The Spirit of Individual Freedom

and the Christian Mystery

by Pietro Achiati


Adapted from a  lecture in Adelaide, Australia on  27th February ‘99.         



Pietro Archiati is the author of: From Christianity to Christ,  Reincarnation in Modern Life, The Great Religions  &  Giving Judas a Chance.

Archiati was born near Brescia (Italy) in 1944, and studied Philosophy and Theology in Rome; taught and worked in Laos, New York, and South Africa; was particularly influenced by the spiritual heritage of the Christian culture, and by the modern science of the spiritual realms inaugurated by Rudolf Steiner.  Since 1987, he has been working independently in various countries as a lecturer, workshop leader and author. 


Take all that I am going to express as an invitation for your own thinking


When we hear the word “Christianity”, when we say the word “Christianity”, we refer to the way human beings have tried to understand, to appropriate, to express their relationship to the Christ being, which I call the Being of Love. I would like to make an exercise more on the other side, looking at what is the very heart of Christianity, not so much what human beings have understood, the religiosity they have expressed, but looking at the Being of Love himself.  In other words, trying to see perhaps the particularity or one-sidedness of our western Christian culture.


In other words, I am implying that...  I am implying that what the Being of Love is, what He did and what He does in humanity, is wider, deeper and more universal—in fact totally universal—compared with the western Christian understanding, which we call Christianity, which has been and could not otherwise have been partial.

We cannot claim that our past Christianity, western Christianity, has already understood everything concerning the Being of Love.


Not to mention that we certainly cannot claim to have interiorized and to have appropriated all evolutionary possibilities that the Being of Love is opening up for human beings.  So there is one Christianity, traditional Christianity, which has been necessarily particular, or one-sided, linked with a only a certain portion of humanity.  But what we could call, true Christianity, the Being of Love himself—what he stands for and what he does in humanity—is absolutely universal.  And that is the tremendous challenge for Christianity at this threshold of a new millenium.  A challenge for Christianity to honour the Being of Love even more deeply and widely, to such an extent that we rise to a more universal level of understanding, of loving, of interiorizing the Being of Love, to that kind of level of being able to integrate also the wisdom of other religions, all of which we can see as preparations for the coming of the Being of Love.  I understand for instance. that the language of spiritual science  inaugurated by Rudolf Steiner, is a language which is universal for all.


In a time of fragmentation, in a time of a splintering of humanity, it is more than ever important to cultivate, to cherish, what we own in common.


Why do I call this central being, whom the cosmic Father has sent into humanity, into the world, the Being of Love?  Because I understand the Christian mystery to mean that this Being has come into the evolution of the earth, into humanity, to make human freedom possible, and that to love always means to make freedom possible for the beloved.


You may consider love from the most disparate points of view.  There are of course infinite aspects of love, but you will see that love always has in common the endeavour to create all the conditions for the beloved in which the beloved may thrive, may unfold, may expand. Freedom is not something you can give to the other. Freedom can only be exercised from withinBut love is there to create the outer conditions.  So even in our relationships we can say to each other, “I love you” or “I try to love you” to the extent that I try to create around you all the conditions for you to freely unfold.  And the notion of freedom is, in turn, to repeat love. 


Obviously, we live in a world where we are at the beginning of freedom in humanity.


We are in the teenage years of freedom.  It is beautiful but dangerous at the same time, because the beginning of freedom must always be negative.  You can only achieve freedom by going through a phase of negative freedom, and I would call it the freedom from something.  The child at twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen wants to free himself or herself from the parent, from the church, from society, from the teachers.  Pushing away, that is the negative freedom, freeing oneself from.  This phase is necessary.  Nobody can become free unless he would push back all influences trying to shape him from outside.  Of course, this freedom is more of an egoism than a true freedom.  And so the first phase of freedom is egoism, pushing back all influences that try to manage us from outside.     


The second phase of freedom is the freedom for something, not from something.  The second phase of freedom would be the freedom of love.  I feel free in loving what is good and what is positive in all human beings and in all beings around me, so that the fulfilment of freedom is the love for the freedom of all other human beings.  But we can only love the freedom of other human beings to the extent that we have freed ourselves from all endeavours to shape us or to fashion us from outside.  We must become the forger of our own destiny, or else we cannot be responsible for our own life. 


