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Lecture 5 1 December 1939

dealt with the /fth verse [of the “Anima Christi”]: “Passio Christi, conforta me.” (Passion of Christ, strengthen me.)

I highlighted that suffering and the attitude to suffering is one of the classic differences between the Eastern and Western standpoints.

As I said, in the East there is a quite dif fer ent psychological temperament.

The Easterner says, “I am the âtman” or, “Through enlightenment I become Buddha,” while the Westerner’s entire standpoint is that one’s own life and one’s own autonomy lie in the figure of Christ.

Thus the Western person says, “My life dis appears into the life of Christ, I am permeated and overpowered
by him.”

It is notable that the East has an essentially negative attitude to suffering. Suffering belongs to illusion.

The world is a place of suffering, but one leaves this state by freeing oneself from conflicts.249

Meanwhile, this growing into the life of Christ leads one to receive250 the mystery of Christ: in other words, to perceive the suffering of the God who is becoming or has become man, as Przywara says.251

If we then think that Christ is the corresponding /gure of the self for the Westerner, then this realization that the God- man, or the God- become- man, suffers actually means that the pro cess of individuation, of becoming oneself, is a painful affair that causes suffering.

This suffering is not expressed as my personal suffering, but as the suffering of God.

So we could say that it is projected into the divine figure. We do not find this concept in the East.

The person becoming Buddha is even, to the extent that that person is enlightened, freed from suffering. Suffering dis appears like the clouds of mâyâ.252

This peculiar Western attitude means, therefore, that the more perfect figure, the bigger person, the more comprehensive, future man who towers above the pre sent one, is a God who, so to speak, becomes man and in so doing experiences suffering.

We could thus also flip the sentence around—by developing myself into this divine or perfect state, I go through
a process of suffering.

This condition of suffering is of course also a human condition: that is, my state of suffering; but that is secondary, in that it
repeats the suffering of Christ in a way.

The essential ele ment here is not my suffering, but the suffering of Christ, which is always pre sent, always happening.

This is one of those concepts that is dif/cult to grasp, which you will also find in the psy chol ogy of the Mass:253 namely, that the sacrifice of Christ is not a repeated sacrifice, but is ongoing, always pre sent, a sacrifice that took place outside of time and in some way is always happening, because it took place in eternity, that is, beyond time, and seems always to repeat itself.

The Passion of Christ is the same.

It is an eternal suffering, a permanent suffering, but it is also continuously resolved through the glorification and transfiguration of Christ, and by the return of Christ to the purely divine state as the second figure in the Trinity.

This formulation seems to sit well with the Western temperament, other wise we in the West would prob ably have come up with something quite different.

It must in some way /t our temperament, other wise it would not have been pos si ble for such an objectionable concept as that of a suffering God to have gained such a following.

If you think about it, in the ancient world, the idea that a God suffers must have seemed totally shocking. And indeed it is.

That counted against Christianity, and yet the idea still managed to assert itself with such force that the Western mind has been captivated by it for fifteen hundred years.

There is no other idea in the West that could come nearly as close to expressing the Western mindset, and hence our fascination with it.

Now, gradually, mankind is beginning to somehow slough off this fascination, and to that extent also our understanding of these statements is collapsing and they are apparently losing effectiveness, which represents a great loss.

I would like to provide you with more information about the Christian concept, because it is of fundamental importance for an understanding of the Exercitia spiritualia.

As you know, our Protestant concepts are not completely in agreement with the Catholic ideas, because in Protestantism
the strict concept of the Trinity has dis appeared to a large degree.

You may have read recently in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung about the decisions regarding the ecumenical council of churches.254

This story reveals a piece of medieval religious history, namely a discussion about whether to sign a document asserting that Christ is God.

A host of voices were raised against it. Apparently one can also hold the view that Christ is not God.

This notion shows what the pre sent situation is like, at least in reformed Protestantism.

We cannot even acknowledge Christ as the Godhead, even though he himself said he was the Son of God.

This position of Son of God played a considerable role, after all, and as you perhaps remember from the New Testament, the Jews wanted to stone Jesus for saying such a thing.

