Teaching 1: Death of Cleopatra
Teaching 2: Amonius Saccas and Neoplatonism
Ecstatic Mysticism of the Ancient World
Teaching 4. Isidore of Seville and his Relatives
Aristotelian Revival of
Avicenna and Averroes
Teaching 6: Aristotelianism of Maimonides
Teaching 7: Innocent III
Teaching 8: Hernan of Salza and the Teutonic Order
Teaching 9: Mystical Poetry of Jacopone di Todi
Teaching 10: Juan Pico della Mirandola
Teaching 11: Tritemius the Humanist
Teaching 12: Paracelsus
Teaching 13: Mystics of Port Royal
Teaching 14: Visions of Emmanuel Swedenborg
Teaching 15: Saint Martin
Teaching 16: The Unknown Philosopher
Teaching 1: Death of Cleopatra
Before the beginning of this commentary on some lives of Piscean Initiates of Fire (an era in which the feeling would play so important part in the struggle between love and hatred), it will be proper to know the life of an Initiate of Fire, belonging to the pre-Christian era.
So we have chosen Cleopatra, one of the most controversial figures. Her name became synonym of perfidy, since gods always become demons in the hands of conquerors.
First of all in the end of the sign of Apis, the great expressive unity of leadership, culture and spirituality were affected as values, this brought about a crack, and the mind prevailed over the heart; this would manifest as cruelty and despotism, though the ancient force of power and courage remained.
Cleopatra incarnates the final Apis’ decay, and appears with every defect of her dying race. Her work consists in stoking up the flame in the last hour, passing the torch of the akashic annals and living her figure, with the coiled snake, engraved on history as a mysterious testimony of the past.
It is the solemn hour of death. But this time it is not only of a being but also of an Initiate Queen. It is the hour of Cleopatra’s death, and with her, death of the Egyptian kingdom, of the dynasty of the Ptolomei, and of the powerful race of the pyramids.
Alexandria that Cleopatra wanted to raise again as head of the East –an exemplar in the world, the last stronghold of the Hellenistic pharaohs conquered by the Romans– is surrounded by the ice of death.
The bread of God and wisdom of books, incarnated by its grand library, does not exist anymore; flames of a great fire have carried it away.
Also the powerful beacon that illuminated its port and that was mysteriously put on by certain priestly formula of electric currents has been destroyed.
A funereal cloak covers the golden domes of the great city. Phantoms appear at the night announcing the near end, and seismic forces shake the earth for several days as the premonition of a terrible event.
But is not the Queen’s despair a premonition of silent death? Now Cleopatra does not demand from the Kings of the West to join and help her defeating the Latin enemy; she neither plots any more nor tries lethal poisons, nor sticks the crown on her temples.
Her tranquility is too great to believe that she resigns to the defeat and loss of her kingdom.
Also her followers hear her whispering: “I neither will crawl behind him nor he will take me with his cohort”. Octavius would give her his right hand to enter Rome bringing the Queen of Egypt tied to his carriage, as Caesar had made with her sister Arsinoe.
But not with her; she will be queen until the end.
Still at the funereal evening, when she walks toward the Mausoleum to shut away totally dressed in blue –mourning clothes of Egypt’s widows–, a secret inspiration encourages her; that the spiritual power of the Pharaohs may prevail over the power of weapons and organization of the Romans.
Beside her she has the treasures of Egypt, and the body of her husband Mark Anthony and her most faithful friends and servants.
Kneeling over the sarcophagus that contains the body of the man that she loved so much, her tears are not of sorrow.
A woman like that cannot suffer from love.
She has an ideal; she just belongs to her ideal: the reconstruct the Egyptian greatness.
This was the great Cleopatra’s crime: to be faithful to her ideal.
She wanted to revive the power of the Egyptians, heirs of the Atlanteans; to re-establish the kingdom of wisdom of the spirit. But she failed.
To achieve it she underwent one thousand deaths and one thousand moral failures. He overcame feelings that make life pleasant or unpleasant; she reached the threshold of the mental divinity. But now she has to give way to the era of hatred and love.
In the last hour, the whole potentiality of her mental force is concentrated on this; whether to maintain her kingdom or to know how to die as Queen and voluntarily to go toward the astral world, with all the greatness of her power and cohort.
Spies of Octavius –who want to preserve her life at any cost– watch closely over her; but the Queen, calmly, thinks.
Educated by the Priests of Ammon, who know the most secret resources of a human body and also the art of dying, she cannot use its last resource because the initiation oath ties her to seven persons that in such case should die with her. If one dies, those seven people should die. Among other oaths there was a magnetic bond forbidding the use of destructive force in the physical system without the consent of those seven people at the same time.
She concentrates more and more.
Her last hope is the salvation of Egypt by his son Caesarion, but he escapes. But as soon as she realizes that he has been betrayed and killed, the Queen loses all hope of salvation.
She only has a last triumph: to die of psychical death.
The powerful and organized Romans never understood the mystery of Cleopatra’s death, had to agree and believe that she was poisoned by a snake, and later erected a statue representing the Initiate Queen with this attitude.
The point is that the faithful disciple of the Queen, when the Roman emissary came to claim for her, ironically replied: “She is dead; the divine serpent has bitten her”.
And truly she had died this way. The inner serpent of the vital power, driven by the conscious will of Cleopatra, had deadly hurt her along with her six companions.
Cleopatra died thus. So, conscious, she entered the kingdom of shadows along with her royal cohort.
But there is something to clear up. Where had she learnt the sublime mystery of conscious transmutation?
She had been educated by priests in the Temple of Armakis, where the most ancient priestly college was preserved; this college would descend directly from ancient Atlantean priests.
If these priests were in the beginning staunch enemies of the Ptolomei and facilitated the death and misfortune of more than one person in this family, they had, however, to give up before its descendants that have been entirely adapted to Egyptian customs and, because of their domineering and vigorous spirit, were the only ones that were able to defend the staggering throne of the Pharaohs.
This is proven by the custom that they had adopted, entirely Egyptian and Pharaonic: marriage of siblings to rule the destiny of their kingdom.
Cleopatra, a reincarnation of the ancient Atlantean queen of Somamu, besides her excessive domineering ambition and extraordinary physical beauty, had seen with clarity that unless powerful efforts made by some of the leaders would impede it, Egypt was about to perish in the hands of the Roman Empire
She made this supreme effort.
Her permanent motto was this: preservation the great Egypt as a whole or death by taking with her the dignity and grandeur of the dead kingdom.
From fourteen years of age she was educated in the Temple, where she learnt secret doctrines about killing enemies and self-destruction if necessary. In short: she received the keys to life and death.
The high priest of Armakis, who taught her the secret, also has the key to the Tabernacle where the intact treasures of Ramses the Second are preserved and with them the curse against him who dares to touch them.
But how can a Queen without wealth conquer and confront the powerful Roman Empire?
She occupies the place of the High Priest and swears to use the treasure only for the greatness of Egypt. This action, despite its steady and idealistic inspiration, does not free her from the burden of evil forces coming from negative emanations surrounding the Pharaohs’ tombs.
And the day will come and she will use the treasures of the Temple to save desperately the heritage of the Ptolomei.
When Cleopatra fulfills this extreme deed, she and her cohort also take to the astral world the evil powers of the ancient race.
It is necessary to consider the Initiate of the Apis’ times under his two aspects: greatness in good and evil, but faithful, first of all to his Ideal.
Royally the Queen has prepared every detail for the last hour. She wears a royal cloak embroidered in yellow and white and studded with sapphires. On her head she wears her triple Pharaoh’s crown ruling over the world, the dead and the spirits.
She has instructed to lock hermetically every door of the mausoleum and now on her throne, her faithful disciples are around her.
Resolutely they are ready to go to the land of death. They look each other squarely in the eye and there is a soft tremor in all these mystical suicides. Slowly they start to fall asleep, invaded by the calm and pleasant sleep that announces the end.
Why do not they die yet?, a faithful disciple wonders; he is behind the door and expects the solemn hour. It is that the heedful consciousness is still traveling backward the course of their lives.
But they have finished. There is a shout, shake, final fall, smile… and nothing more.
The Queen has entered the region of shadows.
Her new kingdom is glimpsed beyond: it is the kingdom of peace.
Her entire cohort waits for her. The first to come is the High Priest of Armakis: “Oh Queen”, he says, “here I come to look for you and to do obeisance. Do you see, behind me, this infinite number of beings? They are your subjects that accompany you in your new kingdom. Your dream of power and greatness was not in vain. Here we will unite our forces, we will forge a new greatness and wisdom and when our time comes we will come back to Earth in order to achieve our dreams in a new world and with new people. We will forge a kingdom where the love of the Sons of the Fisherman does not mean contempt and humiliation, but beauty, power and grandeur”.
Teaching 2: Ammonius Saccas and Neoplatonism
Greek culture penetrated the Christian world first through Neoplatonism and later through an adaptation of the latter to Christian dogmas and teachings.
In second century, Alexandria was not any more the flourishing city of the Ptolomei.
The Academy of Philosophy, founded by Aulethes, had enormously declined and intellectual luminaries in those days did not visit it any more.
Romans that conquered every country and crashed every relic had converted Greek philosophy into their tributary by putting aside the Egyptian religion.
But in their efforts to adapt philosophies to their respective creeds, Jewish immigrants and new Christians had contributed to a revival in the study of philosophies.
This movement gave life to the eclectic school to which illustrious men belonged, such as Clement of Alexandria, Saint Justine Martyr and Athenagoras.
The emerging Christendom had arranged a special dogmatic plan to counteract numerous heretic ideas and started mistrusting this movement, though outstanding figures of its creed belonged to it: finally, the final separation occurred.
This favored the flourishing of Neoplatonism.
Ammonius Saccas, born in second century in Alexandria from Christian parents, from his childhood revealed extraordinary abilities. On the divine offices he was unable to follow vocal prayers and remained ecstatic, he says, absorbed by a luminous idea. This habit of being absorbed from material things would give him later the nickname “Theodidaktos” (Taught by God).
Bing very young yet, her entered the Clement of Alexandria’s School, and from him he learnt a very intense love for the academic school that he would not abandon during the rest of his life.
In those days, Christians had openly declared to be contrary to cultural Greek ideas. The Bishop of Alexandria gave the first cry: “With Christ or with the Greek”. The most fanatic invaded schools, devastated libraries, and writings were consumed by fire. Anthony was so angry that broke up definitely with Christendom.
In those days he had an admirable vision: a mountain crowned by a perennial fire and a woman in while clothes leading him toward a crater showed him, over the flames, different images reflected on the fire. The whole history of the world passed by; he would see lost civilizations, diverse religions, and old peoples coming into being, emerging and disappearing. Just fire continued to shine more and more.
From those days Ammonius Saccas’ mission was traced forever; the fire is one, and many are the shadows projected by its flames; and he considered Christendom as a great human-religious ideal, but not the only one.
Great men gathered around him, admired by his inexhaustible wisdom and willing to be led by him. This gathering decided him to found the Neoplatonic school that he called “Philalethea” and that later he divided into analogical and theurgical.
From these school the ecstatic Plotinus, the divine Porphyry, the insuperable Jamblichus, the tenacious Origen and the devout Herennius would emerge.
For two centuries Neoplatonism triumphed, but the iron hand of Christendom waited for the opportune moment in order to own its essence and destroy it later.
The Neoplatonic Hypatia would lead then the Neoplatonic School; she was daughter of Theon, a mathematician, and had learned from his father algebra of numbers and that algebra of the universe. It was she who taught the eternal doctrine to the Bishop Sinnesius, conveyed by him in the admirable “Book of philosopher’ stone”. But Hypathia had a terrible enemy, Cyrilius, nephew of Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria. He was a man severe, fanatical and very zealous of his dogma; later he would be famous in the Council of Ephesus.
In vain, Cyrilius had tried to convince the young woman to become Christian. The fanatical felt that God had sent years of misery as scourge and Cyrilius blamed Hypathia because she was reluctant to abjure her beliefs.
They went to her, rent her white robe of a pagan virgin, dragged her out of the city and ignominiously stoned her to death.
Thirteen centuries had to pass before the foundation of the Scholar Academy, in Florence, by Marsilius Phicinus, which marked the revival of Neoplatonism.
Herennius was Ammonius Saccas’ disciple. We only know a trait about him, told by Porphyry in his “Life of Plotinus”.
Ammonius Saccas had made him the gift of initiating him in the most secret part of his doctrine, the same as he did with Plotinus and Origen. The three promised each other never to divulge the teachings of their master. When Herennius did not honor his word, the two others felt exempted from their oath.
Origen, a Christian, belongs to the time of the theological illumination after the preaching of the Gospel. The new notions about God and the world, which Jesus’ teachings contained, needed to be developed, written and built as a body of doctrine.
Thence the immense, painstaking efforts made with certain works, such as those of Redemption, Trinity, Grace, Incarnation, et cetera.
In the beginning, these dogmas just appeared behind obscure, confused and, therefore, hesitant forms. It is likely that Origen had been the first to understand the need for reuniting and systematizing them; but the support of philosophy was indispensable to achieve so painstaking work.
Very knowledgeable about ancient philosophies, and by using the whole power of his genius to join the double authority of faith and reason, he is particularly conspicuous in the intellectual history during the first centuries of the Church.
Born in Alexandria about the year 185 from Christian parents but educated in Greek sciences, Origen revealed from his childhood a vivid intelligence. As he had to learn by heart passages of the Scriptures and could not be content with their sense ad litteram, he was always looking for a higher interpretation. His teachers were Saint Clement and Saint Panthenus, who were the first to teach Christian philosophy in Alexandria. Saint Clement initiated him in Platonism and Saint Panthenus in Stoicism.
In the times of persecutions ordered by the emperor Septimus Severus against Christians of Alexandria, Leonidas, Origen’s father was arrested. Only his mother’s entreaties could impede the young man to follow his father’s steps facing the martyrdom suffered by his father suffered in 202. Origen was then 17 years old.
In order to sustain his mother and six brothers, he devoted himself to teaching grammar. In Alexandria, the free exercise of Christian religion had stopped. Threatened by his persecutors, Saint Clement had taken refuge in Cappadocia. Without religious teachings, Christians gathered around this young master who restarted his theological studies with renewed eagerness. He converted conspicuous people, and Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria, established him, at the age of 20, on the chair of Saint Clement and Saint Panthenus.
Then his time of labor, intellectual activities and austerities starts.
He adhered to Eastern ideas about the body as an enemy; so, he exhausted himself by dint of fast and mortification, and finally even mutilated his own hands to subdue his carnal temptations. This action, of which she would repent later, should be emphasized because it is the first cause of his subsequent misfortunes and also an obvious sign of his doctrine that saw the body as an enemy of the soul. Later he recognizes that the spirit must fight our senses with energy, and that passions must be tamed in our heart without any attempt against the body.
His main work, “Principles”, is an effort to consider the Christian doctrine as a whole and to base it upon general and scientific principles.
Most of his works reached us through a Latin translation made by Rufinus that altered and made more orthodox certain bold passages, first of all, the text about the Trinity. It is there where one discovers Origen’s bold purpose for his time: to introduce and systematize the fundamental principles of Christendom as a whole. Likely this essay was eventually aborted because of its boldness. Because of it he was branded as an heretic and had many enemies.
The most important characteristic of Origen’s doctrine is the fusion that he tries between ancient philosophy and Christendom.
He reveres Plato, but puts him aside when he sees that the theories of Epictetus can be practically used in a better way.
He is accused of heresies that later divided the Church; but though certainly Origen could not establish with clarity the symbol of the Christian faith in connection with dogmas about the Trinity, Grace and Incarnation, in those days and in the whole Church these dogmas were still dubious and immature, and those days were not propitious for their development. Subsequent works of Athanasius, Saint Basil, Saint Augustine, Cyrilius and others had to give a sufficient and accurate solution to these dogmas, which Origen had just outlined.
Also Origen aims at reconciling the notion of the inalterable unity of God, such as it appears in Plato, with the idea of energy where Aristotle places the essence of God.
According to him, the Platonic notion is entirely in the notion of God the Father; on the other hand, the Aristotelian idea is contained in the idea of the Son of God. At the same time Origen introduces a God as the substance pervading the whole world and living the same life of the rational mind. In Origen’s system, the death of Christ redeems all beings, even Satan and souls condemned.
Demetrius, who protected him so much in the beginning, became his declared enemy.
Excommunicated and exiled from Alexandria, after Demetrius’ death, his successor, the Bishop Heraklas continued to persecute him for fifteen years. And when Heraklas died, Denys, Origen’s friend did not dare to bring him back from the exile.
