November 29th, 1986, Serial No. 00611

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As we know, it's a symbolic revelation, but… and we can only speak of the last things in symbols. We can't express what the reality is, and these are very impressive symbols. And here we have this angel who comes back to the cloud with a rainbow over his head, his face like the sun and his legs like pillars of fire. And this is a visionary experience, of course, and these visions depend a great deal on the unconscious. You see, everybody has certain archetypal images in the unconscious. If a Hindu experienced, he would have a figure with many arms and many legs and so on, and the Buddhist would have his own images, and the Christian, the Hebrew, had their own images.


So these, they're all very impressive, and they are… these symbols have great power in them. They're not just accidental, they're symbols arising from very deep experience, and they put together a whole experience in an image, you see, and so it has great power, so you can feel it here. And he had a little scroll open in his hand, he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, called with a loud voice like a lion roaring, and the seven thunders sounded. And all this is this preparation, you see, for this great dramatic event which is going to take place, and the scroll, as you know, we had it before, is destiny, all human destiny is contained in that scroll, and it's going to be revealed. The idea is, all of human history is summed up as it were, and the destiny of man is revealed.


And he says, seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down. It's apparently that something came to him through the thunder and he's told not to write it. And then it says, sorry, the angel lifted up his hand and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, the sea and what is in it, there should be no more delay. So this is the beginning of the end, you see, and God is the creator of heaven and earth and the sea and everything that's in it. So it's a vision of the whole creation before the throne of God, and these angels, these cosmic powers who are preparing the end, you see, and in the days of the trumpet shall be called to be sounded by the seventh angel, and the trumpet was always the sign of the


end. It comes in the book of Exodus again, the revelation of Mount Sinai, and the trumpet sounded and there was thunder and lightning and then God spoke from Mount Sinai. So this is all the background to this. And the mystery of God, as he announced to his servants, the prophet should be fulfilled. The idea is human destiny is a mystery. We don't see it, we only see the passing events around us, but behind it all there is a hidden plan of God, a mystery which is going to be revealed at the end. And then this voice says, go take the scroll which is open in his hand, who is standing on the sea and the land. So I went and he takes this scroll, he says, take it and eat it, it will be bitter to your stomach but sweet as honey in your mouth. And this means, I suppose, you see, that in all these revelations it's always the good and the evil, it's always something which is bitter, there's pain and suffering and one


aspect of the day of the Lord is always this anguish and this darkness and gloom, and the other side of it always is grace, redemption, love, the fulfillment, you see. So the final day is always a judgment of whether the evil is destroyed and the good is made manifest. So that's presumably the meaning. I took it and it was sweet as honey in my mouth, when I eaten it my stomach was made bitter. So you must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and towns and kings. That is the prophecy of the end of the world, of the physical phenomena and then the human destiny, let's say, that lies behind it. And that's what it is in society, it's also in the human person, there is a dominant person,


character, and in each person beneath that dominant character there is a child. And we each have to discover this child in ourselves, have to be this. And of course the reading comes from the setting about which he's speaking of. He took a little child and set it in the midst of them and said it must become like a sweet little child in the hands of the Queen of God. And what characterizes a child is it's like an ego, you see, the ego itself grows as we mature, we acquire a self, an ego, a personality. And of course it's necessary to grow, but the problem is as you grow that personality takes over, it becomes central to your ego, to your person, and then you come to conflict with others, you come to conflict with God, you get to lose yourself. And the grace is this breaking open the ego and revealing the child.


It's a child, it's innocent, and it is free of this ego enough it's open to God. And the same in society, when people get strong and powerful they dominate others, then their ego grows and we get close to God, close to the equal realities of life. And the marginalized people, the poor, are those who are not growing in that way, they are more open to God. And it turns out people still find even the poor, people who are not close to God, walk through the ivory of the poor of the other, it is poor, somehow nearer to God. And I think we all recognize it, that people who are very rich and powerful are always in danger, necessarily, always in danger of becoming more and more egoistic, more and more dominating. And on the other hand, people who are poor, despised, rejected, they often have no other


refuge but God, and therefore they are more open to the Holy Spirit, the power of God. So I think today we are realizing more and more how redemption is in the poor. And society has to change from being dominated in the way it is, to being more open to God. So I think the poor is not a bad soul, the poor man is, he tends to be, he always is like this, he tends to be more open to God. That is why St. Luke gave the speech in the Sermon on the Mount, this is how you are poor, without qualification. And Matthew talks about the poor in spirit. And both are true, it is poor people, but it is not simply being poor, it is being poor in spirit, which means being open to God. So we all have to find this in ourselves, which I am within,


poverty within, which is open to God, and in the society around us, to look to those who are poor, but open to God, because from them that salvation comes, not to those who are powerful and rich and dominated. We all need to discover this mystery, because it feels very real, this mystery between God and us, within reality, which is in the world and in ourselves, which is overshadowed all the time by the rich and powerful, all through space, and discover ourselves, discover the child within, discover the poverty of spirit. He gives us his specific insight into the mind of Jesus, into his spiritual discipline, which is yoga, his own word is yoga. And yoga is his spiritual discipline.


And he was emphasizing, he said, he is weak and lonely at heart, his heart is easy, his yoke is easy, his body is light. And very different from what is often perceived in spiritual life, he emphasized the opposite, the hard way of fortification and denial and hardship. And no doubt, those who live and do have a place in spiritual life, but the main thing, that kind of negative asceticism is actually extremely harmful, and puts people in a hole completely. And Jesus puts a little difference in spirit, it's quite true on a couple of occasions, he has deeply narrowed it down. But he also emphasized the other aspect, that his petrol and meat and lonely at heart, it's his freedom from egoism, it's a fundamental thing,


it's what the flesh perceives as the real body, it's the ego, it's his self-centered personality. And deep in his humility, he always surrendered his self-centered personality to God, denying his own spiritual being, taking place for five hours, to make it stop, to make it open to God. And so that's the most basic principle, not to free oneself from his ego, his self-centered being, which closes us to God and closes us to others. And as that breaks down, then we become open to God, we become open to others, and that's what we seek. And then, so to speak, is yoga's music. And yoga in Hindu tradition is always a way of... it's not a way of violence at all, we never use violence in yoga, it's a gentle pressure, and it's a control. And we never try to subdue the flesh,


or to cultivate it, or to master it. We try to, this is a gentle control, help the body to discover itself, to realize its potentialities. It's not a negative thing at all, it's a positive way of discovering the potentiality of the body, of the senses, of allowing it to grow, of allowing the human person to be fulfilled. And obviously, one of these is that of the forest, the person is fulfilled. And yoga insists to be fulfilled at each level. First of all, on the physical level, in the heart of yoga, is to discipline the body so that it covers its whole path and becomes harmonious, integrated, whole. And that is the first stage. And then the next one, which is much more difficult, is the integration of the mind. The mind is moving in all directions, sound, all experiences of meditation.


