Foundation Course: Spiritual Discernment, Religious Feeling, Sacramental Action
IX. Religious Feeling and Intellectualism
30 September 1921 p.m., Dornach
Emil Bock: I would like to introduce today's discussion hour and assume I have your understanding when I ask that yesterday's questions which have remained open, will, where possible, be considered again today. I believe I have your support for this. If you want me to clarify this request on your behalf, it will be to deal with the complex of questions regarding the apostolic succession coming into the question in future, where the need for the establishment of a new tradition must be expected, so to speak. In relation to this the question is important, how we, who are mostly Protestants, would relate to the work and personality of Luther, and go back to Luther's stance on the sacraments and to the whole Mystery content of Christianity. If I'm properly informed, that was the question which now appears to us as the next one, and I would very much like Doctor Steiner to enter into these questions as far as he considers possible.
Rudolf Steiner: My dear friends! I will try to continue with what was implied in this relationship started here yesterday in such a way that the many questions, which actually have to come out of such an examination, from the most varied sides, can then be considered further, because for this program of the Dornach course, it would be of the utmost necessity that as far as possible, no doubt and uncertainties would remain.
I would endeavour to go into the actual complex of questions and through this we will perhaps reach what underlies them, for further discussion. In fact, everything that licentiate Bock has just said is actually connected, so I may say it is important what opinions rise up among you now, regarding the position of Protestantism and Catholicism. I believe I can accept that you have come here from quite a positive foundation, namely to find a way out of today's religious turmoil. I myself don't want to say that it is obviously my wish to influence this towards the one or other side. Indeed, it doesn't concern some or other knowledge, but is about decisions of will, and these must rise out of inner convictions, being able of course to be motivated in the most varied ways, so we must actually discuss the possible motivation of their willed decisions. For example, a lot will depend upon your decisions of intent with regard the abyss that gapes between Catholicism and evangelical Christianity, between Protestantism and so on. Isn't it true, your resolution will be substantially different — I am now referring to the resolution of the majority of those present here — if you take into account that the Christian impulse, considered as widely as possible, in for example community building, can become that which the Christ wills for the world. However, regarding Catholicism — where I now separate Catholicism strictly from the Roman—Catholic Church — you could not find in Catholicism a possibility to bridge the abyss to the evangelistic side, if you don't gain a mutual understanding about the sacramentalism anchored in the Catholic world.
Naturally you could also be of the opinion: we are not concerned at all, we want to create a life-filled church-based movement and then show how this viable church movement asserts itself in the world. — You could also take on this point of view: that doesn't require such a strict understanding of Catholicism as such. However, you could only gain support in the judgement regarding this direction, after you have found clarity in some historic foundations about the basis for the opening of this abyss. Today the situation is actually like this; if a person has remained within Catholicism, is standing within practical Catholicism, then he actually can't understand the evangelical mind. Neither will someone who has grown up in the evangelical-protestant tradition, who is really connected to the various nuances in modern views anchored in the Protestant churches, be able to find the way over the abyss easily. It is precisely the reason for this question that must be understood before a decision can be reached.
Catholicism carries within it that view which has disappeared from modern consciousness, actual modern consciousness from which has disappeared, one could say if you want to be precise, since the 15th century. It was quite appropriate — but again connected with Roman political impulses, which then allowed the appropriate background to come in — it was quite appropriate, in a certain way, to keep Catholicism in mind and make it a duty for the Catholic clerics to return to the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, in other words, the philosophy promoting the culmination of philosophical thinking before the 15th century. One can say that to live without this philosophy, one can actually find no theory of knowledge for the justification of sacramentalism, as practiced in the Catholic Church. By contrast the protestant-evangelical consciousness lies within this development which was only imposed after the 15th century. If you want to live through the wrestling of these two currents you can look at the work of Nicolaus Cusanus, who already in the 15th century, one might say, with all intensity, raised the question for itself: How does the past and the future stand beside one another in my soul? Cusanus, by going back to certain soul experiences, connected with the name of Dionysius Areopagita, and was able to build a bridge for himself.
