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Enquiry after the love unto Christ
74,1. Now I say: Listen, dear friend, I do not think you are as silent as a stone, and therefore you will be able to answer me one more question. I also make this question as simple as possible, so listen:
74,2. Have you never thought about Christ during your whole spiritual ministry, and has it never occurred to you as if you could love Him with all your might? See, this is a simple question which you can almost answer with yes or no; But the living truth must be the basis.
74,3. The Primus says, "Dear friend, whence ever you may be from, I can answer you such a question, even if you would also ask more of them. But do not ask me anymore about the Roman church, for I am exceedingly glad, like a demobilized soldier, to have nothing to do with her anymore. But as for Christ, I want to speak to you for as long as you want. And so I tell you in answer to your question, that I myself often thought about Christ, and I often felt in myself that I would not be a bad apostle if I had the good fortune to deal with Christ like the apostle Peter has been with Him. Yes, I must tell you that Christ is the only divine person I could love with all my might if He would really be present somewhere.
74,4. The fact that during my whole spiritual ministry I could busy myself very little with Christ for the sake of the office, you shall know why and how. For, as a monastery minister, I have been calledto some higher spiritual authority, or even to a bishop, or even to Rome once, but there never was any mention of Christ at such a meeting, but only about the income of the monastery, how the riches of the Church should be managed, and how I should handle it if the monastery would raise too little money to raise the church taxes! Even when I was once summoned to Rome, and thought that I would receive a brighter light about Christ, but there was no trace of it. I was only meticulously questioned about the state of the ecclesiastical pensions, and whether any important donations had been received and if so, what have happened with the donated capital.
74,5. I answered to this that we have a somewhat different situation with donations. Regarding the old donations, they have been added to the general monastic church capital long ago and there are no new donations in this difficult time. One must be content with simple indulgences and a few paid masses for the dead. But there is no trace of the so-called eternal donations now anymore. At such a comment from me, the cardinal first uttered a powerful curse against all heretics and protestants. I was only admonished to warn the people by means of strict sermons and reproves in the confession chair, to not let themselves be enlightened by so-called protestants, and to find his life and secondly, attain heaven in the only sanctifying church by means of rich donations. After such an admonition, I was handed a bundle of several hundred full indulgences, which I had to sell to people as soon as possible, for the amount of at least ten thalers per indulgence.
74,6. I was given a complete indulgence free of charge, but with the proviso that the latter would become effective for me only after I had sent the amount for the other indulgences to Rome.
74,7. On this occasion, I wanted to inquire about some religious matters, but it was told to be silent, and one of the panel said to me in passing: "Thank you very much for such a high grace on the part of the supreme priest of Christ. Leave Rome as soon as possible, so that you may come home sooner, fulfilling the will of the holy father. I followed his advice. I was even greeted with the grace of being admitted a slipper kiss, but with this grace, I also had been advised to not stay in Rome for more than twenty-four hours.
74,8. From this presentation, you can easily see what kind of Christianity it was. Indeed, if a cardinal had not pronounced the word "vicar of Christ," I would have been in Rome without having heard the name of Christ in this supreme Institute, except for during the ecclesiastical ceremony.
74,9. The visit of Rome also sucked the last drop of my faith in immortality and therefore also of my thoughts about Christ.
74,10. When I returned to my monastery with my indulgences, I handed them over to my monastic brethren. They have, as far as I know, fortunately, got rid of them all. They have, as far as I know, sold them for quite reasonable prices and when I made it known that I had some moral issue regarding the selling of the indulgences, Rome allowed some negotiation and was content to receive a lesser amount. And behold, that is all I can answer to your question.
74,11. But as far as my love for Christ is concerned, you will be able to infer from my own statement that when such church manipulations are carried out to the last drop, and man, especially in the priesthood, loses all faith in the end, then it also does not fare much differently with the love unto Christ. I do not want to say that I would not want to love Christ if He were somewhere. Yes, I could even love Him above all, because His doctrine is truly the purest and the best a mortal man can ever think of.
74,12. But the 'if' is the most fateful. I came here, and I now live here, as I have said already, without knowing why, where and how, since I have left the immortality of the human soul in the world. So far, I have not experienced any more of Christ than what I have learned about Him on earth; And thus, between me and Christ, there is always the fatal 'if'. Free me, and thou shalt have me as a disciple after the likes of John or the Magdalene.
74,13. Now I say, "Well, my friend, you have given me a very extended answer to my short question. So, I will now tell you and everyone. If you would observe this, you can enter onto the path of true eternal life. If not, then the path to eternal death is already open in the place where the tower has disappeared!
74,14. And thus hear: Jesus Christ is the only God and Lord of all heavens and all worlds! According to His eternal, infinite love: the Father, and His infinite wisdom: the Son, and His everlasting omnipotent holiness: the Holy Spirit himself; as He Himself also said of Himself, that He and the Father are One, and who sees Him, also see the Father; and that the Holy Spirit goes out from Him, as He demonstrated when He breathed on His apostles and said to them, receive the Holy Spirit.
74,15. This is to be the first article of faith for you, without which no one can enter into eternal life, for it is said in Scripture, "Whoever does not believe that Christ is the Son of the living God, who is the love of the Father, will not be saved.
74,16. But I say unto you, if ye will not embrace the Father as the Spirit in the Son which is Christ, ye shall not enter into life.
74,17. Do not let yourselves be bothered with the text which says: "The Father is more than the Son." For this expresses that love, as the Father in Himself, is the foundational Being of God and from Him the eternal light and the eternally powerful Spirit. This is your second article of faith.
74,18. The third article of faith is as follows, "Humble yourselves with all your heart, and love God in the only Christ above all everything; and love everyone his neighbor as himself; Let every one of you live for the sake of others, and let everyone, being the least, serve the others as much as possible.
74,19. If you will have fully accepted these three articles of faith within you, then you will be shown the way to eternal life. You have brought nothing but evil tricks from the earth with you. They are everywhere in front of you. They have no reason, therefore they will soon be destroyed before your eyes, and will pass away as an ephemeris, as soon as your own inner night will break upon you. But therefore, I have given you a new seed in the name of the Lord; Plant it in your heart, for it becomes a fruit-producing plant. Only this fruit will be a living power for you. Your spirit will kindle your love, and this flame will enlighten for you the new path that leads to eternal life!
74,20. See, now all the paradise monks begin to hit their breasts and shout: "What an abyss below us, what a depth above us! - Lord, be merciful to us great sinners! Close off the abyss and cover the depths above us, for we are not worthy even of a spark of Your grace! Destroy us, for we are worthy of destruction; But let us not live, that we may not be condemned by You.
74,21. Look, they are turning into themselves somewhat easier than the previous ones. But if we leave them in this mood, and go into the monastic heaven, then you will find that the 'medium tenere beati' has its literal reality here; For the heaven here will be worse than the sleep of souls.
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