So we could also say that freedom means moral responsibility, to take up moral responsibility for the world in which we live,  to perceive the earth, the evolution of the earth and the evolution of humanity as our own, too, in the sense that we take up responsibility. Imagine what a tremendous freedom it is, what a tremendous field of free activity, if I say to myself,  “I want freely to be part of, to be responsible for, the evolution of the earth and for the whole of humanity.”


What we call redemption is the decision of the Being of Love to come into the earth so as to bring to fulfilment all the necessary conditions for human freedom.  To say that we live in a world in which the Being of Love walks with us on earth invisibly is the same as saying there are no necessary conditions for human freedom missing because the Being of Love makes sure that all the necessary conditions for human freedom are present.


Rudolf Steiner expressed this beautiful mystery once by saying that humanity became unfree by leaving behind the state of paradise and then joining with matter, which meant fragmentation. That’s how we became egoistic, and that’s how we became unfree, by joining the heavy deterministic element of matter.  We became unfree because we have subjected ourselves to the laws of matter, and we have become separated from one another.  You see, we owe it to the piece of matter that each of us inhabits that we are separate from each other. 


But don’t think that leaving paradise, the original spiritual world, and connecting with matter has only this negative aspect.  It has a beautiful, positive aspect, that by separating from one another, joining matter, we have become independent.  The mystery of joining matter is the mystery of individualization, of becoming individual.  That’s the positive view for us of being connected with matter: that each one of us can say to ourselves.  “I am an individual, a responsible, separate, autonomous being.”  I am not just embedded in a stream or group soul or common sauce into which I am taken  or drawn by others.  No, I can say.  “I can stand on my own, here I am.  The whole world may think one way, but I think differently.”  When we deal with the Being of Love, we are dealing with the mystery of our becoming autonomous, of our being capable of saying to ourselves:  “I am.”


The Being of Love allowed the first part of evolution to go into the direction of fragmentation, of individualization, with the egoism that has to go with it, with each of us being encapsulated in himself.  In the middle of evolution He has come into humanity to inaugurate the second phase of freedom, the freedom of love.  Before Christ we had freed ourselves from all influences from outside, we had become independent.  In the second half of evolution, accompanied by the Being of Love, we can become free for all the things, all the beautiful tasks that we can accomplish.  And each one of us is involved in this immense transformation, in this endeavour of transforming the egoistical freedom from something, when we want to push back all the influences coming from outside.  We are trying to transform that freedom of egoism into a freedom of love.      


Think of the beautiful parable of the prodigal son.  There you have the two phases.  The first phase of going away from the father is necessary, and you may remember that the father doesn’t do anything to prevent the son from going.  That is the freedom from; he frees himself, he severs the connection with the father in order to become independent, to become individual.  But then there is a turning point.  The freedom from, away from, is not enough.  Now that the individual has become independent, he experiences such a strain within himself that he wants to turn this egoism into love, and now care for.  He goes back to his father out of his own freedom, not because he can’t help it, not because he has to, but because of love.  Being with the Father at the end of this odyssey of evolution, this communion with the Father at the end, is totally different from the communion at the beginning.  The communion at the beginning was without individual freedom, the communion at the end is wanted and conquered out of individual freedom.  That’s what we call love.  Only to the extent that we are free can we love.  A person who is not free, a person who is driven, can not love.  We ought never to call love whatever we do when we are being driven by something.  We should call love only what we do out of our innermost freedom.


We feel that the dignity of the human person lies in freedom, in being able to think with one’s own mind and in deciding to will out of one’s own impetus.  To understand on one’s own and to will on one’s own, that is the two-fold dimension of freedom.  The implication is that traditional Christianity has been hesitant or reticent or cautious about freedom.  And the question is:  how do the two go together?  Does freedom go well with Christianity?  My answer is: yes!   A Christianity without freedom can only be an infant Christianity. Like the infant, it is not yet capable.  A Christianity with freedom is a mature Christianity.  That is an inner threshold we are crossing.  We are called to establish and to experience a more and more mature Christianity, through integrating the element of freedom.  If you say to me that Christianity with freedom is going to be a lot more difficult, I say right away, “You are right!”  But more difficult doesn’t mean that it is worse.  Most of the time, more difficult means that it is better, because there is more to achieve, more to conquer.