And to bring the mind into harmony. Again, conscious balance on it. You don't have to suppress your thoughts at all, they keep coming back, and as it was. But after that, it provides us a control, and it's a very gentle control, that will allow the thoughts to come and go, to observe them, and not badly lose their path. And the deeper center of the person, and the kind of work that we do, you see, that deeper center gradually takes charge, breaks down these barriers, these walls, and we become aware then of the inbredding spirit. And this is the third stage, we have to organize the body, organize the soul, and then become aware of the inbredding spirit. If you're reading in the micro-information, who is the driver of the carrier? The carrier is the body, how does this consciousness, this life-form of the body, make balance with the spirit? It is all pervading spirit, everywhere,


and in each one of us, but we're close to it, the ego is close to the spirit, and when the ego is close to it, then the spirit comes in, and the transformation takes place, both the body and the soul. And it's an inner transformation, that is, the human person is integrated, it's a kind of integration into the whole. It's very important, I think, this is the spiritual side of it, you see, which really fulfills us, and many people suffer from the opposite, a tremendous emphasis on sin, on the sin of the past, all of the stars, the moon, the gates of the moon, and so on, and that's disastrous, it gives a completely negative view of life, and many people suffer permanently from it, because of childhood, they give thoughts, negative thoughts of sin and evil, and it's not as long as that, and part of this problem, and when we, you know,


when we gate the body in that way, and we gate the senses, we gate the mind, and then they recover their wholeness, they all become integrated in the spirit, and so it's not a negative view of life, but a positive view, which overcomes the negation, the negative aspect, the sadness of life, this sin, this selfishness, this wrong, this ignorance, part of it all, but you don't overcome it by violence, you overcome it by gentleness, by humility, by surrender, by openness to God, by openness to the spirit, and now the Holy Spirit, again, to penetrate the mind and the body, and the whole body, it's all real, it's all real. So we ask for this grace to see the way of life, which is very important, I think many, many people today suffer, as I say, from this negative assertivism, many leave the church, so many say that they have all the sense of guilt,


of sin, of the negative in them, and until they can get free of that, they shall not grow at all, so it's all a matter of that, and there is sin, there is a genuine guilt, but there's a great deal of false guilt, from the false idea of sin, and we have to discover the true being, and it's only the Holy Spirit teaches us what sin is, sin is pain, it's a mouth, sin is ignorance, it's self-centeredness, and as that grows, then we begin, when we actually become free, we're able to become ourselves, to be yourself, a true being, and if you find it in Christ, you are a part of the Holy Spirit. So we ask that all of you have this notion of the Holy Spirit. This gospel piece is contrasted with the way of John the Baptist, with the way of the Kingdom of Heaven, who said, who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he,


and it's a contrast between the way of violence, violent men, violent men, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by storm. It's not easy to interpret this, but certainly one interpretation is, there are two ways of spiritual life. One is the way of asceticism, negative way, fasting and watching and labor and asceticism, and a struggle to enter the Kingdom of God, and it's a very common way. And that is really the way of John the Baptist. He was brought out of the desert, holding camels' hair, eating locusts and wild honey, and the path of the fathers of the desert to a large extent. But the other way is the way that Jesus preached, the way of the Kingdom of God,


which is the way of the Kingdom as a gift. He says, unless you become a little child, you cannot receive this Kingdom. And I think it's very relevant today, because still many people think that Christian perfection and so on can be found by violence, by doing violence to oneself, and overcoming one's shortcomings and so on. And of course there is a way like that, but the opposite is this way of gift, to be able to receive the Kingdom of God. And it sounds much... And we were reading yesterday, Jesus says, my burden is light, my way is easy, my burden is light. And it's the difference between this... Perhaps you could have tossed it, the masculine way and the feminine way. The masculine way is a way of domination, of control and assault.


And it has its value, obviously. But the feminine way is a way of receptivity, of gentleness, patience, endurance. And I think we all have to learn this feminine way. As you know, we live in a masculine-dominated society, and we're trying to discover this feminine way. And it's a way, as I say, of receptivity, of gentleness, of openness, of sharing. And I think we are learning. And surely this was the way that Jesus preached in the Gospel. Don't have to stand for the other way. And it has its own values. You can't reject it. As Jesus said elsewhere, the wisdom is justified of all of our children. There are many ways of wisdom. But the way of the Gospel, the way that Jesus preached, is this way of openness, of receptivity, of surrender,


and ultimately of love, of course. Love which is simply open, which surrenders itself and is ready to receive love in return. So perhaps we all have to... It's not so easy. It sounds easy. Jesus says, my yoke is easy, my burden is light. But it's very difficult to find it. In a way it's much easier to assert oneself, to try to do something, to achieve something. It's much more difficult to be in the background, to be as a surrender, to accept, let things go. A very good example is in the Tao of the Lao Tzu, the Chinese wisdom. He who keeps back will be kept in. He has always the opposite. And another illustrator says that perfect good is like water. Water is excellent in benefiting all things, but it always takes the lowest place. Water always seeks the lowest place.


And that's the example of wisdom and virtue. It benefits everything, but it takes the lowest place. It's humble, like a little child, and through that it becomes a blessing to all. So perhaps we all need to reflect on how to perceive the kingdom of God, as a child, to be open to it, to have this place to be receptive of God, allowing God to work in us, to live in us. That is the real secret of grace. This Gospel brings out very clearly the contrast of these two spiritualities we were reflecting on yesterday. John the Baptist, being in the desert, fasting, praying, and eating locusts' wild honey, living the bare necessities. And Jesus comes eating and drinking,


ending marriages, sharing with people, and particularly sharing with tax collectors, the sinners, with the outcasts. And I think until recently, John the Baptist has really been the Christian ideal. People didn't necessarily follow it, but they felt the ideal was to be a holy man, living in solitude, silence, prayer, meditation, apart from the world. And that is one ideal. Jesus said wisdom is justified of our children. It is one way. And for many people, it has been, and maybe still is the way. But for others, the way of Jesus is the way that today we feel most need to follow. And I think the reason is this. It's psychological in a sense. In the past, people were physically very strong. If you weren't strong, you died in infancy or later on. Today, everybody almost survives.


