at the Priest Conclave, 10th to 18th August, 1928,
at St. Michael's, Naarden N.H., The Netherlands
The following collection of talks consists of unrevised notes taken during the Summer of 1928 by a number of members of the Clergy assembled at the Church of St. Michael and All Angels, where Bp. Wedgwood was training many European candidates to the Priesthood. It was common practice, in these days, for the European Liberal Catholic Clergy, to gather at the St. Michael Center to receive instruction. Every priest would celebrate the Holy Eucharist daily, at one of the five altars of the church, one after the other, which was quite a challenge for the servants. This pracice continued even after the demise of Bp. Wedgwood, when the instructions were given by Bp. Vreede and Prof. van der Stok, until 1988, when St. Michael lost its independance and became under the sole control of the Theosophical Society.
|I.||THE WORK OF A PRIEST||Introduction||Sunday, l2th August|
|Question about Juwels|
|Blending the Consciousness||Monday, l3th August|
|Unity with the Congregation|
|Attitude in the Service|
|The Inner Side of the work.|
|Working with the Aura.|
|Realization of God|
|II.||THE SERVICE OF BAPTISMTHE SERVICE OF BAPTISM||Tuesday, August 14th|
|BURIAL SERVICE||Questions & Answers|
|III.||MARRIAGE SERVICE.||Thursday, 16th August|
|IV.||HEALING SERVICE||Thursday, 16th August|
|V.||QUESTIONS & ANSWERS||Thursday, 18 august 1928|
I. THE WORK OF A PRIEST
(Sunday, l2th August)
I think we might talk to-night about the work of a priest in the Liberal Catholic Church, of the particular nature of that work, why it is somewhat different from that in other Churches, and what the special powers and possibilities are that we have as priests. There is great value in the method of work represented by the Church in that, in the first place, it is very impersonal. One of the common criticisms often launched against Catholic Churches is that its methods are personal, and that it is dominated by priestcraft. But if you look into the matter sensibly, you will find that the basis on which the work is founded, in our Church at any rate, is actually more free from domination than in the case of the Protestant Churches. (You have to make exception of the Roman Catholic Church, because of the confessional, but even this has been greatly exaggerated by the Protestants, although it is, of course, open to abuses.) If you knew the amount of work done by the Roman Catholic priests, listening for hours to numbers of people's confessions, you would know that the priest has too much to do to dominate people through confession. But putting all that aside, there is a great element of impersonality in the Catholic form of worship. In the Protestant Churches you are under the domination of the minister, especially when you have extempore prayer, as the minister is putting his own thoughts into it; whilst in our Church there is a set form of worship; the priest is disguised as much as possible and he is obliterated to a great extent, so far as his personality is concerned. His very vestments have that effect; they represent the Office and change him out of recognition from his secular self; the personality is quite hidden, and only the office remains. It is really very impersonal -- much less personal, in fact, than in the Protestant form of worship.
But there is another side to the work, which makes it impersonal in that it is done, not so much through the spiritual power developed individually by the priest, as in the power of the Christ that flows through him by reason of his ordination. By working through the Church as an institution, and using it as a means for helping : people spiritually, for lifting people up, you are able to work in an impersonal way. You do not have to attract them to oneself personally as you do along other lines. You work with the power and blessing of the Lord flowing through His Church and through the Sacraments. and you use that as the means for lifting people up. In this Center it has avoided those fractions and jealousies that you get when working along other lines. In a Center such as we have here it is extraordinarily valuable because it is a standing object lesson for the people, something impersonal with boundless possibilities of greatness, so that little personal quarrels and piques are seen to be small in comparison with the uplifting power of the Church. and it seems to me that the methods of our Church are such a safe line of development and progress for people. There is always a certain amount of danger in pushing people; they are apt to fly off at a tangent with too much pressure. You can only change people gradually, and rather slowly; at any rate, where consciousness has to express itself through the physical body. If you try to change it rapidly, you are liable to get nervous strains and stresses, leading to unbalance to strange mental states and sudden changes of idea. In this method of the Church you have a singularly happy way of doing things, because you get people in a more or less impersonal attitude. We try to teach people to cease to think of themselves and to think of the great ideas put before them in the symbolism of the Eucharist more as offering worship, and not in the terms of self-interest or self-gratification; but rather identifying themselves with the larger consciousness.
If you pause for a moment to consider what takes place during an ordinary celebration of the Holy Eucharist, it is a very wonderful thing. The service lasts anything from half an hour to two hours, and during all that time you have people working at the highest level they can touch. Sometimes they relax, but it is the highest they are able to maintain. Generally speaking, they are working at a higher level than in ordinary life, higher than in the outside world; they are thinking of things which are the most important in life, and that for a long period of time. And then when you have a lot of people working together, there is less of self-interest in their point of view. They are working as a body, as a collectivity, and they get more and more into the habit of working as one body. If you pause for a moment to realize that, you will see what an enormously good training that is. You get them less inturned, with a sense of fellowship with one another, and you can carry them up into a form of collective consciousness; they get new horizons and they see things from a larger point of view than before. It is obviously a very great thing you are able to do; to carry them out of the prison-house of the separated consciousness into that larger consciousness in which we come to sense the One Life. There is no doubt that the trend in modern times is towards cooperation and working together, to group consciousness, and in religion we are moving towards that time in the Seventh Race when we shall have a kind of spiritual anarchy, when there will be few rules and regulations because people will have become so spiritually developed, and have the basis of spiritual unity, so that the inner attitude will make its own rules, and they will not be so dependent upon outer authority.
There is nothing, I think, really more important than the gaining of this recognition of the One Life, which is the recognition of brotherhood. You can make excuses for people, but you can never understand people really until you realize that oneness of consciousness in the divine Life. The antagonism that we feel come, not from the life, but from the bodies we have brought up from the past lives. The difficulties we have in life, our hates, quarrels and disputes, are only when the ape or the bear or the tiger is prominent; but when our consciousness is raised, all that drops off. We do not have difficulties when our consciousness is at the higher levels, but when it is in those personalities which are at war with each other. So the solution to the difficulties and disputes is found when we gain the consciousness of that one divine Life, and it seems to me that the Church is a magnificent way to bring people up to that. The Church is a purifying influence. Your thought is carried up to a higher level, so you become more responsive to spiritual influences. The inspiration of the service, the power through the Sacraments, working with the angels, all that tends to induce higher modes of consciousness time after time, and familiarizes you with those higher modes of consciousness. A sense of happiness and bliss (you know the Eastern saying that "Brahman is bliss") and of spiritual upliftment is reproduced by the services; and then we get inspired with the idea of producing that experience by our own self-initiated efforts from within that which the power has awakened within us. And growing more accustomed to it, we find we can more or less produce those modes of consciousness for ourselves from within. That is, I think, one of the keys to a reconciliation of our work with what Krishnaji has been saying, with some of his recent utterances. I do not think he would have the slightest objection to ceremonies, used as a means of expressing one's higher feelings, by people who are independent of them and using their own spiritual powers, and not merely relying upon them as a means to help and guide one in doing this, nor depending on aid from outside. From what I can see, there are possibilities for the Churches along those lines which seem to me to be boundless.