Why has there been the tendency to consider divine grace and human freedom as opposing each other?   Christianity has tended to say that if we appreciate divine grace, the will of God, we have to take back our drive to be free and to be independent.  The more faith, the less freedom.  The more freedom, the less faith. It is a fallacy, it is an error, to think that grace and freedom go against each other.


When we think that grace and freedom go against each other, we are misunderstanding both. We only understand grace and freedom fully when we understand that if they are genuine they enhance each other.


If divine grace would be jealous of human freedom, if divine grace would be hindering, if the divine Will would not want our freedom, then we would have to say that this grace is a total disgrace for human beings,  because we do feel within ourselves, as the best part of the God-given nature we experience, the aspiration to freedom.  The aspiration to freedom is the best part of human nature the way God has created humanity. So the will of God for each of us is freedom. Imagine what we would be saying if we were to say:  “The will of God for each of us is to keep us unfree.”  It would be absurd if you really think about it.  And yet we have Christianity which is only just beginning to think these things through and to see the consequences. 


Think of parents in their deliberations concerning their children. They want to be loving.  That is pure grace.  It is a participation in divine grace the way parents want to love their children.  But are they prohibiting the children from becoming free?  No.  Their grace and their love consists in their desire to make them free.  And divine grace is all that divine beings have done to make us free.  That’s some grace!  A grace we can be thankful for.


We are at the stage where we are only beginning to experience freedom.  We experience the first phase of freedom as a negative one, an egoistic one.  And so we are afraid of it.  Why is this?   Because freedom is a  dangerous undertaking, but not because freedom itself is dangerous. We have to find the courage to trust human freedom, to trust the positivity of human nature.  Divine grace shows us this courage.  It has implanted in us this beautiful aspiration to be free, to be independent, to be responsible.  And we must begin to interpret grace as the divine love for our freedom. Thus real grace.


Think, for instance, of the way Christ, the Being of Love, deals with Judas.  In the gospels we encounter the primeval phenomena of human existence.  That’s what I find so fascinating in the gospels.  In the Christ event all the most daunting and even the most sacred and radical human experiences are contained there.   You will never find any mystery, you will never find any abyss of human existence, which is not portrayed in the gospels.  The Being of Love knows that Judas is about to take his own life.   I hope you will agree with me that Christ knows this, and that betraying Him is by far not as grievous as suicide.  Now I ask you:  what does the Being of Love do to prevent Judas from taking his own life?  Nothing!  In the Gospel of John it says,  “What you have to do, do it quickly.”


We see there the last consequentiality of divine grace not wanting to hinder human freedom.  I take that to mean that real love signifies having the inner strength  and the inner greatness to tolerate even the last abyss, because it does not need to intervene.  By intervening, by having things go the way we would like, we hinder freedom.  Of course, for theologians and for Christians, tremendous questions arise by looking at the way Christ, the Being of Love, treats Judas when he is about to commit suicide.  Perhaps one could say it does not really make sense, if Judas has no possibility for being born further after his suicide.  If he has no possibility of learning from his suicide,  of evolving further,  we would have tremendous difficulty in accepting that Christ let Judas plunge into an eternal abyss.  Our questioning becomes very strong.  Perhaps, through allowing Judas to go into the last abyss, the Being of Love is saying to us that that this is not the last word, that divine grace is opening up new horizons for the freedom of Judas, where he can learn out of the darkness to which he has come. Divine grace is so abundant as to give human beings, to give to our freedom, unending possibilities of evolving.  Because of this, divine grace can be so patient, and so gentle, even with Judas.


Judas is not past help.  He will learn from this abyss.  But he has to go through it, and every human being has to go through it in some way or another.  Isn’t that our problem? A tremendous tension involved in divine grace, opening up unending evolutionary possibilities for human freedom. That’s why divine grace can be so gentle and so patient, and doesn’t have to intervene, to twist things as if it were the last moment.  If it is true that we live in a long evolution, then we can say that we live in a world that is such an abundance, an open abundance, of credits that we are given unending possibilities for growing, for learning, for evolving.  Having unending possibilities for growing, learning and evolving is freedom..  Whoever is giving us these possibilities for evolving is not stingy, but gracious and loving.


