A mission that weighs heavily on the heart

Think how much this means: — Here is a man who stands within some national group. We can see at once, he is a Russian, he is a Frenchman, he is an Englishman, he is a German. We recognise it by his appearance, and we locate him by thinking, as we see him, where can this man belong? We think it a matter of some importance if we can recognise: he is a Turk, he is a Russian, or the like. Now with those who today receive Anthroposophy with inner force of soul, with deep impulse and strength of heart — who receive it, therefore, as the deepest force of their life — such distinctions will have no more meaning when next they return to earth. People will say: Where does he come from? He is not of any nation, he is not of any race, he is as though he had grown away from all races and nations.

When the last Michael dominion took place, in the age of Alexander, the point was to spread Grecian culture in a cosmopolitan way, carrying it out in all directions. The campaigns of Alexander were an immense achievement in the equalising of men on earth, I mean in the spreading among them of a common element. But the thing was not yet able to strike so deep, for at that time Michael still administered the Cosmic Intelligence. Now Intelligence is on the earth, now it strikes far deeper, it strikes down even into the earthly element of man. For the first time, the Spiritual is preparing to become a race-creating force. The time will come when one will no longer be able to say: the man looks as if he belonged to this or that country, — he is a Turk, or an Arabian, an Englishman, a Russian or a German, — but one will have to say what will amount to this: ‘In a former life on earth this man felt impelled to turn towards the Spirit in the sense of Michael.’ Thus, that which is influenced by Michael will appear as an immediate, physically creative, physically formative power.

Now this is a thing that takes root deeply, very deeply in the karma of the individual. Hence the strange destiny of those who are sincere anthroposophists, the strange destiny that they are not able to come to terms with the world: they cannot quite master it, and yet at the same time they have to approach the world and enter into it with full earnestness.

I have said that those who stand with full intensity within the Anthroposophical Movement will return at the end of the century, and others will then unite with them, for by this means the salvation of the earth and earthly civilisation from destruction must eventually be settled. This is the mission of the Anthroposophical Movement, which weighs on the one hand so heavily upon one’s heart, while on the other hand it moves the heart, uplifts it with enthusiasm. This mission we must understand and see.

It is most necessary for the anthroposophist to know that in this situation as an anthroposophist his karma will be harder to experience than it is for other men. From the very outset those who come into the Anthroposophical Society are predestined to a harder, more difficult experience of karma than other men. And if we try to pass this harder experience by — if we want to experience our karma in a comfortable way — it will surely take vengeance on us in one direction or another. We must be anthroposophists in our experience of karma too. To be true anthroposophists we must be able to observe our own experience of karma with constant wide-awake attention. If we do not, then our comfortable, easy-going experiencing of our karma — or rather our desire to experience it so — will find expression and take vengeance in physical illnesses, physical accidents and the like.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 237 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies-Volume III: IX: Entry of the Michael  Forces – Dornach, 3rd August 1924

Translated by George Adams & D. S. Osmond

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