I said yesterday that the Protestant quite rightly sees something magical in the way the Catholic performs Mass, and that is certainly correct. Because of our adaptation of the modern-day educational material, we are incapable of admitting to this magic. If you come with a modern consciousness you would not be able to find any difference between a sacrificial Mass as presented in the continuity of Christian evolution and a sacrificial Mass which is simply presented in words, symbols and gestures, perceptible by outer senses, as taking place in the Mass. Beyond the understanding of the content lies the understanding of that which is the sacrifice of Mass for the Catholic; this is connected with the unifying understanding of the world which has got lost for modern humanity, the unified understanding of the world which is understood on the one side by the spirit and on the other side from nature. I could say the route of knowledge has turned more to the side of nature while insight into the spiritual world has disappeared, and as a result of this, the possibilities to perceive certain mysteries. With this I don't want to say that in the consciousness of every Catholic priest there is also a substantial content about the sacrifice of the Mass. Still, in the Catholic community there is an awareness of this substantial content of the sacrifice of Mass to such a degree that one can still speak about the reality of it in the present.
I can't make anything presented here, clearer to you in any other way, than through the view of knowledge. Everything, my dear friends, which is woven into our discussions during these days, what is presented in the Elaborat of Dr Rittelmeyer and the Elaborat of Dr Schairer, regarding the determination of the religious and the differentiation of the religious point of view from the point of view of knowledge, all this is incomprehensible to the Catholic. It basically doesn't exist for him. When he considers it as a modernist or someone like that, then he is basically already accepted by Protestantism even within Catholicism. For the Catholics none of these things give rise to some or other question; for them you can't formulate questions in this way. For true Catholicism, the assumption is that there should be a mere emotional human relationship to God, without a religious dogmatic content, something quite incomprehensible; the religious dogma should connect itself with the supersensible world. Certainly, you could say, the Scholastics do this, making a differentiation, as Protestantism adopts in a different way, regarding what one can know and what one should purely believe. However, the Scholastics don't make this differentiation in the same way. For the scholastic the difference lies between truths, acquired simply through human reason, and those truths which lie at the basis of revelation, basically only relate to the various ways people come to the content; but it is still not a fundamental difference. For scholasticism it is true that the Preambuli fidei are certainly there, acquired through ordinary reason, above which lies the truth of revelation, but the truth of revelation also has a real content with which one can have a thinking relationship, like the scientific truths, which also promote a relationship through thinking. Therefore, one's relationship to the revelations is the same kind of relationship one has to scientific truths. There is only a difference in relation to the way people arrive at the truth, not a fundamental difference as we have been discussing here, these days. There is something extraordinarily important here, and from it comes the basis of the abyss.
You see, in order to clarify the sacramental and mass aspects to you here, I have to approach through the content of knowledge. If you look today at the two outer poles of human existence, the birth with the embryo and conception — I want to place these three in a unified term of "birth" — with birth on the one side and death on the other, so you understand what happens for the physical human being, even according to the order of scientific events. Today's human being, even if he is a theologian, speaks about birth and death as if they are scientific facts, involving physical man. That's exactly why in this day and age the wall between faith and knowledge has been so ruggedly erected, because one wants to keep something which has been taken away through purely scientific knowledge about birth and death, as one admittedly doesn't want for religion, to classify it in terms of knowledge.