Children would normally die or are made healthy, and later on you have a terrible accident or illness, and you recover. So physically, as a race, we're far, far weaker. It could have killed almost anything in the past. And then, as a part, without this physical strength, weakness, in the past, they were psychologically tough. They could stand any amount of hammering of their egos, calling themselves sinners, weeping for their sins, and calling themselves worthless, and so on. And it had a wonderful effect. It got rid of their ego, it opened them to God, and they became great saints. But today, it's the opposite, you see. Just as people are physically weak, they're psychologically weak. And we recognize they're one of the greatest problems. People have a poor image of themselves, they say. Often from childhood, they're told, you're naughty, you mustn't do that. They keep on being repressed,


and they get a sense of worthlessness. They're nothing, they're incapable. And so, when you start to hammer that weak ego, it just collapses, and people suffer terribly like that. You get a neurosis, you get a psychosis sometimes, a complete breakdown. And I think we have to recognize this great psychological change. And today, we need to help people to discover themselves. In a sense, you can say they have to find their ego. They've got to become a person, to become somebody responsible, recognizing their own worth, their own capacities, and so on. And so it's almost the reverse, you see. Before, children were kept subdued, you must be obeyed, do what you're told, and put down in that way. And it had a very good effect, very often. But we've passed now from over that psychology


to one which, and people today realize, children need to be encouraged, to be helped, to find themselves, become creative, become sensitive, and so on. So, this profound psychological change has taken place, and today we're seeking a spirituality which, as I say, is not that of John the Baptist, going out into the desert and fasting and praying and separate from the world, but the spirituality of Jesus, who did the opposite. He went out, the first thing he went out, he went to his marriage at Cana in Galilee, and he ordered a lot of wine for everybody to drink. Well, that's very scandalous for many people. And then he associated with these tax-gatherers and sinners, bad people who were rejected by society, and who he saw had need of him, but also had capacities which he would bring out in them. He has a curse who changes his life in contact with Jesus.


So today, I think, you see, we're seeking a spirituality of openness to the world. Before, it was rejection of the world, retiring. Today, it's openness to the world, how to be open to others, to share with others, to discover the values in others. And it means also, as I say, discovering yourself, being aware of your own capacity, being able to relate to others. So, it's really an opposite spirituality, and yet both are necessary. And perhaps the difference is this. In the past, you started with asceticism in a negative way, and you then got into the... you opened up. St. John of the Cross is a perfect example. He goes through the most terrible tortures in every way. And, of course, he was imprisoned and all sorts of things. And he frowned over it with love and joy. Everything frowned in him, let alone another person that had collapsed under it. And today, as I say, you need to go to the opposite, to discover the self, to find your capacities,


to be open to others. But then, I think, the need, the opposite comes. You see, if you encourage people too much to be themselves, then their ego begins to take charge. The ego is good. It's created by God. It's self, you have to realize. But it tends to get self-centered, and that is sin. You see, you discover yourself, and then you begin to reject others, to think you are so important. And then you get this inflated ego, and that is sin. And so that's where asceticism comes in. As you grow, discover yourself, you also discover this tendency to exalt yourself and to think too much. And then you have to learn how to discipline the self, how to gain that control. And it's very interesting, for instance, you see, if you impose a discipline on people, silence and fasting and so on, psychologically they tend to react against it. I always remember in my monastery we had a rule of silence.


Certain places, certain times you have to be silent, sometimes you have even to write rather than speak. And everybody evaded the rule. They went to chapter every week and said, I broke the silence there and there, this time and that. Psychologically, when a rule is imposed like that, you tend to want to break it. On the other hand, you find when a rule is not imposed, and people are seeking their fulfillment, they find the need of silence, the need of fasting. I've known many people, many people here in this ashram, feel the need for time of silence, the time of fasting. It comes spontaneously from within and then it's very creative and very helpful. So the need of asceticism is there, but it has to be in the context of a deep human and spiritual growth. They all say today, it's human maturity is what we need. There are many religious orders in the church who are finding that through this negative way,


which has been traditional, people don't reach human maturity. Our own community of Kumandali suffered from that. We had a very ascetic tradition, solitary life, silence and so on, and people were getting very unbalanced. And we had a great reform in the 1960s, at the time of the Second Vatican Council, and now they've opened up tremendously and they make a great deal of this human maturity, and culture and personal development. So I think this is, I say, what the church today is seeking, a spirituality of openness to the world and discovery of the self. And it does demand asceticism, as I say, if you simply indulge yourself, then, and it does happen, of course, people simply got open to the world and they start going to the cinema and drinking and whatnot, and they lose their spirituality. But there is an openness which is also


balanced by a deep inner experience. So you mustn't have one without the other. We have to be open to the world. At the same time, we have to be discovering ourselves more and more deeply in our relation to God. So you have the inner growth, the awareness of God, and at the same time the openness to others going out. There's the two movements of inner experience and outward movement. And perhaps one might also add the point we have reading the Maitreya Upanishad, that it made very clear the human constitution, the physical body, the Buddha, the physical self, and then the jiva, the psyche, the soul, and then the atman, the paramatman, the spirit. And the body, soul, and spirit, and we have to integrate the body, soul, and the spirit. And the body mustn't be suppressed, it must be learned, it must discover its own inner harmony.


And the soul, mind, and rest mustn't be suppressed, it must discover itself. But it is the spirit, the spirit of God in us, and our spirit in God, that is the leading power of the whole person, that is the center of the person, and that is what has to take charge. And so we have to discipline the body, discipline the mind and the soul in order to be open to the spirit. And it's the spirit ultimately who is the ruler and the guide and who teaches us how to discipline the body and the soul. So that's the spiritual path, I think, we have to discover. And as I say, it's really a discovery of the whole church, particularly, perhaps, of religious orders today. We're really discovering another path, and there are dangers on both sides, an excessive asceticism and, of course, an excessive indulgence, both obviously equally disastrous. And the middle path is always the way. It's the path of the Buddha, it's the path of Christ, it's the path of the Christian gospel.


There was revelation of St. John and it's revelation of things take place at the end of the world. It's all symbolic language and... Thank you. Yes, he says, I saw a white cloud and seated on the cloud one like a son of man with a golden crown on his head. And this, of course, recalls the prophecy of Daniel. Remember, Daniel is the first apocalypse which we know of the second century before Christ, and this pours a good deal on it. And in Daniel we have this vision, I saw one like to a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven. And Jesus certainly accepted that as a figure of himself, of the crown for high priest to say, shall see the son of man coming on the clouds of heaven.


So John has this vision of this Messiah, the Christ, coming on the clouds with a golden crown and with a sharp sickle in his hand. That's another aspect of it. And he's going to reap the harvest of the earth. And then again, this is a very evangelical symbol in the gospel. Jesus often sees the whole human history as this field of corn which is growing and the tares come into it and it goes to the harvest and then the harvests are separated. And so it's got a place in the gospel. We say, put in your sickle and reap for the hour to reap has come. And so he sat on the couch, swung his sickle on the earth and the earth was reaped. It's an image, of course, a symbol, and it has obviously a certain value, a certain meaning. I mustn't press it too far.


