How Can Mankind Find the Christ Again?
I. The Birth of Christ in the Human Soul
22 December 1918, Basel
Like two mighty pillars of the spirit have the annual festivals of Christmas and Easter been placed by the Christian world within the course of the year, itself a symbol of the course of human life. On these spiritual pillars standing before the human soul in its contemplation are inscribed the two great mysteries of mankind's physical existence. We must regard them very differently from the way we regard other events in the course of our physical life.
It is true that a supersensible element reaches into this physical life through our sense observation and our intellectual judgments, through the content of our feeling and will. In certain instances it proclaims itself clearly as supersensible — when, for example, Christian feeling undertakes to symbolize it in the festival of Pentecost. With Christmas and Easter, on the other hand, we must look at two events in earthly life that in external appearance would seem perhaps to be completely physical events; and yet, in contrast to all other physical events, they do not — indeed, they cannot by their very nature — present themselves as simply physical events. We can observe human physical life as we observe nature, perceiving with our senses the external manifestation of the spirit. But we can never observe the two boundary events of human life, not even just their physical occurrence, without confronting through physical perception itself their tremendous riddle, their profound mystery. These are the events of birth and death. In the life of Christ Jesus, and in our thoughts of Christmas and Easter reminding us of it, these two events of man's physical life stand before our soul, addressing the Christian heart.
As we contemplate these two great mysteries in their relation to Christmas and Easter, we find illuminating strength for our thinking, a powerful incentive for our willing, and an uplifting of our whole being. They stand there, these two pillars of the spirit, possessing an eternal value.
In the course of human evolution, however, men's capacities have changed for approaching the sublime conceptions of Christmas and Easter. During the early Christian centuries, when the Event of Golgotha had penetrated and shocked many hearts, men gradually found their way to the thought of a Savior dying on Golgotha. In the Crucified One hanging on the Cross they found the idea of redemption. And they gradually formed the powerful imagination of Christ dying on the Cross. But in later times, especially since our modern age began, Christian feeling has adjusted itself to the materialism rising in human evolution and has turned to the picture of the childlike element entering the world as the newborn Jesus.
One may certainly say that a sensitive person will find European Christianity decidedly materialistic from the way it has concentrated in recent centuries upon the Christmas manger. The desire to fondle the infant Jesus — this is not meant in a bad sense — has become trivial in the course of centuries. And many songs about the Jesus Child that today are still considered beautiful, or — as some people would say — charming, seem to us not serious enough for these grave times.
But the conception of Christmas and the conception of Easter are eternal pillars, eternal monuments of the human heart. One can truly say that this age of new spiritual revelations will cast new light upon Christmas, so that gradually it will be experienced in a glorious, new form. It will be our task to hear the call in present world events for a rejuvenation of many old conceptions, the call for a new revelation of the spirit. It will be our task to understand that a new meaning for Christmas is working its way out of world events for the strengthening and uplifting of the human soul.
The birth and death of a human being, however intently we may observe and analyze them, manifest themselves as events happening on the physical plane but in which a spiritual element prevails. No one who reflects earnestly can possibly deny that they give evidence in the way they occur that man is the citizen of a spiritual world. No physical observation of birth and death will ever find anything in what the senses can perceive and the intellect grasp, other than events in which the spirit is directly manifested in the physical. Only these two earthly events appear in this way to the human heart.
For the event of birth, the Christmas event, the human and Christian heart must develop an ever deeper sense of mystery. One may say that men have seldom looked from a high enough level upon the mysterious nature of birth. Seldom, indeed; but then at such moments its tidings speak to the depths of the human soul.
So it is, for instance, with the images associated with that spiritual genius of fifteenth-century Switzerland, Nikolaus von der Flüe. 1Nikolaus von der Flüe: 1417–1487. Urged arbitration as a method for resolving disputes. It is related of him — and he himself told it — that before his birth, before he breathed the outer air, he beheld the physical form that he would have after birth and during the course of his life. Also, he beheld before birth the ceremony of his own christening, with the persons who were present and who were then around him in his early childhood. With the exception of one elderly person whom he did not recognize, he knew all these people because he had seen them before he saw the light of the physical world.