How does a person regard birth today? It must seem a peculiar thing that I speak to you about birth, when I want to speak about Mass, but I would not be able to speak about Mass, without also speaking about birth. People see birth according to the study of embryology and ask: What happens to the embryonic germ through the fructification? — Then they ask: How is the male and how is the female substance of inheritance absorbed, and what actually goes on there, scientifically observable, from the forefathers to the child? — Today's man must, with all the antecedents of his scientific education, certainly take this point of view. This point of view exercises such a colossal suggestive view on modern man, that if this point of view is not according to science, it is regarded as nonsense. Everything which is brought up in the human being and is thereby entangled with his thinking habits, leads the human being to phrase his question in this way. Then he can, when he says: 'This question can be answered by science' — at least add: 'Faith remains the way in which the body and the soul may unite.' Yet, it is actually not so. Here lies one of the points where you can make yourself quite demonstrative; for Anthroposophy it is quite important to connect with science and develop it further. Through anthroposophic research it is shown that the concept of matter, as it exists in the human organism, becomes fully disabled in its mode of action. If one looks at a fertilized female egg and its further development, one actually is looking at something which through conception, has excluded itself from all possible earthly events. In the fertilized egg a chaos is created in which all processes available to science, are initially excluded. If I present it schematically it will end here. (A drawing is made on the blackboard.)
Through the fertilization, as far as it happens in the human being, a place is created within earth's processes, where everything stops which could be accessible to natural science. Through this exclusion the possibility is created, at this point, for cosmic activity to take place, peripheral cosmic processes. Within this place something happens which is not accessible to material science.
Here I'm drawing the earth, here is the realm of human beings, this is the periphery beyond which you can go, far beyond measure. While most of us, actually in the realm human beings have the earth's processes, also with the father and mother, we have here — in this circle which I'm drawing — effects from the periphery, from the immeasurable expanse, so that, what is happening here, may be transferred and enter into the scientifically given world. It is an imagination which is quite far away from modern man, because it has been lost since the 15th century.
When you are in the proximity of Nepal and walk over the earth, you only need to put a flame to a piece of paper and light it, to see how it smokes out of the earth. Those of you who have travelled in Italy would have seen this: it smokes out of the earth. Why does this happen? It is because what would rise from within the earth is usually held by the air pressure; by lighting a piece of paper the air pressure is reduced and what is below, in the earth, now pushes out.
Through the fertilization the earth processes are excluded, and this enables the heavenly processes to be active. The reverse is what you can demonstrate with a volcanic vent. While we just examine earthly phenomena we have mainly to do with centralized processes, in other words that which rays out from the earth's centre, basically in the direction of gravity, whereas when we consider embryonic processes it is in relation to peripheral processes, which to some extent come from out of immeasurable widths, working in towards the centre. They become effective the moment the earth's effectiveness is excluded. If we go into what is taking place here, then with human embryonic development we need to examine what the participation of the entire cosmos has in the origins of mankind, and not look at precursors which are earthly. Secondly it happens — and it happens further along the embryonic development — that it enters into a relationship with physical matter. Thirdly, what happens is that which has come to the human beings out of the spiritual world and entered the physical world and all that can be in its emerging, everything which had come from the cosmos as periphery-central, in contrast with central-peripheral, now comes into the centre. Through all of this, only now earthly processes come about, man's utilisation of the earthly. The fourth event, the last one, is the preparation for inner human love which only appears when the individual has learnt to speak. So we can say that the precursors which take place through birth are the following: the human being's descent from the spiritual community: if you like the word, it could be "excommunication," meaning the descent, the coming down. (He writes on the blackboard.)