John says in chapter’10 [of his Gospel], Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?/ If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;/ Say ye of him, whom the Father
hath sancti/ed, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?/ If I do not the works of my Father, elieve me not./ But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.255

Christ refers here to Psalm 82, where it says, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.”256

This statement is very curious and very obscure, and people have often wondered what is actually meant by it.257

But with a literal reading, there is really no other way to understand it than that we are children of God, or related to God.

All other interpretative gymnastics are just that.

Because there are also other parts in the New Testament that provide evidence that such a statement was meant, that man is related to God, and that Christ’s assertion that he was the Son of God was not so absurd after all. For example, in the second epistle to the Corinthians we find the following: “Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”258

Then another passage at Galatians 2:20: “I live; not I, but Christ lives in me.”259 That is the literal translation.

There are some Protestant theologians now publishing Bible translations in which it does not say Christ is “in you” but “between you”, “among you”,260 so that one doesn’t get the idea that Christ could be the inner Christ, that it is a case of an inner relation with God.

It’s hard to understand why anyone would have such resistance to the idea, but one has one’s suspicions.

I would like to give you a parallel from the ancient world.

South of Cairo in Oxyrhynchus, papyri from the first century were unearthed that were apparently notes from a kind of collection of anecdotes about Jesus.

They prob ably predate the canonical Gospels, which came very late.261

In the Gospels it says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”262

That would be the between.

But the original263 version says, “Wheresoever there are (two, they are not without) God: and where there is one alone I say I am with him.”264 It seems that the text was subsequently edited,265 to take away the one and add it to the two.

Then there are three. That’s enough for an association, for a church in fact.

One alone cannot make a church, despite what Coleridge once said: “I believe in the one and only true church of which I am presently the only member.”266

You see what considerations are at play here: namely, consideration for the church.

One alone does not have grace; there needs to be a club of members already.

That is of course clearly intended to discourage lone mavericks and activities that are too individualistic.

But inevitably, it still has an effect in the church today.

That’s why one point, I believe, was translated completely incorrectly. It is not at all that Christ is “among you,” but that he is actually “in you.”

Paul acknowledges that “Christ liveth in me.”267 Paul no longer lives, Christ lives. He is the body. If I fit in anywhere at all, I am merely an accessory.

There is also a passage in the Acts of the Apostles: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; [. . .] For we are also his offspring.”268

That is: we have a divine lineage.

Here we see the roots and seeds of an original primordial view which in the course of Chris tian ity’s history have not developed; instead the whole autonomy of the human- divine being has become concentrated in Christ, and man has been left empty- handed, so to speak.

These seeds have not developed, and yet these are the seeds from which the Eastern belief developed: I am the âtman, I am the world.

In the West, this pro cess was reversed, as you can see.

Man sank down and is only signi/cant as a member of a community.

As an individual, a man has no divine right, but must wait for the grace of the church.

Then why are we surprised when a martial269 age finally erupts and this idea is already prepared in our culture, where there is then not even any God left to turn to?

What is man then?

There is no longer a church, but there is a crowd, there is the state, and the individual no longer exists.

That is a catastrophe, both spiritual and human, of the greatest magnitude.

Then we can no longer allow ourselves to have organ izations, to form groups of people— because we have no form other than the state, which is nothing but a conglomeration of human individuals, and which, although it is man- made, does not come from our deepest nature, but is a protective device that is intended always to remain in human hands.

Then, of course, the mob mentality emerges.

Each person regresses to the subhuman level, because they are no longer an individual, a personality.

The individual can no longer be heard, because now the beast roars.

Only someone who can roar louder than the beast can still be heard.

We have the loss of the church structure to thank for that.

But it is also due to the fact that education has historically been solely the domain of the church that the civilized European has sunk to this level.

Nowadays the church should know that it can no longer subordinate the individual exclusively to the church.

That nullifies a person, and if the church walls cave in there is nothing left but rubble, and the individual no longer even exists. Instead of developing these seeds, which are clearly sown and articulated in the Holy Scripture, the church developed its power, its strength as an institution for human welfare.

Our entire culture, after all, is essentially Christian.270

That we can say for sure, because had the Catholic church not existed where would we be now?

We would be absolutely nowhere. But we got stuck with the church as an institution, and didn’t incorporate the original confessions.

Thanks to this situation, we have never been able to comprehend the East.