It was a true war of dogmas, in which Origen would represent the Christendom synthesized by Plato’s school, and Demetrius the Christendom of Saint Mark’s Jewish school; this was a war that would last three centuries and that started when it rejected his priestly ordination by alluding he was a mutilated man who would outrage mankind.
Later in the Council of Nicaea, the special cannon declared that sexual integrity was indispensable to be ordained as a priest.
Origen stayed for a while in Athens and the rest of his days in Caesarea and Tyre. He still lived 24 years more, and continued developing his ideas, but without any school. His authority disappeared in the West and increased in the East. He was the oracle of Palestine, Phoenicia, Cappadocia, Arabia and even Acadia.
He was in Palestine when Decius’ persecution burst and he was one of the first victims. Thrown to a dungeon, at the age of 69, crippled, his feet and neck in chains, he endured tortures with courage, and died in Tyre shortly afterwards his liberation in 255 at the age of 70.
Teaching 3: Ecstatic Mysticism of the Ancient World
Plotinus was born in Lykopolis, Egypt, in 205.
All details about the life of this great being are full of deep meaning in relation to the mission developed by him on Earth. As he had to bring from the East to the West through the Neoplatonic bridge the wisdom of ecstatic beings, he comes into being in Egypt, cradle of religious mysticism, and is initiated in the Great Science of inner concentration. He is educated by Ammonius Saccas, founder of the Neoplatonism, and teaches and dies in Rome, the future seat of Christendom.
The young Plotinus had a happy childhood and adolescence. He was loved by his parents and estimated by all. Under the tutelage of a wise preceptor he studied all sciences of his time, grammar, oratory, mystique, geometry, astronomy and mathematics.
Owner of great talents, he excelled soon in his studies and felt the need of extending his horizons; so, when he was sent to Alexandria, he took with himself the treasure of Egypt.
In the city of the Ptolomei, because of his pleasant appearance, the beauty and sensual living influenced him. But he reacted very soon.
Gradually, through study and search for great treasures of Serapion’s Library, he entered the enchanted world of the spirit. And he could see God face to face, in the silence of his heart, teaching this only reality to men of the West, to the future victorious race. Little by little he isolated himself from studies and intellectual pleasures, especially influenced by Ammonius Saccas.
Plotinus lived with him for eleven years and followed with unbreakable will the hard discipline of his master. During a period of time also he followed, on a hill to South Alexandria, the training of the “therapeutes”, an ascetic organization integrated by celibate men who would get psychic powers and cure with mental power.
At the beginning of 244, a Persian revolutionary, Ardexir, invaded Mesopotamia. Plotinus enlisted the ranks of Gordian as a patriotic duty and first of all urged by Ammonius’ advices, to go in pilgrimage to the East. When Gordian died, victimized by Philip, Plotinus could take refuge in Antioch and from there finally to pass to Rome.
Before long he acquired great prestige in the Eternal City.
But he had to stand a hard trial. Olympus, a very educated Alexandrian, really knowledgeable in all philosophical schools, as soon as Plotinus arrived, said he had gained the preferences of Ammonius. Surprised by Plotinus’ spiritual superiority, he used magical arts to damage him. But soon he had to realize Plotinus’ soul was so strong that every evil directed to him had affected his aggressors.
He had many and illustrious disciples, among hem Porphyry; Amelius, who assisted the Master until his death; Rogaminus, a Roman senator, and Gemina, a Roman matron that offered her house to Plotinus, which he accepted and tried to live with her.
Plotinus taught continuously. His whole philosophy is valuable because he defines that the highest philosophy is to love God and strive to find Him, being united with Him through concentration.
After his two realizations of God in close and divine union, Plotinus died in 272.
Plotinus was versed not only in history of religious and philosophical doctrines, but also in geometry, arithmetic, mechanics and music. He had studied astronomy, possibly more from the viewpoint of astrology than from metaphysics, but having recognized the falsehood of several predictions he left aside this so-called science and even wrote to contradict it as such.
Despite his defective pronunciation and absolute lack of method, he was very eloquent in his teachings. In fact, he did not lecture, but would respond with fervor to any question.
Ten years after the beginning of his teachings, he started his writings.
He was convinced that he had the last word in philosophy, which was an initiation in his view, that is, patrimony of sages and selected souls, and not a heritage of mankind.
Herennius and later Origen, who had sworn like him not to publish the doctrine of their master Saccas, were the first who did not honor their word, and just when this occurred, Plotinus decided to write.
Without the habit of writing and without orthography and by unfinished sentences he hardly expressed his reasoning, and all this hindered the dissemination of his ideas. He became eloquent, without any art, by the power of his thought. He never tried any plan; sometimes he developed a doctrine of his concern or contradicted a book just appeared.
These pieces scattered, reunited and corrected by Porphyry, formed 54 books divided into 6 Eneads. Even after Porphyry’ revision, made after the death of his master, the Eneads are just a body of philosophical discourses about every possible subject, through which we have to seek with certain difficulty the unity in Plotinus’ thought.
These words had been written over the gates of the Platonic sanctuary: “It is difficult to discover the author and father of the world, and when he has been found, it is impossible to know men”. It is known that the noble spirit of Plato would stop there the effort made by science.
Beyond the being, the last scientific term he wanted to accept, he would clearly perceive the higher Unity of being, but he did not dare accept this principle, since reason demanded to place this principle over being itself but, at the same time, reason could not understand it or to explain through it the existence and life of the rest of ideas and of all phenomena. So, the whole chain of dialectical deductions was rational and rigorous, provided it remained unfinished, since the last term of reason contradicts itself and, on the other hand, if reason refused to say this last word not only would invalidate the existence of a principle that the very reason did not dare pose in its extreme consequence, but reason itself would remain without a conclusion and therefore without a true system. One can see in Parmenides and in the sixth book “Republic” to what extent Plato was worried by this capital difficulty.
How to go out of this difficulty without escaping from the field of reason?
Only a mystic could find the solution.
Reason begets dialects and dialectics, taken to its last consequence, contradicts reason; therefore Plotinus concluded that reason is only a subordinate faculty. In his view, rules of reason stop being absolute, and if a man lacks a higher faculty than reason there is, however, a means to flee from the empire of faculties and to know without their help; this instrument is ecstasy.
Ecstasy is participation of man in the bliss and intelligence of God by a complete and momentary fusion of the infinite nature with the individual nature. Thanks to ecstasy, God, the highest consequence of dialectics, at the same time can contradict it and, despite it, this result can be acceptable.
Also Plotinus’ psychology goes in parallel with his metaphysics. He accepts the value of senses, places over them reason with principles, general laws and the whole system of ideas; and over reason he places ecstasy that discovers us the absolute unity for which the laws of reason were not made.
At this point of Plotinus’ system here are the three problems posed:
1st) What is ecstasy?
2nd) Who is that God demonstrated by reason, but that reason does not know how to understand?
3rd) How to come back from God to Man?
Ecstasy is a state of union of the spirit of man with God, in whose state the physical body becomes an empty palace, without his master and without any other law than those laws belonging to its organic nature. It is an anticipated death; rather, it is an anticipated life, since, first of all in mystics, it is extremely real the Plato’ sentence that reads: “To die is to live”.
It is death of multiplicity, consciousness and personality. It is momentary absorption of the individuality in God.
There are three causes of ecstasy: love assisted by knowledge and will.
Knowledge dissipates veils that darken our spirit and places us in front of the Unity; the will strives to escape from the variability and to break the last cover behind which the Absolute shines in its glory; and ultimately, love, which finally finds the only capable object to nurture it, rushes as a living flame, and unification is achieved through it.
Virtue and prayer make us worthy of this supreme happiness, but Plotinus translates prayer as a fervent aspiration, as a vigorous drive of love toward the end. As the school advances and the force of inspiration decreases, first prayer will yield its place, and then theurgical rites will occupy the place of love. In Plotinus, enlightenment is a philosophical doctrine full of depth in spite of its excesses; in Jamblichus it will be only superstition.
Plotinus’ God responds to all problems proposed by Plato and solves them through every solution backed by Plato. Plato had understood that the last grade of dialectics is, in certain way, the last aspiration of the human spirit; it is absolute unity, higher unity of being. With no hesitation, Plotinus proclaims that the absolute unity is really the fittest aspect for the true perfection of God. But at the same time that he left aside the Divine from those inaccessible depths where movement and variability were banned, Plato would see an insuperable abyss between his God and the world. And his staggering mind stopped at the edge of this abyss. In the universe, everything demonstrated to him that the king of the world must be intelligent and active; in the mind, everything constricted him to raise his God over the action of the intelligence.
Thence in his doctrine we see those oscillations between Parmenides’ dreams and Timaeus’ statements.
Plotinus neither dreams nor hesitates. Obviously God should be organized; so, he admits God. God is King, Father, Organizer, Providence, Demiurge, living and active God whose energy begets the whole energy, whose life is life of all lives: who expands ceaselessly torrents of universal life and makes them ceaselessly return to his bosom. Because he lives, this God is movable; a principle, and as it were a loftier God hovers over this God endowed with movement, the intelligence. Was not Plato raised also up to there? This God that in Timaeus separates light from darkness and gives movement to matter, is the same God that in Parmenides, in Phaedrus and even in Timaeus is the king of the intelligible world, the sun of the mind, this immovable intelligence about which Aristotle, by formulating the same doctrine of his master, will say is thought of thought.
Following to Plato, Plotinus is raised to this perfect and divine intelligence, and not shivering as Plato in front of these contradictory needs, resolutely he places the immovable intelligence, which is the first of beings, over the movable activity, which is the king of the world of variability, and under a third concept, even more complete, that is the absolute, higher unity of being, with which he forms the first term of the divine trinity. So this God, this divine triad, would solve all problems.
God produces the universe necessarily, without beginning and end. He produces it such as it is, because such is his nature, which the universe should have. In short, God could not help creating it or making it otherwise.
As we get used to judge things according to our own nature, we try to judge the power of God through our own weakness. If God could make the universe with different form, God would not be free; but he is free because he had no possibility of choosing. What is choice but the possibility of choosing the worst route between two? To suppose that God chooses, is to suppose that He can hesitate as to his judgment or that He can succumb as to his action, that is, to suppose that He is imperfect.
The possibility of making a mistake or of failing would diminish the power and consequently the divine freedom. Plotinus is not the only pantheist that, by wishing to chain the creative power to the hands of God, has called freedom this unavoidable need and consided that this consecration of fatality is a hymn to freedom.
How was created the Universe? Outside God, may something serve as receptacle of his emanations?
In Plotinus’s view, the space is nothing. Matter, as it is in beings, descends into them at the same time that the form, because every principle begets under it the multiplicity, that is matter, and unity, that is form or image of the very principle. This way there is nothing outside God, neither space nor matter. If something is outside God, even the universe itself, God would be limited, which is impossible. Therefore everything is in God and fatally He produces the universe in Himself.
So as the divine intelligence is bond of the spirits, so the divine soul is bond of the bodies.
Such is the law that explains the origin of the universe and in certain way it is necessary to look for the law of movement and go the stream up. Everything is expansion and concentration in the vital movement. Through these pairs of opposites the universe remains indefinitely similar and equal to itself. As soon as a being is begotten, he starts fighting to return to the original source.
All goes out of God and has to return to God.
Plotinus’ God is also equal to the alpha and omega of the Scriptures; it is the beginning of the movement because he begets it and also is the final cause, because he brings it back. He is not only perfection but also good. He is not only the sun of any intelligence, but also the hankered centre of every love.
Plotinus’ moral is similar to that of Plato: pure, austere, detached from the world, invariably applied to reproduce the ideal of divine perfection.
Philosopher’s virtues are for Plotinus purifying initiation virtues which completely untie us from the world and prepare us for ecstasy. These virtues are justice, wisdom and love. According to him and Plato, wisdom is a virtue because raises him and begets love, and over all virtues as a culmination of them, the union with God arrives that is, ecstasy does.
Amelius or Amerius, a disciple of Plotinus, flourished around the end of third century, in the Christian era. He had come into being in Etruria and his name was Gentilianus. Likely he wished to emphasize his contempt for worldly things and chose the name of Amelius, which means: “negligent” in Greek.
In the beginning he accepted the stoic Lysamachus, but Numenius’ writings, which are lost now, fell in his hands and attracted him in such a way that he learnt them by heart and copied them by his own hand. From this moment, of course, he belonged to the school of Alexandria, where Plotinus was the most enlightened representative. Amelius went to Rome to meet him and, for 24 years, from 246 to 270, followed his lessons with rare assiduity.
He would write everything he would hear from his master’s lips, adding his own commentaries and this way, according to Porphyry’s sayings, he prepared 100 volumes. Unfortunately none of them reached our days; possibly they would dissipate many existing clouds over the Neoplatonic philosophy. This loss becomes so much appreciable because Plotinus considered Amelius one of his disciples who would understand better the sense of his doctrines.
Of the works attributed to Amelius, there was one, which would show the difference between Plotinus’ ideas and Numenius’s ideas and would justify the first of the above-mentioned philosophers, in regard to the accusation that he had plagiarized Numemius.
After Plotinus’ death, Amelius left Rome and settled in Apamee, Syria, where he spent the rest of his days.
Like other philosophers of the same school, he had tried to raise the dying paganism by means of philosophy.
About Jamblichus, a philosopher and outstanding representative of the school of Alexandria, whose dates as much of birth as of death are unknown, we only know that he was born in Chalcais, Coelesiria, from rich and considered fathers and that flourished in the kingdom of Constantine.
He is taken as the first master a man called Anatolius, who introduced him to Porphyry. When Porphyry died, he was the oracle of the school of Alexandria, where disciples gathered. Despite his austere language and arid forms of teaching, his ascendancy was such that once his disciples would be attached to him they never abandoned him, eating at his table and following him wherever he would go. So great was the enthusiasm he aroused in them that they would attribute him the gift of miracles, levitation, et cetera.
Of his numerous works a life of Pythagoras and an Exhortation to Philosophy are the only ones that reached us.
By Proclus’ commentaries, his philosophical theories are known, which if they were a continuation of Plotino’s and Porphyry’s teachings, diverge from Jamblichus in some aspects. For instance: about the variability of individual beings. Prophyry would attribute it to matter; on the contrary, Jamblichus explains this variability by making a difference in the intelligible world between principles of unity and identity on the one hand and principles of diversity on the other hand.
Unlike their predecessors, Plotinus and Porphyry, Jamblichus’ philosophy attests a spirituality that is less severe and less absolute; Jamblichus reproaches Plotinus that he has made of the soul a principle impassive and ever thinking and consequently because he had identified it with the very intelligence. On this hypothesis, Jamblichus wonders: who would fail in us when dragged by the irrational principle we rush in disorders of imagination? And if on the other hand we admit that the will has failed, what could the infallible soul remain? In his doctrines, Jamblichus is more moderate and more Platonic than his predecessors. His very morality is his more temperate asceticism. He repeats man is the true author of his actions and it is to himself his own demon –daimon– but also, by following the masters he adds that the end that a soul pursues is the contemplation of divine things and that virtue is the instrument to reach it, and despite that in his theology he is more superstitious than Plotinus and Porphyry, he professes a more practical and human morality.
Teaching 4: Isidore of Seville and His Relatives
Intrinsically the life of the Initiates cannot be known in his historical and geographical situation but by knowing the characteristic and strategic mission that they have performed.
Isidore of Seville’s mission is peculiar and extraordinary. He inherits an intact Christian faith on the divinity of Jesus Christ and synthesizes with short paragraphs the whole wisdom in his “Ethimologies” by legating to Christian posterity a compass with scientific orientation. The Goth Christendom is however the absolute affirmation of religion over culture and science.
In the fourth century, a thick veil extends over the whole Europe. Continuous invasions by barbarians make beings fight to save lives and food, and the sense of historic values is lost.
Isidore tries to save among so many ruins the treasure of science, by adapting it to Christian possibilities and beliefs.
In addition to it, the mission of Isidore’s family is equally important. One may say Leander is a defender of faith, and Isidore a defender of Christian science.
His father, of Greco-Roman ancestors, had migrated for political reasons from Cartagena to Seville. His mother was of Visigoth lineage; so, an Arian woman converted to Catholicism. From this marriage, Leander, Fulgence, Florentine and Isidore came into being.
In this Christian family the problem of that time would palpitate. His father, a Catholic, defends the divinity of Jesus Christ, and his mother, an Arian, tries to mitigate and humanize this divinity.
If Christendom were losing the value of divinity, based on Christ, it would have lost any possibility of survival. Religion only survives if its origin is divine and non-human.
Leander is the elder and understands the definite importance of this question. So he defends at home the Catholic dogma and her mother accepts it.
He who is a good organizer at home must try to organize a people. And Leander makes this as a monk, as a priest, as a Bishop and as a Christian theologian. The fight is strenuous and hard; he understands it is a fight of to life and death and that to define it on Earth he needs to be helped by politics.
