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The Reappearance of the Christ - Chapter VII - Preparation for the Reappearance of the Christ
1. The Inertia of the Average Spiritually-Minded Man

The average spiritually-minded person, man of goodwill, or disciple is constantly aware of the challenge of the times and the opportunity which spiritual events may offer. The desire to do good and to accomplish spiritual ends are ceaselessly gnawing away within his consciousness. No one who loves his fellowmen, who has a dream [167] of seeing the Kingdom of God materialize on earth, or who is conscious of the awakening - slow though it may be - of the masses to the higher spiritual values but is thoroughly dissatisfied. He realizes that what he contributed of help to these desirable objectives is little indeed. He knows that his spiritual life is a side issue; it is something which he keeps carefully to himself and which he is frequently afraid to mention to his nearest and his dearest; he tries to dovetail his spiritual efforts into his ordinary, outer life, struggling to find time and opportunity for it in a gentle, futile and innocuous manner. He finds himself helpless before the task of organizing and rearranging his affairs so that the spiritual way of living may dominate; he searches for alibis for himself and eventually rationalizes himself so successfully that he ends by deciding that he is doing the best he can in the given circumstances. The truth is that he is doing so little that probably one hour out of the twenty-four (or perhaps two) would cover the time given to the Master's work; he hides behind the alibi that his home obligations prevent his doing more and does not realize that - given tact and loving understanding - his home environment can and must be the field in which he triumphs; he forgets that there exist no circumstances in which the spirit of man can be defeated or in which the aspirant cannot meditate, think, talk and prepare the way for the coming of the Christ, provided he cares enough and knows the meaning of sacrifice and silence. Circumstances and environment offer no true obstacle to the spiritual life.

Perhaps he hides behind the alibi of poor health and frequently behind that of imaginary ills. He gives so much time to the care of himself that the hours which could be given to the Master's work are directly and [168] seriously curtailed; he is so preoccupied with feeling tired, or tending a cold, or with fancied heart difficulties that his "body consciousness" steadily develops until it eventually dominates his life; it is then too late to do anything. This is particularly the case with people who have reached their fiftieth year or over. It is an alibi which it is hard not to use, for many feel tired and ailing and this, as the years go by, is apt to get worse.

The only cure for this creeping inertia is to ignore the body and take your joy in the livingness of service. I speak here not of definite disease or of serious physical liabilities; to these right care and attention must be duly given; I speak to the thousands of ailing men and women who are preoccupied with taking care of themselves, and so waste hours of the time which could be given to the service of humanity. Those who are seeking to tread the Path of Discipleship should release those many hours spent in needless self-care into the service of the Hierarchy.

Still another alibi, leading to inertia, is the fear people have of speaking about the things of the kingdom of God to others; they are afraid of being rebuffed, or of being thought peculiar, or of intruding. They, therefore, preserve silence, lose opportunity and never discover how ready people are for the discussion of realities, for the comfort and hope which the thought of Christ's return can bring, or for the sharing of spiritual light. This is essentially a form of spiritual cowardice but is so widespread that it is responsible for the loss of millions of hours of world service.

There are other alibis, but those above noted are the most common; the release of the majority of people from these hindering conditions would bring to the service of the Christ so many hours and so much overtime endeavor that the task of those who admit no alibis would [169] be greatly lightened and the coming of the Christ would be much nearer than it is today. To the rhythm of life under which the Christ and the spiritual Hierarchy operate, and which vibrates in harmony with human need and spiritual response, we are not called. We are, however, called to demonstrate the quality of spiritual activity and to refuse to hide behind alibis. It is essential that all spiritual people recognize that in the place where they now are, among the people who are their associates and with the psychological and physical equipment with which they are endowed, they can and must work. There is no possible coercion or undue pressure exerted in the service of the Hierarchy. The situation is clear and simple.

There are, at the present time, three great activities going on:

  • First, the activity to be felt in the "center where the will of God is known," that will-to-good which has carried all creation on toward a greater glory and a steadily deepening, intelligent responsiveness. This today is creatively endeavoring to bring in the new world order, the order of the Kingdom of God under the physical supervision of the Christ. This might be regarded as the externalization of the spiritual Hierarchy of our planet. Of this, the return of the Christ to visible activity will be the sign and the symbol.
  • Secondly, the critical activity which is conditioning the spiritual Hierarchy, from the Christ Himself down to the lowest aspirant to be found on the periphery of that "center where the love of God" has full play. There, it is fully realized that (in the words of St. Paul) "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God" (Romans VIII, 22.) It is for that manifestation They now prepare, these "Sons of God Who are the Sons [170] of Men;" it is for this coming forth to outer active service that They are already - one by one - entering into outer activity upon the physical plane. They are not recognized for what They are, but They go about the Father's business, demonstrating goodwill, seeking to enlarge the horizon of humanity, and thus prepare the way for the One Whom They serve, the Christ, the Master of all the Masters and the Teacher alike of angels and of men.
  • Thirdly, there is humanity itself, "the center which we call the race of men" - a center at present full of chaos, turmoil and confusion, a humanity full of pain, bewilderment, disturbance, yet mentally aware of infinite possibilities, emotionally fighting for that plan which seems to them to be the best, but with no sense of coherency or any realization that it must be the "one world for the one humanity." They desire simply emotional peace, security in which to live and work, and a vision of a future which will satisfy some inchoate sense of divine persistence. They are physically ill, deprived for the most part of the essentials of normal wholesome living, wracked with the sense of financial insecurity and - consciously or unconsciously - invoking the Father of all on behalf of themselves and of the rest of the world.

The solution is to be found in the reappearance of the Christ. This is the ascertained will of God, and to it the Scriptures of the world testify; it is the desire of Christ Himself and of His disciples, the Masters of the Wisdom; it is the unrealized demand of peoples in all lands. Where there is this unification of purpose, this uniformity of spiritual intention and of realized demand, then there is only one thing which can arrest His reappearance and that is the failure of mankind to prepare the world stage for that stupendous event, to "prepare the Way of the Lord, make His paths straight" (Matthew III, 2.) to [171] familiarize the people everywhere with the idea of His coming, and bring about the required measure of peace on earth - a peace based upon right human relations.

It is surely needless here to deal with the theme of the preparation which the individual should make within himself as he prepares for the work to be done. Men have had the principles of right spiritual conduct presented to them for centuries, though largely because good conduct will lead them to a good heaven, the aim has been basically selfish. The little prayer which says, "Lord God Almighty! Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me," sums up all the requirements for those who seek to work in preparation for the coming of the Christ, if to it is added the development of a sound intelligence and the practice of an organized life. But today the motive shifts from the concept of personal salvation (which is assumed or taken for granted), and the preparation required is that of working, with strength and understanding, to bring about right human relations - a broader objective. There we have a motive which is not self-centered but which ranges each individual worker and humanitarian on the side of the spiritual Hierarchy, putting him in touch with all men of goodwill. We come now to the second of the major hindrances: the lack of financial support for the workers of the Christ.

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