Because all we do is dismiss the Eastern ideas as so- called megalomania. Who here knows that Christ said, “You are gods”?

Have you ever heard a sermon about that? I haven’t.

There are still many points in the New Testament on which no sermons have been given. I must tell you about another point.

In the Acts of the Apostles, you’ll find that depiction of the pouring forth of the Holy Ghost which is psychologically

Christ says, “I want to leave you a paraclete, a comforter.”272

That is, he wants to leave the Spirit of God for these children of God whom he is now leaving.

There the Spirit of God falls from heaven as fiery tongues.

These /ery 0ames do not fall “between” people, but upon each individual figure. Each of them receives the paraclete and can then say, “I have received the spirit of God. I am the abode, another aspect of the Godhead.”

That is the third in the Trinity. The whole Godhead is received in the Holy Ghost. It also simply makes sense logically.

But it was never followed up, thanks to the Inquisition. If one man says he has received the spirit of God, that he is the theos, what can one say to that?

There’s nothing more to say.

Because then he could proclaim anything, the worst kind of heresy. That’s what the so- called Schwarmgeister did.273

Then the whole institution of the church crumbles, so we have to understand that it was impossible for the church to deal with this problem.

But this problem is an eternal truth, and becomes acute at those moments when the church cannot keep its 0ock together any longer, when cracks appear in the church walls.

Then we should remind ourselves of these assertions. They are not empty words, but basic psychological truths, without which we do not have any kind of buttress against the problems of today.

If as individuals we do not manage to remember our own divinity, so to speak, we degenerate helplessly into the herd- animal mindset.

Someone simply saying “I” is not enough;274 such people are seen as mere egoists or individualists, and rightly so.

But as for an individual person remembering his original divinity, that is a completely different story.

Such a pronouncement expresses the deepest foundations on which we stand.

It concerns the whole person, only a tiny part of which is found in our consciousness.

This statement concerns the human self.

It is not he, not the I, who is God: the self is the God within, and this self is, as the whole, significantly superior to the part, namely consciousness.

In Christian philosophy, we hear virtually nothing about this self, because it is kept hidden.

But we would have heard about it if the church had been able, when it was still all- powerful, to develop the religion of the Holy Ghost: to rise up out of Christ, that is, as he said himself.

Because if he is the Son of God, and he calls us the children of God, then we would be his brothers and sisters.

If the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity descends on every one, then lots of people are in exactly the same spiritual state as Christ was when the Spirit of God descended on him in the baptism.

But this idea was too dif/cult. It is still far too dif/cult for the church today. In the Middle Ages, one would have been burnt to death immediately for voicing such criticism.

But we can never accept and perceive as true our spiritual connection with the East, we can never assimilate the East, if we do not also consider this Christian predisposition in us, when we do not know that this assertion was also already pre sent in the original texts of Christianity.

We are suffering from a développement arrêté.275

Our spiritual development in the West has been somewhat stunted, while in the East it has become hypertrophic, because they did not have institutions that could be compared in any way to the Catholic church.

Buddhism is far from being a church in this sense.

I would like briefly to quote an author who suffered from this Western problem, wrestled with it, and was felled by it.

I mean, the problem of the collapse of the church, of traditional Christianity, that unfortunately cannot be denied. Optimistic souls want to think and believe that it can still be saved, but if we look at the facts, if we count the number of people
who are extra ecclesiam,276 we must admit that Christian ity is in bad shape nowadays.

That person is Friedrich Nietz sche. He made the pronouncement, “God is dead.”277

God has died. And he didn’t realize that in proclaiming this he was actually within the dogma, that it was a Christian

Because God has died. He is always dying, and the death of Christ is one of the mysteries of Christianity.

The death of God is preached to us, after all. That much we know: God has died.

But Nietzsche didn’t mean it like that; he meant: God has come to an end.

With that, God coming to an end and having no successor, something very special happened for the world.

Nietzsche didn’t know that he would become God’s successor.

Then when mental illness got the better of him, he signed his letters with names such as “the crucified one” or “Dionysos”,
or “Zagreus”— that is, the mutilated one, who was also a god, also a deceased god.