Visigoth kings are Arian. So he is on the side of the rebellious Hermenegild against his father, since the former is Catholic. He knows Hermenegild is not right politically; but is Catholic and this is enough. He stands with him sufferings and exile, and when he is murdered in prison, he proclaims him a martyr. He sustains his brother Fulgence and her sister Florence, with a weak character and, after the death of the king Leovigild, makes of Recaredo, his son, the new king.
Catholicism is safe; the divinity of Christ is affirmed and his work achieved. But during these fights the science declines.
The littlest in the family, Isidore, educated by Leander, after the death of the latter, gets the Episcopal pallium, an intact faith and a steady Catholic future. But fanaticism and ignorance have destroyed and devastated the ancient science: his work is to collect pieces of the latter, give it a Christian aspect and legate it to posterity.
He tries to develop all sciences in his “Ethimologies” but his intent is unsuccessful. By synthesizing them he removes their real value; there is not a true rule but a reference point toward the very rule, as if he told to the wayfarer of Middle Ages: look, here there is a possibility, scrutinize and you will be able to find.
“Ethimologies” deal with all sciences: literature, philosophy, mathematics, medicine of which he was very fond, physics et cetera. In addition to his wisdom, Isidore is a saint. He lived in centuries when the Bishop was a monk among monks, a father among his children and a shepherd among his flock. Death did not find him aslept. Standing he ordered his monks to take him before the altar: he wanted to die worshipping the Lord that he had recognized over everything in his lifetime.
Teaching 5: Aristotelian Revival of Avicenna and Averroes
Greek culture and wisdom with all their purity and clarity disappeared, if one may say like that (for Christian Neoplatonism weakened it a lot), after the definite suppression of paganism and banishment of its sages, decreed by Justinian in the 500.
This Emperor affirms the political right of Roman and gives it as heritage to the Christian peoples in his Digest, but he nullifies the mental culture through the only assertion of the Dogma. Greek culture passes to Persia through exiled sages, and the Islam preserves it.
In the golden Arabian times, the Greek culture was born again in the Moslem Spain, through Avicenna and Averroes that translate, study and comment the Stagirite into Arabian language.
Avicenna, whose true name is Abu Ali Husein, is born in Persia near Chiraz in 980, and died in Hemadan in 1087. He was son of Sena, a Patriarch of Bochara Valley.
In his childhood, Avicenna was so precocious that at the age of 7 was already admired by the clarity of his concepts and his amazing ease to understand everything he was taught. At the age of 8 he had already performed great services to Humanity as a physician and Initiate.
He dealt with all fields of science and philosophy through a more extended and complete systematization.
In medicine he opens new course and condenses his ideas in “Cannon of Medicine”, written at the age of 21, which for centuries was in force at schools of Asia and Europe.
Besides many other works, especially on mathematics, it is fundamental his Mystical treatise, a true esoteric teaching.
Called by the Sultan Cabans, he cured him of a very serious disease. The grateful Sultan, admired his high gifts and named him Great Vizier.
Averroes continued his work and as his Master Avicenna led him from the Astral World, one century later in the golden age that the Almoravid princes had brought to the Arabian Spain. Cruel wars had finished; the powerless Christians only made hear their complaints and curses.
All the domain of the Crescent Moon, seemingly all-powerful in those days, flourished from Mediterranean Sea to Indian Sea.
In these stages of peace and prosperity, great masters of sciences and teachings appear in nations. Arabs were outstanding in philosophy, right, physics, astrology, medicine, and first of all, in mathematics.
Avicenna, the great, had already given lectures on experimental philosophy, of Aristotelian kind, which transformed the philosophical view all over the world. In those days the Islam was owner not only of almost all countries of Orient, but also of the intellectual thought of the time. Then in Cordoba, in 1126, Abul Uelit Ibn Rachid was born, known to posterity by the name of Averroes.
His father was not only Cadi in Cordoba, but also a lover of letters and arts. >From his youth, this predestined being, at the feet of this father, beside his grandfather, or surrounded by old men, usually would hear their discussions about immortality of the soul and their remarks about new discoveries.
It was a morning of spring in 1138. Averroes was near a wide window to a garden, where flowers and birds had not another frame than infinite space. Who shall be the hidden force giving life to a flower, animating birds, coloring the sky in blue?, the teenager would think. An invisible hand has to be behind all this; some powerful and irresistible being. How I would wish to know all this! How I would wish to see and arrive beyond the heart of things! But, where will I find that master who can teach me the total science of the universe? Seemingly that book is non-existent.
A voice that seemed a sigh or rather a breeze stirring the trees replied: “Yes, such book exists; you have it”.
The young man was startled. Rapidly he got up from his seat and looked back, but he only saw a white cloak disappearing in the penumbra of the room.
He kept his secret. His instinct said to him he should not reveal these inner visionary perceptions.
After a long period of time his astral instructor came back. His visits were more frequent; the Master in white had taught to the Arabian young man how to read the book of all sciences in his own heart. So Averroes was famous in any art and science.
In those days Yusuf, a prince somewhat melancholic and artist who loved to be surrounded not only by a luxurious court and beautiful dancers, but also by wise and chosen men, caught an incurable disease. Then they recommended him a young physician that would make true miracles and whom Christian inhabitants of Cordoba accused of witchcraft. He sent for Averroes to his palace and while Averroes cured his body, also healed his mind. He was so fond of his physician that appointed him his official physician in the court.
From then on, Averroes’ fame was extraordinary. His answers to enquiries from the prince appeared in booklets, some of which, though deteriorated, have survived.
Averroes explained the Avicenna’ mental system in a wonderful way. Also he divided into sections the intuitive, rational and instinctive mind, and called them superior mind, middle mind and lower mind.
But so much wisdom and clarity created enemies and adversaries. By hatred, bitterness and inferiority, some people became a true gang of enemies.
Almanzor, who succeeded Yusuf in the Caliphate of Cordoba, got carried away by his detractors. He banned the study of philosophy and Averroes was exiled in Lucena.
Lonely and tranquil in his new retirement, Averroes channeled all his efforts toward the achievement of a perfect life and with many disciples that had followed him established a community of Sufis led by Initiates of Fire, which was the seed of a very powerful mystical sect that later included all Mahommedan peoples.
He would sit in meditation at sunset and the sun illuminated his back at dawn.
It was then when he had the beatific vision of the Only Truth and understood that all religions were a facet of the same Truth as he attests in his book entitled “Three Higher Worlds”. Also in those days he wrote the commentary on Galenus’ “Essay on the Fever”. Almanzor remained just a while in the mistake because he thought carefully; then condemned the enemies of this saint, sent for him in his exile, and appointed him Cadi of Seville.
Averroes spent the last years of his life in the study of his favorite sciences, in the practice of medicine and in the fulfillment of his duty.
In the way to Marrakesh in 1198, being sick, His beloved master again appeared to him, this time not to give instructions but to lend a hand and accompany him in the great step.
While Averroes was dying, the fiery lights of twilight drove terrestrial sufferings away with the last radiance of the Supreme Initiation.
Teaching 6: Aristotelianism of Maimonides
Maimonides, Rabi Moses ben Maimon, was born in Cordoba, Spain, on March 30, 1135.
His first master was a disciple of the great philosopher Ibn Badra, and his companion of studies were the Great Vizier Abu Bevier and the son of the famous astronomer of Seville Abu Maimad Drabar.
Maimonides introduces the Aristotelianism among Jewish sages and this way it is possible to adapt the Greek culture to the religious world. Doubtless he opens the way for Christians to achieve along with Saint Thomas Aquinas the great work of Aristotelian knowledge adapted to the Christian dogma.
In 1148 he had to escape from his home city, taken by the Almohads and from there his long pilgrimages began.
As early as at the age of 23, he wrote a commentary about the Mischna. He lived in Jez, North Africa, and urged Jews to abandon the religion of their ancestors.
His activity in the field of medicine was so well known that Richard Coeur de Lion invited him to England.
He died on December 13, 1204 at the age of 70.
Truly, if we judge Maimonides’ work and leave only aside certain studies on the healing art, all the rest is esoteric. Perchance is there not somewhat occult in the study of the soul, its virtues and vices, its powers and weaknesses, and its eventual diseases and remedies?
Is not esoteric the study of the Providence and its form of being manifest on beings and things?
And what can be said about the detailed and limpid reasoning about the existence of God?
But Don Moses ben Maimon reveals in his work two aspects: exoteric and esoteric.
The former is especially seen in the Mischne Torah, a compendium of the oral law, conveyed from one from generation to another until his days, and a juridical classification of the contents scattered in the two Talmuds and in writings of studious successors of rabbis, until his time.
The other aspect is in the depth of the vigorous thought posed by Maimonides in his “Guide of the Astray”, a true arcane of his system, made with Hellenic and Arabian philosophy and Bible prophecy.
It was the twelfth century. Long time had already passed since the expulsion of the Jewish people from Palestine and their dispersion throughout the world.
A great community had settled in Spain and another in North Africa and Asia Minor. Some of them had entered France and extended toward North Europe.
Jewish communities of Spain were linked with Judea and Babylon where large religious and spiritual centers would work; but persecutions victimized and forced them to migrate continuously, and led them to disperse and to move away from the focus that kept them united by their monotheistic religion, by their faith in the coming of the Messiah and by injunctions of the Torah.
Then it was necessary for a great spirit to concentrate around him the anguished glance of the people; and this spirit should not only have a privileged intelligence but also an intense faith in Jehovah and his highest prophet, since his mission also would be to unite the Hebrew family around the postulates of their religion and renew entirely the Judaism by infusing new and more rational convictions that would enable it to fight. So, he should grant to the Jewish religion a scientific-philosophic content that until then it did not possess in a global and organic form, but that was scattered in Talmudic lucubration and polemics of Tanaim and Rabbis. In short: a capable spirit to comprise this work must be an Initiate, such as Maimonides was.
But his work is not only Jewish. It belongs to the whole Humanity. So, one can explain his influence on Jewish philosophy of the thirteen century and following, his tracks in Christian scholastics and also in some of the highest manifestations of modern philosophy. The esoteric face is perhaps found in that part of his work that, out of the limited frame of religion, has comprised far greater proportions and only could be understood by his disciples or by knowledgeable beings in esoteric teachings.
Fundamentally the Maimonides’ system does not belong to him; he took it from Aristotle, whom he knew through Arabian philosophers, and he followed him in certain parts, but not accepting other parts that contradicted the dogma or revelations of the Mosaic Law.
Thence his rationalism, his deep logic and his scientism so wonderfully applied to the study of the Torah, Talmud and oral tradition.
But Maimonides’ merit is not precisely the interpretation of Aristotelian philosophy or the application of his system to the study of Judaism. His value lies on the moral consequence he found in Aristotelian premises, to which he associated an idea of Arabian source by taking all of them to their most extreme end.
“All bodies under the sky are composed of matter and form”. The “natural form”, is the essence of things, is that through which a thing “is what it is” and differentiates itself from others that are not of its kind. “You never see matter without form and form without matter, but man, by his intellect, distinguished the two elements of every existing body and knows that it is composed of matter and form”.
Matter is of a form that does not remain constantly in matter, but continuously takes a form off and assumes another.
The soul of every thing is its form, and the body is the matter that this form assumes. Therefore, when a body made of elements disintegrates, the soul perishes, since it only exists along with the body and has not any more a permanent existence in the species as other forms.
The soul is one but develops multiple activities are commonly named parts of the soul but that are not such because the soul is one. In this sense, parts of the soul are five: nutritious, sensitive, imaginative, appetizing and intellectual. The first four are common to man and to other species of animals because every species of animal has a soul. The fifth is exclusive of man.
As a result of all this, there is only a difference between the individual human soul and souls of animals, and this difference is that the first is richer, has intellect; but in their essence as much one as another are forms adhered to matter with which they perish, and with latter even the intellectual part disintegrates.
If Maimonides had stopped in the above-mentioned Aristotle’s ideas, the world would be without his great ethical system, his new table of moral values. But he had used an idea of the Arabs whose consequences he led far beyond the supposition of their very authors. Conceptually, it consisted of potential o primordial intellect, intellect in action or acquired and separate intellect.
At birth, a man has an intellectual part –the intellectual part of the soul– that perishes along body. This force is a predisposition that makes a man able to apprehend intelligible things. It deteriorates, as we said, if it is preserved in the state of predisposition, not translated into action. But if a man uses it by comprehending intelligible things, then the intellect passes from potency to action and acquires “its own eternal and permanent existence” as the perception that it has collected and “is only one part with him”. Then we have the primordial intellect that is energy in the body, and the acquired intellect that is not a bodily force and therefore does not suffer with it, but is eternal as “separate intellects” in the superior world.
If a natural form is the essential substance because of which every being is such as he is and distinguished from others, an acquired intellect gives its owner an eternal existence, and is the substance of being and its true form. The common form to all beings is the soul subject to sufferings of the body, the soul of the birth. The soul of a being who has acquired intellect is just a kind of matter and his essential form is the supplementary knowledge, a form of the soul.
Maimonides, following the Arabs, begins distinguishing in the human kind two species, and these are his conclusions: man is different from animals because of his particular form, while the character of his form is analogous to that of the form of other animal species, all of which end in the individual, while the particular form of a person that has acquired intellect has an special character: it lives eternally, even separated from matter.
Also Maimonides marks out the contents and way of the intelligence through which a man reaches the acquired intellect.
If a comprehension of the intelligible and the formation between intellect and the, from only one unity takes the intellect from potency to action and makes the being eternal, the intelligible must contain objects existing in action and with eternal extension. So, Maimonides excludes from the complex of the intelligible, abstract sciences that do not explain existing things –such as logic and mathematics– and sciences that teach what is non-existent, but what should be done to reach certain ends, such as ethics and aesthetics, as well as knowledge of individual forms whose duration is transient since they adhere to matter.
The intelligible, whose knowledge brings the intellect into action, contain the true and eternal reality, such as forms of the species, heavenly substances and separate forms, and Gods and angels, who are eternal.
Maimonides establishes in regard to the way of intelligence that man can understand things through the very intellect, through reason, not only by faith, because precisely the mutual influence of intellect with the intelligible would be absent.
Keeping in mind what Aristotle taught about form and matter, about the adoption of sense of the form to that of the intellect with its different grades and about the Aristotelian view that man is the near end of all beings of the lower world, Maimonides gets the following moral conclusions:
The end of human existence is to produce the most perfect thing that could be produced.
This perfect entity is the man that possesses acquired intellect.
The highest moral duty is, then, that man may reach the end for which he was created.
The moral good is the achievement of this end.
Am action is good or bad inasmuch as helps or disturbs man in his efforts to achieve the end of his existence, that is: his intellect translated into deed.
All human actions only aim at sustaining resistance so that a being may fulfill this only action.
But besides a necessary intellectual work to achieve the end, moral improvement is a condition sine-qua-non. So on the scale of good actions, two directions are marked: the first toward the speculative aspect; the other toward the practical one, action. In the first part, studies of indispensable sciences to know the world, and in the practical aspect, those human works leading to moral improvement are important Virtues are not then extremes of any of the enumerated aspects but the mean way bringing him near the end.
Maimonides has introduced the social element into his ethics.
If Humanity can be divided into two species, that of intellect in potency and that of intellect in action, and if the second species is made of a progressive ascension, very long and hard, for very few, what is the end of the existence for the greater part of Humanity that remains in state of potential intellect? One cannot attribute to the nature spoiled experiences and by observing the harmony and order prevailing on it, forcefully one has to accept an end in the existence of the majority. And Maimonides finds the end of this majority on the evolutionary scale leading to the perfect existence; a scale that also is an instrument for the continuity of man after he is perfect. These beings in potency exist to serve a perfect being in those multiple activities that he must develop and in the formation of the “society for sages” so that they are not alone.
So, while in the select minority the most perfect form is achieved, the majority implies the instrument to create necessary conditions for the existence of this minority.
So, a moral criterion is established, more extended and feasible than the above-mentioned, and more popular: a social criterion.
Everything that is useful in society as motive of its existence or mission is morally good; everything that is harmful becomes evil. Neither majority nor minority can avoid this criterion. Majority because their existence has not any end out of a participation in the social work whose object has been established. And minority because they must watch over social improvement, since the more perfect is society, the more often the individual emancipation of intellect in action and in higher proportion must be.
All human activities that contribute to social improvement have moral importance inasmuch as they help creating a necessary environment for a more perfect form eventually brought up to date. Society is between the two “species” of men, and intertwines them.
These conclusions enabled Maimonides to approach rationally the ancient Hebrew conception would attribute to the universal life the end of the particular life.