However one may view this story, one cannot but see that it points impressively to the mystery of human birth, which is so magnificently symbolized for world history by the Christmas imagery. The story of von der Flue suggests that there is something connected with our entrance into physical life that only by a very, very thin wall is hidden from our everyday view, a wall so thin that it can be broken through when a karmic situation exists as in the case of Nikolaus von der Flüe. Such moving allusions to the mystery of birth and Christmas still meet us here and there. But one must say that as yet mankind is hardly aware of the fact that birth and death, the two boundary pillars standing there in the physical world, reveal themselves even in their physical appearance as spiritual events that could never occur in the ordinary course of nature, as events in which, on the contrary, divine spiritual Powers actually intervene. This is evident from the fact that both these boundary experiences still remain mysteries, even in their physical manifestation.
The new revelation of the Christ now moves us to contemplate the course of human life — allow me to express it in the following way — as Christ wishes us to contemplate it in the twentieth century. As we try today to grasp the meaning of Christmas, let us recall a saying attributed to Christ Jesus that points truly to the Christmas event: “Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” “Except ye become as little children”: this is certainly not encouraging us to strip away all the mystery of the Christmas conception, and to drag it down to the banality of “dear little Jesus,” as many folk songs and other songs have done — the folk songs less than the art songs — during the materialistic development of Christianity. This very saying — “Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” — impels us to look up to mighty impulses flowing through human evolution. And in our own time, all that is happening in the world can surely be no reason for lapsing into trivial ideas of Christmas, when the human heart is filled with pain, when it must look back upon millions of human beings who have met their death in these last years, must think of countless human beings hungering for food. At this time surely nothing is fitting but to contemplate the mighty thoughts in world history that have impelled and inspired humanity. One can be brought to such thoughts by the saying, “Except ye become as little children.” And one can supplement it by these words: “Unless you live your life in the light of this thought, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
When a human being enters this world as a child, he has come directly from the spiritual world. What happens in physical life, the procreation and growth of his physical body, is only a covering for the event that cannot be described otherwise than by saying: man's central being leaves the spiritual world. He is born out of the spirit into the body. When the Rosicrucian says “Ex Deo Nascimur,” he is speaking of the human being entering the physical world. What first en-sheathes him, what makes him a complete physical being here on earth: this is what is referred to by the words “Ex Deo Nascimur.” If one would speak of the kernel of the human being, his innermost core of being, one must say: he comes down from the spirit into this physical world. Through what takes place in the physical world — which he is able to observe from spiritual regions before his conception and birth — he is clothed with a physical body, in order that he may have experiences that are only possible in such a body. But he has come, in his central core of being, out of the spiritual world. And he reveals — to one who wants to see things as they really are in this world, who is not blinded by materialistic illusions — he reveals in his very first years by his very nature that he has come out of the spirit. One's experiences with a child, if one has insight, are of such a character that one feels in him the after-effects of his recent life in the spiritual world.
This is the mystery that is indicated by such stories as the one associated with Nikolaus von der Flüe. A trivial view and one strongly influenced by materialistic thinking asserts in its simplicity that a human being develops his ego gradually in the course of his life from birth to death, that his ego becomes more and more clearly manifest and more and more powerful. This is a naive way of thinking! If one observes the true human ego that comes from the spiritual world into its physical sheath through birth, one speaks quite differently about the entire physical development of the human being. For one knows that as the human being grows physically in his physical body, actually his true ego slowly vanishes into the body, becoming continually less and less manifest. One knows that what develops here in the physical world between birth and death is only a mirrored reflection of spiritual happenings, a dead reflection of a higher life. One is expressing it properly if one says, the entire fullness of a man's being gradually disappears into the body; it becomes more and more invisible. He lives his life here on earth by gradually losing himself in his body. At death he finds himself again in the spirit. That is what one says who knows the facts. Someone ignorant of the facts will declare that a child is incomplete, that his ego gradually develops to greater and greater perfection, growing out of vague subconscious levels of human existence. A knowledge of what the spiritual investigator sees, causes one to speak differently about these things than is done from today's sense-consciousness, enmeshed as it is in external illusions and materialistic feelings.