And this fate was played out in him. In Zarathustra, he prophesied it himself, when he says to the dying tightrope walker, “Your soul will be dead even before your body.”278

Eleven years after his soul died, Nietz sche’s body died.

No won der that in his most signi/cant, far- reaching book, his confessional work

Thus Spoke Zarathustra, there are many parts which are thoroughly Christian.

He moves within a thoroughly Christian world view— how consciously, is hard to say— but he has a Western psychology
and simply cannot escape this Western world view.

He simply has to extend his thinking within these Christian categories, and thus he also dealt with the motif of the suffering God in Zarathustra.

I would like to present it to you as a document humain.280 Pay attention to the unique symbolism that Nietzsche uses.

You will find these points in the section called “The Intoxicated Song”:281

God’s woe is deeper, you strange world! Reach out for God’s woe, not for me! What am I? An intoxicated, sweet lyre
— a midnight lyre, a croaking bell which no one understands but which has to speak before deaf people, you Higher Men! For you do not understand me!

Gone! Gone! Oh youth! Oh noontide! Oh after noon! Now come eve ning and midnight; the dog howls, the wind:
is the wind not a dog? It whines, it yelps, it howls. Ah! Ah! how it sighs! how it laughs, how it rasps and gasps, the midnight hour!

How it now speaks soberly, this intoxicated poet! perhaps it has overdrunk its drunkenness? perhaps it has grown over- wakeful? perhaps it ruminates?
it ruminates upon its woe in dreams, the ancient, deep midnight hour, and still more upon its joy. For joy, though woe be deep: Joy is deeper than heart’s agony.
— — — — —
You grape- vine! Why do you praise me? For I cut you! I am cruel, you bleed: what means your praise of my intoxicated cruelty? “What has become perfect, every thing ripe— wants to die!” thus you speak. Blessed, blessed be the vine- knife! But every thing unripe wants to live: alas!

Who is the grape- vine that has ripened, that wants to die? And who holds the knife? It is Nietz sche himself who is the sacri/cer, and Christ the bleeding sacrfice. Woe says: ‘Fade! Be gone, woe!’ That is really Western: overcoming suffering.
But every thing that suffers wants to live, that it may grow ripe and merry and passionate, [. . .]

Here comes the other side of Western man, the concupiscentia.282

[. . .] passionate for remoter, higher, brighter things. “I want heirs,” thus speaks every thing that suffers, “I want children, I do not want myself.”
Joy, however, does not want heirs or children, joy wants itself, wants eternity, wants recurrence, wants every thing eternally the same.
Woe says: ‘Break, bleed, heart! Walk, legs! Wings, 0y! Upward! Upward, pain!’ Very well! Come on! my old heart: Woe says:
Fade! Go!
— — — — —
What do you think, you Higher Men? Am I a prophet? A dreamer? A drunkard? An interpreter of dreams? A midnight bell?
A drop of dew? An odour and scent of eternity? Do you not hear it? Do you not smell it? My world has just become perfect, midnight is also noonday,

pain is also joy, a curse is also a blessing, the night is also a sun—be gone, or you will learn: a wise man is also a fool.

Did you ever say Yes to one joy? O my friends, then you said Yes to all woe as well. All things are chained and entwined together, all things are in love; if ever you wanted one moment twice, if ever you said: ‘You please e, happiness, instant, moment!’ then you wanted every thing to return! you wanted every thing anew, every thing eternal, every thing
chained, entwined together, every thing in love, O that is how you loved the world, you everlasting men, loved it eternally and for all time: and you say even to woe: ‘Go, but return!’ For all joy wants – eternity!
— — — — —

All joy wants the eternity of all things, wants honey, wants dregs, wants intoxicated midnight, wants graves, wants the consolation of graveside tears, wants gilded sunsets, what does joy not want! it is thirstier, warmer, hungrier, more
fearful, more secret than all woe, it wants itself; it bites into itself, the will of the ring wrestles within it, it wants love, it wants hatred, it is superabundant, it gives, throws away, begs for someone to take it, thanks him who takes, it would
like to be hated; so rich is joy that it thirsts for woe, for Hell, for hatred, for shame, for the lame, for the world— for it knows, oh it knows this world!

You Higher Men, joy longs for you, joy the intractable, blissful— for your woe, you ill- constituted! All eternal joy longs for the ill- constituted.