Teaching 7: Innocent III
Enlightened by fights for the investitures so much resisted by Gregory VII, Innocent III established the whole power of the Roman pontificate on juridical absolutism.
In 1198 the chair of Saint Peter was occupied by a man of a noble family from Signa, in the prime of life, who with the name of Innocent III had to fight with insuperable courage all enemies of justice and the Church, and had to give the world the most perfect model of a sovereign Pontiff, of the true king Priest Initiate, the prototype of the Vicar of Jesus Christ.
He was of gracious and kind manners. Endowed with uncommon appearance and physical qualities, they said his face was perfect and his figure exquisite. Confident and extremely tender in his affections, generous as none in his foundations and alms, great and deep jurist as the inappealable judge of Christendom should be, eloquent and fluent orator, ascetic and wise writer, zealous protector of sciences and religious studies, severe guardian to maintain laws of the Church and its discipline, also he had all those qualities that could illuminate his memory if he had dared rule the Church on calm and easy times or if his government could be devoted to the care of spiritual things. But he had another mission in reserve.
Before he ascended the priestly throne, he understood and also made understand through his writings, the object and destiny of the Roman pontificate. This should not attend only the salvation of souls, but also it should deal with the good government of the Christian society. But fully self-confident, as soon as he was chosen, he addressed to all priests of the Catholic orb urging and asking especial prayers to get from God His enlightenment and encouragement. God heard these general prayers giving him all necessary help to continue and to carry out Gregory VII’s great work, the Spiritual Sovereignty of Rome.
But at the same time that he defended this primacy, the constitution of Europe conferred him in those days the glorious function of watching with zeal over every concern of the peoples, protecting all their rights and demanding the observance of all their duties.
During the eighteen years of his pontificate he remained on the level of so high and wide mission.
Threatened and attacked without respite by his close subjects, that is, the turbulent Romans, this was not an obstacle to encompass the whole Church and the Christian world with imperturbable calm, and permanent and thorough diligence, and he observed all as a father and as a judge.
From Iceland to Sicily, from Portugal to Armenia, any broken ecclesiastic law was immediately amended and restored; there was no offence against a weak person without correction, or any attacked guarantee without protection. In his view, the whole Christendom was a majestic unity, only one kingdom without inner frontiers or different races, of which he had to be fearless defender outside and inexorable and incorruptible judge inside.
By encouraging again the cooled off eagerness of the Crusades, he defended them against external enemies. Thence his enthusiasm for those combats for the Cross, glorious fights that inflamed the heart of Roman pontiffs, from Gregory VII to Pious II who died as a crusade.
Popes were then a focus from which the holy eagerness of Christian nations was irradiated. His eyes were ceaselessly fixed on those dangers that threatened Europe, and while Innocent would strive to send every year an army against the triumphant Sarracens in the East, in the North he would propagate faith among the enslaved peoples and Sarmats, and in the West he would preach union and concord to the kings of Spain, by exhorting them for a decisive effort against the Moores, and foretelling their miraculous victories against the Crescent Moon.
With no other weapons than force of persuasion and authority of a great character, he reduced to a Catholic unity the most distant kingdoms, such as Armenia and Bulgaria, which after they defeated Latin armies, did not hesitate to submit when they listened to Innocent’s voice.
His tireless and fiery zeal for the truth did not deprive him of being highly tolerant with persons. Against exaction of princes and blind rage of the peoples, he protected the Jewish, being a living testimony of the Christian truth, also by imitating in this all his predecessors, with no exception. For peace and salvation of souls he corresponded with Muslim princes. While he would fight with tireless constancy and rare perspicacity thousand heresies sprouting everywhere and threatening with throwing down the foundations of the social and moral order of the entire Universe, ceaselessly he would inculcate principles of moderation and mercy in victorious, irritated Christians, and even in the very Bishops.
The point was that by identifying his life with religion and justice, these were all to him. His fiery love for justice inflamed his soul in such a way that he neither paid attention to the rank of persons, nor obstacles nor setbacks; since the right figured in a contest, he did not take account at all of setbacks or luck., being sweet and merciful with the weak and defeated, and unyielding with the haughty and powerful, everywhere and always protector of the oppressed and weak, and of equity against any victorious but unjust force. So he defended with noble rage the holiness of the conjugal bond as the key to the social vault and of the Christian life. An outraged wife never appealed to his powerful mediation in vain. An admired world saw him fighting for fifteen years his enemy and allied Philip August by defending the rights of the unfortunate Ingerburge that came from Denmark, became derision and object of contempt by this prince, and alone and in prison, was abandoned by all in a strange land, except by the pontiff who at the end was able to reintegrate her to the throne of her husband among the applause of the people that felt happy seeing in the world a justice equal for all. He also emerged triumphant in defending the queen Mary of Aragon when she became a burden for her libertine husband; and also the queen Adelaide of Bohemia whom her husband wanted to repudiate in order to get a more advantageous union, already condemned by a Council.
The same spirit of justice encouraged him to watch with paternal care until the most distant countries over rights and legitimate titles of heirs of crowns and over the luck of more than one royal orphan. He knew how preserve in their right and patrimony the princes of Norway, Poland and Armenia (1199); the infants of Portugal, the young king Ladislaus of Hungary and even the sons of enemies of the Church such as Jaime of Aragon, whose father would die in the ranks of heretics and that after being a prisoner of the Catholic army, was liberated by Innocent’s order; Frederic II, the only heir of the imperial race of Hohenstaufen, the most fearful rival for the Holy See, but after being put under Innocent’s guardianship during his minority of age, is educated, instructed and protected by Innocent, and sustained in his patrimony with affection and zeal, now not with the affection and zeal of a guardian but with the affection and zeal of a father.
Is it admirable that in a time when all thrones were based on faith and justice was in such a way personified on the See of Peter, kings would try to join to it by stronger links? Should it be strange that the courageous Pedro of Aragon did not find for the emerging independence of his crown better guarantee than by traversing the seas to put his crown at the feet of Innocent and to receive it from his hand like a vassal? And that John of England, persecuted by the just indignation of a people, also proclaims himself vassal of that Church which he so cruelly had vexed, being certain he would find in it refuge and forgiveness, which men would deny? And that in addition to the above mentioned kingdoms, would those of Navarra, Portugal, Scotland, Hungary and Denmark be honored for belonging in certain way to the Holy See through a link of entirely special protection?
Nobody ignored that in Innocent's view the right of the kings in regard to the Church was as sacred as those of the Church in regard to kings. And what he attributed to equity went united with a high and provident politics by imitating his illustrious predecessors.
So, being against the incorporation of the empire by heritage to the house of Suabia, and sustaining free elections in Germany, he saved this noble country from a monarchic centralization that, by altering its nature, would choke every germ of prodigious intellectual fecundity of which it precisely boasts.
So, by restoring and defending with tireless constancy the temporal authority of the Holy See he assured the independence of Italy and in no lesser degree that of the Church. With his example and precepts he shapes a whole generation of pontiffs equally fond of this independence, and of and his worthy assistants, such as Stephen Langton in England, Henry of Gnesen in Poland, Rodrigo of Toledo in Spain, and Foulquet of Toulouse in middle of heretics; or worthy of dying martyrs for this holy cause, such as Saint Pedro Parenticio and Pierre de Castelnau (both killed by heretics; the former in Oviedo, 1199, and the latter in Languedoc, 1209).
His glorious life ends with the famous Council of Letran (1215-1216) convoked and presided by him. His greatest spiritual work was to introduce to the Christian orb the two grand institutions or religious orders of Saint Dominique and Saint Francis, which should infuse a new life and that Innocent III had the glory of seeing the two coming into being under his Pontificate.
Teaching 8: Hernan of Salza and the Teutonic Order
At the end of the tenth century and beginning of the eleventh century, when the first crusades started their conquest of the Holy Land for Christendom, as a result and effect of them and very especially by lack of previsions in their execution, a phenomenon took place in those days: the number of sick, destitute and poor people that being unprotected would pullulate in Jerusalem and other cities.
Some characteristic diseases of the East and wounded people that lacked attention were a favorable source of infections, plagues and other calamities that at the end moved humanitarian feelings in certain persons that did their best to alleviate this critical situation of their fellow men.
So, very important Religious-Military Orders came into being in the Middle Ages, which under their martial and religious emblems actually fulfilled a deep social mission.
In 1128, a German called Wuldpott and his wife founded a hospital in the city of Jerusalem to protect all those pilgrims of German origin, as well as to assist their most important needs. Next to this hospital they built an oratory dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Other Germans contributed with his wealth to develop so noble cause and consolidated this Institution that they called Brothers of Saint Mary.
In 1190, after the siege to the city of Tyre, a group of German citizens, from the cities of Bremen and Lübeck, with sails of their ships erected a huge tent for German-spoken people wounded. Because these people were guided by similar purposes to those of the founders of the hospital mentioned in the precedent paragraph, they joined to them. According to different sources, these were the true origins of the Military-Religious Order we deal with.
If Hernan of Salza was not the direct founder of the Teutonic Order, however he granted to it its greatest brilliance and his true spiritual sense. Staying in Orient with his brothers in religion he knew some versed Arabians that instructed him about the ancient Universal science. They recognized in him an extraordinary being and thought of initiating him in their science. So, they took him to Hoggard for his initiation in the Ancient Mysteries.
Hernan of Salza understood that the true wisdom was to watch over the Holy Sepulcher; not only the material sepulcher of Jesus, but also the Mystical Sepulcher of Christ. Perchance is not the human body a material sepulcher where the vivifying spirit remains hidden?
In 1189-1191, during the siege of the city of Saint John of Acre, Frederic of Suabia, raised this association to Military Order and named it Teutonic House of the Holy Virgin of Jerusalem, but later it was only known by the name of Teutonic Order, or Order of the Teutonic Knights.
Since the very beginning the constitution of this Order was sponsored by Great Lords of the time and the Pope Clement III, who authorized its constitution on the basis of Saint Augustine’s rule.
Those who constitute this Order were called Brothers. In regard to the assistance of wounded and sick people, protection of the poor, widows and orphans, they had analogous rules to those of Hospitalarians’; as to the ecclesiastical and military aspect, they would adopt rigid norms established by Templars, with their own privileges that the Pope granted to Orders of this kind.
They would use a white robe with a black cross on the chest. The white color as symbol of Faith and Purity; the cross on the chest characteristic of the crusades, and the black color, as well as orange color, constituted emblematic colors of the Germans. The Golden Cross of Jerusalem was added later, in the times of Hernan of Salza.
To enter this Order it was indispensable to be a German Noble (simple citizens were only allowed to enter with lower grades), to be celibate and devoted to leaving aside to any engagement and affection not originated in the Order and its inherent duties; to renounce to any aspiration to possessions of the Order, which in return only could provide him with the most elementary means of subsistence and a room. Also they had to satisfy any demand required to accede at large to similar Orders of Knighthood to the above mentioned.
The chief would take the name of Great Master of the Order and had different assistants with characteristic names according to his appointed functions.
For the first time forty German Nobles were ordained as priests. The King of Jerusalem donated the cross to the first Noble, the Duke of Suabia; the second Noble and the rest of thirty eight Knights received the cross from other Lords of lineage. In this Order, as well as in the Order of Malta, there were three divisions.
The election of the Great Master was made through vote of the Knights and his hierarchical emblems were a ring and a seal; in no way he would abandon his attributes, except at the point of death, for then he delivered those attributes to the Knight he appointed Regent of the Order. Meanwhile the new Great Master was elected, but his appointment depended upon the acceptance of the Knights.
The Regent would call to elect the Great Master through a system of appointments of assistants that permitted to gather the votes of all Brothers of the Order; before the election, the established rules were read, all Brothers recited 15 times the Dominical Prayer and at once they served food to 30 poor people. He who was elected Great Master would occupy his post and would receive the ring and the seal, which were investitures of his authority.
Hernan of Salza understood that the inactivity of his Knights in Jerusalem would be self-defeating because many other religious Orders stayed there and constituted a European colony. So he transferred his Order to Venice; he expected to give a land to the Order in the North, and eventually to establish it there. And this took place when the rebellious emperor of Germany made peace with the Papacy.
The Order had begun to act in the city of Venice and the sphere of its activities and influence increased more and more, becoming more and more powerful. In certain cases, this Order would settle differences between the Emperor and the Pope.
So Hernan of Salza, Great Master of the Order, was the true arbiter between the Pope Honorius III and the Emperor Frederick II, and precisely the solution given by him to their discrepancies was satisfactory, and the Order acquired new possessions in Italy, Hungary and Germany. The Pope authorized the Great Master to add to the Order the emblem of the Great Golden Cross, and to the Emperor the emblems of the Imperial Eagle.
Continuously urged by the Popes, both the Emperor and several Orders tried the expulsion of barbarians that had still Prussia under control. The intervention of the Teutonic Order in 1228, instigated by the Pope Gregory IX, started the conquest of Prussia; barbarians were ousted and the Order, settled there, led the political destinies of Prussia until the end of 1618. From this conquest on and under different Great Masters, its power increased more and more, and besides Prussia, the Order also influenced Hungary, Poland, Livonia and the Dukedoms of Curland and Semigal.
The Order also reinforced its hosts and power by incorporating to it the Order of Brothers of the Militia of Christ, which on the white robe had the red cross and a sword outlined, and this is why it was called Order of Sword-bearers, instituted by the Bishop Albert of Alperdern in Livonia, in 1204, and that by having the same purposes, in this sense exercised the power and influences of the Teutonic Order.
The history of the Teutonic Order, dominating Prussia for three centuries, had the greatest temporal power, and the whole history of Central and Oriental Europe it is closely linked with the developing influence of this Order, In 1253, with the Great Master Peppon of Ostende, the built the city of Köeningsberg, and in 1275 with the Great Master Hartman of Heldhugen, established in Venice, founded the city of Marienbourg.
As reflux produced in Europe by struggles derived from Reformation of the Catholic Church, these events had repercussion on the public life of the Order and in this time the loss of great part of its immense temporal power starts. So in 1525, because its Great Master Albert Margrave of Brandenburg espoused the religion reformed by Luther and married the daughter of the king of Denmark, a schism took place in the Order headed by the Teutonic Master of Livonia Walter Kletemberg, who became independent of the Great Master and with such a character he was recognized by Charles V. Meanwhile many annoyed Catholic Lords left their respective castles where independently, for long, every Lord within his own fief tried to preserve the remaining traditions of the Order.
In 1618 they lost Prussia and from this time the Order stopped being an organization of political character. A part of it established itself in Franconia, but in spite of the loss of its domains, it continued existing. So in 1805, as a result of the treaty of Presburg, clause of it grants to the Emperor of Austria the tiles, rights and incomes of the Great Master of the Order.
In the beginning of the nineteen-century, Napoleon officially abolished the Order.
In the times of the Crusades, in Holy Land, when the fervor of the war was over, preferably they would deal with defending the people and developing more a more their moral conditions, and with the adoption of cultivated manners. In peace, after having banished superfluous atrocities of the war, they would inspire a mutual fraternity as much great as noticeable in those times of universal isolation by practicing, preaching and teaching good. From these impressions and attributes as a whole, in whose crucible were harmoniously melt their martial and religious instincts, they made a higher ideal type come into being that exalted the imagination by offering in their lives various conceptions and purer and loftier emotions than those that can be found in ordinary life.
Following with their similar organization to that of Persian sects, they had three grades: Page, Squire and Knight. The two first would correspond to the noviciate and to that of Knight, whom he would give the knowledge of the major mysteries.
The Squire was subject to Trials before being promoted to the category of Knight, which consisted of a rigorous fast the day before his consecration and in spending the white night, which consisted in being the whole night on his knees at the foot of altars, in the deepest darkness.
Weapons and emblems of his new condition also have a wider sense than that justified by their use. The spurs of the Knight, that the horse has to obey, represented inner raptures of his soul, inciting him to love God in depth and to defend his law with courage and determination. The double-edged sword, symbol of strength, means that he will know how to humiliate his courage and to control his pride, which is considered inseparable from him, through a virtuous practice of humility and self-denial for his neighbor.
All his actions were ruled by principles that would aim at developing higher conditions in a human being, whose importance and value they knew and appreciated.
Teaching 9: Mystical Poetry of Jacopone di Todi
Jacopone di Todi is called ascetic because his spiritual path was a continuous effort to be near God, but because of his inner spirit of sublime sacrifice, he never reached the mystical state of Divine Union.
Usually asceticism is mistaken for mystique; in the candidate, asceticism marks his effort, with practice of purgative and loving exercises and theoretical study of different ways to reach perfection, from its beginning until reaching the contemplation; while in mystique he even penetrates into the Divine Union through volitive practice and ecstatic rapture.
