A Reflection on Louis-Claude de Saint Martin

From Louis-Claude de Saint Martin’s L’Homme de Désir, Chant 177:

Qui frappe à la porte sainte ? Un homme de paix, un homme de désir. Cet homme de paix, cet homme de désir, a-t-il vaincu ses ennemis ? Who is knocking at the holy door? A man of peace, a man of desire. Has this man of peace or man of desire beaten his enemies?

* * *

On this Good Friday, we are in the midst of the most ferocious battle of history – life and death, light and darkness. Who is our enemy? Our greatest enemies of the powers of the darkness of this world. These are spiritual enemies, not only demons or archons, but those who rule this world. The enemy is also within each of us.

I have mentioned the comparison I have made between viruses and evil spirits. Viruses are bits of DNA and bio-chemicals associated with life. The conventional opinion of viruses are that they have no life or consciousness of their own but are parasites in the meaning of their living from the life of another being. I am not a virologist and have no qualifications in micro-biology, but I have read notions. I continue to discover what I can. Evil has no life or consciousness, but saps light and consciousness. There are empty human persons without any real life in them, and they are “vampires”, not biting people on the neck and drinking blood but draining spiritual energy. Evil spirits govern us by fear and impede us from approaching spiritual knowledge and the way of God’s Kingdom. Their goal is to make us materialists and “men of the torrent”.

We have all noticed that those who seek the truth, the mystics and the wise are put aside and sabotaged. On this Good Friday and the two preceding weeks of the liturgy, we see the efforts of the leaders of this world to extinguish the light. Perhaps one who most understood this was Oscar Wilde as he languished in prison:

Philistinism was the note of the age and community in which he lived. In their heavy inaccessibility to ideas, their dull respectability, their tedious orthodoxy, their worship of vulgar success, their entire preoccupation with the gross materialistic side of life, and their ridiculous estimate of themselves and their importance, the Jews of Jerusalem in Christ’s day were the exact counterpart of the British Philistine of our own. Christ mocked at the ‘whited sepulchre’ of respectability, and fixed that phrase for ever. He treated worldly success as a thing absolutely to be despised. He saw nothing in it at all. He looked on wealth as an encumbrance to a man. He would not hear of life being sacrificed to any system of thought or morals. He pointed out that forms and ceremonies were made for man, not man for forms and ceremonies. He took sabbatarianism as a type of the things that should be set at nought. The cold philanthropies, the ostentatious public charities, the tedious formalisms so dear to the middle-class mind, he exposed with utter and relentless scorn. To us, what is termed orthodoxy is merely a facile unintelligent acquiescence; but to them, and in their hands, it was a terrible and paralysing tyranny. Christ swept it aside. He showed that the spirit alone was of value. He took a keen pleasure in pointing out to them that though they were always reading the law and the prophets, they had not really the smallest idea of what either of them meant. In opposition to their tithing of each separate day into the fixed routine of prescribed duties, as they tithe mint and rue, he preached the enormous importance of living completely for the moment.

As great men have been persecuted in the past, we see the way the medical and political establishment treats Dr. Raoult in Marseille who has found a partial solution for the sick, at least until something better is formulated. For the establishment, the self-importance of pompous men outweighs the welfare and hope of the sick, real people who are not scientific specimens. The forces of this world seek to drag us into the same level of ignorance and darkness.

These beings are projections of the collective unconscious which is deeply attached to static ways of being because it is terrified of change. Our deep fear of change ultimately focuses on our fear of waking up, because deep down we know that accepting change means accepting the death of everything we know. When we are confronted with light and truth, we are instantly filled with fear and the desire to return to ignorance again because of our “safety”.

How do we take up this challenge in order to get back on track? Facing the archons within us and without us can feel like a constant battle. These forces that want to put us to sleep may present themselves as people who have no interest in supporting us, who want to betray us, to belittle us. We are afflicted by an “emotional emptiness” within ourselves, something that resembles pain and prevents us from finding our fullness. How many times do we oppose a natural and genuine person and feel threatened by them? We feel the need to destroy them or criticize them in some way. We take our anger out on everything that frustrates us, living in overcrowded cities, traffic jams, waiting in a queue, machines that don’t work – and it reinforces our eternal restlessness. We really are men of the torrent.

Our struggle is within ourselves. How can we prevent these forces that want to send us to sleep from dragging us into the darkness of the unconscious? This is especially something we can exercise during our confinement, itself a source of frustration.

A thought occurred to me. We should do what we can do and not be frustrated that we cannot do what we are not allowed to do right now. We have to accept what has happened, and what will change. The responsibility is ours and we must not think that entities like the State care about us. They couldn’t care less? Why should they? It is in the darkness that we will find the Light. Our desire (Sehnsucht) for God’s truth will guide us to consciousness and awareness.

The enemy is thus already defeated, and we can approach the gate of the Kingdom of God. This is the deepest meaning of Easter.

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