A Seasonal Thought
The Mystery of Easter and the Coming of the Holy Spirit
by Rev. Michaël Merle
The great Mystery (the mysterium: secret) of Easter is that it heralds a new development in human history and in human evolution. “What had been undergone at a certain level by the candidate for Initiation in the (Ancient) Mysteries – the Death and Resurrection of the soul – took place even as to the body with Christ Jesus… What the soul of every candidate for Initiation underwent, Christ Jesus underwent even in the body… For Christ was no (ordinary) earthly man… Hence what the candidate for Initiation in the ancient Mysteries had undergone in the soul, could be undergone in the entire human nature by Christ Jesus upon Golgotha … For thousands and thousands of years, human beings have been led through death and resurrection of their souls into the secrets of the spiritual world… The essential thing (now) was that man should know: … there could be a Resurrection of the Christ. “ (Rudolf Steiner, 19th April 1924)
The incarnation of the Christ in the body of Jesus of Nazareth at the Baptism by John in the Jordan meant that at Golgotha the rite of Initiation was fully realised – and now it is possible for us as human beings to live in the reality of this Resurrection and so to know the secrets of the spiritual world.
This great Mystery of Easter becomes a reality for us, in us, with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Whitsun. In a letter of 19th August 1902 Rudolf Steiner explained that the “Christ in us” is essentially none other than the Holy Spirit. He clarifies this by explaining that the “Holy Spirit” and the “Christ in us” are one and the same – but at different stages or levels of development: “One could say that the “Holy Spirit” is the(feminine) “Mother” principle of the (male) “Son” principle, Christ. We owe the development of the “Christ in us” to the “Holy Spirit”. (Rudolf Steiner)
It is this great mystery of the Mother and the Son that we see enacted in the interchange of the Wedding at Cana, and again in the words spoken from the cross: “Woman, see this is your Son; Son see this is your Mother”.
At Whitsun the Holy Spirit descends into the very constitution of the human being, so that the human being embodies the Spirit. The disciples saw this Spirit as a tongue of fire upon the heads of those gathered. This life-giving fire permeates the human constitution and like a mother gives birth to the Christ in us. Our I-organisation body is a Christ in-dwelling in earthly man. It is the task of this “I” in us (Christ in us) to transubstantiate our early body into a Spiritual body, to make real in us the Resurrection of the Christ.
The development of the greeting; “Dominus Vobiscum” (The Lord be with You) to “Christ in You” recognises the great Mystery of Easter at work in the Spirit-filled human being. This recognition is deepened through the words: “Christ in us” which is spoken twice on two separate occasions in The Act of Consecration of Man. Here new insights into the secrets of the Spiritual World can be meditated.
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