And then, too early a verse again. Our left heart, it said, I heard a voice from heaven, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, blessed are they, they may rest in their ladders. And there is, in this revelation, a sense of the new life of the resurrection. We must always remember the resurrection of Christ was the inspiration of the early church, as it is to us today, and that they were all waiting for the resurrection and what gave the martyrs that power to suffer was the confidence that they were passing through death into life. And so this reaping of the earth, for those who are prepared for it, is the passage to eternal life. And I think we all need to keep that in mind. It's very easy to call it the illusion that death is an end, a disaster, and put it off as much as possible, whereas we should really learn to see death as a passage into life, it's a new birth, really,


and if it comes through martyrdom, it's a particular grace, but if it comes in the ordinary way, then also it's a sacrament. Death is a sacrament, a passage into life. So, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, they rest in their ladders, their deeds follow them. That's an interesting point, you see. When you die, your deeds follow you. All that you've done in this life doesn't just pass away, the external form of it passes away, but what has grown into you, the inner purpose and meaning of your life, you take with you. So the choices we make here and now follow us to eternity. Our good choices have their inevitable effect, and our bad choices. That's why, of course, there's a judgment at the end. We see ourselves, we see our whole life in its perspective. As you know, as they say, drowning people sometimes see the whole of their past life come to fall in a flash. And it's not uncommon experience, and there's no doubt, you see, that the past is always there, we don't lose it.


The past is still present, and we take it with us when we enter into eternal life with that past, for good and for evil. And that is the meaning of judgment. We judge ourselves, we see ourselves as we are, and we may have to experience a purification, you see, and the purgatory is that purification which takes place when you're still clinging to yourself and clinging to other things, when you go beyond, when you go through death. You know, somehow you've got to be set free from that before you're able to enter into the final state. So I think we all need to reflect on death, to read Mystery of the Great Sacrament. There are explanations in the book of Revelation of the triumphs of the righteous for the throne of God, and then these judgments on the world. And here we have one of the last of the plagues. For another portent in heaven, a great and wonderful, seven angels and seven plagues which are the last,


for with them the work of God is ended. Seven, as you know, is always a number of perfection, but the three and a half is a number of imperfection. So it's always the seven means the final, the fullness of these plagues, which are the wrath of God. And this concept of the wrath of God is rather difficult to understand. I think the way to understand it is this, that when sin enters the world, the world comes in conflict with God, with truth, with love, and the consequences of that cause suffering, death, all these tragedies of the world. And the Bible tends to attribute them to God, that God causes this death, this suffering, and so on. They don't make that distinction. We would say God permits these things, but they are due to sin, to the evil in the world. So it's no need to use a term like the wrath. There's no wrath in God, actually. God is love.


And wrath is only when you reject love, then you experience your rejection of wrath, but it's not in God, it's in you. So then I saw this sea of glass and so on, and those who have conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with the corpse of God in their hands. And this is the triumph of the righteous, of course. And the beast, as you know, is the great red dragon, which is the power of evil, embodied in the Roman Empire at the time. And the number of its name, it came in a previous race, is 666, and 666 is short of 777. 7 is fullness, and 6 is falling short of fullness, you see, and therefore it's a sign of evil. And Nero, the number of Nero's name, apparently, was 666, if you do it in numerology. So the Roman Empire was the symbol of the power of evil, and Nero, the emperor, was the embodiment of this power at that time.


So these people have conquered the beast with this name, you see. And they sing the song of Moses, servant of God. And as you know, when Moses delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt and they passed through the Red Sea, they sang this song of victory. The Lord has delivered his people. And so every great deliverance was seen as a sort of renewal of that grace which came to Israel when they went out of Egypt. And they say, trust in true of thy ways and so on. Now I know not, surely all nations shall come and worship thee, thy judgments have been revealed. Now there's this deep sense of a final judgment, you see, that is the separation of the good and the evil. And it's the same as you get in the gospel, you have the fields and the tares grow up, and it is said, let them grow together until the harvest and then they'll be divided. I don't think it's so necessary to think that some people


are going to be rejected and some are going to be saved, but the evil in everybody is going to be overcome and the good, which is permanent and eternal, will be revealed. But however we take it, there is always this judgment, this separation, you see, of the good and the evil. And then I looked and the temple of the tent of witness in heaven was opened. And there again is all the symbolism of the old temple. You see, in the wilderness you had this tabernacle or this tent, and where the ark was present, it was a sign of the presence of God among his people, and so they see that tent also in heaven. You see, all the things on earth are supposed to be symbols, signs of the mystery of heaven. And again, as I said, heaven, we have to think of this other level of consciousness. You see, everything that takes place at this level of human existence is a reflection of what takes place on the eternal level, which is the level of heaven. And then one of the four living creatures gave the angel seven golden bowls


full of this wrath of God. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and his power. And you get this idea of God's holiness, you see, which cannot bear with sin, with evil, and his power and glory which overcomes all the sin and evil in the world. And no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended. And the idea was, and it may be true, that towards the end the plagues get worse. The plagues, of course, are called the plagues of Egypt. And every human crisis, you see, is a sort of repetition. There are a series of these disasters. The plagues of Egypt, you see, and then Israel is fed out. And then there was the tragedy of Babylonian captivity, and Israel was saved from that. And then, of course, Jesus comes in the midst of it all, and he delivers people from this power of evil which is always working in the world, and sets them free, opens them to this kingdom of God,


to the final freedom of truth. So that is the biblical perspective. And we're all living in this world where sin and evil seem to grow and dominate, and then they fall, and then the truth and righteousness prevail, and then again the same cycle may repeat itself, until at the end evil is finally overcome, and the kingdom of God is finally revealed. Then the sisters from St. Anne's are leaving us. ...great conflicts, on the conflict between Christians and Jews, which came to a head this time. And then there was the conflict with the Roman Empire, which also came to a head. So it's written in a time of stress, and one has to take that into account. And it's addressed to the seven churches in Asia Minor,


what is now Turkey, but we can take it as addressed to the church as a whole, to any Christian community, or if you like, to any religious community, because these things have a universal bearing. And first of all, he says that yesterday we were reading, he saw this figure standing among the seven golden stamp stands and having this seven stars in his hand, and his face was like the sun. He has this vision, you see, of this great figure of Christ, actually it is. And he sees him walking among the candlesticks, which are the churches, and he speaks of these churches having their angels.


