Angelus Silesius – Theopoetics (Part 3)

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This is the third in a series of “whimsical poems leading toward divine tranquility” from The Puckish Pilgrim (Cherubinischer Wandersmann) by Angelus Silesius (Johannes Scheffler). Here are a few examples of Silesius addressing our relationship to Christ.

Had Christ a thousand times,
Been born in Bethlehem,
But not in thee, thy sin
Would still thy soul condemn.

The highest worship is
Like unto God to grow,
Christlike to be in life,
In habit, and love’s glow.

Like unto Christ is he
Who truly loves his foe,
For persecutors prays,
And renders good for woe.

(Translation by Paul Carus)

Christ-like-ness, like so much of mystical theology, is dependent upon internalizing that which seems external. We become Bethlehem, the manger, for hosting the birth of Yeshua. Our lives then become a reflection of Yeshua’s life and ministry. Our worship is defined by our being Christlike. And it doesn’t stop there.

Golgotha’s cross from sin
Can never ransom thee,
Unless in thine own soul
It should erected be.

The resurrection is
In spirit done in thee,
As soon as thou from all
Thy sins hast set thee free.

(Translation by Paul Carus)

If our lives do not become the scene upon which the Cross is erected, the the Cross is of no avail. Unless we, with Yeshua, die to God we can never find the inner resurrection that is energized when we set ourselves free from our sins — akin to Paul’s “working out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” 

Man, thou shalt be St. Paul!
In thee must be fulfilled
What Christ has left undone
And where wrath shall be stilled.

(Translation by Paul Carus)

In addition to becoming Christlike, Silesius tell us that we are to be St. Paul, completing “What Christ has left undone.” The best of the Mystics talk about becoming united / unified with the Divine Mystery in order that we might become more engaged with the world. Not a surprise since Yeshua was focused both on maintaining connection with God and engaging the world on behalf of the poor, despised, and rejected.

 

 

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