In the symbolism of the Holy Eucharist there are great exercises in Yoga for the development of the higher consciousness. After the Adeste Fideles you offer God' s most precious gift in union with Him who "ever offers Him self as the eternal Sacrifice". There you identify yourself with that great Sacrifice of the Second Person of the Trinity. You are able to give impulses to your consciousness at various levels of your being beginning with the Atmic, depending upon the extent to which you are already awake at each level, and thus increasing the power of response at these levels; so that if you work consciously in this way, you can carry out a tremendous improvement at all levels of consciousness. As Bishop Leadbeater tells us, it is not only symbolical in the superficial sense of the word, but in the real sense. It is not only symbolical in that it symbolizes something true, but in that it transmits the real, because the symbols are true ones. You not only work at representations of oosmic happenings, but the powers of your own soul, and your own higher nature, are awakened at all levels as you work.
Then we join with the saints, "before Thy great white throne" in worship. There you get the endeavor to unite the consciousness of the celebrant and the consciousness of the congregation with that of the great Brotherhood of Adepts, whose consciousness, we are told, is normally at the Atmic or Nirvanic level; and if you exercise that day after day, you gradually awaken yourself to self-consciousness at that level. It is the same with the buddhic consciousness. With the breaking of the Host we symbolize the Divine Life coming into manifestation. The same symbolical meaning lies behind the story of Osiris, and the scattering of his limbs over the whole earth. Working in that way, you get the activity centered at different aspects of your consciousness, and if you try to work self-consciously at any particular level, you are able after a certain time really to do something at that level. Thus the Mass is a magnificent exercise in Yoga for developing self-consciousness at those higher levels of being. We are none of us so proficient as we might be on the Atmic and buddhic levels and so, in a way, I must confess I am dependent upon such aids myself. I could take up other methods of course and use them; I might work hard at Eastern methods of meditation -- and there are other exercises which I might put into practice. But until I have exhausted a system, I am to a certain extent dependent upon it. We are all dependent upon some method or other for developing our higher faculties; we are dependent upon the world outside for the experiences that world can give us -- that is why we are in it. And so I am dependent upon some system for helping me through my own efforts to reach my higher happiness. We need not be accused of selfishness if we use such methods, though it is certainly necessary to watch that our efforts are not over-governed by selfishness; a boy is not accused of selfishness if he goes to the University to improve himself. But we have got to keep that interest in ourselves within bounds.
There is another aspect of the work -- the sending out of spiritual power into the world. In regard to what Krishnaji is saying, I feel there is very much for us to do in the way of shaking ourselves free from outer forms. You must remember that so long as you are in manifestation you have a certain duality of outlook, from the point of view of spirit and matter, of life and form. You cannot get away from ceremonies any more than you can away from forms, and the only way to do that is to keep out of manifestation. We are all conditioned by form. What is really meant, I think, is that you must get out of forms which are no longer adequate for your work and get into forms which convey the life out into the world.
There is always this duality of outlook. There is the without and the within, and you cannot do without the one or the other .You cannot do without eating, or any other of the normal processes of life; you depend on the world for sustenance. Our task here this evening is depending for our contact, for our intercourse, on the world outside. Those contacts with the world outside call out the powers that are latent within you. You can anticipate experience by the use of your imagination, but you will find that a certain amount of encounter with the outside world is necessary. In our Church we have the Christ within us, but you have also special intensification of the power of the Christ without us which can awaken and draw out into fuller expression the power of the Christ within us.
When we are speaking of stepping down truth. You have the power of Christ in the Host, but it is on too high a level for use and in the service you have an arrangement for bringing down the power. Just as you step down electricity by means of voltage. We have got to step down truth; it has got to be put into terms that the uneducated can reach. People at all levels have to have the truth brought down to them, and we are told that the great Teachers give the truth to the people in the form that is needed at the time. They could not give it in its full splendor and purity. We have to try to lift ourselves out of our normal level of consciousness to a higher level and sometimes you step truth down so that you may step people up to a higher conception of things. We step truth down or step force down, in the Church because we are dealing with the world at large. We have people of different types and temperaments to deal with, some more or less primitive, some more advanced; some intellectual and some emotional there is enormous diversity. In the Church you have a wonderful scheme in which the teaching is brought down to all levels. Some people object to the Communion because it is a materialization of spiritual truth; some people say it is only by the working of faith in our hearts and spiritually that we take the blood and body of Christ. It all comes from the doctrine that matter is evil and not as holy as spirit. Matter is just as important as spirit. The remedy is to spiritualize our views of matter. It you receive the blessing of the Christ through the Host, you make of matter a vehicle for the spirit.
There is a tremendous radiation of power through the service of the Church, which goes out on all levels. You need not consider that a person is bound by what he is doing. If I use a typewriter to convey my meaning I am not bound by my typewriter . If I make use of a car, or a train, or a steamer I do so in order to make my work more effective, but you do not say that I am bound by them. Therefore, if you decide to work through the ceremonies of the Church, it does not mean that you are bound by them and cannot work without them.
I think it is necessary to have a definition of what ceremonial is and what it is we do. I would define it as the intelligent use of forms that they may be the best expression of the life. The ceremonialist uses them to get the best effect for his purposes .
You would be surprised to know what an enormous amount of work is done by a Center like this one. Once I was doing an Ordination in Sydney and Bishop Leadbeater was telling me of the effect on the inner planes. On the buddhic plane the power went up to an enormous distance and even on the etheric level to a place some miles away. The power from this church goes out to tremendous distance, and there are all sorts of arrangements with angels by which the power is distributed. The master told me that Holland was once the center of spiritual life for Europe. The amenities are preserved here, there is very little yellow press, and they have a tradition for standing for peace. Holland is a spiritual reservoir from which the forces are distributed to different parts of Europe. I only want to assure you that by using the Church in this way, with people who are trained in control of their bodies, who have also some degree of realization of the higher consciousness, you can do an enormous work for the helping of the world around you. If there were many such centers in the world, how very much could be done to change the whole aspect of the thought of this world. It is a very good thing to take steps in physical world to bring about changes -- to have conferences and for people to come together to discuss things, and so on, -- but what is much more essential is spread the ideal thought, and to have that ideal thought very strong and definite in order that it may be very potent for influencing other people. I think the future of this Church is largely connected with that kind of work, largely because of infiltration of that kind of thought. Gradually these ideas come to permeate other Churches, and you will find that the current of religious thoughts flow in that direction. The same remarks apply to Masonic bodies. It is necessary to get people together and send out those forces into the higher worlds. The Masters once said that the best way in which people could help Them was in bringing others to Them; and one of the most effective way of helping people is by taking those steps in spiritual life which make us more effective channels of Their influence. You make citizens of the world, and set up the desire to be peaceful within them. That is the only way to bring about permanent peace, when you awaken the real passion for peace and brotherhood and the recognition of the One Life.
* * * * * * *
I reply to a question regarding magnetised jewels as talismans for establishing magnetic centers, Bishop Wedgwood replied:
The best kind of center is an intelligent person who gives himself. A number of consecrated human beings is the best center; it is much better than a magnetised jewel.