- Descent. The second is the entering of the relationship with matter. (Writes on the blackboard:)
- Relationship with matter. The third is entitlement to the centralising forces of the earth: adaptation to the earthly. (Writes on the blackboard:)
- Adaptation to the earth And the fourth is perceptibility, the ability to speak which however only emerges after the birth, to the extent of what embryonic activity took place. (Writes on the blackboard:)
- Ability to speak. We come closer to the mystery of birth in quite another way if we look at it like this, my dear friends. How can we come closer to the mystery of death which is the other pole of human life? If we now go in reverse, and we begin with the Ability to Speak (Writes on the blackboard:)
Then we create in contrast to the entitlement of the centralising earthly forces, the resurrection, the re-adaptation of the periphery: this happens in the sacrifice of smoke. The opposite of "three" is what we are doing by taking what we receive and adapting it to the earth, to the smoke counteracting the earth's centralizing forces. (Writes on the blackboard:)
In other words, what are we doing here? We first speak the Word in the Gospel, and we become conscious that we express this Word in such a way that it is not our word in the sense as I've said yesterday, but that it goes over into objectivity. We relinquish the Word to the smoke — smoke which is capable of adapting the form of the words. Certainly you may say it is suggestive, but still, only suggestive. The Offering consists in the expressed word, which creates waves, being trusted to the smoke, carried up in the smoke. Our word itself becomes carried up. If we turn the relationship to matter around, then we arrive at the dematerialization in the transubstantiation, in the transformation. (Writes on the blackboard:)
In our becoming a child out of the periphery of the cosmos and drawing in our 'I,' in death we withdraw, and we have for this the sign of the transubstantiation, the de-materialization. Where does this power come from? See, just as the peripheral forces work towards the centre when we speak about birth, these forces which we have called up in the offering, work outwards into the world. They work because we have entrusted our words into the smoke. They now work from out of the centre and they carry the dematerialised words through the power of the speaker and in this way, we come into the position, to fulfil the fourth, the opposite of the descent, the merging with the Above, the communion. (Writes on the blackboard:)
Now, however my dear friends, we are not only born in the beginning of our lives but forces active at birth continue to work in us. These forces, however, do decrease when we are separated from our mother's body into the outer air. They become subdued but continue working to a lesser extent. The most obvious continuation lies in the creation of languages from the embryonic forces, also in relation to the rest of the organism. Besides the forces creating language, embryonic forces continue to work and do so most strongly from the moment of going to sleep to that of waking up. Thus, embryonic forces work more strongly during sleep than when people are awake. It is only an extract which had been working during the time of being an embryo, yet during hours of restful sleep these embryonic forces continue to work. Forces of death also work in us continuously. Every moment we are born, and we die. Death forces are working. The reverse processes which had descended to work in the development of language continue to work in us; this process works in us, which come from the Gospel through to communion, from the speech up to the union with the Divine-spiritual. However, that which is a sacrament in the Mass, is fulfilled in an outer process which continuously counteracts what is being born in us. This is what amounts to the continuous perpetual forces of death in us.
You see, this sacramental process would have been fulfilled in the old Mysteries. Why could they have been accomplished in the old Mysteries? They could have been fulfilled because a certain inherited spiritual perceptivity was available for them. The very moment when a person who lived before the Mystery of Golgotha, pronounced the corresponding words, therefore expressing what we have in the Gospels today, these words were taken into account by the Divine-spiritual. With the ceremony the people surrendered their continuous dying process to the Divine-spiritual forces. These Divine-spiritual forces left the earth during the time of the Mystery of Golgotha. It is only a historical prejudice to believe that the earth is in a continuous development. This is not so; it is certainly not. If the Mystery of Golgotha had not been fulfilled then we could not fulfil such a ceremony, then what dies is given over to the etheric and astral worlds and not, however, to the world where our 'I' belongs. It was not like that before the Mystery of Golgotha.
Here we touch on something, dear friends, which people with their intellectual education can't believe at all because they don't have the antecedents to it. They can't believe that fire, air, water and earth since the time of the Mystery of Golgotha are different from before. It only appears as determined by a time, not that the following could be answered: What would have happened to the earth if the Mystery of Golgotha had not taken place? — So let's just switch the Mystery of Golgotha off, and we can ask ourselves: What would have become of this ceremony if the event of the Mystery of Golgotha had not happened?
