THE ROSE AND THE CROSS
and more I am charmed and amazed by that one whom we call the Beautiful
Being. I shall never understand it, for its ways are not our ways.
Yesterday it passed over the battlefield again, and I should
have written when I came to you a few hours afterward had I not pitied your
weariness. Do not be discouraged. Sometimes the Masters of Compassion may
seem to their servants to have no compassion; but they know, as the servants
cannot know, that the hardest road leads up the highest mountain, and that
there is rest at the top.
The Beautiful Being passed over the battlefield. Imagine a rose
in a cannon’s mouth, a bird singing in the heart of an earthquake, a pearl
in a landslide, an angel in hell.
You know not the meaning of the word
battlefield. Yesterday thousands died in the awful uproar. Noise! noise!
noise!–till the nerves shrieked with pain and despair seized the soul. To go
out of life in that seething maelstrom is generally to pass into another
seething maelstrom, hotter and noisier than the one left behind.
How can I write of war so as to spare your feelings? The great
Teachers are not trying to spare your feelings. They want you to feel and
feel, till the very force of the wave of feeling carries you high on the
shore of Adeptship. And they want you to think and think, till the
irresistible cold of logic freezes self out of you. Ice and fire!
If you shrink from knowing what the soldiers of the nations have
suffered that you may be free, you are unworthy of that freedom. Do not
shrink from suffering. The husk of the seed must be broken before the sprout
In dying for their country, those souls in the hell of battle
are giving birth to the new time. In suffering with them, your souls are
giving birth to the new in yourselves. Do not look for joy while humanity is
in travail, unless you can find the joy in suffering. Yes, I know the time
when first, and through whom, that grand idea found lodgment in your
consciousness. It is the secret of great souls in this hour of the world’s
If you suffer till you can suffer no
more–then the poles shift, and the joy of suffering illuminates the
soul. Then the beautiful being in yourself hovers over the battlefield where
the lesser self has been slain.
There is a beautiful being in every one of you, the bird that
sings in the heart of the earthquake, the rose that nestles in the hot mouth
of the cannon, the pearl that cannot be crushed by the landslide, the angel
that illumines hell.
All the normal feelings of the human heart are intensified at
this time. No one is the same as before the war burst–no one, anywhere in
the world. The soul of humanity is in travail. This incarnation of humanity
is turned against itself, and rends itself. The heart of humanity is an
abyss, into which humanity had grown too blind to look, so the blazing
torches of the guardians of good and evil have been thrust into the abyss,
and all the drowsing dwellers therein have been suddenly, rudely awakened.
Oh, hearts of earth, do not fall asleep again! Pity and love one
another, for the pain of one is the pain of each, and over the battlefield
of the suffering race the Beautiful Being hovers.
Humanity is the One, and humanity is the
many, and all together you may come into the inheritance of your Father
which is in heaven.
You are familiar with the symbol of the Rose-Cross. Not until
the hard wood is driven through your four limbs, in the pain of your shocked
and wounded nerves, can the great red rose of love unfold its perfumed
petals upon your breast, between the arms of the cross.
The human in you is the pain of the cross, the divine in you is
the perfume of the rose, and you yourself, you human and divine, are
If you shrink from the splintering pain of the wood as it claims
you for its own, you cannot smell the perfume of the rose which also claims
you for its own.
Do not refuse the great initiation, O humanity of the races! Do
not hide yourself in the dungeon of fear when the great Initiator comes!
On the awful cross of war shall blossom the red rose of the new
race. On the cross of each mortal form may blossom its red
The rose marks the balance between the East
and the West, between the rising and the setting sun, between the human and
the divine. The arms of the cross extend to infinity, its feet are buried in
the substance of eternity, its head is among the angels and the gods, and
the heart of the rose is everywhere. It is in every heart of all these
myriads who shrink at the touch of the hard wood.
I hear every day the shrieks of those who are making the
vicarious atonement for the race. When they lie mangled on the battlefield,
the arms of the cross are being driven through their quivering flesh, and
the petals of the rose are unfolding in their hearts.
They are dying for love at the hands of hate, for love and hate
are opposite and omnipresent. Their love for their country is their call to
the atonement, their at-one-ment with the God who established the law of the
East and the West, the Height and the Depth, the opposing forces of Love and
Hate. They have accepted the sacrifice. For them shall be the resurrection
and the life, after their sojourn among the dead, their sojourn in hell.
They shall appear to the Magdalen at the
door of the sepulchre, the one whose sins were forgiven because she loved
much, and who shall call the disciples to give them the tidings of great
The soul of the world is the risen Christ, and the disciples
rejoice at the tidings.
How can I withhold from you the great event which Time has
For thirty pieces of silver the soul of the world was sold, and
the Judas of the world has given the kiss of betrayal with the name of God
on his lips, and the Roman soldiers are already dividing the garments.
Pontius Pilate has washed his hands of the issue, and his wife
weeps in her chamber at the disregarding of her dream. The priests of the
Sanhedrim are wagging their heads with satisfaction, but the veil of the
Temple of Humanity is rent from top to bottom.
How could you receive the message if you had not suffered, O
listener at the door of Time? Who would believe you, had you not grasped the
truth of the atonement? Until the wood of the cross had been driven through
your limbs, the rose could not blossom, O world in travail at this hour!
Be still, and know that God is God. In the
stillness of perception the petals begin to open, and joy steals over the
heart, and the heart swells with the expanding joy, till every fibre of the
cross is alive and tingling with the joy at the heart of the rose, and the
fragrance sweetens the world.
And the Beautiful Being, a ray of the Holy Spirit, hovers over
the Calvary of the battlefield.