In this book of mine, “Giving Judas a Chance”,  I describe how I came in to a lecture in South Africa and somebody asked me, “What do you think about reincarnation?”   I said,  “I’m not going to give a lecture on reincarnation.  How about  playing out Judas in Jerusalem?”  They accepted, of course, because they wanted to skip a lecture.  I began by saying we had God the Father, we had Judas, we had Mary, and so on.  The main thing Judas was saying was,  “You are the God of Love, you are so generous with the plants and animals,  you give them the unending possibility of repeating their life cycle.  Why are you so stingy, so miserly, with us human beings that you don’t want to give me even a second chance?”  And God the Father was sweating to defend himself.  You see, it is a way of dealing with the mystery of human freedom and divine grace.  Divine grace and human freedom can come completely together.  Divine grace is opening up for us unending possibilities of freedom.  Or to put it in other words,  divine grace is the greatest love of human freedom we can possibly know.  We cannot love human freedom as much as divine beings love our freedom, and the Being of Love is the being loving our freedom more than any other being.  That is why He loves us, that is His love for us, opening up for us unending possibilities for journeying further.


I called it the modern spirit of freedom, because we live—especially in western culture—in a world of science and technology.  We have a kind of cultural schizophrenia, which you all know.  The same person—each one of us, in the world of profession—is supposed to be trained.  We are supposed to know all the ropes.  When we function in the world of profession, in the world of science and technology, we are supposed to exercise our own freedom, our own individuality.  In the world of religion, this same person is supposed to be totally passive and incapable of having any scientific knowledge about the spiritual realms.  That’s the cultural schizophrenia of our society.  Appreciating total freedom in real life, in our professions, in our jobs,  and experiencing almost no freedom in the world of religion.  Think of the fundamentalist stream, which is very strong in the United States, especially in the South: “Jesus saves you.  He does everything.”  You see the contrast between being totally passive when it comes to religion and being called to be a responsible, active, reliable and ethical individual when it comes to concrete action?  This is the kind of schizophrenia of our culture.  What we have to catch up on is that in Christianity we want each individual to be as undertaking, as active, as individually responsible as in the world of our professions, to become as active in dealing with the world of spirit as we have become active in dealing with the world of matter.


The modern spirit of freedom is the way we deal with the world of matter. I am sure you have all heard of the word capitalism.  The emphasis is on the skills and tasks of the individual and fostering those talents, not putting them under suspicion.  It is allowing each of us to try out his own talents.   We have  technology, we have science, we have a way of dealing with the material world based on our trust in the skills of the individual.  And I ask you:  Where is our trust in the skills of the individual when it comes to religion?  It is gone.  Yes, to a way that Jesus saves him, he has to sit down and just rely.  You see what a tremendous contrast, what a tremendous paradox, we live in?   If you say,  “But isn’t that Christianity?”,  I say no.  This kind of passivity, this kind of expectation from God, from His grace, to do everything instead of us is the past form of Christianity.  Only knowledge will overcome this conscious schizophrenia.  We either find a form of Christianity appreciating freedom, or else—I am convinced—humanity will lose Christianity.        


I think what is at stake in today’s humanity is the very survival of Christianity.  We either integrate freedom and the skills and the capacity of the individual to delve into what is spiritual, or else we lose Christianity.


Many of you will remember that in the Gospel there is talk of The Last Judgemen.t  You know what is so fascinating about this so-called Last Judgment?  It is that the Being of Love has the good guys on one side, on the right, and the bad guys on the other.  Why are the bad guys bad guys?  What have they done wrong?  Nothing!  Not  a thing have they done wrong.  You know, it is such a liberating discovery to really find out that it is that way.  It doesn’t mention one thing that they have done wrong.  It only mentions sins of omission..  Why?   Because there is such an appreciation for human freedom.  Because divine grace is so appreciative and does everything to empower us, to allow us to come into our freedom, that the only reason that we can be bad guys is that we have omitted our freedom, omitted our ability to exercise our freedom.  “I was hungry, and you did not give me to eat.  I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink.  I was naked and you did not clothe me.”  Not one thing is mentioned about what I did wrong.