* * * * * * *
THE WORK OF A PRIEST
(Monday, l3th August)
II. Blending the Consciousness
I want to talk to you a little to-night about what seems to me an important part of our work as priests, and that is the work of learning to blend the consciousness with that of the congregation. I think this is an idea which is, as far as I understand, peculiar to our Church. There may be groups of people in various places who do this kind of work, and study these things from the mystical or occult point of view; but what I am going to say to night is quite fundamental.
The first work the priest has to do is to free himself from the limitations of the ceremonial. That is rather difficult, because the ceremonial is complicated and takes a good deal of learning. The gestures, the right actions all need careful attention; and people who are not trained and are not accustomed to the work, feel rather shy and nervous. The priest feels timide at first in face of the congregation; he wonders if his voice is in tune, if he is doing it right. That feeling of shyness is strengthened because there is a great deal of power sweeping through him during the service, which tends to make him feel dazed and confused. It is not stupidity on his part that makes him seem awkward; he is swept off his feet by this enormous torrents of power that come with the ceremonial, so that it is difficult to regulate and control his actions. Therefore the first thing the priest has to do is to know the entire ritual, to learn to do the ceremonial easily so that the details are handed over to the subconscious. It is just the same when one is learning to play the organ. At first one's thoughts are centered in the adaptation of one's fingers to the keyboard, and on the notes and the fingering, but presently, as the man studies, he no longer needs to give direct attention to his fingers, and the accomplished musician does not have to give his attention to the keyboard, but can give his whole attention to the rendering and interpretation of the music.
One very great value in ceremonial work when it is properly put into practice is that it entirely reverses the attitude of the ordinary man to life. The ordinary man thinks of himself as belonging to the physical world; his attitude is generally one of wishing he could do this or that and he is full of vague longings towards the spiritual life. But that cannot be the attitude of the priest, or of any ceremonialist. When you are the officer of a Masonic Lodge, you represent a principle; you no longer vaguely wish, you have to do it. You are automatically rooted in the spiritual worlds and you have got to be a channel for the forces of those worlds, which are transmitted through you. So the priest has to look at his work from the Egoic standpoint and extricate himself absolutely from the personality. That is the first step, and it takes some people a long time to get into that attitude. They feel timid and nervous, he mumbles his words, his gestures are hurried, because the ceremonial is still cramping, imprisoning and limiting him, and he has not extricated himself from his personality.
This is only the first stage. But there comes a stage later on when you do not worry about the details of the ceremonial having made it part of the subconsciousness; and if a mistake occurs, you manage to cover it over quite easily. That sangfroid and readiness in emergencies has to be a characteristic of actors on the stage. I remember a story of Sarah Bernhardt when she was acting in La Tosca. La Tosca. kills the prefect of police and she has to takedown a crucifix from the wall and lay it on him; but some one, (to spite her) had nailed the crucifix to the wall. Sarah Bernhardt, after trying in vain to tear the crucifix down, turned and said, "No, he is not worthy of that". You must have something of that spirit in the Church. You have to cover over mistakes so that the congregation does not know that anything is wrong, but thinks it is part of the work. The control of all the mechanical part must be handed over to the subconsciousness, so that the priest can turn his thoughts almost exclusively to the spiritual part of the work, the true work of his office. As for myself, I am generally oblivious to the physical world, and sometimes quite unconscious of what I am doing down here; I am in the middle of a whirl of force sometimes, and I look down through the whirl and have to climb down, as it were, to the physical plane. That is because my consciousness is centered in the higher worlds.
I talked to you this afternoon about the different stages of the ritual, and of the different levels of consciousness at which a priest must work. Your consciousness is cantered sometimes at the Atmic level and sometimes at the buddhic; sometimes you are working with one aspect of the Trinity and sometimes with another, identifying yourself with those aspects. When you are able to do this a little bit consciously, then you begin to realize the true work of the priestly office. I think it is only in our Church that there is any understanding of that part of the work.
Unity with the Congregation
A point which is, I think, quite fundamental in all this is that the priest has to keep himself all the time at one with the congregation. As I watch priest after priest celebrating, find that there is very little realization of that, and very few have any idea how to carry it into effect. To do this properly the priest has to free himself from the embarrassment of the forms. Most of them are centered in themselves. And most of you are not yet quite at home with the ritual. You wonder, how am I doing this? Am I doing it right? Am I in tune? You are nervous about your voice, about singing in tune, and that centers the thought on yourself. It is not that one is consciously selfish, but unconsciously self-centered. If you feel shy or timid about talking to your congregation, if you analyze it, it is a phase of selfishness. I myself was always shy of speaking. I am no natural speaker; I have had to work hard to cultivate it. At first I used to feel faint, when I had to do it, for I suffered from intense shyness. One day the realization came to me that it was because I was thinking of myself. I felt myself so inadequate to the task. I learned to change that thought and to think, instead, "What do these people need?" That should be the attitude of a priest continually during work. It is not whether you are doing well, whether you have mastered the ritual or not, or whether you are singing in tune; but the real question that should be continually in your minds is, "What can I do for the congregation?" "How can I make this service useful for everybody?" The effect of thinking thus is to turn you outwards, you become extrovert; but you will have done a big thing, for you will have "set your feet on the path towards realization of the universal consciousness. You have a magnificent opportunity in the Church for getting that larger consciousness and merging your own separate personal consciousness into the larger consciousness of the group. It is not only that you have large numbers of people together, but the pressure of the power that comes through the Sacraments, and the angels to aid you in the accomplishment of it.
You realize, of course, that it is an essential part of your work to keep your consciousness blended with that of the congregation. You will want, some of you, to know how one must set about doing that? The best way to begin is to think of the aura that is to say, of the sphere of influence by which you are surrounded. You can feel that there is a personal magnetism around everybody; he carries an atmosphere with him. You begin by feeling it out, by merging your consciousness with his, putting yourself into sympathetic relationship with him, and then mark what is the impression on your consciousness as you do this. You try that with the congregation as a whole. People come to church with all sorts of difficulties; all sorts of possibilities; each with his or her special needs with varying temperaments, with special capacities for usefulness; some with troubles and perplexities. You try to put yourself into touch with that mass of thought, of emotion, of activity which represents your congregation; then you try to steady them, and to unify them. The Lord Himself, when giving us some instructions, told us that every service should begin, if possible, with a processional hymn, when the choir and clergy should process round the congregation. That is usually done only on festivals in other, Churches. This works to steady down the congregation, reducing the varying rates of vibration into one harmonious whole. That is also done with the incense and the opening canticles, when you try to unify the people, to steady their thought and feeling, to simplify the activities of the different bodies, attuning them, so that the aura works as a unity instead of being divided up into a number of different sections. If the opening hymn is a good one, with fine and vivid images, and one into which the people can put enthusiasm, that introduces a strong and dominant note of vibration which makes the whole body act as a unity, and tends to disperse all the petty thoughts and interests that have been occupying the minds of the congregation. All that early part of the service is designed to unify and bring the congregation together for the special purpose of the Church, and the procession sends a great sweep of magnetizing and unifying force round them.
