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Foundation Course: Spiritual Discernment, Religious Feeling, Sacramental Action
GA 343

VIII. Prayer and Symbolism

30 September 1921 a.m., Dornach

My dear friends! It is important that the question which we had yesterday and actually have been considering during the past days from the side of Anthroposophy, we now approach from a religious side, but again I don't want to do it through definitions and explanations but in a more concrete way. It is important in fact, as you have probably already sensed, to find a way which must come out of religious experience. What belong to religious experiences are the reality of prayer and the reality of the examination of the word, first becoming visible for us in the examining of Gospel words. We will have to draw on the more inner elements of religious life, but we will adhere to these two, prayer and the examination of Gospel words, through examples that are far better than concepts.

Regarding prayer, my dear friends, one can from a religious standpoint say that a person who does not pray in our present time, cannot be a religious person. Certainly such a statement can be doubted from this point of view, but we don't want to enter into an abstract discussion but approach from a positive point of view, and this must always have some or other basis. So I would like to start from a kind of religious axiom, which for many can consist in feeling that without the possibility of praying it is not an inner religious experience, because in prayer a real union with the Divine must be sought, which interweaves and rules the world. It is important now to examine prayer.

We need to be clear that despite the general human differentiation in humanity, the care of a spiritual life also appears, according to the varied callings of different people. If prayer is also certainly something general and human, one can say that a special prayer is then again necessary for those who want to be teachers in the field of religious life, and this will bring us to the Breviary absolving. We want to speak about all these things because they are for you, namely young theologians, of imminent seriousness for the tasks that you are to set yourself, I'm not saying now, but which you can set yourself according to the demands of the time.

Regarding prayer, in order to reach clarity, I want to speak about the Lord's Prayer and inner experiences of the Our Father. It is important that we may not take our starting point today from experiences of ancient Christianity by examining the Lord's Prayer or bringing it to life inwardly; our basis must be about contemporary man, because we want to speak about the Lord's Prayer in a general human way. Yet one must be aware of the following. Let's accept we will start to say the Lord's Prayer according to the style in which we say the first sentence: "Our Father who art in Heaven." It is important what we feel and experience in such a sentence and what we can feel and experience with other sentences of the Lord's Prayer, for only then will this prayer become inwardly alive. What we are talking about here, in fact, first of all, is to have something like an inner perception of such a sentence, not really just something that appears in the symbols of the words, but something that lives in us in real words. The heaven is basically the entire cosmos and we make it perceptible when we say "Our Father in Heaven" or "Our Father who art in the Heavens" or "Our Father, You are in the Heavens," so that in saying these words they are permeated with the spirit; we are turning towards the spirit. This is the perception of what we need to visualize, when we say such a sentence as "Our Father in the Heavens." Such a similar experience is what we need with the words "Your kingdom come," because within us there needs to be, more or less as an intuitive feeling, the question: What is this kingdom? If we are Christians, we will gradually, in our striving, approach a perception of this kingdom—or expressed more appropriately, the kingdoms—and be reminded of what was mentioned yesterday, we are reminded of Christ's words which sound and ends in "the kingdoms of heaven." Already in the 13th chapter of Matthew's Gospel, the Christ wants to speak to the people on the one hand and to the disciples on the other, about what the kingdom of heaven is. There has to be something lively about the phrase "Your kingdom" or "May Your kingdom come to us." When will the right thing come to life in us? The right thing will only become alive in us when we take such a sentence not as a thought, but when we make it alive as if we actually hear it within us, as if we apply what I have more than once spoken to you about recently. A path must be made from the concept to the word, because there is quite a different kind of inner experience when we, without outwardly saying the words, inwardly not only hold an abstract concept, but a lively experience of the sound, in whatever language it might be.