For all joy wants itself, therefore it also wants heart’s agony! O’happiness! O pain! Oh break, heart! You Higher Men, learn
this, learn that joy wants eternity, joy wants the eternity of all things, wants deep, deep, deep eternity!283

In this avowal you can see the strange transition from the Christian psychology of suffering, the suffering of the sacri/ced God, into something unholy, namely joy, which ultimately seeks itself, but it becomes this desire for itself. Joy is actually a bad word, it is an immoral desire that seeks the wayward, the ill- constituted.

And it has to seek the ill- constituted if it seeks itself. That is part of it.

That’s why Nietzsche also calls the higher men, for whom he so longs, the ill- constituted.

He symbolizes joy as the search for eternity, for the dragon biting its tail, the image of the ring of eternity.

That is a symbol of the self. He does not mean the desire for his I, but for the eternal ele ment in man, the timeless, the divine.

Now we will leave the “Passio Christi” and turn to the next verse [of the “Anima Christi”]:

  1. “O bone Jesu, exaudi me.” (Oh good Jesus, hear me.)

This is once again an invocation and a call to the /gure of Christ with his autonomous activity.

Now we will hear Przywara’s meditation on this. Namely, he says that Christ listens to him.284

Precisely speaking, that is not what it says in the invocation. There it simply says: “Exaudi me.” “Hear me.”

That does not yet mean that God does hear, but the Jesuit meditation transfers the whole activity so much into Christ that Przywara makes it quite clear, here and in the contemplation, that God listens to him, that God relates to him, not he to God.

As if he had not previously said, “Exaudi me.”

As if God were listening to him from the beginning. “What ever I say to Him, what ever He hears, what ever I express, what ever He takes in: I am it.”285

With that he wants to express that he offers up his I to Christ, as it were.

He leaves it completely in the hands of the invoked figure of Christ.

These ideas continue even more clearly in the next verse:

  1. “Intra tua vulnera absconde me.” (Within your wounds hide me.)

Here we see a general Christian idea, that the wounds somehow signify protection for people, that men are somehow absorbed into Christ’s wounds.

Now imagine that in real life. Imagine a little person placed into the wound of another person, or as Przywara says, the grain is plunged into the earth.286

So here the body of Christ is in a way treated like the plowed earth, as if it were opened up for this purpose, in order for people to enter into the body.

These ideas have always played a certain role, but they reached a climax with Zinzendorf’s mysticism.287

Zinzendorf created a downright obscene affair out of the side- wound of Christ. It is really revolting, what he
made of it.

The most innocent Sunday- school child can see that. There is no need for any kind of analytical interpretative gymnastics here.288

It is quite obvious that he thought of the side- wound of Christ as some kind of maternal genitalia into which one would plunge in order to be incubated in it and reborn in the blood.

I’m not making a bad joke here; it’s a fact.

You see the same thoughts in Przywara’s meditation too, only sanitized and less offensive, as a furrow of earth in which a seed is sown.

There are Etruscan plows that are phallus- shaped.

Well into the last century it was still the custom in many places for the farmer to take his wife out to the field on a moonlit night and sleep with her there, in order to ensure that the /elds would be fertile.

I’m not talking about some primitives performing rites which in comparison have an unmistakable meaning.

Now, these thoughts always crop up with this wound mysticism, and the strange thing is that Christ has a male body.

Christ is now, most curiously, if we apply the Catholic notions strictly, not only male, but also female.

One speaks of the androgyny of Christ, of the male femininity.

In chapter’14 of Revelation it says, “ These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.

These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.”289

It refers to holy men who have not been tainted by contact with females. Priests, for example, who live in celibacy.

They are actually parthenoi.290 They are men and yet they are female.

And this characteristic is also applied to Christ, specifically with reference to Genesis, where it says that Eve, the first woman, was created from the side of Adam.

So there must have been a wound there, a birth canal out of which came Eve.

That is the Ecclesiae archetype, the archetype of the emergence of the church out of the side-wound of Christ.

The birth of the church was therefore in a way like the birth of Eve, out of the side- wound of Christ.

Thus the side- wound somehow signi/es the maternal gateway.  ~Carl Jung, The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, Page 98-112