Thus the human being enters the world as a spiritual being. His bodily nature while he is a child is still undefined; it has as yet laid small claim to his spiritual nature, which is entering into physical existence as if it were falling asleep. This spiritual nature only seems so empty of content to us because we cannot perceive it in ordinary life, just as we cannot perceive the sleeping ego and astral body when they are separated from the physical and etheric bodies. But the fact that we do not perceive a being does not make it less perfect. This is what the human being has to accomplish in regard to his physical body: that he shall bury himself in it more and more deeply, in order to acquire faculties that can only be acquired in this way. His soul and spirit being must lose themselves for a while in physical existence. In order that we may always remember our spiritual origin, in order that we may grow strong in the thought that we have journeyed out of the spirit into the physical world: it is for this reason that the Christmas festival stands there like a mighty pillar of light within the Christian world.
The Christmas imagination must grow ever stronger in the future spiritual evolution of humanity. It will then become powerful again for humanity. Human beings will once more be able to draw strength from it for their physical life; it will remind them in the right way of their spiritual origin. Seldom in our present time does it have so powerful an effect upon human hearts as it will have in the future. For it is a strange fact, but rooted in the very laws of spiritual existence, that what appears in the world to help mankind forward does not appear at once in its ultimate form. It appears first, as it were, tumultuously, as if it were launched prematurely by unlawful spirits of world evolution. We only understand the historical evolution of humanity properly when we realize that truths are not always to be taken up as they first appear. The right moment must also be considered for their entrance into evolution in their true light.
Among various thoughts that have entered into the evolution of modern humanity — inspired, certainly, by the Christ Impulse but appearing at first in premature form — is that of human equality before God and the world, the equality of all men. This is a profoundly Christian conception capable of ever increasing in depth. But it should not have been presented to human hearts in such vague form as it was given by the French Revolution when it first appeared among mankind so tumultuously. We must realize that human life is involved in a process of evolution from birth to death, and that the chief impulses working upon it are distributed in time. Think how it is with the human being as he enters sense-existence: he is filled with the idea of the equality of human nature in all men. We experience the child nature most intensely when we regard the child as permeated through his whole being by this idea. Nothing that creates inequality among men, nothing that organizes men so that they feel different from other men: nothing of all this enters at first into the child's nature. It is all imparted to him in the course of his physical life. Inequality is created by men's physical existence. They come from the spirit equal before God and the world and their fellowmen. This is proclaimed by the mystery of the child.
This mystery is closely related to our understanding of Christmas, which will be made more profound by new Christian revelations. For these will have to do with the new Trinity: the human being, representing all humanity; the forces of Ahriman; and the forces of Lucifer. As one learns how man is placed in world existence in a situation of balance between Ahriman and Lucifer, one comes to understand the real significance of the human being in external physical life.
Most of all, understanding must come about, Christian understanding, for a certain aspect of human life. Someday Christian thought will announce a fact that has already been put forward by some minds since the middle of the nineteenth century — may I say, in stammering accents, but quite distinctly. When one has first grasped the fact that a child enters his earth life with a consciousness of human equality, then one must go on to the fact that as the child becomes a man, unequal powers develop in him — as if from just the fact of being born — powers that are obviously not of this earth. One is then confronting another great mystery of human existence, one that is in direct contrast to the idea of equality. To see into this mystery will help one to form a true picture of mankind — something that already at this present moment in time has become earnestly necessary for the future evolution of the human soul. One faces the startling fact that human beings begin to differ from one another while they are growing out of childhood, by reason of something that obviously is born in them, something in their blood: that is, their various gifts and capacities.
One meets the question of gifts and capacities that create such inequality among men in connection with the thought of Christmas. Future Christmas festivals will point to the origin of this vast difference throughout the world in human capacities, talents, even genius. A person will only attain balance in his life when he has learnt to know the origin of certain capacities that are distinguishing him from other men. The light of Christmas, of the Christmas candles, must provide an explanation for evolving humanity. It must answer the question: Do individuals suffer injustice between birth and death from the way the universe is ordered? What is the truth about capacities and talents?