The entire Lord's Prayer becomes, so to speak, reduced out of the specificity of language, also when we in some or other language not only imagine the thought content but what is contained in the sound. This was stressed much more in earlier times regarding prayer, that the sound element becomes inwardly alive, because by the sound content becoming alive within, the prayer is transformed into what it should be, as an interactive conversation with the Divine. Prayer is never true prayer unless there is an exchange with the Divine, and for such an interactive conversation with the Divine, the Lord's Prayer is suited in the most immanent form because of its structure. We are so to speak outside of ourselves when we speak such sentences as "Our Father who art in the Heavens" or "Let Your kingdom come." We forget ourselves the moment we really make these sentences audible and alive within us. In these sentences we erase ourselves to a large extent simply by the content of the sentences, but we take hold of ourselves again when we read sentences of a different structure or make them inwardly alive. We take hold of ourselves again when we say: "hallowed be Your name." It is then actually a lively exchange with the Divine, because it transforms itself immediately as an inner deed in "hallowed be Your name."

On the one hand we have the perception that in "Our Father who art in Heaven" nothing is happening unless the sentence is thoroughly experienced. By us directing ourselves to inner listening, it enlivens our inner hearing for the name of Christ, like it did in pre-Christian times when the Jahve name had caused it, in the sense of what I had mentioned earlier about the beginning of the St John's Gospel. If we utter the sentence "Our Father who art in Heaven" within us in the right way in our time, then Christ's name mingles into this expression, then we inwardly give the answer to what we experience as a question: "Let this name be sanctified through us/ be hallowed by your name."

You see, it takes prayer to live correctly into the Lord's Prayer; it takes on the form of an exchange with the Divine, even so when we in the right way experience the perception "Your kingdom come." This kingdom can't primarily be taken up in the intellectual consciousness; we can only take it up in the will. Similarly, when we lose ourselves with the sentence "Your kingdom come to us" we discover, taking hold of ourselves, that the kingdom, when it comes, works in us, that the actual Divine will happens in the heavenly kingdoms, and therefore also where we are on earth. You see, you have an exchange with the godhead in the Lord's Prayer.

This conversational exchange prepares you firstly to have inner dignity in relation to the concerns the earth, and to bring it into a relationship with what has happened in this exchange, by connecting that to earthly relationships. Obviously to some of you it might appear that when I say "Hallowed by Your name" there's an enlivening of the Christ name. However, my dear friends, it is precisely here where the Christ Mystery lives. This Christ Mystery will not really be recognised for as long as St John's Gospel is not really understood. At the start of St John's Gospel, you read the words: "All things came into being through the Word and nothing of all that has come into being was made except through the Word." By ascribing the creation of the world to the Father God, you go against St John's Gospel. In the St John's Gospel you hold on to what you take as sure, that everything which exists as the world had been created through the word, thus in the Christian sense through the Christ, through the Son which the Father had substantially created, had subsisted, and that the Father has no name but that His name is actually that which lives in Christ. The entire Christ Mystery lives in these words: "Hallowed be your name" because the name of the Father is given in the Christ. We will still speak about this enough on other occasions, but I wanted to refer to it today, how in prayer a real inner conversational exchange with the Divine should be contained in the prayer itself.

Now we can go further and say: Nothing is given to us from the natural world merely by taking our daily food, our bread. We take our bread from nature with the conditions which I've mentioned; by our digestive processes, through regenerative processes we become earthly man on the earth, but that can't really live in us because life in God is different, the life of God lives in the spiritual world. After we have entered into a conversation with the Divine in the first part of the Lord's Prayer, we can now out of this mindset which has permeated us within, release the negative and say positively: "You give us our bread, which works in our everyday life, today." With this it means: what has been nature's processes and work in us as processes of nature, this is what should, through our consciousness, through our inner experience, become a spiritual process. In this way our mindset should be transformed. We should become capable of forgiveness towards those who have done something to us, who have caused damage. We would only be able to do this when we become conscious of how much we have damaged the Divine spiritual, and therefore should ask for the right mindset in order for us to handle what we have become guilty of, in the right way; we can only do this if we have become aware that we are continuously doing harm to the Divine through the mere nature of our being, and continuously need the forgiveness of those beings towards whom we have become guilty.