The next thing to do is to stretch out your aura so that you stretch it over the congregation. The ability to do that comes, I think, with ordination, when the aura is quickened and everything enhanced. After ordination you have greater flexibility of aura than most people, and you can stretch it out further than you could before ordination. That flexibility of the aura is one of the special characteristics of the angels. Those of you who lecture will notice that since you have been ordained you can hold the attention of your audience much better. That was one of the first things that I noticed after my ordination. Through your magnetism you are able to grip your people, and then hold them with the strength of your emotion as it plays on them. After my consecration as a bishop, even more so, I found I had no difficulty in my lectures in holding an audience, though I do not consider myself a good speaker. Now this power to stretch your aura, to increase its flexibility, grows with practice, and very much strengthens the power you send forth. The method is that you do it by imagination. You think of yourself as stretching out this sphere of influence over the body corporate, and having enfolded your congregation in it, you pour out on them the special influence that you can give in virtue of being a priest. That happens with every minor benediction. That is what is sometimes called blowing a bubble, as at the Asperges, or as throwing a network over the church. What you do in the Asperges is to mark out a certain sphere of influence for the operation and the power of the holy water, and the influence which as priest you put into; it; and that sphere of influence is all then refined and raised to a higher rate of vibration. This church is quite a different place since the ceremony of consecration yesterday morning.
When you give a minor benediction, you are putting yourself into touch with the consciousness of the congregation, and you can do it much better if you realize what you are doing. One of the first lessons you give to people under occult training is that of stretching the aura. You begin with filling your aura with love, you think of some one you love, of God, of Nature, or humanity, or whatever calls out love in you, and you charge yourself with love, and then you turn that out upon the world, or towards Nature, and you stretch out your aura and it becomes, after a month or two of this kind of practice, much more extended than it was before. The power to do that is one of the powers that comes with ordination, and you can stretch it out over the people with whom you are working.
Having done this, you have to remember as the service proceeds to renew that touch from time to time, and to keep them enfolded within the sphere of your consciousness as you work with them at the different stages of the ceremony.
Attitude in the Service
In doing the service, and saying the liturgy, you have to learn to react instantaneously to certain emotions and ideas which are generated from within. The person who is used to doing it can respond at will to a particular set of emotions and ideas. In the beginning one is faced with the fact that people are so unaccustomed in the outer world to this kind of work. The ordinary person's thoughts and emotions are called out by external impacts -- a picture, a visit from a friend, a letter that gives him pleasure. But in this case you are working, not so much with impacts from the outer world, except as a liturgy, but with the thoughts and feelings within yourself, so that at a moment's notice you have to charge yourself with those fundamental thoughts and emotions which recur so often in the liturgy -- love, joy, peace, beauty, and so on. To learn how to do this is worth all the teaching in theology put together. It is difficult, but one must try to do it and practice it unceasingly.
At the beginning of the service you kneel before the altar steps. The signification is that you are at the foot of the altar, and you are realizing your unworthiness, the enormous difference that separates you and the divine Majesty; you have a real sense of humbleness -- it is good you know, for even a Theosophist to feel humble -- and during the Asperges you are going to purify yourself and put yourself into the right attitude. Then comes the opening canticle, which is largely about the majesty and dignity of God and the sense of joy with which you approach the tabernacle, as though to go to the altar of God were the happiest thing in your life, as it ought to be.
"Even unto the God of my joy and gladness ".
When you sing "joy and gladness", you fill yourself with happiness, or bliss, as they call it in the East. Brahman is bliss, the spring of all happiness, and that is the natural concomitant of all spiritual experience. Now you not only think of yourself as full of happiness, but you have to pour it out in a flood of power and joy over the whole congregation, so that the congregation is happy, and it becomes a paean of happiness.
"O send out Thy light and Thy truth".
These words help us to realize the greatness and glory of God. You unite also with other kingdoms, with the angels and with the forces of Nature, and you build up through this canticle a sphere of tremendous joy.
"The Lord shall give strength unto His people ".
There you think of strength -- of the First Person of the Trinity, of the Master, or whatever suggests strength to you. If you like, you can work with the candles, or the crosses. I myself work with the First Ray Cross in this part, and draw upon its power. Just as in the Introit you work with the aspects of the Trinity, so in the canticles you link yourself with the special power of force which brings the kind of influence you need.
"Turn us again, O Lord and quicken us". This is to put the congregation into tune with the Infinite.
"Trust ye in the Lord for ever". "For our Rock of Ages is the Lord". All of this is the First Ray.
In the Confiteor you have the idea of Christ's love for us, and of our spiritual self-
assertion, of the higher Self.
Then the Absolution comes down to straighten out the different bodies and synchronize them, as the result of all this aspiration.
The Introit is intended to lift our thoughts very high. That ought to be very real to all priests. We are so full of Theosophical speculations, or reactions to prejudices which have come from childhood, that the word "God" is not real to us; it is often only an intellectual theory. We talk about "the Logos", because we do not like saying "God". Try to realize that we are living in a great sea of light which responds to every action of ours. That is the Divine Life and the laws of Nature are the manifestations of the Divine Will in the Universe.
"Blessed be the Holy Trinity ". "Blessed " is a very old expression which means that you send up your love and devotion to the Holy Trinity. Of course it would be almost blasphemous to speak of blessing God in the ordinary sense of the word.
"To whom be honour and glory for ever and ever". There are certain words which bring With them very high ideas, such as "honour ", "glory" ,"splendour". They describe the .feeling of. bliss. awe, and majesty, and the sense of sanctity which we have in thinking of the Divine consciousness.
"Thy Name" means the Divine power manifested in the universe.
Thinking of the three aspects of the Divine consciousness in yourself, you repeat the opening words again -- "Blessed be the Holy Trinity" , etc. Then follows the Gloria
I do not want to go through the whole liturgy with you. But you see that there is tremendous scope for getting into touch with the Divine consciousness, if you take all this work along the lines I have been indicating. If you learn to do that and carry it out, you will never have any difficulty in holding the interest of your congregation, and keeping their thought vital and living. Here, where the congregation are trained along this way of thinking, we have the extraordinary result that some forty to fifty people attend our services daily, and more on Sundays, and it is not as though we lived in a town. The same can be done in any Church carried out on these lines.