Dear friends, many things will be seen in a different light when mankind has become permeated by the new Christian feeling. Particularly, it will be understood why an esoteric knowledge of the Old Testament included special insight into the nature of prophecy. Who were those prophets who appear in the Old Testament? They were individuals who had been sanctified by Jahve and authorized by Him to use special spiritual gifts that reached far beyond those of ordinary men. Jahve had first to sanctify those capacities that are born to men through the blood. We know that Jahve influences human beings in the time between their falling asleep and waking; He does not work in their conscious life. Every true believer of the Old Testament said in his heart: The capacities and talents that differentiate men, rising to the level of genius in the case of a prophet, are indeed born with the individual. But they are not used by him beneficently unless he sinks in sleep into the realm where Jahve guides his soul impulses. Jahve, active from the spiritual world, transforms his talents; otherwise they would only be physical, only part of his bodily organism.
We point here to the deep mystery of an Old Testament conception. But this must die away, including the belief in the nature of a prophet. New conceptions must enter the evolution of world history for the salvation of mankind. The talent that the ancient Hebrew believed was sanctified by Jahve during unconscious sleep must now in this modern age be sanctified by the human being himself when he is awake and in a state of clear consciousness. But he can only do this if he knows that all natural gifts, capacities, talents, even genius, are luciferic endowments, that they work luciferically in the world unless they are permeated and sanctified by all that enters the world as the Christ Impulse. One touches upon a tremendously important mystery in the evolution of modern humanity if one grasps this central fact of the new Christmas thoughts. The Christ must be so felt, so understood that a human being can now stand before Him as a New Testament believer and say: In spite of my childhood sense of equality, I have been endowed with various capacities and gifts. But they can only contribute to the salvation of mankind if I dedicate them to the service of Christ Jesus, if I permeate my whole nature with the Christ, so that they may be freed from the grasp of Lucifer.
A heart permeated by the Christ tears away from Lucifer what otherwise works luciferically in human physical existence. This must be the powerful thought that will pervade the future evolution of the human soul. It is the new Christmas thought, the new annunciation of Christ's activity in our souls, transforming the luciferic influence. Lucifer's power in us is not due to our having come out of the spiritual world, but to the fact that we are clothed by a physical body permeated by blood. We have our talents through heredity. Our individual capacities come to us through the luciferic stream of heredity. They must be mastered and put to use during physical life not through inspirations we receive from Jahve during sleep, but through the Christ Impulse that we can feel working within us in our fully conscious life.
“Oh, Christian,” says the new Christianity, “turn your thoughts to Christmas! lay upon the Christmas altar all the differentiation you have received through your blood! sanctify your capacities, gifts, genius as you behold them illuminated by the light coming from the Christmas tree!”
The new revelation of the spirit must speak a new language, and we must not be dull and unheeding as it addresses us in this extremely serious time. If we remain receptive, then we will find the power that mankind must find for the great tasks that will confront us in this very age. We must experience the meaning of Christmas in all its gravity. Today we must realize in clear waking consciousness what the Christ was really saying when He spoke those words, “Except ye become as little children, ye cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” The sense of equality that is natural to a child is not — if we regard him properly — proved false by these words. For the Child Whose birth we commemorate on Christmas Eve reveals ever new thoughts to mankind in the course of our evolution. He now proclaims that we must place all the distinguishing capacities we possess within the light of the Christ who ensouled this Child. All that our different talents achieve must be brought to the altar of this Child.
Perhaps, stirred by the earnestness of this Christmas thought, you will now ask, “How am I to experience the Christ Impulse in my own soul?” This question is often a burden in men's hearts.
Dear friends, what we may call the Christ Impulse does not become rooted in our souls in a moment, suddenly and tempestuously. It has taken root differently at different periods of evolution. In our present time a human being must take up in full, clear waking consciousness the cosmic truths that have been imparted stammeringly by our anthroposophically oriented spiritual science. As these truths are made known and as he comes to understand them, they will awaken in him the assurance that a new revelation, the new Christ Impulse for this age, has been brought to him. He will perceive the new Impulse if only he is attentive.
Try — in a truly lively way such as is appropriate for this age — to take into yourselves the spiritual thoughts of the cosmic Powers; try to take them up not merely as a teaching, or a theory, but so that they move your souls to their very depths and warm them, illuminate them, permeate them, so that you carry the thoughts living within you! Try to feel them so intensely that they seem to enter your soul by way of your body and change the body itself. Try to strip away from them all abstractions, all theory. Try to realize that they are true nourishment for the soul; they are not just thoughts, they are spiritual life coming from the spiritual world.