Now we can add the following, which is again an earthly thing, something which we want to link to the first thing we have related to: "Lead us not into temptation," which means: Let our connection to You be so alive that we may not experience the challenge to merge with mere nature, to surrender ourselves to mere nature, that we hold you firmly in all our daily nourishment. "But deliver us, from the evil." The evil consists of mankind letting go of the Divine; we ask that we are freed and let loose from this evil.

When we ever and again have such experiences of the Lord's Prayer as our foundation, my dear friends, then we deepen the Lord's Prayer actively towards an inner life, which enables us to create the mood and possibility in us which allows us not only to act from one physical human to another physical human but that we act as one human soul to another human soul. In this way we have brought ourselves into a connection of the Divine creation in others, and we learn through this, what it is to experience such words as: "The least thing you have done to my brothers, you have also done to Me." In this way we have learnt to experience the Divine in the earthly existence. However we must in a real way, not through a theory, but in a real way turn away from worldly existence because we become aware that earthly existence, as it was first given to mankind, is actually no real worldly existence but an existence stripped of the Divine, and that we will only have a real worldly existence after we have turned ourselves to God in prayer, having created a link to God in our prayer.

With this, my dear friends, the most elementary steps, the stairway, can lead to the conscious awakening of religious impulses in human beings. These religious impulses had to a certain extent been instilled in the human beings since primordial beginnings, but it concerns becoming aware of these impulses within, and that can only happen when a real exchange with the Divine in prayer comes about. The first meaningful discovery which one can make about the Lord's Prayer is that within its inner structure lies the possibility for a person to directly, with understanding, enter into a conversational exchange with the Divine. That is only a beginning, my dear friends, but it is so, however, that in the beginning, when it is really lived through, it is taken further and just when the question is taken religiously, it concerns wanting to find in our experience of the first steps, the strength to continue with the next steps through our own inner being.

It is quite different to speak from the point of view of knowledge than it is to speak from the religious viewpoint. When one speaks from the side of knowledge, one deals mainly with the content; when one speaks about Anthroposophy as a religious element, my dear friends, then we need to pay attention to Goethe's words: Not What we think, but more How we think!—and for this reason I said yesterday, Anthroposophy inevitably, as is its character, leads to a religious experience, it flows into a religious experience through the How, how its content is experienced. However, when one speaks from the religious angle, it is necessary now not to look first at What it is which lies in the spread ahead of us, but that one goes out from this How, one comes from the human subject, one has to illuminate this human subject.

When you have found the attitude of prayer, you can now go to the other side and find it in the reading of the Gospels as well. The meaning the Gospels have for religious development, we will of course still speak about. In any case, real Christians need to remain within inner childlike feelings today in order to understand the Gospels in a believable way, also without criticism. When as a theologian he applies criticism, he has to, because he comes from the Christian angle, be able to understand the Gospel without criticism. At least he must firstly become strong in his experiences of the Gospels, and then, armed with this strength, he only then applies criticism. That's actually the basic damage in Bible criticism and actually in the Gospel criticism of the 19th Century; people are not initially religiously strengthened before they apply criticism to the Gospels. As a result, they have arrived at a Gospel criticism which is nothing other than done in the modern scientific sense. Nothing is more clearly felt regarding this modern scientific sense, my dear friends, than the Gospel words of St Matthew 13, for in Matthew 13, I could say, the pivotal point of the whole chapter are words which encloses a mystery, and that perhaps in the entire evolution of Christianity it could never have been felt more deeply by religious people than today, when they come up against the world. It is in the words: He answered and said: for you it is possible, to understand the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven, but for those, whom I've just mentioned, the people around, it is not so.—To this an actually deep puzzle is connected: To him who has it, more will be given ... but he, who does not have it, nothing will be given: what would have been given to him, the little he has, will be taken from him.—These are extraordinarily deep words. Perhaps nowhere else in the evolution of Christianity can these words of giving and taking be so deeply felt—when one can really feel in a religious way towards the world and people—how just today, science has taken over nature and in the widest circles gained ever more authority; accepted to take away everything which could give the possibility of being able to spiritually hear with his ears or see with his eyes. This is not what man is supposed to do, in the scientific sense. Spirit should be obliterated in the sense of science, in the mood of our modern times. When we speak in the same way as modern theology speaks to people who are raised in scientific terms, we take away that little which they could have in religious feeling. When we counter what is done in the Faculty of Philosophy with what is done in enlightened theology today, we remove the last bit of what is religious.