We should not be always thinking of ourselves. The selfish man, Bishop Leadbeater says, is an anachronism. We ought naturally to be thinking of other people, but most especially in the services of the Church. So try to base your work on this principle, which is really, fundamental -- that the priest must not be thinking of himself, that he must decentralize, as it were and think actively, positively, definitely, helpfully of others and then you will get interesting results. One result is that the angels come much closer. You must realize that the being of the angels is quite different from ours; their consciousness is more focused in the higher part of their nature, and to a much less extent in the lower; in us it is the other way about. It is only when humanity is unselfish and not turned in on himself, not absorbed in petty interests, that the angels can come closely in touch with us and undertake that cooperation which it is intended should be brought about between us and them. In church you get people turned outward, really feeling as a body corporate, and when the angels work with us, you can get the sense of the larger consciousness, the universal consciousness. Then I feel that nine-tenths of the problems and difficulties which trouble us drop away; also your ideas and views concerning other people become changed. I do feel that this view of our work is exceedingly important; for it is the very foundation on which our work can become really useful. We do not want our services merely to give a nice impression. You agree with me now that this is fundamental; but will you remember it to-morrow? Every priest must sympathetically turn outwards and keep in touch with his congregation. Remember it is Christ who is working through the Eucharist, not you yourself; He is working at the altar through His celebrant. There is also another way in which way can look at it. There is the Christ in you who is working through you as you go through the Mass, and if you think of that as you do the Mass, it will be an enormous help. You have always the duality, the two aspects of Christ the Victim and Christ the Priest. Christ is the High-Priest who offers the Sacrifice, and also the Victim who is sacrificed.
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THE WORK OF A PRIEST
III. The Inner Side of the work.
I would like to suggest that most of you do not put enough meaning in to what you are saying during the service. You have the habit of saying things in a rather perfunctory and formal way, not putting much activity of the mind behind what you say. The consequence of this is that during the whole of the service one misses something which should be there. I know that in your case it is partly due to the fact that you are using a foreign language, and one cannot avoid a certain amount of what one may call "stickiness", of lagging back, when the people are not familiar with the language they are using. It is, of course, not easy for them to throw themselves with great flexibility into the meaning of what is being said. But apart from this, you should be able to put much more realization than you do of your thought and feeling into the words you are using.
We will take the Gloria in excelsis and just say it. You have here a series of different sentiments of an uplifting nature, and in order that they may be realized satisfactorily, you need to have a certain conception of things. I have been speaking to our people here a good deal on this subject. It is natural to man to express himself in praise and adoration of the deity. Of course, there are a great many people to whom the idea of God means nothing at all. Either they associate Him with theological arguments, or with teachings of their childhood when He was held over them as a kind of menace; but few people, I am afraid, have a realization of God as a living power, and I do not think there is any better way of getting that experience than through the services of the Church. There you have a way of getting that living realization.
Working with the Aura.
Most of us here of course approach these matters from the Theosophica1 point of view, and you will be able better to grasp what I am saying if you approach the subject in terms of the aura. Most people think that they end here, at the periphery of the physical body; but the man who has practiced a little Yoga, and has tried to make the aura a reality to him, who thinks of the aura as responsible for the work he does and for the influences he sends out into the world, comes to realize himself definitely as a sphere or influence; he realizes that there is something radiating from him all the time, and as he goes through his work in the world, he comes to think of himself instinctively and definitely as carrying everywhere with him this body of influence. You will have heard how, when a person becomes blind, he develops a greater sensitiveness of touch. That is because the organ of touch is transferred from the skin to the periphery of the aura, and he will instinctively move out of the way of an obstacle. Therefore the first step is to work with the aura as a body of influence surrounding one
You know that when people make very rapid progress in spiritual things their aura becomes extended. The aura of the Lord Buddha, we are told, extended from three miles, while that of the "King" encompasses the world; or, expressing it from another point of view, we may say that sphere of the King's consciousness extends over the hole world. If you follow up that line of reasoning, you can think of the consciousness of the Logos as extending over the whole of His system. And we are, each one of us, in very close touch with that conciousncss, so that there is a reaction in that consciousness -- in the consciousness of God -- immediately to every thought, to every emotion, to everything that takes place within us; and every activity of our consciousness finds its immediate response in the consciousness of God. You become aware of that, I think, at certain important moments in the Church services. I wonder how many people have that experience, -- when you feel that force showering down upon you sometimes like a great blaze of power, sometimes shimmering down like a beautiful soft rain. You notice this response of some power outside of you, some wave of power flowing and raining down upon you; and that is the response from the consciousness of God.
Now you will find that the work divides itself naturally and under two heads -- certain devotions turned towards God, the Logos, and another class of service in which you are dealing less directly with the power of the Logos, but more with the specialized power of the Christ through the Host. In Vespers, for instance, and in the early part of the Eucharist, from the Asperges to the Gradual, you are dealing more directly with the consciousness of the Logos. Now when you get the reaction from the power of the Logos, it is a much more impersonal thing, and the curious point one remarks is that you cannot use it so well for specific purposes, as you can that power which comes from the Christ. This you can specialize for your purpose, and it will follow very well. You can use it for helping people in difficulties, perplexities, and for healing and so on. You can direct the force of the Logos, but not to the same extent.
Realization of God
We have gradually to sensitize to this reaction, and as we do this, God becomes less of a theological or intellectual idea, and more of a living reality; so that there
comes a time when you can really say that you have a love for God -- which I suppose very few in these days I can say. Possibly the last generation, and our forefathers, could say this, but to-day there are few who have a definite feeling of love for God because we realize very little about Him. To-day it is the fashion to think very little of the cosmic God outside us, but only to recognize Him as God in our fellow man -
- as, of course, He is in everybody -- but it a mistake to forget that He exists outside us, as well as within all of us. It is as well to recognize that there is the God without and the God within, if we wish to make a balanced and orderly progress the spiritual life.
The understanding of our liturgy depends rather on the degree to which we have realized all this. You remember that when the Christ was asked what was the greatest commandment, He replied, "First Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy strength." and then "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as Thyself". Of course, the modern Theosophist would put the second one first (he knows more about it than Christ did!); he thinks it is more important to love one's neighbour. But the point is that you cannot love him in the real sense until you have discovered the divinity within him. You can have all sorts of emotional impulses towards your neighbour, but your love for him really springs from this recognition of the divinity within him. It is the God in you responding to the God within him. That is the only real basis for love between people. We have plenty of emotional experience of love but before we attain to that; it comes and goes in great surges or waves, but the real love, which we call buddhi, does not come and go; it is like a great sun steadily shining, always glowing, without fluctuation. It does not come and go in surges like the emotional impulses. Therefore, if you examine the facts, you will see that the injunction of our Lord was quite right; that first you have to realize this great love for God, and then you will love your neighbour as yourself.
I think you need first to realize that before you can grasp all that is in the Liturgy. I think that if God is for you only an intellectual conception, you cannot make much out of the liturgy. When you say "Glory to God in the Highest", have you had any experience of the immense satisfaction of merging yourself in the larger consciousness of God, when the consciousness within you, imprisoned within you, reaches up and strives to unite with the consciousness of the God outside you? It is a natural thing that we should want to give praise and glory to God, to unite our consciousness with His, that the human consciousness should reach up in the endeavor to unite with the larger consciousness.
Then you turn your thought outward, and send out to men of goodwill (because only it you have goodwill can you be peaceful) as much as they will be able to receive, the benediction of peace.
"We bless Thee, we worship Thee"-- we recognize the greatness of God in relation to ourselves "We glorify Thee" -- we allow the divine life in us to shine out to the greater life outside. "We give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory." -- we lift up ourselves in recognition of that glory.