It would be a procedure that, driven by the process of death, would only have conserved our being up to our astral body. The physical body would lose itself into the earth, the ether body would become indistinct in the etheric seas, and the astral body would enter into the astral world, but the I would be corrupted; the I would have to reach its end in some or other incorporation; the I could not go through the portal of death. That is the secret of earth evolution, that, before our time calculation began, the human being retained something which could have been redeemed by going through the gate of death, and which could be made clear through this ceremony. This ceremony, had the Mystery of Golgotha not intervened, would have become what it could have, if the last of the spiritual beings who still had a relationship to the human I, had departed from warmth, air, water, earth, and as in warmth, air, water and air only those beings remained, which still had a connection to our etheric, who have a further relationship to our astral, but no more with our human I.
This, my dear friends, was the huge fear for the demons when they recognised Christ, who had descended on to the earth. They believed they could now take on the control and eradicate the human I from earth. It is clearly expressed in the Gospels, how the demons behaved when they recognised who had arrived. They knew their plan for the world was crossed out, they had hoped — from out of the spheres where they had originated, they could hope for it — to take the earth's rulership into their own hands. Christ stepped on to the earth and that which the Christ had brought down from the spiritual worlds into earthly events, gave the ceremony its new content, and in this ceremony the presence of the Christ Being took place.
This is something which certainly can be accessed through spiritual science. You really need to take this up in yourselves, what I have, in a way, only drawn in threads, sketched, as if given in a little drawing. The human being needs to start arriving at a real understanding for the mystery of birth, which appears in nature as a sacrament itself, because it is supernatural, and an understanding must be created for the sacrament within the sacrifice of Mass, which becomes supernatural through the presence of Christ. For those who can't reason, as I've just spoken, for those who can't understand the actual process in the outcry of the lower demons when they saw the deeds of Christ, and only regard this outcry of the demons as a comparison, taking it as something exhausted in the meaning of words, don't understand anything about sacramental deeds, and in particular, the central sacramental ritual of the sacrifice of Mass.
Unfortunately, humanity has forgotten that they could speak about these things since the first third of the 15th century. Today we are confronted with not only what is customary in the country, but also what has become customary on earth, to appear like a maniac when words are uttered considering the outcry of the demons as a real event when they saw the Christ. We often have the experience: What is wisdom before God, has become foolishness to the world. Then again what is foolishness before the world, in present times is so often wisdom before the gods.
So the time has arrived when the sacramental element is not at all able to penetrate, because intellectualism is seizing all circles with such power — it works firstly on our religious and scientific areas — that it also seizes the religious and above all, things concerning theology. It's connected to external events, my dear friends, that took place, and you can see it resulted in what had actually developed out of church schools as a teaching for humanity, first preserved in the universities. If you want to continue taking this further you can study the way universities continued from the 14th century onwards, where the spiritual evolution gradually became removed from human evolution, how they gradually became secularized and how in due course what was within the spiritual led to the worldly. Make a study of how state waged war with the church, and how the state — because the church insisted on it — at most left the teaching content within it as an enclave but otherwise the spiritual has been taken out of humanity's evolution. This historical evolution you have to experience, you must even be able to feel it. We stand today in the presence of many cold hearts in historical development. We have completely stopped feeling religious at least as far as historical development is concerned. How can we gain from the Gospels at all, while they have emerged out of quite other states of evolution, when we have stopped feeling religious towards historical evolution?
You see, here you have a real transition from out of the earthly life, into the spiritual life. Through birth a person descends in four steps into the earthly existence until the moment of speech, through the death process he ascends from speech up to communion. He would have died today, also his I, if he had not taken up what lies up to communion in the whole ceremonial process, if he has not taken up Christ, who redeemed from within the physical, the etheric, astral and conserving the I, so that he can retain his I even after death.
With the sacrifice of Mass people are snatched away from the power of the demons, from that power which entangles us in contradictions which are primarily shaped by intellectual concepts with sharp outlines. However, life is not made up of sharp outlines, life can only live within our consciousness in a conceptual way, if a concept organically evolves into another concept. With the inorganic, where we have detached concepts, they are merely clothed as dead in our consciousness. We need concepts which can evolve from one into another, which are alive and capable of metamorphosis; only these concept are not pushed away when we take them up inwardly, these concepts would be propagated and would be capable, through the offering, through transubstantiation up to communion, to become re-united with the Divine, through which we are released here on earth.