This needs to be felt, experienced in deep profundity, because the mood of the time is such has made it necessary for theologians to eradicate the religious. It is very necessary that we listen in a lively way to these words of the Matthew Gospel. However, this leads us to the next question: How can we discover the truth content, the vital content of the Gospel in the right way? We must find the correct way so that we can find the truthfulness also in the details of the Gospel and with this truthfulness directly illuminate the content of our lives. You see, in the way I'm saying this, I'm formulating my words in a particular way. I'm thinking of Paul's' words "Not I but Christ in me" and see how it should be spoken now in relation to the understanding of the Gospels, and when the word is within the heart of truth: "Not I, but Christ in me," the Christ said, in order to align the people in the right direction: "I am the way, the truth and the life."—We may express the words of Paul, "Not I but Christ in me," and then we will approach the Gospel in a way which leads to the right way to access the truthfulness and through this find the vital content in the Gospels. We have to climb up to a certain level in order to bring to life Paul's words: "Not I, but Christ in me." We must try to ever and again let it be spoken out, when we want to understand the Gospel. My dear friends, if Christ had spoken in the theologians of the 19th Century, then quite a different theology would have resulted, than it did, because a different Gospel view would have resulted.

Having indicated the first steps to experiencing it further and continuing with the Matthew 13 Gospel, I would like to say a bit more. I stress clearly that this is the start of something we need to continue within ourselves, and here I want to again call your attention to the words "Think what? Think more how!"

By taking the 13th chapter of St Matthew's Gospel as our example, we must understand the situation: as soon as we approach the Gospel, we must renounce intellectualism and find our way into the descriptive element. Let us go straight away into the descriptive element and let's look at the verses leading up to this, in the verses 46, 47, 48, 49, 50 of the 12th chapter. These indicate how Christ Jesus is addressed: "See, your mother and our brother stand outside and want to talk to you"—and how he lifts his hand and points to his disciple and says: "Behold, in those souls live my mother and my brothers."—We want to go even deeper into these words, but first we need to clarify the situation. What we bring with us through birth into this life, the feeling which one can in the profoundest sense refer to as a child-like feeling, or as a brotherly feeling, this which we receive through the utmost grace, this is what is referred to here. Immediately the transition can be made towards which the most important aspect of Christianity is to lead; that we learn to extend, as best we can, the child-like, the brotherliness, to those souls with whom we have a spiritual connection. Wrong, it would be completely wrong, to feel this is somehow negative, when it is felt that only in the very least would that which lies in the childlike and brotherly feeling would be loosened and put in the place which lies in the feelings to the disciples. This is not what it is about, but it is rather about the human feeling lain into mankind as brotherhood, firstly only found in nature, therefore in that which we are born into this world as our first grace, in the feelings to our parents, to those we are bound through blood. We place ourselves positively towards it, and what we find in it, we carry over by ensouling it, towards all those with whom we want to have a Christian connection and want to live in a Christian community.