Those words stamp all this passage as reflecting the First Ray aspect; and you can put an enormous amount of power into these words if you think of their real meaning -- the recognition of the kingship, the magnificence and the might of God. You can lift up the whole congregation into that source of power, the strength of God Himself. You can if you wish, work through the First Ray center of the church, raising not only yourself, but the whole congregation with you, into the omnipotence of God. You think of the divine life outside of us, which is so much greater than anything we have in our own consciousness. Now we will practice it.
You notice the difference when you say it with meaning as you have just done. Do you not get an impression as of a rain of power coming down on the top of the head? Do you not feel a hush of holiness in the church as the result of saying that? It is the response that comes from outside. You should go through the whole service in that way.
In the next paragraph you turn to the Second Aspect of the Logos: "O Lord Christ, alone-born of the Father ". Those words were originally put in, I suppose, for some theological purpose. They mean that there is One Life, which is the Father's life. Then it gives a different aspect; you notice a change: "O Lord God Indwelling Light." Here your outlook is changed; you have been thinking of the life without, and here you think of the life and light which dwells within the human heart. You become a mystic for the moment, and think of "the Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world". You think as strongly as you can of the divine life which has imprisoned itself in you.
"Son of the Father, Whose wisdom mightily and sweetly ordereth all things". There you have the Second Aspect. I always put myself into the ashram of the Master K.H. at this part, but if you do that you must always be careful not to go with a demand to the Master, with an idea of pulling Him down to you, of getting Him to do something for you. But you may take the wisdom aspect of yourself , unite that with the accumulation of wisdom in the church, and offer that to the Master. You should have the attitude of giving, the attitude of pouring forth our life and our wisdom as an offering to the Christ.
"Thou Whose strength upholdeth and sustaineth all creation ". Here you can think of the Master M., if you like, and send up a great blaze of strength from yourself and the congregation to Him for His service.
"Thou Whose beauty shineth through the whole universe, unveil Thy glory." You take the idea of beauty, you lift up your consciousness in the sense of splendor, and offer it with the prayer that the beauty and splendor of God may be revealed. I generally think of the Master R. when saying these words.
In the last paragraph we are addressing the Christ, as you usually do whenever at the end of passages you have ascriptions to the Holy Trinity. You wrap it up, as it were, send it up as an offering, gathered together as a tribute to the higher worlds before the Throne. All unselfish thought, every thought of feeling which is not colored by self-interest or selfishness, goes up into that spiritual reservoir which, we are told, exists for the helping of the world. Thus the unselfish thought sent up in Church worship flows into that reservoir and is thus used. Having lifted your consciousness and attained a kind of ecstasy, you finally merge your thought of the Second and Third into the First Aspect of the Trinity.
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II. THE SERVICE OF BAPTISM (CONFIRMATION, BURIAL)
(Tuesday, August 14th)
The Bishop began by showing an Altar stone of a portable kind, and commenting on it. He suggested that it might be conveniently somewhat longer than the one he showed. He then sent for the baptismal appliance and gave a talk on the Baptism Service.
In a proper Church the font is at the entrance of the church, as Baptism is the gateway to the Sacraments. If that is not convenient, then the ceremony can be arranged in front of the Altar rails. If an infant, the form for infants is used if two years or about two years old the form for children is used, and you use this form till the person is more or less adolescent; after that the third form is used.
The Priest, wearing a violet stole, says: "In the Name ...". The sponsor presents the child. The priest then places his right hand on the baby's head. If an infant, he may try to avoid you in which case it is sufficient if you just touch the head to make the physical contact, then withdraw the hand, say the prayer ...... then exorcism ...... then touch the child's head again. All that is purification and you don' t need to use very great power -- it is easier to purify the body of an infant than to purify a diamond ring, for instance. It may take a long time to get the nastiness out of a ring, while but little power is needed to purify an infant.
The sponsor holds the child. The words "Ephatha" etc. are said, and then you make four crosses : over the brow, throat, heart and navel. In doing this you open those chakras or centers. If the child is very young, the chakras are about the size of a trouser button but they become enlarged to about the size of a small saucer when the crosses are made. The point to remember, though, is that you are really giving the chakras a chance to enlarge more easily to that size in the course of their development. They will contract again after the ceremony and in any case they will be closed later by the priest, or the power would leak out; but, by that temporary opening, you will have made it easier for them to expand, and they will never shrink back to their original size. The words "be thou opened" were the Lord's own words. He Himself explained the opening up of the chakra. He made an easy way in which we could use some language that indicated what happened, without intriguing outsiders. The words "the beginning of Thy Glory .... " spoken with the hand outstretched over the child, betoken the Power given by the Baptism, which will enable him to attain to the "fullness of the new birth". The new birth means the first great Initiation, of which Baptism is a symbol.
Then the priest puts the end of his stole on the child's shoulders and says: "Come into the Temple ..... " He then takes a little of the Oil of Catechumens, and anoint the front and back of the throat. Then he makes a cross the full-length of the child in front and at the back, taking care to make the cross the full-length of the body. The form is much the same for adults. An adult begins by kneeling for the exorcism, but stands for this, see that he stands clear of the altar rails when these full-length crosses are made. Think of making a shield over the head, and down under the feet, making as it were a cuirass of white light -- or which, to be more correct, an angel makes.
The symbolism is now of a person going to be regenerated; so the Priest takes off the violet stole -- symbolical of the darkness of the outer world -- and puts on a white stole as the symbol of regeneration. If a child, hold him a little backwards with the face raised, as the rule is that the water must run (if water only touches the hair, the baptism is of doubtful validity; in the usage of some Protestant bodies there is no guarantee that water has flowed). The water must have contact with the skin. (The Bishop showed a shell which is commonly used, from which the water flows in a steady stream). Pour it on in the shape of a cross, and if it does not run on to the skin, hold your hand on the forehead and allow the water to flow over the forehead. You can wipe it on the skin with your thumb and you are then sure that it is a valid baptism. Then take the Chrism (brushes aside the hair) and make the sign of the cross on the top of the head. With the "Words Christ's Holy Chrism ....." you open the chakra, holding the thought of purification of that center -- the center through which a person goes in and out of the body -- so that every time the individual goes in and out through that center he is protected -- it makes a sort of consecrated place.
If the person has not been previously baptized in some other church, you say the words "I receive thee ....." etc., but if on the contrary he is already baptized, you say "I sign thee". Then the server brings cloth and candle. Take the cloth from the altar, bless it and put it on the person. ( the candle need not be blessed as it is supposed that the candle has been lit from the altar, and the altar from the Sanctuary Light).
Baptize absolutely all who have not been baptized, and re-baptize persons from Protestant churches where the Holy Oils have not been used. Baptisms by Roman Catholic priests are considered valid, also baptisms in the Old Catholic and Eastern Churches. In the case of baptisms done by the Church of England we re-baptize, because they do not have any anointing; but we do it "sub conditione". You must not do it again for people who have been baptized in the Catholic Churches, it would be sacrilege to do it over again. Unless a person is going to be ordained I do not insist on re-baptism, I offer or recommend it. At one time there was a certain laxity in the English Church but that is not so now. In the 18th century there is a story of a bishop who spread his hands over fourteen persons at once and just flicked a little water over them! The Roman Catholics in England made a rule that they would not accept baptisms by the Church of England on account of this laxity, though a baptism by a Jewish doctor in a hospital when administered to the dying was considered valid. Curiously enough, this rule does not seem to have been made on the Continent. When Anglicans come to me to be re- baptized, I say it is not essential, as we acknowledge the validity of the first baptism; but I generally find, that after it is pointed out to them what they are getting, they generally want it. If a person does not know whether he has been baptized you should do it again conditionally.