Whoever adapts the standpoint of modern consciousness, my dear friends, takes on the standpoint which had to be accepted on the one side from the 15th century, if one goes with the progress of the human race. One actually has to simply go with progress; it gives a certain viewpoint of consciousness, by which we can't remain standing still. Even if we are to fall into an abyss, we would have to go with the progress of the human race, but we must simply find the possibility to return from the other side of the abyss so we may continue. What has been happening since the 15th century has of course been necessary. The evangelistic-protestant consciousness has permeated what had been necessary in the evolution of humanity since the 15th century. You can see how, as the point of this development approached humanity, the most varied discussions regarding the transubstantiation and the Last Supper came to the fore. As long as one takes the point of view of the sacramental, such discussions won't arise, because such discussions stem from the invasion of intellectualism in the sacramental way of thinking. From before the 15th century, we in Europe were at the same standpoint on which Hinduism stands today. When a Hindu participates in intellectual development, he is in this intellectual development as free as possible, in as far as he remains a true Brahman. The Hindu participates in the ceremony, in the ritual; it connects everyone, and those who participate in the ritual is a true Hindu believer; he can think about it as he wishes, in it he remains completely free. Dogma, which is captured by thoughts, or a content of teaching, basically doesn't exist. Schools can emerge that interpret things in a hundred different ways. All of this can exist in orthodox Hinduism, if only the ceremonies are recorded as something actual and real.
Humanity in Europe also reached this standpoint before, around the time of the 15th century. At that time the invasion of intellectualism, which promoted sharp, outlined concepts, would simply not comply with sacramentalism, because with the commencement of discussions there was actually nothing to discuss. If there had been such a person as Scotus Eriugena, in other words a person who stood amidst the conception of the first Christian centuries presenting the discussion of later — one could even say that they were in front of him in a certain sense, it works that way ahead, it is after all in the others ... — (gap in notes). If you study this in Scotus Eriugena you could say he spoke out of the fullness of life, by contrast the later discussions can be compared to my experience with a school friend who had quite radically wriggled himself into materialism, and during our dialogue about one thing and another, he became quite angry and interrupted with the words: It is nonsense to speak about something other than brain processes, to say anything other than what moves in the brain are mere molecules and brain atoms, because those are the only things that happen in thinking and feeling. — So I answered: So, tell me, why are you lying? You are continuously lying when you say, "I feel" and "I think" and so on; you will have to say, "my brain feels," "my brain thinks"; in order for you to be correct, you have to say it like that. — Because he had developed completely into materialism, he criticized people one day in their very foundations. He said: A human being is a being who, instead of standing properly on a surface, moves by oscillating on two legs in a constant search for a position of equilibrium: it is simply nonsense to regard the way he moves, in any other way. — From his point of view, he spoke correctly because he criticized the living from the point of view of intellectualism. Somewhat in this way it would appear to an old confessor of sacramentalism, if one spoke from an intellectual critical viewpoint about sacramentalism and criticized religious life in this way. Since the 15th century it has become a matter of course and all of what is modern religious consciousness doesn't know just how much it has become entangled in it.