In asceticism there is effort and fight, because there is duality; Being and his Pure Essence; man and God; while in mystique there is calm and tranquility because there is unity; the small flame joined to the great Divine flame; a man is as if melted in God.
Christians ascetics have had as basis of their spiritual lives in the path, the Imitation of Christ, and in particular Franciscans have chosen the Imitation of Christ poor and crucified, to such extent that Saint Francis of Assisi was called: Alter Christus, and he took in his body signals of the Passion.
But Jacopone di Todi, who also was Franciscan, took as centre of his aims and example of love and sorrows –the ascetic life– the Virgin of Sorrows.
Stabat Mater dolorosa The Sorrowful and tearful Mother
Juxta Crucem lachrymosa stayed at the foot of the cross
Dum pendebat Filius. from which his son would hang.
The female image is ever inspiring him: it is his life, muse and sanctity.
Through the image of the idealized woman he learns how to love, is driven to write and create, he moans and despairs, and embraces the perfect life.
In his childhood he loves his mother over all things.
Jacopone di Todi was born in 1228 and his mother is the center of his whole attention and affection.
He is educated very carefully, as usual among the Nobles of those times, and instructed in the art of well writing and waging war.
His hard and manly soul rebels at disciplines, so he only would find cal in the love of his sweet mother. His verses indicate so:
Ben veglio che ama el figlio One properly sees the son loving
Lo patre per natura his father by nature
E Matre con dolzura but giving to his mother all
Tutto suo cuor el dona. his heart with sweetness.
His father was steady, with harsh character and his only thought was to give to his son a true education, which was not an easy things in those times when the Italian language was still unfinished and in the peninsula they spoke Latin, Provençal and local idioms; even Jacopone would be a forerunner, along with Brunetto, of the Gentil language that culminated with Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio; also, the division of Italy into small states and always in war among them, required great expertness in the art of war, strategy and jurisprudence. Benedetti did not free his son of punishments and disciplines to kill in him his rebellious impulses, and his trend to current daydreams in childhood and adolescence.
In those moments of inner storm he always would find care and protection in her mother’s arms, and was more and more attached to her by strong ties of love.
He was more and more distant from his father, even to the extent of hating him. He confesses:
Staba a pensare I was thinking
Mío Pater morerse If my father died
eh io piú non staesse I would not be tied any more
a questa brigata. to these duties.
But in spite of all, he could not avoid the influence and authority of his father that forced him to go to schools and to study steadily until his doctorate in laws, in the University of Bolognia. And not for one day, but for forty years he worked as a lawyer and solicitor in his fatherland by devoting himself to his profession with enthusiasm.
Had the rebel died? Did a calm man replace the fiery youngster? Now would not he think of abandoning those things that annoyed him so much?
In 1267, coming now to his forties, Jacopone married Vanna, the daughter of the Counts of Coldimiezzo; and his entire love for his mother passed now to his wife. She was young, beautiful, kind and discreet, and with a promising charm of full happiness.
Jacopone continued revering the Famale Image in that of his wife, being near her with entire dedication and tender and honest devotion.
But in 1268, something terrible occurred. The inhabitants of Todi in the main square offered a great feast; on the box for ladies, the young wife of the poet would shine among all of them. Jacopone took part in the jury, and rather admired the beauty of his Vanna than the very tournament.
But soon this vision and feast are interrupted by an infernal noise, followed by great panic.
The box for ladies collapsed and the whimsical destiny has taken only one victim: Jacopone’s wife.
Vana is sorely wounded, and he tries to save her by calling her with sweet names, entreating her not to abandon him, and offering his own life for hers. But when serenity and acceptance of death dignify her face, Jacopone feels the darkest despair.
Cuis animam gementem That soul that would weep
Contristatam et dolentem in sadness and sorrow
Pertransivit gladius. was pierced by a sword.
He had to remember this painful moment in his life while writing the second stanza of his “Stabat Mater”.
In this painful darkness, Jacopone would feel fatally wounded; but death is life and after this terrible trial he is converted and starts a new life.
His religious conversion awakens at the same time his old personality, which seemingly was annihilated; the poet, the rebel, the saint and, first of all, the ascetic emerges again.
From now on, the man of God never will give up; here his ascetic path starts that only will be over with the end of his life.
The center and end of Jacopone di Todi’s ascetic path is Mary, the Sorrowful.
From the sweet love for his mother and from the fiery love for his wife, he passes to the love for the sweet mother of God. The Divine Mother triumphs over him by giving herself as the goal of his search and of his love for the Image of the Lady whom neither time throws down, nor wind scatters, nor years change, nor death removes.
The strong and manly heart of Jacopone, his stressed manliness, yields before the Mother of God at the moment when she expresses her Great Sorrow.
When people speak of God, he cannot but remember Him as the implacable and righteous judge that measures man with the iron stick, ready to punish the Earth; if it is true that he wrote the “Dies Irae”, as some historian holds, his religious concept can be seen properly; when he speaks of Jesus, he sees in Him the Great King, the incomparable Savior that redeemed men with his blood and death in the Cross.
But when he speaks of Mary, when he songs his sorrow, he is moved and sweetened, sheds tears and his heart experiences an unstoppable wave of compassion and tenderness.
The Lady of Sorrow becomes his center, and he goes toward Jesus Crucified and the perfection through the Mother’s tears.
In Her pursuit, he has strength to abhor the world and his past life, and for Her he does penitence and mortifies himself and destroys the old man.
She inspires his eagerness to leave aside his own will and his intense desire to delete his sins. The repentance bursts.
Qui est homo qui non fleret Which man does nor cry
Matrem Christi si videret If he sees the Mother of Christ
In tanto suplicio? Suffering so much?
Conversion and Holy Love make of him a poet.
In many people’s view, Jacopone began writing poetry only after his conversion; but seemingly even before that time, even when by stealth, he wrote verses. A poet does not make himself, he is born.
His Lauds written in Italian and his Hymns written in Latin tell us that so outstanding writer cannot become in only one day.
The “Stabat Matter”, attributed to other authors, now is recognized as his own work.
In the beginning of his conversion, Jacopone intends to live a more perfect life. Initially his ascetic path consists in hating a lot capital sins, and in constant struggle, fear and mortification against temptations, in order to persevere in his purposes. Seemingly he continues to be as before, but a complete change is occurring within.
From 40 to 50 years of age, he goes slowly, as if he feared the great renunciation, but he goes ahead and understands that Forum, comfortable living, friends, his home city of Todi, all of them are ties that impede his total dedication to God.
He reveals his wishes of becoming a friar, but his friends dissuade him time and again: a man in his fifties is not able any more to adapt himself to the austere life of cloisters; also he is in the position of doing much good remaining in secular life, writing poetry, carrying out his duties and being an exemplar of religious life.
He hesitates and does not know what to decide.
He fears that following that way he will waste his time in vain, and at the same time a life of so much sacrifice scares him.
In those days, in the center of Italy there were many comments about the conversion of Margarita of Cortona, who from court life has entered the Third Order of Saint Francis and lived among rigors of penitence, ecstasies and divine revelations. Everywhere people would run to Cortona in order to see this mystic at her humble cell.
Jacopone decides to go and consult her. Perchance did not people say Jesus had conversed with her from a cross, calling her “poor sinner of mine”, and from that day on he had honored her with titles of “Daughter and wife of mine”?
Better than her, who could tell to him an orienting word?
As always it is a woman who guides Jacopone’s steps.
He went to Cortona and from the ecstatic human’s lips he heard the confirmation of his religious vocation.
In 1278, Jacopone di Todi entered the Order of Minor Friars, but just as a lay, for spirit of humility.
Wearing Saint Francis’ coarse woolen cloth, always he recognizes himself as the old sinner and he treats himself as such, looking down on himself and desiring to be despised by all.
His ascetic path is dry and hard, without hope of rest and rewards on the Earth.
On this path he has to find only sorrow, penitence, scourges and renunciations; he will deserve only the sadness, chalice, gall and tears of the Passion.
Eia Mater, fons amoris Oh Mother, fountain of love
Me sentiri nimis doloris may I feel much your sorrows
Fac, ut tecum lugeam. make me cry with you.
When Jacopone gets a truce in his terrible struggles and trials, he consents only one rest, only one good: the bleeding love of the Cross, to be able to reproduce in his mind, heart and flesh the swords of the Lady of Sorrow, and the sores of Christ.
Sancta Matter, istud agas, Saint Mother, make
Crucifixi fige plagas the sores of the crucified one
Corde Meo valide. be fixed in my heart forever.
External and internal pleasures are over. He rejects the delight of any eventual quiet, because he wants to be concentrated on his ascetic sorrow until his death: “Donec ego vixero”.
For him his whole delight will be in Heaven, with his Divine Mother, after Death, if God Judge absolves him from his sins.
In the convent, he wishes to live as a simple lay by carrying out the humblest tasks.
This is not enough for him.
He wants to be vilified, despised and taken for a lunatic.
He wants to stay with the few, with the most humble and with the strictest.
His ascetic path is desolation, and he joins to the "Spirituals". These "Spirituals" were certain Franciscans who wished to live the rules and primitive costumes of the Order: To live a rigorous life and to possess absolutely nothing. It was led by the venerable Pedro de Juan de Oliva, and Jacopone di Todi joined to them. But we wished to live a most austere and detached life, so he joined the Franciscans, called Coelestini Franciscans, named like that because, by forming an independent group of the Conventual Order, were approved by the Pope Coelestinus V in 1294.
But this group was dissolved by Boniface VIII when the latter became Pope.
Some of them came back to the Franciscans with the Blessed Conrado di Offida; but others rebelled openly against it, Friar Jacopone among them.
Jacopone’s path is already defined; this rebel must live wandering, being always persecuted, always relentlessly harried, always escaping; with no hope of rest.
He was not an enemy of Boniface VIII as Pope but as alleged usurper of Papacy; seemingly more for spirit of companionship with those men belonging to his Order of Eremites that was abolished because they believed the Pope’s election had been truly invalidated.
Obviously even he did not expect much of Coelestinus V as the Pope, since one of his poems said:
Che farni, Pier da Marrone What will you do, Pier da Marrone
Sei Venuto al paragone? Now that you have been tested?
And in 1297, he participates in the meeting of Lunghezza with the Colonnas and their followers, Deodato Ricci and Benedicte di Perussa, by signing the manifesto in opposition to Boniface VIII.
In 1298, the Papal militia occupies Palestine, Colonnas’ stronghold, where the opponents are, and Jacopone is taken prisoner.
He stays in prison for five long years and is liberated on Christmas of 1303, by Benedict XI.
Three years are left, for he will end his days on Christmas of 1306.
He died at the Convent of the Clarissas of Calazzone.
Again the good sisters assisted him at his last hour, being his only shelter in this poor world.
His biographers say his heart burst because of his intense desire of Heaven. This path could not end but with a fire, a fire of love, which would open him the doors of Heaven, of the Divine Union.
Teaching 10: Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola is one of the most controversial figures in the literary and philosophical world. Even lights of the emerging and glorious Renaissance were unable to dissipate the medieval darkness of fraud and superstitions around the figure of this man, since he was truly one of the main connections between the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
About his birth, perhaps because of it, everything was of gloomy and old. De la Mirandola’s castle was this way, with its pointed towers, high and bare ramparts, its creaking drawbridges, placed among the dark mountains of Central Tuscany.
Born of an old family, of Noble lineage, predestined to wars and weapons, this was the environment of the child. But a miracle occurs. This boy with blond and long hair, huge blue eyes, and oval and feminine face, stands out against all. Those tough warriors, habituated to blasphemy and shout, do not dare to open their mouths before him.
His sweetness prevails, his modesty attracts and his physical beauty shines like a flame bearing an inner life. He gets bored with all old things; wars, habits, way of living. He loves only one old thing: books; and as if from a pure spring, and from the lips of the boy, the most beautiful poems pour out spontaneously.
Nobody can overcome him; his sweetness overcomes all. His father is already resigned not to make of him a man of arms, or a priest, but to leave him free to follow his own daydreams.
And Pico is just 10 years old; but already he is a new expression, a living image of Renaissance, to which he will contribute so much.
At the age of 14, he is already in Bologna discussing subjects of canonical right with the oldest doctors, defeating scholastics and pondering Greek philosophy.
But still there is more. At the same age is a laureate boy.
But, who can appease his ardent of knowledge? The world is small for him; the time is short.
Year by year, as a pilgrim of knowledge, he runs through all universities, knows all centers of studies and attends to lectures of all famous sages in those days. This pilgrimage lasts seven years.
We are told that at the age of 18 he knew 22 languages, and was aware of the official sciences of those days.
When may settle this Renaissance man, but in Florence, cradle of the new era, hatchery of men of science, arts and letters?
Lorenzo the Magnificent, Duke of Florence, acquires a deep affection for this wise adolescent; he cannot dispense of him. He does not write poetry, or publishes them without his approval. In spite of the stigmas rumored about intimacies of these two friends, this was one of the most beautiful and lasting friendships that only death could separate; and for very short time.
Then the young Pico published his ninety propositions named “De Omni Re Scibili”, which were condemned by the Pope. By them he intended to stimulate the study of all universal and human questions; but he failed because of ecclesiastical intransigence.
The most wonderful work of Pico della Mirandola was his cooperation with Marsilius Phicinus, the great Platonistic philosopher, for a revival of the study and love for Greek philosophers and for the foundation of the famous Florentine Academy.
Since he was deeply religious and wished to be instructed about the esoteric part of Christianism, he contacted venerable priests and influenced Lorenzo de Medici’ mind to send for Girolamo Savonarola from Florence.
Girolamo and Pico were two completely different characters. The severe, hard and apocalyptic aspect of the friar contrasted with the beauty, seigniory and refinement of the poet. For sure, it should exist in these two souls only one spiritual aspiration when so close intimacy united them.
In those days, in Florence, also there were some Initiates of Fire, lovers of astrology, metaphysics and kabalah. Pico was not a person limited to only one concept. He knew these persons and studied strenuously occult sciences; if he had lived some few years more, for sure he would cooperate with them in the foundation of the Secret Order of Fratres Lucis, established in 1498.
His mission had already finished; Greek philosophy was in its apogee, being steadily established. For centuries and centuries, men would not help but to admire it and to study it. Now Pico could retire to higher worlds.
Lorenzo the Magnificent died in 1492 and other great friend, the poet Angelo Policiano, on September 29, 1494.
On November 17, the same year, at the age of just 31, while Charles VIII was in the city of Florence with a powerful army, this Great Initiate would abandon the terrestrial plane.
Some few months earlier, a Savonarolian seer, Camilla Rucellai, had predicted him the hour of his death and he, scared, had tried to take the Dominican habit; but delayed the project from one day to another, and he was unable to achieve it.
However, in his last hour, like Policiano, asked his friend Savonarola to be buried wearing the white and black suit of the Order of Preachers; Savonarola promised and honored his word.
If one cannot know exactly whether Pico della Mirandola knew the great mission on Earth, which the Initiates of Fire entrusted to him, certainly he recognized this mission at once in the last hour, since from the convent, where she was praying, Camilla Rusellai saw the soul of Pico della Mirandola raising to Heaven in a halo of fire.
Teaching 11: Tritemius the Humanist
Tritemius appears at Renaissance’s dawn and fosters its scientific aspect by becoming the father of outstanding humanists.
He was born on February 1, 1462 and died on December 13, 1518. His true name was Heidenberg, though he was known as Tritemius (John), or Trittenheim (Germany) after the place of his birth.
Despite his noble condition, his education was very careless, and at the age of 15 still he did not know how to read or to write. Orphan at the age of 2, his stepfather hindered is education and he had to go at night hours to the house of a neighbor, and by stealth, to acquire the first rudiments of knowledge. So he learnt how to read, write, decline and conjugate Latin words. In this way, so as he satisfied his own inclinations, also obeyed his stepfather’s impositions.
This did not satisfy all his ardent wishes to know, therefore he decided to leave his mother’s house, going to Treveris and other cities, and finally to Heidelberg, where he completed his studies and got all knowledge a man could have in those days.
Later he thought to come back to his mother’s house, but on January 25, 1482, in arriving at the Benedictine abbey of Spanheim, a heavy snow storm impeded him to continue his journey, a providential accident of which he took advantage to know and study the life of those monks, and week later, now fond of that kind of life, he decided to stay and took of habit on November 21 of the same year.
Nor for long he could follow the regularity of a simple monk, because soon afterwards he was chosen abbot despite his youth, and a short while after he entered the Order.
Tritemius found the monastery in a deplorable condition, as much in the temporal aspect as in the spiritual one, and his venturesome spirit tried first to restore the material aspect of the abbey; then he faced the most difficult task, but the most meritorious: the inner and moral reformation of his monks, beginning by the observance of the rule according to Bursfeld’s reformation, and then determining the work by the revival of sacred and profane studies.