This is what comes over into the 13th chapter of the Matthew Gospel. With it we are immediately in a starting position. If we take the content from the 53rd to 58th verses of the St Matthew's 13th chapter of the Gospel, and lead it over to the following, then we find that the greatest importance is the Christ Jesus now returns to his hometown, and through the experience of being in his hometown, express the words which appear in the 57th line of the 13th chapter: He says: "A prophet is nowhere less accepted than in his hometown and in his own house." The 58th verse now continues with the line: "And he was not able to do many deeds of the spirit there, for the sake of their unbelief." When we understand this situation, we are immediately led to see how Christ Jesus stands amidst people who have not understood the words: "Behold, in those souls live my mother and my brothers."

They failed to understand these words; as the words were not understood in their time; they also don't lead the way to Christ Jesus. The way to Christ Jesus has to be looked for. At this point it is indicated in the Matthew Gospel which people would find the way and who would not be able to find it, but also, how it can be found. We really need to understand that for those who are unable to ensoul the feelings of blood relationships given through grace to mankind, would not be able to find the way; those who only want to be part of their fatherland and not part of God's land, will not be able to find their way to Christ Jesus. So we are placed between two concrete experiences in Matthew's Gospel, chapter 13, and out of this situation we must expect that in this 13th chapter of Matthew's Gospel the relationship between the folk and Christ Jesus is stated, and how Christ Jesus as such can be discovered again by the folk.

Let's enter more deeply into this situation. Already in the first sentence we are drawn more intimately into the situation. It is important firstly, to be able to enter right into it. You are already standing in it if you take what leads up to it and away from it; it is important to stand completely within it: "On the day of Saturn Jesus left his home and sat down at the lake."—If this is read without a lively engagement and purpose, then the 13th chapter of Matthew's Gospel is not actually being read. First of all, what is happening there is on the day of the Sabbath, the day of Saturn. We will discover, my dear friends, that the enfolding of the liturgy is found throughout the year but it is not indifferent regarding how a priest applies the Gospel; we will see that the Gospels are placed in the course of the year in such a way that people can find a connection in the Gospel to what can be experienced in nature, otherwise you will not really give the words of the Gospels their correct inner power.

We will still talk about the details of the year's liturgy, but we need to get closer to these things. If you look at it spiritually, the 13th chapter of Matthew's Gospel speaks about the end of the world, that means the earthly world, and it is clearly indicated that it will happen in the manner of the prophecy. In the 35th verse it says: "That it might be fulfilled, that which is spoken by the prophet, who says: I want to open my mouth in parables and speak about the mysteries of the world's primordial beginning."—Here in the 13th chapter the end of the world should be spoken about. Christ Jesus chose the Sabbath because earlier people turned to it when they wanted to understand the beginning of the world, to compare it to the truths about the end of the world. The reception of these words needed an inner peace, it is indicated directly by the time setting. The effort of the preceding days must have taken place for man must be in need of rest in order to understand what would be said in the 13th chapter of Matthew's Gospel. He goes out of his home because he has something to say which goes further out than what can be said at home; this is the immediate recovery of verses 53 to 58. At home he couldn't have said anything. The writer of the Gospel is aware of indicating this in conclusion. You can't get close to the Gospel if you don't have the precondition that every word of the Gospel carries weight; it can't be indicated outwardly, you must try to let it enter into your inner life.

"He sat down beside the lake." You only realize what it means to sit beside the lake, how we are led in the wide world of experiences, when you sit at a lake and you are led away from everything which binds you to the earth. With the sensation of airspace, we already have too much abstraction which escapes us. Of course, experiences in the air spaces of the spirit leads us away from what chains us to the earth, but as human beings there is firstly something which escapes us.

We now have him sitting down beside the lake. Here he now gathers the folk, and speaks to them of the Kingdom of Heaven, in parables. The disciples start to understand that when Christ Jesus speaks to the people in the way in which he addressed the disciples, in the examination of the parables, then people would also be deprived of what they have, at least. He could give the people nothing if he gave them the solutions to the parables. So what does he have to do first of all? To start off with, he should not speak of a spiritual world content, but firstly speak about world content, spread out before the senses. He needs to speak about the grain seed, leading them through every possibility in the destiny of the kernel. He must lead them to the possibility that the seed can't develop roots, or only weak roots, or hardly any roots, and can be lamed by opposing forces to fully develop its roots.