In the Anglican Church they have apostolic succession. We do not re-confirm people who have been confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church; but the Eastern Churches do not seem to have confirmation at all in the same sense. In the Eastern Church it is a kind of continuation of the baptism as an infant, so there is no real confirmation. Kindly Protestants admit it but it is truer to say that there is no confirmation in the Greek Church. If a member of the Church has been schismatic, and then returns to the Church then the Eastern Church has a kind of confirmation. The Eastern way of looking at it is based on the idea that people in schism lose the grace of the Holy Spirit, therefore have to have it given back to them when they come back into the true fold. It is best to baptize in Church but not essential; baptism is just as valid done in houses or elsewhere, but is better done in a church because it is a consecrated place. I am very particular about our own baptisms because they must be done properly so that no one can question their validity. You must use the two oils, first oil of catechumens, secondly the Chrism. The water with which you do a baptism should be blessed rather like Holy water but with the intention of baptism, but it is valid even if the water is not blessed. The three oils used have different rates of vibration. The "infirmorum", for healing, works mainly through the etheric; the baptismal oil, or that of catechumens works chiefly at the astral level; and the Chrism, for purification at the astral level and for stimulation at the causal and buddhic levels -- it is a tremendous stimulus for the higher powers.
Question: What does one do if a person is dying ?
Well, you don't talk to him of hell, do you? It depends on the beliefs of the person. You might talk about reincarnation. A doctor I knew, who had attended many death beds said his experience was that spiritualists die best, then Roman Catholics, then all the rest, and worst of all, materialists. What you do depends very much on the state of the person. You give Extreme Unction if they are near death, or healing if they are not near death. You can give the Reserved Host, the Viaticum, as it is called, if the person is in a condition to swallow it. You must carry the Host on your person carefully in a pyx, if you cannot take it in a carriage; for we cannot take it through the streets with bell and procession, as they do in Roman Catholic countries. Put vestments on if there is time; otherwise it does not matter.
Question: What should one do after the person is dead ?
You sprinkle the body with Holy Water, then give "Absolution", as it is called, for the corpse first thing. Then you give the invocation, then a "charge" is given, followed by the singing of the "Te Deum", or if this seems too joyous, you may alter it to some other psalm. If the person is a priest, the head is towards the Altar; if a laymen the reverse, Asperse thrice on each side. Do the same with the incense. Then come vesicles and responses, and a prayer. Then the procession of the coffin to the grave, or cemetery or crematorium. If in a cemetery, or crematorium. If in a cemetery, after the prayer you incense the grave, and then take some earth and sprinkle it in the usual way, saying "Earth to earth, dust to dust ...". The scheme for cremation is slightly different: you commit the cast off body to the Fire.
In Requiem Mass, the Eucharistic Service is taken as usual, but with different Collects, Gradual and Post-Communio.
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III. MARRIAGE SERVICE.
(Thursday, 16th August)
When the bridal couple arrive at the bottom of the church, the clergy and servers can go down to meet them and conduct them up the church. Otherwise, you will have the bride and the bridesmaids sitting on the one side and the bridegroom and best man on the other side of the church. It is the one occasion on which the man stands on the right side of the woman. Then they come up to the altar rails together and you read the charge to them. Then you bless and hallow the ring, the Bride is given away and the man takes her right hand and says after you the words: "I, N.... take thee .....". In reply to a question by an American priest as to the duration of the bond of marriage "till the death us here do part ", the Bishop replied that if these words were a difficulty, then far better not go through a sacrament which was intended for that time. Such people can just, have a blessing. The point is that the union you make does last. I think myself that the whole institution of marriage need a revision, but I don't care to take the responsibility for changing the conditions.
A question as to re-marrying divorced persons was raised. The Bishop replied: You can re-marry a divorced person but you must use your discretion. There is no moral difficulty about remarrying the innocent party, with regard to the other you must use your discretion. One way out of it is to give a blessing. -- I don't mind giving a blessing to anybody! -- and say a few prayers. The occult point is that the first marriage was intended to make a life link.
Now I think we have done for the purely formal side of the ritual.
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IV. HEALING SERVICE
(Thursday, 16th August)
I thought we would take up this afternoon first for a few moments the Healing Service, and show how that is done. You begin with the Asperges. By the way, there is a misprint in the first prayer: it should read "His" servants, not "Thy" servants. In reply to a question as to whether the service should be taken in the morning or at night the Bishop said: I think it is better done in the morning. It is sometimes done in the evening but the bodies are then tired and dissociated, there is not the same connection between the physical and the higher bodies. You see the physical body has been having impacts upon it all day which tire the body very much, and so it does not work in the same homogeneous way that it does earlier in the day, as these impacts make it work at different rates of vibration. You see all sorts of different little vortices all over it.
The real part of the Service begins with the calling of the Healing Angel. If you have done the Mass, it is not necessary to do the Asperges nor the Confiteor again. I do it after the Eucharist as a rule, and the people who are to be healed do not take communion until the Healing Service. I have the feeling myself -- except for Ordinations -- for rather separating things off, as it makes the Eucharist drag out too long.
Then we come to the Anointing. We do it in this Church at the communion rails, and you do it like this, from the Altar (gesture ). As the prayer "O Lord ...... " the intention you have is a general one, of opening up the people, of opening, up the anthakarana (just as in the obligation in masonry or in the prayer of ordination) -- that their hearts and minds be opened to the heavenly grace -- it cleans out the spinal channels. The exorcism draws out the divine power in you for cleansing the candidate.
Then you take a little of the healing oil, and say: "In the Name ....." then you anoint. You do not want to say the words mechanically, but you think of the Lord Christ and of the Archangel Raphael. Then you say the phrase: "Christ the Son of God........ " think of the Lord Christ pouring down His healing power upon them. You think of the healing power coming through you, and of the aura as charged with love and of the Christ's influence as flowing through you, filling the aura with love. Then you make the crosses -- being careful to touch the skin -- all this you do for the person individuality. Then you say generally: "As with this ..... ", after that you give the Sacrament if not already received.
I make a practice of exposing the Host after the Absolution, but you had better have your Bishop's consent before you do so.
V. QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
(Thursday, 18 august 1928)
Q. : In making the sign at the end of the second Benediction, why do you make the circle first ?
A. : I copy what C.W.L did. I suppose it depends on what the Logos did? The underlying idea is perhaps that an area of manifestation was marked out first.
Q.: If one has consecrated more Hosts then are consumed actually at Communion by the congregation, may one consume this oneself ?
