When night fell, Diahmon approached me in an earth-colored robe, holding a silver fish: “Look, my son,” he said, “I was fishing and caught this fish; I bring it to you, so that you may be comforted.”
And as I looked at him astonished and questioningly, I saw that a shade stood in darkness at the door, bearing a robe of grandeur. His face was pale and blood had flowed into the furrows of his brow. But Philemon knelt down, touched the earth, and said to the shade:
“My master and my brother, praised be your name. You did the greatest thing for us: out of animals you made men, you gave your life for men to enable their healing. Your spirit was with us through an endlessly long time. And men still look to you and still ask you to take pity on them and beg for the mercy of God and the forgiveness of their sins through you. You do not tire of giving to men. I praise your divine patience. Are not men ungrateful? Does their craving know no limits? Do they still make demands on you? They have received so much yet still they are beggars.
“Behold, my master and my brother, they do not love me, but they long for you with greed, for they also crave their neighbor’s possessions. They do not love their neighbor, but they want what is his. If they were faithful to their love, they would not be greedy. But whoever gives, attracts desire. Should they not learn love? Fidelity to love? Freely willed devotion? But they demand and desire and beg from you and have learned no lesson from your awe-inspiring life. They have imitated it, but they have not lived their own lives as you have lived yours. Your awe-inspiring life shows how everyone would have to take their own life into their own hands, faithful to their own essence and their own love. Have you not forgiven the adulteress? Did you not sit with whores and tax-collectors?
Did you not break the command of the Sabbath? You lived your own life, but men fail to do so; instead they pray to you and make demands on you and forever remind you that your work is incomplete. Yet your work would be completed if men managed to live their own lives without imitation. Men are still childish and forget gratitude, since they cannot say, Thanks be to you, our lord, for the salvation you have brought us. We have taken it unto ourselves, given it a place in our hearts, and we have learned to carry on your work in ourselves on our own. Through your help we have grown mature in continuing the work of redemption in us. Thanks to you, we have embraced your work, we grasped your redemptive teaching, we completed in ourselves what you had begun for us with bloody struggle. We are not ungrateful children who desire our parents’ possessions.
Thanks to you, our master, we will make the most of your talent and will not bury it in the earth and forever stretch out our hands helplessly and urge you to complete your work in us. We want to take your troubles and your work upon ourselves so that your work may be completed and so that you may lay your weary tired hands in your lap, like the worker after a long day’s hard burden. Blessed is the dead one, who rests from the completion of his work.
“I wanted people to address you in this way. But they have no love for you, my master and brother. They begrudge you the price of peace. They leave your work incomplete, eternally needing your pity and your care. “But, my master and my brother, I believe you have completed your work, since the one who has given his life, his entire truth, all his love, his entire soul, has completed his work. What one individual can do for men, you have done and accomplished and fulfilled. The time has come when each must do his own work of redemption. Mankind has grown older and a new month has begun.
When Philemon had finished, I looked up and saw that the place where the shade had stood was empty. I turned to Philemon and said, “My father, you spoke of men. I am a man. Forgive me!”
But Philemon dissolved into the darkness and I decided to do what was required of me. I accepted all the joy and every torment of my nature and remained true to my love, to suffer what comes to everyone in their own way. And I stood alone and was afraid. ~Carl Jung; Red Book