In his lectures he would ceaselessly exhort his monks to read and write copying books and illuminating titles and capital letters; and thanks to it, he could gather a rich collection of books in his library, which in 1502 were 640 volumes and some years later more than 2,000 of any king and language, when there were some few volumes when he was appointed abbot.
The flourishing state achieved with this by the abbey increased the fame of Tritemius, and from everywhere people went to Spanheim to meet him; princes, bishops, sages, all were interested in consulting him and in taking advantage of his vast and deep knowledge in sciences and arts of any kind.
This fame of virtue and wisdom was not unanimously shared by all. The envy of some of his monks, not well reconciled with the regular observance, would cause him many disappointments and sorrows (even he was unjustly called “wizard”).
In 1505, when he was in Heildelberg, in the court of Philip, Count of the Rhine Palatinate, he knew that his monks, rebelled against him, had removed him from his position of abbot. In order to ascertain properly the events, he retired to Cologne and then to Speyer, but some news he received were not satisfactory; his monks were steady in their resolution.
In view of this, Tritemius decided not to come back to the abbey where he had lived for more than twenty years, being sorry for having been deprived of the house where he professed, and of his rich library, gathered thanks to his painstaking labors, retiring to the abbey of Wurzburg entrusted to him. There he lived the last years of his life devoted to his favorite studies and not paying attention to promises of honorific posts that many people would offer him.
Tritemius has been object of many researches and even today arouses the curiosity of many learned persons. In addition to his ascetic work –an Imperishable Monument is the vigorous Bursfeld’s reformation– other compilations, because of their numerous mistakes and contradictions and the superficial character of the composition have almost lost their whole scientific value, except for the second half of the fifteen century. But there was some writer as G. Mentz that tried to defend him against historic accusations; for instance, to have invented the sources used for his “History of the Franks” (Mayence, 1515) and “Annals of the Abbey of Hirsangia”, which are, respectively, Hunibald and Meginfrid, whose writings were already entirely unknown in the sixteen century. But it is impossible to be convinced of the entire veracity of Tritemius in front of difficulties arisen from his literary procedures, especially in some of his flagrant contradictions.
Works on literary history are safer.
In short: Tritemius was a very prolific writer, since the number of his writings attests it, among which some were accused of necromancy. Despite a subsequent criticism of which he was object, in his time his work carried out the extraordinary mission of arousing the interest for science; so he became a true forerunner of the scientific revival.
Teaching 12: Paracelsus
Paracelsus was born in Einsiedeln, Switzerland; his father was a prestigious physician; he guided his first steps in science by taking him later to Carintia, where practically he learnt in mines and forges the properties of metals that were so useful for him as the foundation of a methodical study of therapeutic elements. This first objective education must have impressed him when later, being already a mature man, he taught, “progress can only be founded on experience and on conjectures extracted from it”.
Later he passed to the North of Italy to study medicine. Seemingly in this decision he was also influenced by his father that was aware of the Renaissance drive given to sciences, which began in the peninsula as a result of the coming of sages from Bizantium, motivated by the fall of Constantinople in the hands of Mohammed II.
Paracelsus also traveled through all the German land for 10 years and after two years of rest in Karuten, he passed to Salzburg.
In his multiple trips, Paracelsus had acquired fame as magician and scandalous man.
These exaggerations are explainable, as well as distorted or intentioned interpretations, considering the cultural level of that time, which expressed so intolerant concepts. More shocking for them should be his independent character, haughty, venturesome against spiritual and temporal authorities, in whose portrait, painted by Holbein, one can foretell his authoritarian profile, his somewhat protuberant and aquiline nose, his a little fine mouth, his eyes looking at the distance as a man that knows what he does and what he says.
He dictated his writings to his disciples, with a style that is a mixture of theories with clear conjectures and genial intuitions.
His publications are: “Chirurgia Magna” (1536), a Manual where he recommends the use of mercury for syphilis; “De Gradibus”, Frankfurt (1568); and “Ovni der Bergsucht” (1567). In his Opera Omnia there is a noticeable Teaching on “Degeneratione stultorum”.
In them and in his polemics, different parts of the physical system appear delimited as spiritual and material. Life derives from God that created the vital principle or Archaeus, contained in an invisible vehicle or mumia, which is easily identified with the double of the Egyptians, and that therefore reveals us the spiritualistic source of these teachings.
The material comes from the primordial mud or Iliaster, which by undergoing transformations substantially remains formed by three elements figured by these symbolic words: sulphur, mercury and salt, meaning matters that react differently in contact with fire. He has the idea of what he called signatures, that is, that diseases manifested by certain symptoms could be cured by vegetables that contained some manifestations interpreted as similar. So, jaundice had to be cured with juice of cabbage.
This idea is the germ of “similia similibus curantur”, on which Hannemann constructed the Homeopathy four centuries later.
Through Astrology he deduced a treatment to remove from the body the mumia, with magnetic procedures, and to insert it in a suitable plant to get the influence from the Stars (Astra). Thence the name of Astral Body. His admiration for Hippocrates oriented him toward a parallel as to a strictly scientific observation, without prejudices that obscured any progress in experiences and their consequences. Doubtless he was also inspired by the Hippocratic thought: “love for the sick is source of love for the healing art”. So he said to alchemists: “you should not look for gold that is vain straw, but medicines that cure diseases”,
The founder of Chemistry reveals himself with this thought. In this activity he excels in such a way that his genius is visible, already foretold when he contradicted consecrated masters, in his famous fire of Bassel.
He studied the pharmacological properties of opium, laudanum, lead, sulphur, iron, arsenic, sulphate of copper and sulphate of potassium (specificum purgans Paracelsi). He observes the benefits of hot springs, already advised by ancient Germans, and analyzes those waters and recommends them. He distinguishes alum from ferrous sulphate and finds the iron contained in the water through tartaric acid.
He popularized tinctures and alcoholic extracts.
He studied renal stones and gallstones by classifying them as tartaric diseases, like the matter formed in wine casks.
Moreover, as a genius, he intuits the catalyst power of some chemical bodies by pointing out their influence not only by quantity but also by quintessence.
As a clinician, he observes as a past master the cretinism and its connections with endemic goiter in Tyrol, by studying them during numerous trips in his nomadic but fruitful life.
As a surgeon, he was skillful.
In short, Theophrastus Paracelsus was a very complete man. There are many outstanding facets in his way of being.
His eternal search that he continued tirelessly investigating himself within, his fellow men and abroad, and with innumerable visits throughout Europe, is something genial.
Persistently he sowed that part of the truth that he was able to know and showed generosity and prophetic vision. But in those days, this behavior would take for granted a courage that at least attracted sympathy, and apparently this was the opinion of those with whom he socialized and whom he served by generating this way a legendary fame after his death.
His way was a quick and tenacious fight against dogma that he needed to throw down as the first step of the mission that he had entrusted to the new medicine, and the illumination of his legion of followers with admirable sparks tracing instructions on the eternal road of knowledge.
As a forerunner, as a builder, despite unavoidable exaggerations in those ferments destined to the development of Humanity, he has a place well conquered in the history of its benefactors.
In 1541, he died in Salzburg.
Teaching 13: Mystics of Port Royal
It is impossible to speak of the life of Pascal not describing previously Port Royal, which was so closely linked with the soul and mission of this Great Initiate.
In 1602, when the new abbess Angelique Arnaud, at the age of 11, entered the ancient monastery of Citeaux, nobody suspected that a new era started for the church of France, and for the spiritual development of Christendom.
Port Royal was one of so many monasteries of France, where nuns, distinguished young ladies, would spend their time amid elegant conversations, worldly vanities and parties.
To be abbess of a monastery like that was equivalent to represent a wealthy, distinguished family that had achieved this dignity for its daughter in order to grant to her with honors, wealth and lineage.
But the little Angelique did not feel happy among so many delicacies. An unknown sadness would consume her sweet face. In vain the thirteen sisters of the community tried to entertain her. She would feel alone and void.
At the age of 15, the preaching of a Franciscan about the Passion of Christ awakens in her an irresistible desire of perfection and reformation of life. Gradually she can make the other nuns feel this irresistible power of her personality, which she will exercise later throughout her life over beings. So she was able to reform gradually the monastery.
In those days it was an admirable thing this exemplary life in a convent of nuns. Even the father of the young lady and all her family were involved in the mysticism of the adolescent abbess who, incorruptibly, imposed seclusion, silence, and poor life and recollection in her convent.
Gradually, Port Royal is being transformed into the beacon of the Church of France. All eyes look at there as at a port of peace and salvation.
But suddenly, in 1619, the fame of mother Angelique soars to the clouds. In Maubissen, the abbess Angelique D’Estrées, by her dissolute life, scandalizes her convent and her friends, until the angry clergy removes her from there and secludes her among penitent women of Paris. Mother Angelique is appointed then to lead and reform this new community. There they receive her coldly and, when they offer her the luxurious room of the abbess, she refuses and occupies the humblest room that is near the sewers. Little by little she attracts the nuns, imposes the rules and reforms the monastery.
But one night, D’Estrées, who has escaped from the penitent women, accompanied by an army of knights who are her friends, appears at the door of the convent, claiming for her rights. The young Angelique is not afraid and refuses to abandon her post; but when the cloister is stormed and she is fiercely beaten, she leaves with dignity the abbey, accompanied by thirty nuns.
Arnauld, his father, followed by archers of the king, runs to the convent. D’Estrées escapes with her companions and the same night mother Angelique can return to Maubissen with her nuns.
From all Cystercian convents she is called to impose the rules and exemplary life; but always is Port Royal where she hankers to return and where finds peace, calm and true fraternity.
A soul like that, in the hands of a sweet director, would have devotes her life to passive contemplation. Seemingly this is her orientation when she knows San Francis of Sales, and puts herself under his guide.
But also a soul like that, in other hands, may become a great fighter. And this founder and master of Jansenism becomes this when after the death of Saint Francis of Sales, she meets and puts herself under the guide of Saint Cyran.
This venerable priest had been close friend of Jansenius (Jansen), Bishop of Ypres, who had written the comment about the doctrine of Saint Augustine (The “Augustinus”, in a visible contradiction with the Thomistic doctrine.
On the point of dying, this Bishop did not imagine he had leave with his book a weapon that would kindle a terrible fire within the Catholic Church. By promulgating the supremacy of grace he would contradict the free will; thence the hard fight waged later by the Jansenists, sons of the austerity and divinity in its abstract concept, against Jesuits, pioneers of the strong and unbreakable will and free will.
In few words and esoteric meaning: Jansenists achieve all by intuition and law of predestination; while Jesuits achieve all by rational analysis and law of possibilities.
Neither ones nor others are exactly in the middle or in the reason; because the two laws become indispensable and correspond in the universe.
Of course, periodically, in great religious and ethical movements prevails one trend or another, so as it had occurred in Christendom with the coming of Luther, and his faith in predestination.
Despite their counter-reformation, Catholics could not help but to see the beneficial results, which acquired fantastic proportions, of those whom contemptuously they called Protestants. The envious Romans could not but to admire the severity of worship, moral Puritanism, blind obedience to the law of God and asceticism that by firmly jumping over reason is established only in faith. With passion and earnestness, they took out from files ancient texts of Saint Augustine, founder of the early Church, which had been abandoned after the Aristotelian and Scholastic rules.
Jansenism was a little of all this; a return to the blind faith, to the concept of predestination, to severe costumes of Christian principles, exclusively based on Saint Augustine’s doctrine, as if they wished to impose, within the Roman creed, a similar reaction to that of Lutherans, but with completely opposite and orthodox ends.
In these years, in the drama of the world, Blaise Pascal appears. He is born in Clermont, in 1623; his family, of severe Catholics, educates him in the strictest religious sense. But his natural and inner impulse shows, since the first years of this Initiate, how he was destined to discover great physical mysteries.
At the age of 9, he makes an algebraic calculation that amazes his father and grants him full freedom to start his favorite studies. From that time on, he begins this eager search that makes Pascal be able to demonstrate scientifically Galileo’s and Torricelli’s theories.
Successively he will demonstrate, by the experiment called of the bladder, the existence of the vacuum; he will give the formula to demonstrate the weight of the air and the balance of liquids, which is the fundamental basis of hydrostatics.
Just in 1643 he enters the Jansenistic current, after hearing father Singlin’s sermon, who is a disciple of Saint Cyran.
Seemingly it is a contradiction that so positivistic man in his discoveries, embraces this abstract Christendom. But this spirituality is very clear and consistent. The dogmatic reason of Jesuits cannot fill or share the practical rationality of this man who, if he reasons about positive things, needs wide fields of freedom beyond reason, to fly through spiritual spaces.
Her sister Gilberte, the elder, and his sweet and beloved younger sister Giacomette, also are attracted by this religious novelty so in vogue and so discussed in saloons and classrooms of Paris. But there is more; Giacomette can be introduced to mother Angelique, and intensely wishes to become a nun. This idea frightens to Pascal, who is terrible contrary to it, and momentarily he separates her from her new spiritual friends. But Giacomette overcomes these obstacles and, when her father dies, the takes the veil in Port Royal and becomes sister Saint Euphemie.
Here begins the time of Pascal’s worldly life. He is the famous man admired by all; his ethereal aspect, his languid face and his distinguished demeanor attract sympathy and love from women. The Duke of Roanne’ friendship opens to him the doors of all the Parisian aristocracy and seemingly because of his studies, university lectures and friends, he has entirely forgotten the spiritual orientation; but a sudden sadness and discontent assail him. A strange disease that affects him now and then, and leaves him pained and as if paralyzed, often recurs.
On November 23, 1654, at night, in his room, at the Duke of Roanes’ home, where he stayed, a sudden light invades his mind. He falls as if he were in ecstasy. Wonderful beings appear before him. He can never explain what he feels and knows; but from that moment on, which he called the moment of his conversion, his life will never lose its true orientation.
At the threshold of the new life, the soul of his religious sister waits for him, and he advises him to share his abode with eremites of the fields –Jansenists– exiled near Port Royal. Among these people his soul seeks refuge by entrusting his spiritual guide to Da Saci.
But times persecution begin for the Jansenists. Relentlessly harried by the Jesuits, finally the Pope condemns them in 1661. Then the general dispersion occurs.
Angelique’s mother had died by those days, being content, as she said, for she would escape from that world of iniquities. Three months later, overwhelmed by sorrow, also the sweet Sister Saint Euphemie dies. With the rest of Jansenists, Pascal has to escape from one house to another, being persecuted everywhere.
The spiritual work fails; he neither wishes to live nor wants to give up to his creed. His disease assails and torments him more and more until August 17, 1662, at his sister Gilberte’s house, when he breaks the physical ties and achieves his desired freedom.
To him this moment had to be beautiful: then he saw that his work had not failed, since he had established two truths on Earth, and these truths would conquer the world: the prevalence of reason over intuition, of faith over reason, and the need of a practical demonstration of every theoretical discovery.
Teaching 14: Visions of Emmanuel Swedenborg
Emmanuel Swedenborg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on January 29, 1688, and died in London on March 29, 1772.
Son of a Lutheran Bishop, he completed his studies in Upsala, and in 1709 he moved to England where he devoted himself entirely to scientific researches, revealing a marked predilection for Newton and his theories.
Seemingly his whole life indicates that from his early childhood he was divinely inspired, guided for the mission he carried out in the world, and even physically he came prepared since his birth, because his respiratory system, in moments of ecstasy, almost completely would stop externally to continue to breathe internally and in silence, with full use of his mental and physical faculties.
In “Arcana Coelestia”, Swedenborg says early men had an inner breath, and their outer breath was hardly perceptible; for this reason they did not speak with words like his descendants and as at present we speak, but they would speak as the angels do, with thought ideas, expressed through innumerable and combined facial modifications, especially with their lips in which there are innumerable combinations of muscular fibers, which in a man of our days are not developed.
At the age of 4, his predilection was to speak with his parents about religion, and at the age of 7, his delight was to converse with ministers of the Church, holding that the soul of faith is charity, and that nobody has faith if he does not realize his own life upon the basis of divine precepts of the Decalogue, which a man is given by God for his guide on the path of regeneration.
He was carefully educated, revealing predilection for sciences and traveling through England, Holland, France and German devoted to experiments in the field of physics.
Until the age of 56, his production was mainly scientific and, according to certain biographers, he was 100 years ahead in relation to his time.
So he projected a warship to navigate with its crew under the waters and fit to inflict serious damages to a hostile fleet; an air rifle to shoot 60 to 70 times not reloading it; and also a mechanic flying device.