So one can say: we have on the one side the Catholic Church, which, if it feels its living nerve rightly, does not allow intellectualism to enter into it, and we have on the other side the evangelist-protestant consciousness having developed in a cultural milieu which no longer experiences the reality of sacramentalism, as I've indicated today. That's why the abyss is so enormous. The Catholic has stopped in the human evolution presented in the impulses of the 15th century; he developed his religion only up to this point. Cardinal Newman's connection to Catholicism therefore was so difficult, because his approach was out of modern consciousness. For the Catholic, religious life has come to one side, while modern science took the outer side. You can't read a scientific work that has emerged from Catholicism without experiencing how the most learned priests and most learned Catholics work with science in such a way that it is regarded as outer phenomena, and only that which they bring in feeling, in fervour from their Catholicism, can give them strength. However, science is a different matter to what is done within the religious, and the scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas was the last product of intellectual development in that it still included the philosophy as organic in its world view. As a result, it basically had to be discussed again for the philosophical fortification of Catholicism. The Protestant consciousness felt obliged to take up intellectualism, to process intellectualism. Thus, they became alienated from sacramentalism; as a result, it became necessary to take on an ethical character, it was necessary to relinquish everything which somehow formed foundations of knowledge for the religious life. It was for instance necessary to insist that, instead of adding a mystery to birth, to substitute it with the scientific mystery of birth which meant connecting the soul with the body, achieved without an opinion possibly gained from it. The Mass, the inverse ceremony of birth processes, which are dying processes, would be mindlessly given over to historical development, and abandoned. This all relates to the time of intellectualism when the human being could no longer directly find the spiritual within the physical. So it can be seen, that if religious content is to be saved at all, it would be to formulate it in such a way that it has nothing connecting it to a content of knowledge. This will always stand as a gaping contradiction for anyone who does not, in theory, want to ignore the practical impulses of the soul's life.
However, humanity could never have entered into the age of experiencing freedom without having participated what had been brought to fruition in the 15th century, because freedom can only be gained within the culture of intellectualism. Only intellectually are we able to depend so much on ourselves that we may have the inner experience, which I have portrayed in my book The Philosophy of Freedom (later translations called The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity) regarding the experience of pure thinking as the foundation of freedom. All discussions prior to this regarding freedom, are only preparatory, because freedom is not to be discovered within a view which basically only contained necessity, like the view which had remained before the 15th century. So let's pose the fundamental question which can be solved in the present: How do we, despite recognising the blessings of intellectualism, rediscover the sacramental out of freedom?
Without a deep grasp on this question, we will not be able to understand it. The help of historical evolution needs to be taken into account in order to understand these things. If you can't let go of what I've now come to terms with, if you don't understand Luther's soul struggle inwardly either, but only in a certain sense only outwardly, intellectually, you will see in the next few days that we have already, with what has been said today, started moving the building blocks together for the understanding of Luther's soul's struggle. With this I want to close today.
(Afterwards Rudolf Steiner admitted he would be willing to enter into eventual questions and Licentiate Bock asked him to shortly clarify again the connection between Mass and birth.)
Rudolf Steiner: It concerns the ability of speech, therefore life through words, which is the last capability given through the powers of birth, come to the fore in this direction (reference to table 5 — see outline below). Now, we develop the ability for language which we receive here, in the most comprehensive sense, which we apply in the Gospels, in that we proclaim the words of God, so that we are carried from birth up to the words which turn back again. So the way goes from "descent" up to the words, Logos, and then back again. I only wrote "Gospel" on the blackboard, to place the Mass as a reverse ritual in the ceremonial process. When we look at the sacrifice of Mass — I'm letting go of the introductory processes, they are all preparatory — so the first real action is reading the Gospel, the sounding out of words, that means all which is directed towards birth, we allow to sound initially in the sacrifice of Mass. The Gospel which is read, is actually the first process of the Mass, and sounds out as word. Now, after intermediate processes here again, which do not represent the essential, the offering begins. The altar is smoked. This has the meaning that the word, which is sounded, unites with the smoke and rises from the altar. Then a time follows in which the offering continues up to the transubstantiation, when we also come back to the final material. Finally, there's the communion, which is the reverse of the descent, which is to be taken upwards. If we have understood the totality of the processes, then we first have the word, then the offering with smoke, then the word is carried into it through the power of dematerialization in the transformation and to the unification through communion. Yes, so be it.
- Descent — Communion 4.
- Relationship with matter — Transubstantiation 3.
- Adaptation to earth — Offering 2.
- Ability to speak — Gospel 1.