The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and seven lampstands are the seven churches. I think this is a little important. We don't think much of the angels today, and it's extremely important that we realize that beyond the physical world, there is this other psychic world, the name you like to give it. And in every religion, you always find these world of the angels, of the devas, of the gods, you see. And today people think this is all mythology, it's unreal, but that is merely ignorance, because we choose to focus on the physical world, we imagine there's nothing beyond. But all the ancient world knew this psychic world, and in India particularly, Hinduism, Buddhism, profound insight into that whole psychic world. I know Tibetan Buddhism particularly, it's incredible the extent to which they've explored the whole of that psychic realm. And in India, for instance, Sri Aurobindo,


the most profound philosopher, Vedanta, where he saw all these realms, and he said the psychic world is just as structured, organized as the physical world, and it takes much more subtle apprehension to understand it. And in the ancient world, as I said, they had all these orders of angels and powers, you see, which are beyond the physical. And I think it's important, you see, any community, we're not just a human community living in a limited way, we belong to a much greater world, a whole psychic world, the world of the gods and spirits and angels is present, unseen, of course, you can't see it with our eyes, but you can become aware of it. See, and ancient people were aware of these, and they had visions of it, it's very common in every religion, you had visions of these gods, these angels, these Dhyani Buddhas of this day, and Buddhas of this time. So these are realities, we can either ignore them, or we can recognize them.


So we have them all living in the presence of the angel, which is very important for us. And then it says, he addresses this message, I know your toil, your patient endurance, how you cannot bear evil men, have tested those who call themselves apostles, but are not. Now we come on a rather difficult matter, first of all, I know your work, your toil and patient endurance, and I think everybody who's engaged in a serious work knows the need of patient endurance, I think it's a test of every kind of work we do, and we all know how difficult it is when things are difficult to go on patiently enduring. But then he says, you cannot bear evil men, and I think there's a great problem in the Bible as a whole, in the whole Semitic tradition, it's very dualistic, and it divides the world always into the good and the evil, and obviously there's certain truth in that,


you can distinguish good and evil, but when it's absolutized, it becomes extremely misleading, and that is where all these terrible enmities are created, such and such a person or such and such a community is evil, and they must be rejected. But always, there's good in all the evil, and there's evil in all the good. When one learns to discern, then one sees a much more profound reality. And I find it very difficult, it's in the Old Testament, it's very strong, this rejection of the wicked and the evil, and they are to be destroyed, and the good and the righteous, they are to be saved. But there's so much good in every evil, and there's so much evil in nearly every good, that it's really this discernment, the good and the evil in all of us, we all have to recognize it. But when you project the evil onto others, Jews or Freemasons or Communists or whatever, you create an imaginary evil outside yourself, so that you don't have to face the evil in yourself.


But when we recognize the evil in ourselves, then we don't judge others in that way. But as I say, it's a very strong Semitic tradition, and we must have to accept it, I think, in the Bible. And then it says, I know you're enduring patiently and bearing up, for my name's sake, and you've not grown weary. And that, of course, I say, is really the test of any work we're doing. Everybody can start with great enthusiasm and good work, but to bear up patiently year after year with all the frustrations it involves, that is the real test. And then it says, and this again, you've abandoned the love you had at first. Remember from what you've fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. And this, I think, is a great danger always. When things start with enthusiasm, and they build up, and then in the face of the problems, frustrations, failures, and so on, the enthusiasm goes down. You see it in all political movements,


movements of independence, and so on. It's often great enthusiasm, and the victory is won. And then it settles down, and all the corruptions of normal human life come back. And the same in religious orders. You get a religious order, and great enthusiasm, and you, like St. Francis of Assisi, or Cistercians, or so many others, spread through the world. And then, after a generation or two, it begins to settle down, it gets more and more worldly, and it loses. So, that's something which is universal, and I think to renew oneself, day by day, year by year, that's the real problem, to renew one's enthusiasm, one's faith and love. So, I said, yes, I think it's very real, this message which is being given. And then he says, if you do not repent, I will come and remove your lampstand. And it does happen, you see, great movements come up, and they achieve a lot, and then they go down, and they just disappear from the world,


and that's happening time after time. And then he says, you hate the work of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. I can't remember, I'm afraid, at the moment, I'll look it up, what the Nicolaitans were, but there were various movements like that which the Church rejected. As I say, there's this tendency always to make a total rejection, rather than trying to discern what is valuable in it. And I think there's a great difference today in the past, nearly always, when you found something wrong, you rejected it totally. And today we try to discern what is good in a movement. You take Marxism, if you like, you see, that was a great deal of evil, I think, in Marxism. It's done those horrible things. But it's also good in it. You have to learn to discern the good. And so with all other movements. So, they say, I think it's a mistake to make these total rejections. We have to discern the good and the evil. Then finally it says, to him who conquers, I will grant to eat of the tree of life,


which is the paradise of God. And that reminds us that all work we do in this world has another dimension. We're not working merely for this world, or for temporal success, or for... I mean, take our friends here who are looking after a child in need, looking after children. Well, that's wonderful work, and to help the children in every way, but we shouldn't limit it to this world, you see. A child's life is not only for this world. That child is born for eternal life. We have to keep the eternal dimension in mind. And that's what it means, eating of the tree of life, which is the paradise of God. That is the world beyond, you see, from which we're all created. So we can try to keep these various aspects in mind. I know... His messages to the seven churches can be seen to address not only to churches, but to the human soul, you could say.


He says, the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars and seven, as you know, it's a number of detection. Seven gets to the Holy Spirit seven days in the week, there's so many. And it means the fullness of the grace of the Spirit, you see. And we have to remember that we're always in the presence of this mystery of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the Divine Spirit is present everywhere. Most people don't recognize it, but it's there. And it's a judge of ourselves. It judges us. And, of course, it also saves us and delivers and purifies. So he says, I know your works. You have the name of being alive and you are dead. Awake and strengthen what remains. You're in the point of death, but have not found your works perfect in sight of my God. And I think many people, you see, are in that situation. As you know, I would like to embody soul and spirit.


We live in the body, the physical world, and then we live our psychological, social life. And for many people, that's all there is. And the whole world of the Spirit is simply a closed book. And that is really to be dead and to be asleep, you see. You're living in half the truth. You've closed your mind and your heart to the reality which is beyond the present. And so it's very relevant in a way, you see. You have the name of being alive and you are dead. You're living a life in the flesh, as they say, in the world, which is really a living death. And you're not awake to the truth. And when this comes to an end, you're completely at a loss. This world comes to an end. You die or somebody else dies and everything is an end for you. Instead of realizing, it's just a passage to the beyond. We're all in a journey. A pilgrim has gone, or Hume says in the book, we're really all pilgrims,


to this world beyond. And so awaken, strengthen what remains. This awakening, you tell, over the gates of Sivananda Ashram is a famous saying from the Upanishads. Awake, arise, receive your gifts and be enlightened. Awake, arise and be enlightened, you see. That is what we all are called to do. That's to wake to the presence of the Spirit. Remember what you received and heard. Keep that and repent. You see, not everybody has received and heard, but most people have some grace comes into their lives at some time, through their family it may be, through other sources. But you have some grace, some offer is made, and you can close your mind to it or you can open your mind. And when you open it, then you receive a little more. And if you close it, then also you don't receive that more. So there's always a challenge whether we open ourselves


or close. And so he's demanding, if you are not awake, I will come like a thief and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. And that is what happens to so many people, you see. You're living half asleep like that, not alive to the reality, and then some tragedy suddenly comes. We see it all over the world. Death, carnal soul, murder, rape, all these things suddenly come upon you, or simply an ordinary disease. You're taken totally by surprise because you're not prepared for it. But if you're awake, then you're prepared for it, and then you can take these things and not overcome them. So that's the thing, if you know not at what hour I will come upon you, this death may come at any moment and so many other things which can put our lives out. And yet you have still a few names, people who have not soiled their garments, they shall walk with me in white, they are worthy. You'll be clothed in white garments.


