Now he is living in the images that were trapped in his sick organs, especially in his final years. They prepared themselves in such intensity that they now surround him as his spiritual world.
It is impossible to see more beautiful worlds, or to see the spiritual cosmos more perfectly and more beautifully, than those that blossom and unfold in spiritual art, which cannot be observed better anywhere else than through such a situation. Here, on the physical plane, an artist can create in beauty a piece of the world, so that the image on canvas or in marble lets us see more of the world than we do on our own. All of this, however, pales into insignificance in comparison to the spiritual world seen as it is and also as it arises and blossoms forth from the soul of the deceased who has been prepared by his karma in the way I have described. How he was prepared will be clear from his poetic works, which are now being printed and will appear soon. His poetry reveals that this kind of spiritual life and passage into the spiritual world after death are intimately connected with what we have for many years called the Christ-Impulse. The Christ-Impulse, in the sense spiritual science speaks of it, is beautifully alive in our friend’s poetry….”