My dear friends, you need to understand that you must speak in this way to people, because people first need to become inwardly alive towards what is usually thoughtlessly passed by. Their souls need to be lit up for the observation of the outer world. The soul remains dead and un-kindled if what lies externally, is not stirred up in inner words. People go thoughtlessly and wordlessly through the world. They look at the seed, which wilts. They see the seed which bears fruit, but they don't connect their seeing in such a way that it becomes alive as an inner seeing, an inner hearing. Only when we have transformed the experience of outer world into an inner image, only then do we have what can become preparation. The soul needs to be kindled by the external, the soul needs to revive itself in the external world. If you speak only about the meaning of nature, then you will firstly be speaking to deaf soul ears and blind soul eyes, and you will also take away the least which people have. You only give them something when they understand that you are speaking to their soul, speaking to their soul in the same way as Christ Jesus could speak to the disciples, having enlivened their souls through their participation in his life. The soul needs to be stirred, made to come alive towards the outer world and only after this enlivening is accomplished can you speak to the souls regarding interpretations placed before them as parables of nature. In this sense you link people initially to natural processes and try to transform the natural processes into images. Enliven everything which you can experience around you, imbue it in a sunny way.

From the moment we wake up in the morning, to the evening when we bring ourselves to rest, we are surrounded by sunshine. As unprepared individuals we have at first no inkling of what surrounds us in sunlight, which floods around us. We see sunlight reflected on single items, we initially see colours mirrored, but whether this imbuing sunshine floods through us as human beings experiencing colour, particularly activated and enlivened, we have no inkling of. We simply find ourselves in light from waking to going to sleep, and then we turn in a moonlit night to the moon, with open human hearts, and see how it is surrounded by stars that accompany it, and now return to the first experience which we could have that when you look at the sun, just when it is most lively with its light flooding around you, your eyes become blinded. The intensity of sunlight is so strong that it could, without hesitation, change eyes into suns.

If I look at the moon, then the moon throws the sunlight back to me, it sends the light back in such a way that I can take it in. The dazzling sunlight takes away the discretion. This discretion only remains while I'm looking at moonlight. The rays of the sun have such a majestic intensity that they do not have to rob me of my discretion when I turn towards them. I can turn to them when they are given again by the moon. How can I make this into an inner experience? I may and can, as a human being, unite myself with what the moon returns to me; I may, when I place it as a symbol in front of myself, have something with which I can unite myself. I can, with what I encounter in the moonlight, make myself an image with which I can unite myself. In other words, I may make an image of the sun, which has presented itself through the moonlight, and that is the Host, which I may consume. However, there is something so intense, so majestically great, that I can't be allowed to expose it immediately.

When I imagine this in images, I must present it in another way. I must determine a relationship which is not only visible as a similarity, and place it there, by becoming the nourishment for what the journey is allowed to become (the Host) surrounded with that which may only be looked at, with the monstrance (receptacle of the Host) [a drawing is done on the blackboard] and I have my relationship to the world born out of a dualistic comparison, a twofold kind, which I make into a kind of image with the inclusion of the monstrance. In the nourishment for the way, in the Host I have something with which I can unite. In what surrounds the Host I have an image of the weakened rays of the sun. Through communion there must appear in me what appears in the experience of the weakening, which I sense in moonlight, which I couldn't feel as a direct sun process, otherwise I would be blinded. In between both these is the communion: I place myself in the world context.

Image 343_02_01

What the sun and moon have to say to one another, this is what is found in human beings, the human being stands right in it and enlivens it through communion.