Having this fixation on wrong-doing, on sins, on some things that human beings do wrong, is appropriate for what stage of development?  The infancy stage.  A child can only do something wrong—or, let us suppose, do something good—but a child can never omit. Why?  Because he doesn’t yet have the freedom of choice, the capacity of choice.  When there is something wrong with the child, it is because he has done something wrong, spilt the milk or whatever.  But when we become adults, there is something more important than what we do wrong.  That is the good, the possibilities, the exercise of freedom that we omit.   And so the greatest sin of omission is in  having become less than we could have been in our freedom to become.  Why are the sins of commission not so bad?  Because these sins of commission are noticed right away as reality correctors.  For the sins of omission we have to be much more aware, much more awake, to understand them.  I understand this mystery, which is something so beautiful, to be an absolute confirmation within Christianity in the Gospels, from the Being of Love, of human freedom.  It doesn’t even mention one thing that these human beings have done wrong, because they could learn from the things that they have done wrong.  It mentions only the sins of omission.


I have also mentioned again and again in the last few days in other cities, as an example of a sin of commission and omission, of asking oneself at the end of each day,  “What did I do wrong today?” This is an important question.  But an even more important one is,  “What did I omit today that I could have done in my freedom?”  What has been made possible to me and I didn’t see it, I didn’t do it, because I was evasive, because I was lethargic, or whatever you want to call it?   The example I have been using is this:  If you are a carpenter making a table and the two opposing legs have two or three inches difference, you’re going to notice.  It wobbles to such an extent that when you drink tea or coffee, the table gets half of it.  With sins of commission, doing something wrong is not so bad because reality corrects us.  But if it was in the karma of this carpenter to make a table for another person, and he didn’t do it, who notices the wobbling?  The mystery of freedom is becoming aware, becoming alert, and watching our omissions.  Isn’t that beautiful?  Looking at life from an absolutely positive point of view, looking at life as the total sum of the possibilities offered to me, always with the intent of watching out for what I have omitted?  This was made possible to me,  and that I could have done.  I could have thought today hundreds of good thoughts, but I only thought a couple of dozen of them.


Another important aspect of the mystery of freedom within  the logic of the Being of Love is that we begin to become others.  During this transition to becoming others, what becomes of all our rules and regulations and laws and traditions which we have in common?  Do they disappear?  No.  In the infancy stage, general rules, common regulations, common laws and injunctions are all there is.  A child can only follow.  To become an adult, to arise and experience the sphere of freedom, means that all that we have in general common laws are not there to be obeyed.  Laws are not any more the purpose of life.  The general common laws become a framework addition and no more.


Pretty much like traffic laws.  What are traffic laws?  Are they the purpose of our lives?  Is the purpose of life to observe traffic laws?   No.  They are a means.  We avail ourselves of those traffic laws in order to achieve what we ought to achieve.  Picture Adelaide at this moment.  Let us picture all these human beings in their cars, observing those traffic laws.  But that is not the point of the exercise, is it?   Observing those laws is a framework condition. What for?  For something that is totally individual in each of those persons.  Think of intentions. One wants to do this, the other to do that. One wants to visit, and so on.  Imagine how individualized, how free, are all these undertakings. The general laws and commandments of traffic behaviour are framework conditions.  We are at the point in the evolution of Christianity where true Christianity is a challenge to use all that is common and general law, commandment and revelation—like a traffic law—as a framework condition.  The framework condition is never the real thing.  The real thing is what we do freely within that framework condition.


Take a school.  A school has a framework condition. You have to have a timetable, and so on.  You want to have a Steiner pedagogy, for instance.  Is that what I am for?  Is the purpose of the school that I should conform to that,  I should submit to that, and become unfree?  No!  No!  All that is framework condition.  Within that framework condition a teacher comes into the classroom.  The way in which he or she interacts karmically with these children, with these pupils, is totally unique. It is a new creation, a masterpiece of art.  It has appeared.  The next teacher comes within the same framework conditions, and something totally different comes: a new creation, a free creation.


The purpose of life never is to obey laws.  We haven’t been created to obey.  We have been created to be unique, and that is different.  Obeying is the presupposition, is the framework condition.  If we appreciate freedom, we will be all the happier to obey all the framework conditions.  Just as we appreciate what we do by using our cars, we appreciate that we should all respect the traffic laws, but we do not regard the purpose of our existence to obey these traffic laws.  You see, this is just a side work, something that goes with what the real thing is, which is what I in my freedom create in my unique being, different from all others.  That gives the unending variety of humanity.