A.: Yes, you can; or if there are too many, you may call up the congregation to help you. In the Anglican Church, it is a common practice to consecrate too much wine, say on Christmas day, and you often see the churchwardens being called up to dispose of it.
Q. : Is it admissible to dips the Host in the wine before administering, as you did this morning?
A. : The answer is no; because the Episcopal Synod decided against it, thinking it too dangerous. Personally, I like it. The R.C.Church dropped it. We need to do it here, but I do it only in the case of the Ordination of Priests, or at a concelebration like this morning, then I look on the Priests as celebrating with me.
Q : If the priest has got to take all those unconsummated wafers, why is it is too strong for him to take two communions in one day ?
A.: It is not the question of the amount in bulk, but of the experience being repeated. Technically, you might get as much of the power of the Lord in a single atom as in several Hosts. In the case of the priest's consuming the unused Hosts afterwards, that is considered as all part of the one communion.
Q.: How long does Holy Water retain its strength ?
A.: About a week I think. Holy Water radiated and peters out rather quickly. It begins to get feeble after a week or so. I don't say there would be nothing left after some months, but there wouldn't be much.
Q.: How long does one keep the consecrated Host ?
A.: About a month; but it depends rather on the climate.
Q.: Must any special size of hosts be used ?
A.: It depends on the size of the congregation concerned. It must be big enough for a large number to see it. You can get smaller ones for use in a small oratory.
Q.: May we try some kind of concelebration, like we did this morning ?
A : I think I had rather you did not on the whole, without asking the Presiding Bishop. Some of our Bishops are against experiments and the spread of things which are not normal. You see some of our priests are rather new to all this, and are inclined to let their interest in psychic things push them to all kind of experiments.
Q.: Was the effect of the service this morning strong ?
A.: It was very strong. The effect this morning was "ragged"; but the amount of power round the altar was enormous. I like doing it myself, as it builds up a sense of unity; you all become part of a larger whole as you do it, and it helps to lift the priests into a larger consciousness.
Q.: What is the meaning of the phrase in the Ordination Service: "Whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained" ?
A : Suppose someone comes to me in confession and says: I have stolen five florins --you might consider it expedient to withhold absolution until he had made restitution. Or if you are not quite sure of a man's genuine regret and contrition, you might ask him to think it over and then come again. This matter of "retaining" sins also refers to the words "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven", and may have something to do with the loosening of karma. The point is, that as it is a phrase that has been used a long time in other Churches, it would have been difficult to leave it out. Still, you can explain it quite easily in the way I put it just now. You are not bound to give absolution if you think the person is not sincere.
Q.: What is the difference in the working of the Host when a person takes It himself, and when he is only in the presence of the host ?
A: I think it is only a rather big difference of degree, and not a difference in kind. You bring it down a stage lower, certainly when you take the Host. When you are at a celebration and the priest takes It, everyone receives it vicariously at the etheric level; but when you take the Host into you physically, there is a much stronger reaction of the power of the Christ, and that will radiate from you for a couple of hours or so. But when you are in the presence of the Host, it does not radiate from you, but only rays upon you. You do radiate, but not to the same extent.
Q : Is it helpful for a person to drink Holy Water ?
A.: Well, it might have a very decided effect - as an emetic! But to drink " magnetized water" is supposed by some healers to be very good for one. There is no salt in the latter.
Q : In the Healing Service, in the laying on of hands, is it necessary to press ?
A.: Just put the hands slightly on the head; you need not press.
Q : Would you kindly tell us more of the effect and the working of the candles? And why is there no candle burnt for the Second Ray ? Is the power of the Second Ray in the silence ?
A: The power of the First Ray is still more in the silence. It is quite above all speech. The candles were not originally designed to have anything to do with the Seven Rays. You see, in the early days candles were piled up round the Altar. At Sarum (Salisbury, a cathedral in England) there were two candles on the Altar and four on the posts at each side of the Altar as in our side-altars here. Things have varied a good deal. I am not at all sure myself whether it would not be better to have a seventh candle at all celebrations, for the Second Ray. But it is not very important. A seventh candle is lit when a Bishop is there, because, owing to his Episcopal ordination his consciousness goes up a stage higher than the priests. It helps in the expression of the Buddhic quality. The seventh candle is of course represented by the Host, the Host is the special channel of the Second Ray influence.
Q.: Is not the "perpetual light" the symbol of the Second Ray ?
A : Yes, I think you might take it like that.
Q.: When you are censing the Cross, does not that go to the Second Ray ?
A.: Yes, of course.
Q.: Does it help this Center here, and our particular churches if we think of Huizen when we are celebrating in our own places ?
A: It will always help both parties concerned, if you make an act of union with this place. It is an ideal scheme: to have as it were one great radiating center and a number of
[The English version ends here. The version published in Dutch continues with the following questions and answers The text printed below is not the original, but is an English translation based on the Dutch translation. It is the hope of the Editor that the original words by Bp. Wedgwood may be found.]
other living relationship with it. It is useful to establish a connection with the Collects or during the first Censing.
Q.: Is there a serious problem when a magnitised object is lost ?
A.: Usually it will not do much harm, I think. If the object is linked to one of the Masters, it become a more serious issue. Generally speaking, the use of magnitised objects is obviously of a great help. They keep you strongly focussed inthe moments you are more or less conscious. That does not mean, that you should not try, but your awareness cannot be continually stressed to its limit. It takes quite awhile before you can reside in a state of dream, or better in a state of unconsciousness en that a magnetized object can keep you focussed. Besides keeping you focussed, they also, in cases of emergency, provide a source of strength for the help[ of others. Furthermore, if you are willing to wear them, they may help you too.
Q.: Which formula should be used to bless objects for this particular purpose ?
A. There is a prayer, in our Liturgy, to be used for the blessing of objetcs in general.
But after some time, you will learn that such a prayer is no longer needed. We must use adequate words in the Church because we bless in public, but when we do it in private such a particular wording is not necessary. Someone who has practiced meditation or concentration doesn't have the need for words anymore. You may use your own words and adapt them to your purpose. It would be very good if juwels and such items would be purified with water and soap or anything else to clean them thoroughly.
Q.: Is it allowed to use the Holy Chrism? Can we place the objects to be blessed on the Altar?
A. No. Holy water is to be used for purification, but the Holy Chrism adds a blessing. Yes, you could place the juwels under the chalice.
Q.: How does one know, when an object is purified? Yesterday you told us, as an example, that it may take 15 minutes to purify a ring with a diamant.
A. You cannot know if you cannot see it. You have to do what you think is best. If you do your best you certainly will achieve some result.
Q. Can a talisman, properly magnetized and sealed, take up outside that it may need to be magnetized again?.
A. I don't think so. if it has been properly done, although it may collect a certain amount of impurity.
Q.: How long will a magnitized object keep the effect of magnetism?
A.: That depends on who has done it, for what purpose it was done, and how long ago.. Rings are difficult, especially when they are worn at the right hand, because of the custom to shake hands with other people. Such a ring absorbs magnetism. In such a case it is very good to repeat the operation from time to time.
Q. Is it good to exorcise rooms?
A.: That is a very good idea.
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