So you can see, further than just the mentioned comparison, it is distilled into a symbol which can be experienced. If it is experienced in the right sense, that means, experienced in a way as one does with others, with the full understanding of the words "And he pointed over to his disciple and said: See, that is my parent and my brother," then to a certain extent the human community is placed within the sense of these words, then one works towards community building and this teaching, how community building can be achieved, we will discover again when we move forward in the interpretation of Matthew 13.

My dear friends, it is from inner knowledge—which an anthroposophical overview can give of human evolution—it is from my complete conviction that it would be especially bad for the present if we were to ignore the signs of the times today in order not to want to surrender to them. Just think, just when you allow your soul to look at Matthew's Gospel 13, you notice the following: the Catholic Church remains primarily fixed at the symbolism; what appeared in their community building was tied to the symbolism, the symbolism which lets you experience the kingdoms of the heavens. It didn't occur to anyone during the first centuries of Christianity's propagation, to speak about patience, that people could wait, and so on. I am obliged to say this. They were completely filled with the need for action, because they found the efficacy of symbolism and contribution of the symbol itself, as community building. They found within the symbolism what Christ wanted to indicate through the words which record the seven parables of the kingdom of God. They wanted through the symbolism make ears to hear and eyes to see before they started with the proclamation; you are standing within the living world of symbolism.

Today we are standing in a completely changed time. We read in Matthew's 13 Chapter that initially explanations of the parables would only be given to the disciples. This we can't do today. It would be impossible today because the Gospels are in everyone's hands and the meaning of the parables can be read by everyone. We really live in a completely changed time. We don't really notice this at all. We must in a new way understand what the Matthew Gospel Chapter 13, contains. In the sense of our time, we must consider the structure of Matthew 13. Firstly, we have Christ sitting in front of the people, he delivers the parables to them about the kingdom of heaven, and from the 36th verse it is written: "Then Jesus left the people and came home, and his disciples approached him and said: Explain the parable of the weeds on the fields. And he explained it to them."

Let me clarify this situation completely. Firstly, the Christ speaks to the people in parables, which are clothed in outer events. He points to these parables for his disciples. He utters during these explanations meaningful words of mystery, which I have tried to bring closer to you. After he has returned home and spoke to his disciples about the parables of the weeds, he spoke to them about a number of other parables—about the treasure in the field, the priceless pearl, and some of the discarded fish found in the fishnet. Thus, he spoke about other parables to the disciples, after he had left the people. This all belongs to this situation: in the Gospels everything is important. We also have—let us place this clearly before our souls—the Christ at the lake, sitting in front of the people, telling them about the parables, then turning away, turning to the disciples, leading them into the situation in which he utters important mystery words, speaking to them alone away from the people, explaining the parables with the help of other parables, then, after he had again led them to the spirit-godly revelations, he asks if they had understood. Their answer is "Yes." Now the very next conclusion is—because everything else is just an introduction—: "Having been initiated into the scriptures you will conduct yourselves like a man who is master of his house, who takes out of his treasure that which he has experienced, but that part of what he has experienced which he has filled with life inwardly, so that he can add something new to it and then be able to present it to his listeners."

I wanted to show you the way towards understanding Matthew 13, and tomorrow we will speak further about the content of truth and content of life, which can be found in this way in the Gospels. I have only indicated as an insertion how symbolism is found in this way in a central symbol from which certainly everything has to be believed, my dear friends, that it should also become a central symbolism for those who want to bring it into the ritual in pastoral care. What is needed is something visible as a symbol, which is more than just a product of nature, and for this, words are necessary which are enlivening; and action is necessary which is more than a mere action of nature. In the context of our civilization today we have dead words, not enlivened words. We only have actions, also human actions, which only contain nature's laws. We have neither living words, nor actions permeated by Divine will. To both of these we need to come through prayer and in reading the Gospels on the one hand and real fulfilling of the ritual on the other hand.

More about this tomorrow.