We are coming into a new phase of Christianity where we understand that true Christianity is a framework condition for the striving of the uniqueness of the individual.  In other words, we only have Christianity to the extent that there is the emergence of the free, unique unfolding of each individuality.


Think of the word of the Being of Love in the gospels.  In the Gospel of John, many of you may know that  He says, “I must go, because if I do not go the Holy Spirit may not come.”  What is the meaning of these words?  Wouldn’t it be nice if Christ were still around so we could ask Him,  “Tell us what we are supposed to do.  You know everything!”   I take this to be the meaning of that sentence, which is so prominent, so central to us, that Christ said,  “If I were to keep being around, I would be somebody outside of you.”  We can picture Christ speaking to a friend, outside of that person.


Why does this stage have to be overcome?  Because Christ is speaking in the same way for all twelve.  The experience of the Holy Spirit is the interiorizing and individualising of Christ.  Each of us experiences the Holy Spirit to the extent that Christ speaks within, in a totally different way than within others. This is the totally diversified Christ.  Christ is interiorized, and that is what Christianity is all about.  The evolution of Christianity is the endeavour to interiorize the Being of Love by each of us.  By interiorizing the Being of Love, He becomes individualized and unique within each of us.  You know, we would be living in a very boring world if Christ were to express Himself in the same way for all of us.  It would show that He has very little fantasy, very little creativity.  The Being of Love has unending creativity. He has conceived in the moral fantasy, in the moral intuition of His being.  He has conceived each human being to be a different expression of His love.  Isn’t that beautiful!  That is the difference between Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Christ is the general, what we have in common, and the Holy Spirit is totally individualized.  Christ says that is His spirit, He wants that.


It means that the work of Christ is complete only to the extent that we interiorize, And by interiorizing, we individualize.  What does it mean that we consider all traditions, all commandments, all divine commandments, all goals, rules and regulations as just a framework condition? That the actual job of life is this masterpiece of freedom of being, each of us being that unique expression of the Being of Love which can only come up in each of us?  It is saying that this creation of freedom is the will of the Being of Love within each of us.


No matter how or from where you take Christianity, if we understand it properly in this time of modern aspiration to freedom, we notice that by interpreting the Being of Love with the key of freedom, Christianity becomes deeper and deeper.  In other words, the freedom of human beings is the fulfilment of Christianity.  The phase of commandments is the beginning,  As with children who are not capable yet of handing on to the world what is unique to each, we have to guide them.  You see this phase of guidance, of being guided,  but it is the phase of childhood.  We are on the threshold now where we have to do within religion, within our own being, the same that we have done for professional life.  We are meant to be individually responsible, to know what we are doing, and to be reliable.    


Human freedom is the responsibility each of us is to take in regard to his own evolution. It is understanding that I am responsible for my own evolution.  Does that mean that divine grace all of a sudden has nothing to do anymore?  If human freedom is added, does that mean that divine grace has nothing to do?  This is a misunderstanding.  In spiritual science you would have an appreciation for karma. All of us are responsible for our karma, for our past evolution, and need to try to acquire all those qualities that we are lacking.  That is karma, the chance again and again to become all the things we haven’t yet become.  Karma is never a punishment.  Karma is an open chance, the possibility of becoming all that we have not yet become.  Many people, Christian people, come along and say,  “Well, if you emphasize that karma, the freedom of the individual, is the motor of evolution, you are saying that we do not need grace.”  If we have responsibility for our own evolution, who is creating all the framework conditions for the exercise of freedom?  We are not the ones creating the framework conditions, the framework conditions are the whole world in which we live, the world of minerals, plants, and animals. It is the way the sun or the moon or the stars evolve and then revolve.  The total framework conditions for human freedom in the world in which we live are not our doing.  The problem is that we have become so dull, so insensitive, that we do not appreciate the unending work of divine grace in creating and putting at our disposal the total sum of framework conditions for human freedom.