This is, white is a symbol of purity, of course, and to be clothed in white garments is to be clothed in this garment of purity. Jesus says, if they sit on a pure in heart, they shall see God. And the reason why we don't see God is because the heart is not pure, it's covered with all sorts of veils, and so we are prevented from seeing. When the heart is purified, then we see God, and then the light shines through. And white is a symbol of light, of course. When Jesus was transfigured on the mount, his nose became white as wool, shining white. And also in the Revelation, we read in the first chapter, this figure appeared and his head was white like wool. He had a golden girdle and his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow. It's always a symbol of light, of purity, you see. So that's the meaning of wearing white garments. And even when our


novices wear white garments, it's also a sign they're clothed in this purity of heart. And I will not blot his name out of the book of Bible. I will confess his name before my father and before his angels. You see, when we awake to these spiritual realities in our lives, then we awake to the presence of the angels and the presence of God. And then we're accepted, we're received, we're open to God. And when we turn away from that and close ourselves and refuse the state, then, of course, we separate ourselves from God and we lose that grace and we lose our way in life. So there's continual challenge, really, to be awake, to be enlightened, to be open, to allow this grace to come into our lives. And it's there all the time. It can come through any channel you like. If just a word somebody says to a book you read or something that happens, anything can be a message of this


light and this grace, and then things begin to move, your life begins to change, you begin to follow the path. So we can all ask who has an ear? Let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. It's having this ear to listen to the Word. As Jesus said so often, when the sower went out to sow, and that people are not able to receive it. To hear the Word of God, you've got to be ready to receive it. And as I say, it can come through any kind of channel, and if you're ready to it, then it awakens you, it enlightens you, and you begin to discover the meaning of your life. So you all have to ask for that openness of mind and heart and the ear to hear the Word of God. ... professions of faith, and very easily, these names and professions


don't correspond with the reality of our lives. That's why many people reject religion altogether, they feel it's a lot of words and ideas, and it doesn't relate to the reality of life. And it's very often so. People have a religion which they've grown up with, and it gives a sort of facade to their lives, but they're not really living it at all. And we're all challenged in that way. And Jesus brings it down to the very basis of religion, doing the will of God. Not everyone who says to the Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven. He who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. And to discern this will of God is the work of our lives, really, and it's not at all easy. We all grow up with various ideas of what is right and what is wrong, and only gradually do we discern the purpose of God in our lives. I think many


people are in search all the time, and as I say, it's not easy. There are various creeds, religious professions which can guide us, and they can be a great help to us, but none of them can answer it. We have to answer it from the heart within. And it's said in the reading from Revelation, the reading, who has ear to hear, if you know what the Spirit says to the churches, is to have this ear to hear the word of God. And Jesus says here also, he who hears these words of mine and does them. It's not merely hearing the words, it's hearing the word. It's discerning through all these words the word of God and will of God in our lives. And so constantly we have to go beyond the words and the names and the forms into that reality of God, who is present. You see, there is a presence of God to each person, presence


of his thinking yesterday, beyond word and beyond thought, which yet touches the heart and the will. And when we awaken the heart, then we discern the will of God. And it's not a single process. We learn the will of God by doing it. We see something which we feel is right, God is leading us in that way, and we do that and then we get a further light. And we follow that, and then we get a further light. On the other hand, if we don't do the will, it withdraws from us. See, it's a living thing all the time. And so as you respond, it grows, and as you fail to respond, it diminishes and your light begins to go out. And that is what Jesus says of some, he who does not and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand, and the rain fell and the floods came and the wind blew and beat against that house


and greatness of all thereof. As we fail to do the will of God we get caught up in the opposite and other things, and then disaster gradually comes upon us. Not only about individuals, but about the whole world. We see many disasters coming today, so many people. And it arises because of this failure to respond to the will of God, to follow our own will, our own desires, our own ways, and then gradually we realize that we're going the wrong way, in the wrong path, and these disasters come upon us. So we all have to search for that will of God in our lives. And I say it's not an easy thing at all, it's a constant challenge because we, other ideas are around us all the time. The society we live in have very different ideas of what life is for and so on, so it goes beyond that to discern the real meaning and purpose of life. And particularly of our own life,


what is the real meaning of my life, my purpose. That is a constant search and a constant effort of the mind and the will. And we all have to ask for the grace of God. Of course it's not our own mind, our own will, it's a response to something that is drawing us. And God is drawing each person in their own way towards himself, and it's to discern that drawing, that movement of God's grace. So we all have to ask for that. We may have some people already on the path, we may have a religious vocation on the path towards God, but again we still have to make that discernment. The general lines of our lives are fashioned there, but within those lines we each have to find our own path, this particular call of God to each person. So everyone is challenged day by day to respond to the will of God, to that call of grace. So we ask for that grace to be responsive in that way. And today we remember


the new section of this book of Revelation, the preliminary of these messages to the seven churches, and now the seer is taken up into heaven, God seated on his throne. And we've been reflecting that God himself is beyond all word and thought or images, and yet on the other hand we have to have forms and images in order to make God present to us. A human being can't normally think without images and without thoughts, and so there are various symbols by which we represent God, and each people has its own symbols. The Hebrew have their own, and this book of Revelation draws largely on the Old Testament, these symbols of God and of heaven, which grew up through the prophets in the Old Testament, and John has his vision


now. These symbolic figures, and they're all deeply meaningful, and a genuine symbol is a sign in which the reality is present in some way. They're not just casual signs, they're signs by which the reality reveals itself. So these images are very important, and yet we must always realize they are images, they are symbols, and they're meant to take us beyond. So he is taken up to heaven, and he hears his voice saying, come up, I will show you what must take place. And it's going to be a prophecy, you see, what is going to take place. And I was in the Spirit, and that means going beyond normal human consciousness, and there a throne stood in the heaven, with one seated on the throne. This is a typical Old Testament image, God seated on a throne, and for people today of course, these images can become very banal and rather