But in his scientific researches his desire of enquiring and solving spiritual problems always would prevail; all his efforts aimed at the same sublime end: to demonstrate the existence of God and discover the true relationship between soul and body, between spirit and matter.
Scientifically he failed in his pursuit until the second day of Easter of 1774 when the spiritual perception took place in him, according to the relation in his diary of notes, which he would record in detail for his private use, but that was published one century later.
Swedenborg says: “Since the Lord cannot manifest personally, having announced however that he will come and will establish a new Church, which is the New Jerusalem, it follows that he will do it through a man that can receive through his understanding not only the doctrine of this Church but also to publish it through print. That the Lord has manifested in me, his servant, sending me with this mission, and that later he opened the sight of my spirit, introducing me in the spiritual word and letting me see heavens and hells, and converse with angels and spirits continuously for many years, truly I attest it, so as from the first day of my call I did not receive anything belonging to the doctrine of this Church from any angel, but from the Lord alone, while I read the Word”.
This continuous vision let him be instructed through angels and spirits about everything that is necessary to know in order to re-establish the lost truths of the Church, and to observe the universal relationship that through creation exists between spiritual and natural, which relationship he called: Law of Correspondences, whose bases are that in the existence of the creation there are two domains: spiritual and physical.
The spiritual domain is real, and the physical domain is just its symbol and reflection. Between one and the other, everywhere, there is a perfect correspondence, and the real and true sense of Nature and natural life cannot be conceived until this law is recognized, and its use becomes familiar.
The knowledge of this law, applied to his deep knowledge of the physical world and especially of the human body, lets him interpret the Holy Scriptures because the latter are written by means of pure correspondences; so he finds the exact spiritual sense revealed, in which its true reach, virtue and sanctity is, and through which the Lord verifies his second coming to the world.
The King appoints officially Emannuel Swedenborg in the Royal Negotiate of Mines; and he will quit in 1747 in order to devote himself to the theological work. But he continued in contact with the world through his post in the Parliament and excelling in the study of problems that affected the proper development of his fatherland, being mentioned a memory about financial subjects as the most documented and better written on the matter, and also his project about National Defense.
As a scientist, it is enough to say his famous work “Opera Philosophica and Mineralia”, offers a detailed theory about the origin of the visible Universe, and poses his hypothesis about nebulae, a theory that later was attributed to Kant and Laplace.
A noticeable experience has remained in regard to his clairvoyance. On occasion of going to Stockholm, he had to stop in Gothenburg, a city sited 250 kilometers from the Capital and, during a lunch with the main personalities this location, he asked license to retire, and soon afterwards he came back deeply affected and said a great fire has occurred in Stockholm, and that the fire had reached a house sited three gates before his own house.
A short time later, he retired again and when he returned to his friends, he could calm and tell them that the propagation of the fire had been stopped before it reached his own house. Just three days later this news was officially known in Gothenburg, and the details coincided with those given by Swedenborg.
Investigations made some years later by Kant, the famous philosopher, enable him to prove detail by detail the accurateness of this vision by ascertaining it with qualified witnesses that still would live and were irrefutable by their position and culture.
He did not care much about these proofs as much of his clairvoyance in the physical plane as his perceptions in the spiritual world, for he said their object was to clarify him the spiritual sense of the Word (Logos). In regard to these perceptions in the worlds spiritual and celestial, he emphasized that there was no similarity with ecstasies and visions of Prophets and Apostles, to such extent that his mission “was limited to deduce the spiritual sense of the texts that appeared before him, being unable to put a page of doctrine on his part”.
Even he did not find any similarity with visions of saints and added that there are two extraordinary kinds of visions “and I have been taken with the physical body and only twice this experience occurred. The second experience is that of being taken by the spirit to other place. This was demonstrated to me only two or three times.
His perceptions, which lasted 27 years, enabled him to remain at the same time in the spiritual world and in the natural world, to speak with angels as he did with men, to know the state of the most eminent souls among the dead of all times, and to visit the inhabitants of Mercury, Saturn et cetera.
Swedenborg adds, “Such perception gift cannot be transmitted from one person to another, if the Lord by himself does not open the door of the spirit of this person”.
“Sometimes it is granted to a spirit to enter a man and communicate him certain truth, but to speak directly with the spirit is not granted to this man”.
When his perceptions took place, he was in clear and pure possession of his reason, and as much in watchful state as in sleep state, in reveries, or in vigil state or dream state.
Some few months before his death, in a letter addressed to the Head of English Methodists, John Wesley, he foretold with total accurateness his own death, which occurred on March 29, 1772, in London, at the age of 84.
In 1908, the government of Sweden moved his mortal remains to his home city, being deposited in the Cathedral of Upsala, by the tomb of Linnaeus, the naturalist.
Teaching 15: Saint Martin
Called “The Unknown Philosopher”, the pseudonym he adopted for his writings, he was born in Amboise (France), on January 18, 1743, in a family of the Nobility. He was educated by his father according to serious costumes of those days, and by his stepmother, since his mother had died in giving birth to him; the former did it with such tenderness that this impression would be decisive in the future for his affections.
They would cause him to love God and men with great purity, and his memory of them would be always very pleasant for this philosopher at every phase of his life.
In every stage of his life there will be a saintly loved human.
His heart, being prepared like that for love, from the first readings at an age when intelligence would loom, got an impression and trends that were still more decisive, inner and mystical. Abbadie’s book, “Art of self-knowledge”, initiated him in this body of studies of himself and meditations about the divine type of all perfection, which would be the Great Work of all his life.
Physically prepared for great spiritual flights, his physical system was very delicate, but doubtless predisposed to the life of the spirit. In regard to this, he says in his “My historical and philosophical portrait”: “I changed skin seven times in my childhood, and I do not know if because this accident I have so little of astral”.
There is not much information about his first school years, but to please his father and the protector of his family, the Duke of Choiseul, he follows the career of right, “but he would dedicate himself rather to the natural bases of justice than to the rules of jurisprudence, whose study he would repudiate, according to his biographer M. Gence.
This can be explained because at the age of 18 he already would know the philosophers in vogue: Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau, and when he got used to learn laws and costumes with those masters, it is natural to suppose that Saint Martin would coldly hear the word of simple professors of jurisprudence. As to the repugnance he felt for codes and consuetudinary traditions applied to justice, also this can be explained because of his eminently spiritualistic character.
Despite this he continues his studies and graduates as a lawyer, and always to please his father he enters the Magistracy, a career that he abandons six months later despite his good perspectives, since with the protection of the Duke of Choiseul it would be easy for him to succeed an uncle that in those days occupied a post as Counsellor of State.
He starts his career as a soldier despite he hated war, not to gain a position or to distinguish himself conspicuously, but to follow his favorite studies, religion and philosophy, by escaping this way from materialist doctrines of his time, which would alarm his tender and pious soul.
Thanks to the protection of the Duke of Choiseul, enters the regiment of Foix as a second lieutenant, in the garrison of Bordeaux, though he had not any military instruction.
In this city he found the food that his soul was demanding: knowledge.
In fact he finds there one of those extraordinary men, Great Hierophant of secret Initiations: Martines de Pasqualis, a Portuguese of Israelite origin, who would initiate adepts since 1754 in several cities of France, over all in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon.
Seemingly none of his pupils achieved the total knowledge of his secrets, since the same Saint Martin, who had to be one of his most eminent disciples, declared that the Master did not find them sufficiently advanced to acquaint them with the highest knowledge.
At this School, Martines de Pasqualis offered a body of teachings and symbols that along with certain theurgical operations, works and prayers, formed a worship of a kind that enabled to contact higher Entities.
In regard to this, 25 years later Saint Martin would say that the Divine Wisdom only uses Agents and Virtues to make know the Word within us; he would understand by these terms intermediary powers between God and man, for which a great purity of body and imagination would be necessary.
These intermediaries would be necessary until the time when a man completes the evolutionary cycle, and at the end of the latter he is equal to God and united with Him.
Saint Martin continues his esoteric studies in Bordeaux since 1766, and very soon his wishes of speaking to the masses and of acting with vigor with them wake up in him.
Following the duties of his profession, he leaves Bordeaux in 1768 and stays at the garrison of Lorient and Longway, and this year also his Master moves to Lyon and Paris, where he founds new lodges.
Possibly this separation makes Saint Martin quit his career as a soldier in 1771; in his case this is a serious decision, implied to be self-sufficient, and he had not resources and would run the risk of displeasing his father, but fortunately this did not happen.
His vocation is already perfectly established. He will be a Director of souls. The injunction comes from above, and his life will be entirely devoted to it and to his own perfection.
He moves to Paris, where very soon contacts the pupils of Martines de Pasqualis: the Count D’Gauterive, the Marchionesse de la Croix Cazette and the Abbe Fournié.
His friendship with the two first will last for life as a result of their very similar aspirations, and especially with the Count D’Hauterive, whom he meets since 1774 in Lyon, city to which Saint Martin moves and where Martines de Pasqualis has founded the Lodge of Beneficence. In it he followed a course of studies and along with D’Hauterive they devoted themselves for three years to trying to contact Higher Beings and achieving the physical knowledge of the “Active and Intelligent Cause”, a name with which this theurgical School knew the Logos, the Word or the Son of God.
In that time, that is, when he was approximately at the age of 30, Saint Martin already was gladly accepted in the great world. He is described as endowed of an expressive figure, noble gesture, and full of distinction and reserve. His demeanor would announce a wish as much to please and as to give something. Very soon he was quite known and everywhere people looked for him with great interest.
He had to act in a society too much mixed, little serious and worldly, where the part to play was considerable since the beginning.
Being born in the world and loving it, always joyful and spiritual when he should be, and usually a serious and humble theosophist with the aspect of an inspired man, he enjoyed any deference that the female society grants to such attitude.
His doctrine totally opposite to the superficial philosophy of those days was precisely called to impress those spirits ready to listen to the great truth.
And while he was fulfilling his mission as a director of souls in such variegated society, the old studies would fructify in long meditations that would culminate in 1775 with the publication of his work “About errors and the Truth”, published in Lyon, under the pseudonym of “The Unknown Philosopher”.
This book, a refutation of materialistic theories in vogue in those days, reveals the the great power manifested in the Universe and guiding it –its active cause– is the Divine Word, the ºLogos or Word. It is through the Word, through the Son of God, how the material world and the spiritual world were created. The Word is the unity of all moral or physical powers. It is through him, or perhaps emanated from him, that we have everything that exists.
The latter, the theory of emanation arose the wrath of his adversaries, but his friends, seeing in him a bold and powerful spiritual champion whom century wanted or seemingly considered definitely lost, gathered around him with great deference. Seemingly this debut would reveal a deep writer, and though in those days Martines de Pasqualis stayed among them, he did not publish anything and, on the contrary, he passed entirely unnoticed. Possibly this brought the confusion of attributing to Saint Martin the foundation of the School of Martinists in Germany and other countries of the North, which seemingly was not like that, for it was a conglomerate of lodges and sanctuaries that adopted rather Martines de Pasqualis’ theories than that of his disciple.
Saint Martin failed, seemingly as a founder, and in fact the Martinists’ school had to be named Martinesists’ to differentiate it from Saint Martin’s disciples.
His true mission was not an external work, but the above mentioned mission as director of souls, to such extent that from his writings and intimate correspondence is clearly deduced that, besides the labor of his own perfection, his work was that of a missionary of the Great Work entrusted to him. And he was fervently devoted, –full of strong convictions, enjoying wisely a well governed youth, driven by success and very well accepted though he did not achieve his object, that is, the direction of the soul, being very active his propaganda in the great world.
He would contact numberless people in many locations of France, and in all of them there were groups that would make psychical and mediumistic experiments. This was not Saint Martin’s specialty and though he recognized the reality of certain results, he preferred to act a teacher, which would give him many satisfactions and in certain cases admirable results.
He would look for his disciples among the most outstanding personalities of his time, or men of sciences such as the astronomer Lalande that did not understand him, or the Cardinal Richelieu whom he met several times, but that finally he had to abandon because of his age and deafness.
Also he left aside the Duke of Orleans, who would become famous years later as a result of the revolution despite already in that time the Duke was the highest exponent of new ideas that would change the face of France.
He would not attach to men; he was only in pursuit of those souls that needed his guide.
In 1778, at the age of 35, he moves to Toulouse, where his heart seemingly wants to betray him twice and thinks of getting married. But later, he would consider both experiences as true trials, concluding that there was nothing on Earth that could attach him and remove him from his mission.
He stayed few months in that locality and returned to Paris, a city that he called his purgatory.
Teaching 16: The Unknown Philosopher
Saint Martin is the connection between mystical lodges of the French pre-Revolution and social lodges of the liberal time.
By the end of the eighteen century, France was full of Masonic lodges founded by Cagliostro and, near Paris, in Versailles, Martines de Pasqualis had founded those lodges that later would be named lodges of the Philaletes and Great Prophets. Even Saint Martin, who later would feel detached from Masonry, was unable to contact the latter, since seemingly they devoted themselves to alchemical experiments, and this was against his spirit that was fond of pure mysticism.
Also on those days he leaves his Master on the way to Santo Domingo where the Master would die, and where Saint Martin, if not recognized as his successor, is at least main initiator of the School’s doctrine in the new era that makes the difference. In fact, Saint Martin leaves aside every ceremonial and theurgical experience and looks for higher results through retirement, meditation and prayer to reach the Union with God.
He devotes his whole existence to this apostolate and with this purpose he looks for souls in the great world, great writers and men of science, with the conviction that his direct word will gain souls more easily that any other method, since he is helped by God.
He does not think like that for vanity; on the contrary, he is humble and shy, and understands and knows that he needs a drive to do their best. This was the great merit of the Marchioness of Chabanais, an outstanding woman, whom he was always very grateful for having the rare privilege of helping his spirit and giving it the drive to raising it toward greater heights.
Also at this time he takes the spiritual guide of the Duchess of Borbon, sister of the Duke of Orleans and mother of the Duke of Enghien, of whom he was his friend, protégé and usual guest during his stays in Paris.
His relationships include the most famous names of the time. He spends 15 days at the castle of the Duke of Bouillon, where he has an occasion to meet Madame Dubarry that still was treated as a favorite princess despite the fact that her past reign was over. Seemingly the Duke of Bouillon was a disciple ready to Saint Martin’s teachings, and this becomes noticeable since he was one of the few friends gladly received by the king Louis XVI.
Matter says: “Perhaps this is the better time in his life. It is wonderful to see a gentleman of little nobility and mediocre wealth, a simple officer, doubtless very studious, but a writer still little known, to play so significant role before so numerous best families of the country, being only driven by his great aspirations and immature piety!”
“Generally they listen to him with attention, but not giving any assistance. Seemingly, in this so sensual, skeptical and materialistic society, everybody wished light, but a sweet and pleasant light, and rejected it when they found that its form was somewhat austere, such as he had offered it by means of his first book.”
His disciples demanded a clearer exposition of his doctrine, and then he publishes “Natural picture of relationships between God, man and the Universe”, in 1782, where he declares that the things should be explained by the constitution of man and not man by the things.
He adds that our inner and hidden faculties are the true causes of external works, and also that, in the Universe, the inner powers are the true causes of everything manifested externally. Far from wishing to hide to our eyes the fecund and luminous truths that are food for the human intelligence, God has written them in every thing around us. He has written them on the living force of the elements, in the order and harmony of all phenomena of the world, but even more clearly in what forms the distinctive characteristic of man. Therefore, the great goal of a philosopher must be: the study of the true nature of man; from results emerging from this study, a deduction of the science of things as a whole; and these things assessed and illuminated by the purest light of reason.
This book, like the former, is little clear in many of its expressions, possibly as a result of demands of the secret engaged in Martines de Pasqualis’ school.
If criticism does not deal with this new book in depth, as a result of this book the Martinesists take him as the natural successor of their founder and invite him to meet and finish the work in common. Seemingly the works of this Society intended to reconcile Swedenborg’s ideas with those of Martines de Pasqualis, but seemingly, in secret, their purposes were of political kind and even the discovery of certain great mysteries: the philosopher’s stone was one of them. Saint Martin was striving after a pure spiritualism and, being suspected of theurgical operations, refused this invitation and devoted himself more steadily to look for his disciples in the great world that he would frequent, and among learned people of those days.
He knew that one can always have control from above; so, he aimed carefully at the topmost point. He would not intend to march at the head of wise men, but being aware that one cannot influence public opinion without them, and understanding that public opinion is ruled by them, he wished to reach the great public along with the wise men.
Among all, there was an outstanding body that seemingly was at the head of the philosophical movement of the time: the Academy of Berlin, where Mendelsohn, Bailly and Kant had animated the contests by means of their writings.
