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A READER'S JOURNAL, Vol. 1
Sermon on the Mount by Rudolf Steiner
(second half of book)
Lecture given in Munich on March 15, 1910
Published by Anthroposophic Press in 1978
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2002
In many of his writings Steiner calls the "sensible" world one that is perceived via our ordinary five senses and he calls the "super-sensible" world one that requires the use of super-sensible perception to perceive it. Moving forward from the advent of the "I AM" or ego body in the time of Moses to the Sermon on the Mount, Steiner describes the dramatic change that took place in humankind in the time of Jesus. Humankind, by then blessed with ego consciousness since Moses's time, had lost its ability to raise themselves up to the realm of spiritual beings. The spiritual beings had to descend into the human realm before the new ego consciousness could recognize them. Thus the meaning of the Christmas story of "angels bending near the earth." The new message to humans at the time of Christ was to "find his connection with God within, and this by means of his ego." Thus came John the Baptist proclaiming "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Heaven could not be interpreted rightly as an earthly location (physical body), nor as a political kingdom (ether body), nor as a philosophical kingdom (astral body), but only as the living ego body entering a relationship with the descended Christ in power and harmony.
The eight beatitudes progress from the lowest human body to the highest spiritual body as the following summary of Steiner's words illustrate. Even a casual glance at the parallelism may be enough to soften the heart of the most calloused skeptic as it shows that Jesus, as the descended Christ, was aware of the progression of the multiplexed bodies of humankind. I will cite the verse of Matthew, the pertinent human body, followed by a brief quote or re-statement of Steiner's view of the beatitude.
Beatitude 1 (5:3, physical body): Those living in their physical body (i. e. poor in spirit) "if they develop their ego-ruled bodies in the right way, they will find the Kingdom of Heaven."
Beatitude 2 (5:4, etheric body): Those who mourn can find the source of comfort within themselves.
Beatitude 3 (5:5, astral body): The meek, by "fostering calmness and equanimity within themselves; all comfort and well-being on earth shall be their reward."
Beatitude 4 (5:6, soul or ego body): Seek a higher development in your soul body and your ego will "become sufficient unto itself." (Steiner calls this the slumbering of the ego.)
Beatitude 5 (5:7, rational soul): "He who develops compassion and mercy shall find compassion in others." (Steiner calls this the awakening of the ego.)
Beatitude 6 (5:8, consciousness soul): Through the consciousness soul "the ego comes into being as pure ego and becomes capable of receiving God into itself." This is expressed poetically as "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." "The heart," Steiner says, "is the expression of the ego, the divine in man."
Beatitude 7 (5:9, spirit self): This is what I would call the Holy Grail of the Beatitudes. Steiner calls us vessels that are gradually receiving the spirit. Thus with the deed of Christ bringing down to earth "the power of love and harmony" we listen as Christ tells us "Blessed are those who draw the spirit self down into themselves, for they shall become the Children of God." Children of God is a poetical reference to our ultimate destiny as we progress in our human and spiritual evolution.
Beatitude 8 (5:10, life spirit, spirit man): Steiner sees this as a direct message about the mission of Christ (spirit man) and his disciples.
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