Enter into the most intimate inner union with these truths and you will observe three things. First you will observe that gradually — however they may be expressed — they eradicate from your soul something that usually appears so obviously in human beings in this age of the consciousness soul: self-seeking. When you begin to notice that they kill egotism and disarm self-seeking, then you will have perceived the Christ-permeated character of the thoughts of our anthroposophical spiritual science.
Secondly, observe the moment that untruthfulness approaches you, untruthfulness in any form, either when you yourself are tempted to be careless about the truth or when the falseness approaches you from the outside. If at such a moment you can also observe that immediately there is an impulse moving within you, warning you, pointing to the truth, admonishing you and impelling you to hold fast to the truth, wanting to prevent falsehood from entering your life — in contrast to ordinary present-day life, so much inclined to sham — then you are again experiencing the living Christ Impulse. No one will find it easy to lie, or to be casual about sham and pretence, in the presence of the spiritual thoughts of anthroposophy. A sign pointing the way to a sense for truth—apart from all other aspects of understanding: this you will find in the thoughts of the new revelation of the Christ. When you have reached the point where you do not seek a merely theoretical understanding of spiritual science, as is sought for any other science, but where the thoughts so penetrate you that you say to yourself, “Now that these thoughts are united with my soul, it is as if a Power of conscience stood beside me admonishing me, directing me toward the truth”: then you will have found the second aspect of the Christ Impulse.
In the third place, when you feel that something streams from these thoughts even down into your body, but especially into your soul, working to overcome illness, making you healthy and strong, when you sense the rejuvenating, invigorating power of these thoughts, the adversaries of illness: then you will have experienced the third aspect of the Christ Impulse. This is the goal toward which mankind strives through the new wisdom, in the new spirit: to find in the spirit itself the power to overcome egotism and the falseness of life, to overcome self-seeking through love, the sham of life through truth, illness through health-giving thoughts that put us into immediate accord with the harmonies of the universe, because they flow from the harmonies of the universe.
Not all these things can be attained at the present time, for man carries an ancient heritage around with him! There is a foolish lack of understanding, for instance, when such a backstairs politician as Christian Science twists into a caricature the thought of the healing power of the spirit. Even though, due to our ancient heritage, our thinking is not yet sufficiently powerful to accomplish what we long to accomplish — perhaps from a selfish motive — nevertheless thought does possess healing power. But in regard to such things people's ideas are always distorted. Someone who understands may tell you that certain thoughts give you health, and then he is suddenly stricken with this or that illness. It is indeed due to that ancient heritage that we cannot today be relieved of all illness merely by the power of our thought. But are you able to say what illness you would have had if you had not possessed these thoughts? Can you say that you could have passed your life in your present state of health if you had not had these thoughts? Can you prove that a person who has interested himself in our spiritual science and then has died at forty-five years of age, would without these thoughts not have died at age forty-two or age forty? People think the wrong way around! They concern themselves with what their karma cannot bestow upon them and pay no attention to what their karma does bestow upon them. If — in spite of every contradiction in the external world — you will watch and observe through the power of inner trust that you have gained from an intimate acquaintance with the thoughts of spiritual science, you will perceive the healing power that is penetrating even your physical body, the health-giving, freshening, rejuvenating force that is the third element which Christ the Healer brings with His continuous revelations to the human soul.
We wanted to enter more deeply into the thought of Christmas which is so closely related to the mystery of human birth. We wanted to bring in brief outline what is revealed to us today from the spirit as a continuation of the thought of Christmas. We can feel that it gives strength and support to our lives. We can feel that it places us, no matter what happens, in the midst of the impulses of cosmic evolution. We can feel ourselves united with those divine impulses; we can understand them and draw power for our will from this understanding, and light for our life of thought. Humanity is evolving — it would be wrong to deny it. Our only right course is to go forward with this evolution.
And Christ has declared: “I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” This is not just a phrase, it is truth. Christ has not only revealed Himself in the Gospels; Christ is with us; He reveals Himself continually. We must have ears to hear what He is ever newly revealing in this modern age. Weakness will overcome us if we have no faith in these new revelations; but strength will be ours if we have such faith.