In 1776, at request of Frederick the Great, the Academy had seriously asked: “Is it useful to deceive people?”, and had divided the prize between two competitors who had sent entirely opposite conclusions: one of the latter would hold with boldness that at certain times is convenient to leave the people in the error. Repercussions of this debate had been huge, and possibly Saint Martin would dream of such publicity.
Therefore, when the Academy of Berlin proposed a contest about the subject: “Which is the best way so that wild or civilized nations amid errors and superstitions of any kind live according to reason?”, Saint Martin found an occasion to dealing with one of those errors that, in his opinion, was the most serious in his time: the substitution of divine reason for human reason.
He dealt with this matter in depth and giving it the significance emerged from his enlightened viewpoint. He would wish to introduce to the world, under an illustrious standard, the great doctrine that was worrying him: the deep separation that would keep Humanity far away from early relationships with the Creator.
In the beginning, his writing tried to give a clear definition of reason and demonstrate that, in order to surrender men to reason, they should be led to the condition and early science of the human species. For long, this science was secretly conveyed from one sanctuary to another a nd from one School to another, and strongly established this spirituality that makes a difference between man and beast.
He added that when a man comes to Earth and fulfills the common law of his species, he is not aware of a calming bond uniting him with the source from which he came by means of obvious and positive relationships, and he concluded: the only knowledge with steady rights over us will be those lights that we achieve on our early relationships, and that we must find the key to this science in ourselves, that is, rays of divine light illuminating us within. Make you know this divine radiation, this early relationship between man and God, and the problem will be solved, errors covering the truth will be swept from the bosom of Humanity, and peoples that are living amid superstitions will be returned to reason. But those who have to guide them first should be enlightened. While we see Nature and men as isolated beings, with abstraction of the only principle that vivifies both, we will only distort them more and more by deceiving those whom we wish to teach how to define Nature and men.
But in case we assume this viewpoint, we should not imagine a man with the power to do much for his fellow, for “as a tree needs not another tree to grow and yield fruits, since he has in itself everything that is necessary to it, so every man has in himself the form to fulfill his mission, not borrowing from other man”.
He concluded with this apostrophe: “If a man does not soar by himself to that universal key, on Earth nobody will come and put it in his hands, and I will believe to have answered the best way I could if I succeeded convincing you that a man cannot answer you”.
His contemporaries considered this was not a proper reply to the question¸ to which Saint Martin replied that his intention was not to give an answer in the sense of the prevailing rationalism, and that he was offering a manifesto.
In those days in France, the question about Mesmer’s magnetism was posed before the Academy of Science of Paris, and next the appointment of Bailly among members of the research committee, Saint Martin met him personally to dissipate any surmised prejudice, because though he did not see with enthusiasm the Mesmer’s phenomena –which he deemed magnetic and somnambulistic as a whole and belonging to a lower order of things– he felt that those phenomena should be studied.
He could not overcome Bailly’s prejudices and, in judging in one of his letters the memorial that Bailly presented, Saint Martin’s view was entirely contemptuous because those prejudices revealed in a scientist a spirit of investigation that was not truly scientific at all.
These two failures did not influence him and, moving to Lyon, in 1785 he continued the outer work of guiding souls, and the inner work of his own perfection.
From Lyon he went to England, where he met his great friend William Law, a fervent mystical Anglican minister. With the Count de Divonne they formed a trio of mystical brotherhood. Soon afterwards he was in contact with the best society. Already he had met the Marchioness de Coislin, wife of the French ambassador, who possibly introduced him to the great world where he could devote himself to his favorite task of mystical propagandist, a task in which he had no special preferences; during his stay in England, he found more adepts among Russians than among English people, and referred to the Prince Alexis Galitzin and M. Thieman as good theosophists.
Some few months later, he left for Italy, a country he visited for the second time, being in Rome on the autumn of 1787.
Also he frequented there the great world, and its several Cardinals, Dukes and Princes and, seemingly, despite we know nothing in this sense, all his contacts were useful only to look for new adepts.
In June 1788, he stays in the city of Strasbourg, where he remained three years and to which possibly he moved to study in depth Boheme’s doctrines, which later influenced him so much.
This city was cradle of Mesmer’s experiences and just had been the center of most famous initiations and Count Cagliostro’s miraculous cures. It was a free and imperial city, characterized by its open and cordial hospitality, when the aristocratic youth of Russia, Germany and Scandinavia had close contact with that of France, and a man as Metternich did with Galitzin and Narbonne.
There he met his beloved disciples: the Princess of Borbon, whom he pleasantly surrendered hours of that retirement that he loved so much; moreover, he found a new source of spirituality opened by the philosopher Rudolf Salzmann and a lady, Madame Boecklin: they facilitated him the study of the enlightened Jacob Boehme and led him to learning German, since English and French translations could not give him any idea about how much the original texts would contain.
With Madame Boecklin, Salzmann, the elder of the Meyers, Baron Razenried, Madame Westerman and other person whose name he does not mention¸ they formed a very united group, to which surely many other people adhered. But of them all, Madame Boecklin is perhaps the woman to whom Saint Martin likes to attribute the most fecund success in his life: knowledge of the doctrine of Jacob Boehme, the theosophist. Just as he put this philosopher over all his masters, so he put Madame Boecklin over all his women friends.
For all this, Strasbourg becomes his Paradise; and as a result of the tragedy that France would undergo, Paris would be his Purgatory.
Madame Boecklin had the privilege of exalting the spirituality of Saint Martin as nobody knew how to do until then. Those three years that Saint Martin spends in Strasbourg become decisive for his life, since they substantially developed his scientific, historic, philosophic and critical abilities.
Soon afterwards he met there a nephew of Swedenborg, called Silferhielm, when Saint Martin still would continue his studies about the Sweden seer and, being advised by Silferhielm, he writes his new work, “The New Man”.
A little later, in order to dissuade his friend the Princess of Borbon from certain harmful practices, he wrote another book entitled “Ecce Homo”, where he refers to false visions and false manifestations on the one hand by indicating by these names clairvoyance and wonderful cures, and on the other hand apparitions of “elementals” that make use of these apparitions to lead us by the wrong way.
Saint Martin’s stay in Strasbourg was quite important, since by deepening his studies about Boehme¸ his spirit grew up even more, since in that environment of free debate he acquired new disciplines of study and wider perspectives; so, detached from the drama gestated in Europe, he could compare his ideas and those of his masters with ideas of contemporary philosophers, such as Kant at the head.
In 1791, Saint Martin’s father sent for him because he was seriously ill; then he must leave Strasbourg and move to Amboise –his Hell, as he called it. An icy Hell, because the indifference of the environment to the ideal he professes is quite painful. This is one of the most terrible trials he must stand, since he has to be far away from his friends and over all from Madame Boecklin, besides his spiritual loneliness. Some few months later, now in 1792, he understands that this is a new trial that he has to stand and be resigned to it.
This year, as a result of the publication of the two works above mentioned, he must leavee for Paris several times, and also he begins his correspondence with his friend Kirchberger of Liebisdorf, who would comfort him a lot and, at the same time, would give him a great drive toward new mystical studies, and the continuation and intensification of researches about Boehme’s writings.
This Noble, a member of the Sovereign Council of Bern and of several cantonal and municipal committees, a very spirited, educated and curious man, who admired sincerely Saint Martin, meant for him his best friend, and the correspondence with him was one of the things he considered extremely important.
Also this friend would grant great solace and would help him forget those happy years spent in Strasbourg, which contrasted even more with these very hard times. France was living the Terror and, despite it, Saint Martin never thought of leaving the country. “He is described as endowed with a stoic impassivity, full trust in divine protection, calm and radiant, seeing how the hand of the Providence heavily falls on the dynasty and the country, on old-fashioned institutions, and blinded people and chiefs” (Matter).
“Always waiting for in the name of those fundamental laws whose studies he had preferred to those of an ordinary jurisprudence, his look raised toward a higher horizon and from a very different plane from that of the multitude, he spent the years of the Revolution, deeply moved, but without the slightest disturbance. He would meditate on the same problems, continued the same mission and preserved the same friendships” (Matter).
“While other philosophers, people of letters and men of State and war, in panic and frightened, escaped from those events, he would see only beginnings hat should be not mistaken for accidents” (Matter).
In 1793, two rough blows wait for him: his father’s death, which affects him despite Saint Martin expected it, and that of the King of France, who had made him Knight of Saint Louis through the Prince of Montbarey, in 1789.
This year, to cap it all, the authorities suspect of his correspondence with Strasbourg; so, quite grief-stricken and to avoid troubles to her friend, the Countess of Boeckling, being this so dear to his soul, he must stop corresponding with her.
After a while in the castle of the Princess of Borbon, he returns to Amboise for matters related to his father’s succession. This is a calm place compared with the storm roaring in the city of Paris, where he could not return as a result of the decree about privileged castes, which affected him personally because of his noble birth. Loved by the people in Amboise, he is appointed to catalogue books and manuscripts taken out from ecclesiastic houses suppressed by the law. He accepts this job as if it were an important and profitable mission for his spirit, and he was not wrong, because it gave him delight and bliss, like when he read the life of Margaret of the Holy Sacrament and saw the magnificent spiritual development she had achieved.
Authorities appreciated so much his work that he was appointed to represent the district before the Normal School; he accepted this post too, since as a citizen he was ever ready to support the country “provided the question is not to judge or to kill human beings”.
Outstanding citizens of every district should follow certain training at the Normal School to learn what type of instruction the people should have in gerneral; once this experience was acquired, these persons would be skilled to prepare future instructors.
Now Saint Martin is more than 51 years old and despite this mission was somewhat shocking from his viewpoint, he accepts, convinced that “everything is connected in our revolution, where I have occasion to see the hand of the Providence; so, nothing is little to me, and though it would be nothing more than a grain of sand in the vast building that God prepares for nations, I must not resist when I am called”. “The main motive of my acceptance”, Saint Martin continues in a letter to his friend Liebisdorf, “is to think that, with God’s help, I expect that, by my presence and prayers, I may stop partially those obstacles that the enemy of all good can sow in this great course of teaching that is about to open, and upon which the happiness of many generations can depend”.
“This idea comforts me, and though I could not deviate more than only one drop of poison that this enemy will try to pour on the very root of this tree that will cover with its shade the whole country, I would feel guilty if I went back.”
Doubtless, one of his hopes was to proselytize the ideal of his life among those two thousand or three thousand professors he would meet at the Normal School, but his best advantage of this experience was that he acquired a methodical philosophy that he could use later against those who had taught it.
At the Normal School he could speak few times before the other members only two or three times, and at most for 5 or 6 minutes each time. But he would leave all in the hands of the Providence and inadvertently he liked more and more the methodical discussion that he could put into practice in the so called “Garat Battle”, a debate with the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Interior Affairs and Garat, the General Commissary of Public Instruction at that time, with the charge of Professor of Analysis of the Human Understanding, at the Normal School; with the latter he had a dramatic debate about the eventual existence in man of a moral sense and about the difference between sensations and knowledge.
His illusions put in the Normal School totally failed; the School, dissolved in 1795, did not achieve its purposes.
Now, being accustomed to reflect with a philosophical method, following inspirations of his conscience and willing to bring to characteristic debates of that time spiritual words dedicated to demonstrate that the purpose of life and health of the social body is in spiritual paths, he published his “Letters to a Friend about the French Revolution”, in 1795, followed by “Clarity about Social Association”, in 1797, and a third book entitled “Which Institutions are the Fittest to Found the Moral of a People”, in 1798.
Essentially, these publications respond to this: Even when he sympathized with the deep and justifiable causes of the Revolutionary movement, Saint Martin proposes principles that the organisms of the Revolution were far from admitting. Saint Martin does not treat the outer form of governments republican, monarchic, aristocratic or mixed; he seeks more deeply the conditions of a legitimate association, and to him they seemingly may subsist under every political form. He wished a very common idea in those days: that the association is founded on the need of mutually assuring to enjoy property and other material benefits depending on it, and he looks for the source of this association in a thought eventually wise, deep, just, fertile and kind; first of all, this source is providential. In Saint Martin’s view, man has descended from a higher state to a situation where he is surrounded by darkness and misery; all his present efforts must aim at getting up from this fall, and the whole work of the Providence has no other goal than to facilitate him this task.
Therefore, the diverse human associations must be constituted by the same purpose and sustained by the same spirit, on pain of being disapproved by the Divine Wisdom.
His great goal, his Great Work was, however it was always the same, to study the spiritual life of man taken in his ideal perfection or rather in his early nature; to take him in pure relationships with the first cause of the spiritual world; and to teach to those who have ears how to hear the art of bringing them to this perfection.
In his opinion, this was in fact the only study deserving entire attention from men, and since he felt that Boehme was the best master in this science, he continuously would turn his attention to the writings of the great German mystic. These studies led him to conclude that the two Schools – Boehme’s and Martines de Pasqualis’– would complement one other perfectly.
In those days he had corresponded again with Madame Boecklin, and always would continue so with Liebisdorf, his great friend and disciple.
His economic situation was difficult, but he continued to be generous and always serenely trusting in the designs of the Providence.
On February 7, 1799, his friend Liebisdorf dies, and his decease leaves an irreplaceable void; his only consolation always is to return to Boehme’s writings¸ of whom he translates three works, namely: “Nascent Dawn”, “Triple Life” and “Three Principles”.
In 1800 he publishes a volume, “The Spirit of the Things” where the author looks for the deepest reason of those things that are calling his attention, as much in Nature as in customs, et cetera. A work written by Boehme, “Signatura Rerum”, suggests him to carry out this idea.
In 1802, he publishes a book, “Ministry of Man-Spirit”, where he exhorts man to understand sufficiently the spiritual power of which he is a trustee, and to make use of it and liberate Humanity and Nature.
In 1803 he begins feeling the same symptoms of illness that brought his father to the tomb. He does not fear death and calls his disease “spleen”, but he explains that it is not the English “spleen” by which you see everything black and sad, because by his “spleen”, on the contrary, everything becomes rose-colored as much internally as externally.
The apoplexy puts a sweet end to a sweet existence, and still leaves him some few minutes to pray and address touching words to his friends that attended immediately.
He exhorted them to live in harmonious union and with trust in God, and after he uttered these words, the mystic whom M. De Maistre would call “the most educated, wise and elegant philosopher” breathed his last.
Matter, his biographer, says: “His career could finish; he had seen the greatest things that can be seen at whatever time; he had undergone hard trials with serenity and had achieved great works. He had in his life neither glory of the world nor wealth, and to his eyes the latter meant nothing. But he had tasted the deepest and sweetest bliss; loved by God and men, also he loved much, and he always expected more from the time to come than from the present”.
He loved his work and never expected any payment on Earth. According to his own words, “It is not at the hearing where defending counsels get their fees for lawsuits; they got them outside the hearing and when the lawsuit is over”. “This is my story and also my reluctance to receiving any payment in this low world.”
In his book entitled “Portrait”, he would declare: “I never had more than one idea, and I intend to preserve it up to the tomb, and this idea is that my last hour is my most fiery wish and my sweetest hope”.
Here is Saint Martin’s moral code, and through its rules a soul can be united with the Creator:
1st) You are a man, therefore you never must forget this:
you represent the human dignity. Respect and
make respect the nobility; this is your most general
and high mission on Earth.
2nd) It is within yourself, on the light that illuminates
your being, the image of God, and not in books that
are nothing more than images of man, where you
will find the rules to guide your life.
3rd) Watch over this inner light and do not let
vain words dissipate it. He who watches
severely over his word, watches over his
thoughts and watches over his affections, and
he who watches this way, rules properly his
4th) He who governs himself properly, lets be carried
away by Him who guides everything, and our
soul is taken this way to the purification given
by sorrow, and to the strength granted by a
ceaseless combat, stage by stage.
5th) He leads us to overcome in the very bosom of
temptations, and by means of them. Temptations
are the most living means of God to guide us,
because we succumb to them when the worldly
spirit guides us, and we move away from them
when we are guided by the divine spirit.
Teaching 1: Death of Cleopatra
Teaching 2: Amonius Saccas and Neoplatonism
Teaching 3: Ecstatic Mysticism of the Ancient World
Teaching 4. Isidore of Seville and his Relatives
Teaching 5: Aristotelian Revival of Avicenna and Averroes
Teaching 6: Aristotelianism of Maimonides
Teaching 7: Innocent III
Teaching 8: Hernan of Salza and the Teutonic Order
Teaching 9: Mystical Poetry of Jacopone di Todi
Teaching 10: Juan Pico della Mirandola
Teaching 11: Tritemius the Humanist
Teaching 12: Paracelsus
Teaching 13: Mystics of Port Royal
Teaching 14: Visions of Emmanuel Swedenborg
Teaching 15: Saint Martin
Teaching 16: The Unknown Philosopher