meaningless, somebody seated up in the sky on a throne, but they have a very deep meaning, and perhaps we've rather lost it. We're not used to kings seated on thrones. But you see, in the ancient world, one of the greatest images you had in the symbol was the king seated on his throne. We have many Rajas and Maharajas here in India, right up to recent times. And still in Britain, they have a king or a queen in the house, and she sits on a throne at certain times. And these are symbols of authority, you see, and they have a great meaning, whereas for many people today, they've lost their meaning, because they don't think of kings and thrones. But we easily put ourselves back into that train of mind, and see how a person seated on a throne is a symbol of authority, of power, and of grace. So then, another... And then you have this rainbow, this brilliant light around the throne, that again


comes from the Old Testament, the book of Exodus. And then, around the throne were 24 thrones, and seated were 24 elders, had in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. And these elders represent the church. And the model he had in mind, almost certainly, is the early church, where the bishop sat on the throne, and the priest, the elders, sat around him. So he has an image, you see, of a heavenly church. They're used to this assembly of the people of God, and their elders seated on thrones, and the bishop, the head, representing Christ, seated at the center of all. So that's the image he has in mind. So they represent the church, or redeemed humanity, if you like. You see, the godhead represented as this person seated on the throne, and redeemed humanity seated round with a crown, of course, a sign of triumph. They've overcome death and sin, and they've


clothed in white garments, symbol of purity and holiness. So this is humanity redeemed, and opened out into the presence of God. And then, from the throne, flashes of lightning, peals of thunder, again like Mount Sinai. You see, the imagery is all taken from the revelation of God on Mount Sinai. And there were seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God. And before the throne, there was a sea of grass like this crystal. All that is taken from the Book of Exodus, where they have this vision of God on Mount Sinai, and all these marvels round about. And then it says, on each side are four living creatures full of eyes, in front and behind. And this goes back to the prophet Ezekiel, who had a similar vision. And one like a lion, like an ox, like a man, and like an eagle. And you may have noticed these four living creatures are on our


kimana here, above the sanctuary. And they represent, actually, the cosmic powers, or the angels who sustain the universe. You see, in the ancient world, they always understood that there was God, the Supreme, beyond. And then the world was controlled, managed by the angels, or by the gods. They spoke also of the cosmic powers, or the powers which work through the whole creation. And they're symbolized by these four creatures with their wings and their eyes. Wings is a sign of movement. They penetrate the whole universe, and eyes is a sign of vision, of course. They see all things. So these are the angelic hosts, or the hosts of the gods, you see, who are between us and the Supreme. And they are symbolized by these four creatures. And they, night and day, they sing,


holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God almighty, was and is and is to come. And this recalls the angels for the throne in the prophet Isaiah. You see, it's recalling all these images from the Old Testament. And holiness is the mark of God. It means literally separated. When a thing is separated from common use, made over to God, it becomes holy. A person separated becomes holy. And God is the holy one, the one separated beyond transcendent. It's the image of total transcendence. And so they worship the transcendent mystery, which we've been thinking about, represented by the person on the throne. And then whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who's on the throne, twenty-four elders fall down and worship him who lives forever and casts their crowns before the throne. So this is worship taking place. Again,


the model must be the church on earth, this falling on one's knees and worshiping is a sign of reverence, of adoration, a sign of worshiping God. And a similar thing, the Muslim has his five times of prayer in the day and they always, you know, they fall down on their knees and bow down in worship of God. It's a very deeply meaningful action. And they sing, Worthy art thou to receive glory and honor for thou didst create all things and by thy will they existed or were created. This is adoration of God, the Creator. Very soon we come to another aspect, the Redeemer, the Lamb of God before the throne. But first of all, this is God, the Creator, the redeemed humanity and the cosmic powers around and all paying this worship, this honor to God. And for those who are interested,


the manna here, that was the symbolism of it. We have the four living creatures representing the cosmic powers, the angels. And then we have the redeemed humanity. We only have four figures like the Aedes and Fetus and Paul and St. Benedict, but they're like the elders seated at the throne. And then we have Christ, the Redeemer in four postures as Christ as King, as Prophet, as Priest and Contemplative, the four aspects of the Redeemer. And then the Kumbha, as it's called, with the peacock's feathers represents the throne of God. Peacock's feathers symbol of immortality. So you have redeemed creation, redeemed humanity, Christ the Redeemer before the throne, as you see. Symbolism of the pre-manna. And it's based to some extent on the symbolism of the apocalypse. On the new vision in this book of Revelation, as you see, it's an extraordinary


document, amazing visionary revelation. And remember, these visions are given to many people all over the world, many wonderful visions people have. And this is one of many that's very impressive in its way. And he says, I saw in the right hand of him seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And as to who is worthy to open the scroll and break it, and no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. And this scroll is generally understood as the book of destiny, of human destiny. Sometimes they speak of the Akashic records. There's a record of all human history. It all doesn't simply pass away, it all has a thing this afternoon. It's not only a physical world which passes away, there's a whole psychic world which is interwoven with the spiritual. And the seal


is this whole book of destiny of the spirits and souls of humanity from the beginning to the end. And no one knows to open the seal is to have knowledge of the whole human destiny. And he weeps because nobody could open it. And then he says, Weep not, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered. These are all names for the Messiah, you see, in the Old Testament he spoke of as the lion of the tribe of Judah, root of David. And the understanding is when the Messiah came, he was able to open this book to reveal the real meaning of human history, of human life, the whole purpose of humanity. And so, then he sees between the throne and the four living creatures among the elders, I saw a lamb standing as though it had been slain. And this, of course, is a figure of Christ, the lamb of God. And it's also the paschal lamb, you see, in the tradition


of Israel. The lamb was a symbol of Israel's deliverance from Egypt, and so Jesus propounces that the lamb is a symbol of Jesus rescuing humanity from sin and from death. And so, he has this power to open the seal, open the scroll and to reveal its contents. And that is, we think in self-knowledge, it's a Christian understanding that Jesus going through death and resurrection goes beyond to the ultimate truth and reality, and then has knowledge of all human history, of the whole plan of creation, and is able to reveal it, you see, that is opening the scroll. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne, then the four living creatures, the 24 elders, each holding a harp with golden bones full of incense, the prayers of the saints. Wonderful picture, you see, you have the one seated on the throne, you have all these elders seated round, clothed in white gowns with crowns