Strength will indeed come to us if we accept the new revelations, even if they speak to us from life's seemingly contradictory suffering and misfortune. We journey as individual souls through repeated earth-lives during which our destiny comes to fulfillment. Even this thought, which enables us to sense the spiritual working behind external physical life, even this we can only accept if we take into ourselves in a truly Christian sense the revelations that follow one another. The Christian in this age, the true Christian, when he stands before the candles on the Christmas tree, should begin to work with the strengthening thoughts that can now come to him from the new cosmic revelations, bringing power to his will and illumination to his thinking. And his feeling should support the power and light of his thought in the course of the Christian year, to help him approach that other thought that points to the mystery of death: the Easter thought, which brings the final experience of human earthly existence before our souls as a spiritual experience. We will feel the Christ more and more livingly as we are able to place our own existence in the right relation to His life. The Rosicrucian of the Middle Ages, uniting his thought with Christianity, declared: Ex Deo Nascimur; in Christo Morimur; Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus. Out of the Divine we have been born, if we think of ourselves as human beings here on earth. In Christ we die. In the Holy Spirit we shall be awakened again. This all pertains to our life, our individual human life. If we look away from our own life to the life of Christ, then we see our life as mirrored reflection. Out of the Divine we are born; in Christ we die; in the Holy Spirit we shall be awakened again. This saying is true of the Christ living in our midst as our first-born Brother. We can so affirm it that we feel it to be the Christ-truth raying forth from Him and reflected in our human nature. Out of the Spirit was He begotten—as it stands in the Gospel of Luke, represented by the symbol of the descending dove — out of the Spirit was He begotten; in the human body He died; in the Divine will He rise again.
We can only perceive eternal truths in the right way if we see them
in their contemporary reflection—not in a single, absolute,
abstract form — and if we feel ourselves not as abstract humanity
but as live, individual human beings whose duty is to think and act in
harmony with the time in which we live. Then we will try to understand
the Christ, who is with us “always, even to the end of the
world,” to understand Him in His contemporary language as He
teaches and enlightens and empowers us through the thought of Christmas.
We will want to take the Christ into ourselves in His new language. We
must become intimately related to Him. Then we will be able to fulfill
in ourselves His true mission on this earth and beyond death. In each
epoch human beings must take the Christ into themselves in their own
way. This has been people's feeling when they have beheld in the right
way the two great pillars of the spirit, Christmas and Easter.
That profound German mystic, Angelus Silesius, 2Angelus Silesius: 1624–1677. See Rudolf Steiner, Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age, GA 7 (Blauvelt, New York, Steinerbooks, 1980). expressed it in this way:
“Should Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born
And not in thee, then wert thou still forlorn.”
And, contemplating Easter, he wrote:
“The cross of Golgotha must be upraised in thee
Ere from thy sin its power shall make thee free.”
Truly, the Christ must live within us. We are not human beings in some abstract sense, we are human beings of a definite epoch, and the Christ must be born within us in our epoch in accordance with His words. We must endeavor to bring the Christ to birth within us, for our strengthening, for our illumination. As He has remained with us until now, as He will remain with mankind throughout all ages, even to the end of earthly time, so He wills now to be born in our souls. If we try to experience the birth of Christ within us in this epoch, as it becomes a light and a power in our soul — the eternal Light and eternal Power entering into time — then we perceive in the right way the historical birth of Christ in Bethlehem and its image in our own souls.
“Should Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born And not in thee, then wert thou still forlorn.”
As He creates the impulse in our hearts today to contemplate His birth — His birth in the course of human events, His birth in our individual souls — so we deepen the thought of Christmas within us. And so let us look toward that “night of consecration” (Weihenacht), which we should feel is bringing a new strength and a new illumination to mankind, to help them to endure the many evils and sorrows they have had to suffer and will still have to suffer.
“My Kingdom,” Christ said, “is not of this world.” It is a saying that challenges us, if we regard His birth in the right way, to find in our own souls the path to His Kingdom where He will give us strength and light for our darkness and helplessness, through the impulses coming from the world of which He Himself spoke, which His appearance at Christmas will always proclaim. “My Kingdom is not of this world.” But He has brought His Kingdom into this world, so that we may always find strength, comfort, confidence, and hope bestowed upon us in all the circumstances of life, if only we will come to Him, taking His words to heart, words such as these:
“Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”