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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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The Christmas Conference
GA 260
Part II. The Proceedings of the Conference

On Behalf of the Members

My dear friends!

HERR WERBECK: Dear and greatly respected Dr Steiner! Dear friends! There is no other way for this Conference, so immensely meaningful for our Society and our Movement, to end except in an outpouring of deeply moved gratitude to the one whose work of love on the earth has brought us all together here. But my dear friends, what can words express! Was not perhaps all that a word can do shown at the beginning of this Conference by our respected friend Albert Steffen when, indicating that gratitude cannot be expressed in words, he said: Our gratitude is inexpressible. And yet on the wings of these words he did express everything our human hearts can give. Dear friends! Words, addresses, resolutions and all the rest are, measured against our Conference, nothing but outdated, cheap requisites of the cultural life that is collapsing all around us. And no one knows the background to these cheap requisites better than the one who has spoken to us this evening, moving us in the depths of our being. What is or rather can become honest gratitude, this virtue of great profundity, we shall still have to practise with the help of the one who spoke to us today. He alone has shown us through his spiritual work what gratitude really is. If we understand him aright, then we know that for us anthroposophists the hour has come when we must set the deed of gratitude in the place of the word of gratitude. We must requite his great, his immeasurably great deed of love with whatever deed of gratitude our puny strength can muster. For to him who spoke to us this evening we owe nothing less than our own spiritual felicity. And we know that the worth it bears will be eternal. It pertains not only to the few years we may still have to breathe on this physical earth; the felicity he has bestowed on us will stretch ahead to our future incarnations too. We know that this has been a turning point for our further destiny. What we are permitted to experience through his deed of love is incalculably significant. But we know that the felicity brought by this love cannot be measured with the yard-stick known to us from times preceding Anthroposophy, for it will be paired with severe pain, with fateful destinies. But we also know that it is nevertheless a felicity that will lead us to salvation. And when our knowledge is truly tempered with feeling, then we know that words of gratitude are meaningless in face of this fact and that our only answer to what we have received from here can be in deeds of gratitude. And we know, however weak our forces, that our deeds of gratitude can flow into his great deeds. And therefore we also know that they can flow into the plan for salvation that is given to mankind today. For just as the great deeds are devoted to human beings, so may also the small deeds be devoted to human beings. Over this mighty life's work stands the heading: Let everything be for the good of human beings. O my dear friends, we know that something superhuman, something divine is working in him! But when we answer with deeds directed towards human beings we know that our deeds of gratitude will be felt at a human level. Yesterday he expressed it with the mighty fire of his great heart: Faithfulness and yet more faithfulness. This is something human directed towards something human. And so my dear friends, please stand once more and let us say in our heart as we depart from this holy place: You great and pure brother of mankind, out of our forces that are so very weak we want to thank you; we want to thank you through our deeds, through overcoming what has to be overcome in the service of your holy mission for mankind. We beg you: Be with us with the heavenly strength of your fatherly blessing!

DR STEINER: My dear friends! I could not have said many of the things I have had to say during this Conference in the form in which I said them, and similarly I could not accept the kind words of our dear friend Werbeck, if I were to relate all this to a single weak individual. For actually in our circles these things should not be related to a mere individual. Yet, my dear friends, I know that I have been permitted to say what has here been said, for it was said in full responsibility looking up to the Spirit who is there and who should be and will be the Spirit of the Goetheanum. In that Spirit's name I have permitted myself over the last few days to say a great many things which ought not to have been put so forcefully had they not been expressed while looking up to the Spirit of the Goetheanum, to the good Spirit of the Goetheanum. So allow me, please, to accept these thanks in the name of the Spirit of the Goetheanum for whom we want to work and strive and labour in the world.

All that remains is to ask that the practising doctors come to the Glass House tomorrow morning not at half past eight but at ten o'clock.

I also have a message to read to you: ‘Out of our strong sharing in the experience of the Christmas Foundation Conference in Dornach we greet the President of the Anthroposophical Society. We thank him and his colleagues in the Vorstand for taking on the leadership and we also thank him for the Statutes. From the members of the Anthroposophical Society in Cologne who are meeting together at the close of the year.’

This is all I have to say. Tomorrow evening at 7 o'clock there will be a eurythmy performance for those friends who are still here.