If we are just beginning to exercise our freedom, we have said already that at the beginning of it there must be a lot of mistakes, and there must be a lot of evil arising.  To those Christians who say that karma and human freedom do not go with divine grace, we would ask:  “Dear friend, tell me, when the children grow up and in the teenage years begin to exercise their freedom, are you telling me that the parents all of a sudden do not have anything more to do?”  No, when kids begin to be free, parents have double the work.  They have to keep doing what they were doing before, and they have a lot extra to do to correct the mistakes made.  That is good, that is beautiful.  But it would be a mistake to say that where freedom is beginning, the parent beings have less to do.  If human freedom is just beginning for us in our part of the cosmos, divine beings have a lot more to do.  Divine grace is doing much, much more, because it has to put straight all the things that we are doing wrong.


A fundamental truth is expressed in the gospels with the sentence,  “Look at the Being of Love, the being of sacrifice, the Lamb of God, Who takes upon Himself the sins of the world.”  In other words, divine grace has to work more now because it has to put straight all that we damage in our ignorance at the beginning of our freedom.  We are toiling in the negative phase of freedom, still trying to push back all that is trying to help us.  I hope I have made myself understood in trying to tell you that it is a misunderstanding, it is an error, to think that the emergence of human freedom means that divine grace becomes obsolete.  That’s not true.  Thus far we have little idea of what divine grace is, and in our time even more so, because of all the things we begin to be able to do in our freedom.  Imagine, we are becoming capable of disposing of the body of the earth with nuclear energy, with genetic engineering.  The possibilities of our freedom are already becoming so daunting that we had better be clear what divine grace is doing more than ever before in order to carry with loving hands the sin of humanity, the sin of the world.  What we are doing on our planet is not normal.


We can say that divine grace, the Being of Love, is giving us the framework conditions in the hope that each one of us will pour into ourselves something totally different.  Think of the scene in the Gospel of John where Christ speaks with Nicodemus of being born again from above.  We are born once, we are all here physically, but Jesus is speaking of a new birth, a birth of freedom from above.  Nicodemus cannot understand that.  He thinks it means to be born again from the womb of his mother.  He asks, “How can I go back to the womb of my mother and be born again?”  What is the birth from above?  The birth from above is being born from our higher selves.  It is an objective fact that each one of us has a higher self which is super conscious.  Our true self is not in our normal consciousness.  We have an image of ourselves only in our normal consciousness.  But our true being, our spiritual being, our eternal being, is like a higher self.  To the extent that we connect ourselves with this higher self which is imbued with the love of the Being of Love, we become amazed at how many intuitions and creations, how many moral openings, our higher self brings down to us.  In that we receive the inspirations from our higher self and bring them down to our lower self, we are born from above.  We become creative with the creativity of the higher self.


You see, all these things are in Christianity.  They are there, but they have not been seen up till now.  Take the first beatitude, which says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of God.”  Already as a child, as a teenager, I was asking myself. “How can somebody who is a bit poor in spirit be blessed?”  In Greek, the sentence says “Those will live in fullness who become beggars for things of the spirit.”  Now what does it mean to be a beggar?  A beggar is a person who has nothing and knows he has nothing, one who seeks.  To seek for the spiritual is a statement of human undertaking:  “Only he will experience human fullness who experiences the freedom of searching, of looking for, of being a beggar for the things of the spirit.” It is a tremendous, a beautiful statement of human freedom and of creativity, this being on the way, being on a journey and never stopping, of never being satisfied.


Think of the parable of the talents.  The one who received five brings ten, and the one who received two brings four.  The one who received one buried it in the ground,  and then he has  a hard time, because the lord  says to him, “You knew that I wanted more than I gave you!”  Isn’t that unfair? Wanting back more than he gave?  What God gives us is grace, but He wants back more.  What is more?  It is what we add to ourselves out of our own freedom, out of our own understanding.  And God is not going to be satisfied if we only bring back what He has given us, because that would mean we haven’t done a thing.  That’s an omission of a whole life.


Do you see the earnestness of freedom in the gospels?  We have just been seeing that for two thousand years it was an incipient Christianity.  But now we must speak out if we want a Christianity worthy of a modern human being.  You might have a hard time convincing the churches of these things, but they are there.   I am not advocating a type of Christianity which is not in the gospels.   This evening we have been seeing the gist of the matter, that the essence of the Being of Love is the love of human freedom.  I think we can all be grateful that this kind of new Christianity is emerging.  We have been born on earth to be loved, in freedom, in unending evolutionary possibilities for every human being.


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