on their heads, and then all the four living creatures. And they have, he adds it here, they fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp with golden bones full of incense, the incense of the prayers of the saints. The idea is prayer is going up to God, like incense sends to God, day by day, of all the church, from all the saints. And so all the heaven and earth are always, you see, interrelated in that way. And when we pray like this in church, we're praying in the presence of the angels and the saints on the throne of God, we ought to remind ourselves, you see, that is the background to what we're doing. And, so they all fall down before the Lamb, you see, before they all fell down before the throne of God, but now the Lamb is seen as the one who has redeemed humanity, has brought humanity back to God, and therefore he stands now before the throne of God. And they all sing worthy art thou to take the scroll


to open its seal, for thou were slain, and by thy blood this ransom man for God. The Christian understanding is Jesus by his death suffers the consequences of sin for all humanity. Sin enters into humanity, and we all are exposed to it, and he takes upon himself the sin of humanity. And it's an idea of solidarity, you see, I was saying today that we're not isolated individuals, we're all members of a common humanity, and sin enters into that common humanity, that atom, and we're all divided and in conflict and suffering and death. And then God takes upon himself this suffering of humanity and the sin of humanity, redeems it and sets it free, and that is the understanding of the death and resurrection. He suffers death as a consequence of sin, and then goes beyond death and sin into the resurrection, to the new life, into God. He takes humanity


back to God. And he did ransom men from God, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And the idea is it extends to all humanity from the beginning. You see, Adam is man, is humanity, and this man is humanity, sins, falls, gets scattered over the earth and divided, and then the new Adam reintegrates, restores humanity to unity, and brings it back to God. And he's made us a kingdom and priests to our God. They shall reign on earth. Humanity now, it forms a kingdom, an ordered society instead of being a disintegrated chaos, becomes an ordered society and a priest. A priest is one who mediates between man and God, so humanity now becomes a priestly people. It's open to God. What they call pontifical man. You see, man is intended to take the whole creation to God.


It's his task as a priest to assume the whole order of creation and to offer it to God. And in our mass, you know, it's important. We make the offering of the four elements. We scoop the water, first of all. Then we take the bread and the wine, the same symbols of the earth. Then we take the incense symbol of the air. Then we take the camphor symbol of the fire. So the whole creation, four elements in the creation, are offered to God, offered through Christ to God, to the Father, you see. So it's a cosmic sacrifice. And that's the deep meaning of the sacrifice. And then I looked around at the throne and the living creatures, the elders, and the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, same with the loud voice. Now all these hosts of angels, I think the best image you can have of them are the stars and the galaxies, you see. We believe today there are millions and millions of stars and galaxies in incredible distances, you know, light years away.


And they're really symbols, the outward sign of spiritual powers. As I said, you see, every physical thing has a spiritual aspect. And so the stars and the hosts of heaven are signs, physical signs of these spiritual hosts of heaven, the angels and the gods. So you should try to realize all these great mysteries are hidden behind these outward appearances. And they sing this hymn, Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. The whole creation, you see, is restored to unity, creation and humanity, and they return to God with all power and wisdom and wealth and honor and so on. And we were reading Monica Casagrande, this marvelous Tamil mystic, and we could see what a vision he had, you see, of redemption. He had deep sense that the grace of God had come to him in sin and in emptiness and opened him up to all these wonders of grace, as he


describes, all the grace of God which is coming through him. And it's similar to this, you see, my dear, that we're delivered from sin, opened to this whole world of grace and power and wisdom and love. And by every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, we're saying to him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb. Yesterday, this hymn was addressed to him who sits on the throne. Now it's to him who sits on the throne and the Lamb, and they sing an honor and glory forever and ever, and living creatures say Amen. So it's a beautiful cosmic liturgy, you see, the whole cosmos worshipping God the Creator and the Redeemer in the figure of the Lamb. So as I say, it's a really wonderful vision, and you see it in a symbolic vision, you see, of ultimate reality. You can't see reality itself, but these are symbols of that reality. They bring it home to us in a certain way. In this season of Advent, we look forward to the coming of Christ,


the coming of Christmas, also the coming at the end of the world, and one of its themes also is the call of the Gentiles. The Messiah came to Israel and was rejected and it opened the way to the Gentiles and that is to the rest of the world. And so that also is one of the themes, I think, of the reading today. So it says whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction by steadfastness and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, and that is that hope of Israel from the time of Abraham. Israel always had this hope in God that he would send his Messiah, that he would deliver Israel, and it still remains, you see, that we're always looking forward to a final salvation, final liberation. And we have steadfastness and encouragement from the Scriptures. They give this hope, that's the idea. And then may the God of


steadfastness, he uses the word trust and encouragement, grant you to live in such harmony with one another in accord with Christ Jesus. Together you may one voice glorify the God the Father. And the sign of this Christian faith and hope is this union with one another. Live in such harmony with one another that together you may one voice glorify God. And the sharing together in harmony expresses itself in this praise, this worship. And when we come together to pray like this, we're really trying with one voice to glorify God. And it's a great gift, a great blessing really, you see, that one can come together three times a day and share this prayer, this praise, thanksgiving, and offer this prayer to God. And as you know, the understanding of the Church is that when a


group of Christians gathers together to pray, Christ is in the midst of them, and we are praying for the Church and for the world. We're not just individuals praying together. We're a community sharing the whole communion of the Church and praying for the whole world. So I think we should realize the deep meaning behind it. And then he says, welcome one another therefore as Christ has welcomed you for the glory of God. And we've all been welcomed in that way where we've taken Him to the Christ and share in His life and so on to the glory of God, share this prayer. And in a sense, of course, they always say that the whole world is created for the glory of God, to manifest God as we were thinking. Think of the whole universe creation as a mirror set up to God to reflect the divine goodness, the divine love. And of course the mirror can become cracked and stained and we don't reflect God. But when the mirror is


stained, then we are in reflection of God and we glorify God in that way. God is manifested in us. For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the uncircumcised to show God's truth, this sort of confirmed promise was given to the patriarch, and that the Gentiles might glorify God. See, the promise was really given to Israel that God was sent as Messiah. And then through that, the promise was made to the Gentiles. It comes all through the Old Testament, the Gentiles also to glorify. Of course, it's a little strange to us that for the Jews, the whole world was divided into Jews and others, Gentiles. And of course it's rather meaningless today, but the deeper meaning of it is that really, the prayer and praise of the church always goes out to all humanity, Gentiles and humanity as a whole. And so the promise is given to all, and the hope is given to all.


And we see now this pan of God embracing all humanity from the beginning to the end, part of a great mystery, a great work which is carrying on through all the ages and gathering humanity together. And therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles that sing to thy name that the whole creation should offer this praise. So I think today with our sense of the values of different religions, we have to see how the different religions of the world come together to offer this common praise to God. That is what we're looking for. And as the Jews saw that the promise is given primarily to Israel and then to the Gentiles, we can say the promise is given to the church, but beyond the church to all humanity. That's how we have to look at it. I think that's how we have to look at it.