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From Bethlehem to Calvary - Chapter Five - The Fourth Initiation - The Crucifixion
Although each son of God at different stages upon his way of initiation prepares for this final loneliness by phases of utter rejection, when the final crisis comes he must experience [221] moments of loneliness such as he could not previously conceive. He follows in the footsteps of his Master, being crucified before men and deserted both by his fellow men and by the comforting presence of the divine self upon which he has learnt to rely. Yet because Christ entered thus into the place of outer darkness, and felt entirely deserted of all that had hitherto meant so much to Him, both humanly and from the angle of divinity, He has enabled us to gauge the value of the experience, and has shown us that only through this place of outer darkness, which the mystics have justifiably called "the dark night of the soul," can we truly enter into the blessed companionship of the kingdom. Many books have been written about this experience, but it is rare - far rarer than the literature of the mystics would have us believe. It will become more frequent, as more and more men pass through the gates of suffering and of death into the kingdom. Christ hung pendent between heaven and earth, and although He was surrounded by crowds, and although at His feet stood those whom He loved, He was utterly alone. It is the loneliness whilst accompanied, the utter sense of being forsaken whilst surrounded by those who seek to understand and help, which constitutes the darkness. The light of the Transfiguration is suddenly obliterated; and because of the intensity of that light, the night appears more dark. But it is in the dark that we know God.

Four Words of Power had now been uttered by the Christ. He had spoken the Word for the plane of everyday life, the Word of forgiveness, and in it He indicated the principle upon which God works in relation to the evil done by men. Where there is ignorance and no defiance or wrong intent, then forgiveness is assured, for sin consists of definite action in the face of the warning voice of conscience. He had spoken the Word which brought peace to the dying thief, and had told him that he was assured, not only of forgiveness, but of peace and happiness. He had spoken the Word which brought together the two aspects which were being symbolically crucified [222] upon the Cross - matter and soul, the matter of the form and the perfected lower nature. These are the three Words of the physical, the emotional, and the mental planes, whereon man habitually lives. The sacrifice of the entire lower nature had been completed, and there was silence and darkness for three hours. Then was uttered that stupendous Word which indicated that Christ had reached the stage of the final sacrifice, and that even the consciousness of divinity, the consciousness of the soul itself, with its strength and power, its light and understanding, had also to be laid upon the altar. He had to undergo the experience of an utter renunciation of all that had constituted His very being. This brought the cry of protest and of questioning: "My God, my God! Why hast Thou forsaken me?"

Then followed three Words of a different quality altogether. In the words, "I thirst," He expressed the motivating power of every Savior. This was misinterpreted by the onlookers, who have given it most naturally a physical connotation; but it surely had a deeper meaning, and must have reference to that divine thirst which sweeps through the consciousness of every son of God who has achieved divinity, and which indicates his willingness to undertake the task of Savior. It is characteristic of all who have attained that they cannot rest satisfied with their achievement which brought them liberation and freedom, but immediately reorient themselves to the world of men and stay with humanity, working for the salvation of human beings until all the sons of God shall have found their way back to the Father's home. This thirst for the souls of men forced Christ to open the door into the kingdom, and to hold it open Himself, so that it might be His hand and His aid which should lift us over the threshold. This is the redemption, and in this redemption we all share, not from the selfish angle of our individual salvation, but from the consciousness that, as we redeem are we redeemed, as we save are we ourselves salvaged, and that as we help others to achieve, we too are [223] admitted as citizens into the kingdom. But this is the way of Crucifixion. Only when we can utter the five Words of Power do we really understand the meaning of God and His love. The way of the Savior becomes then our way. God's life and purpose stand revealed.

It is this thirst which we share with the Savior, and the world need (of which our own is a part, though relatively incidental) that unite us with Him. It is the "fellowship of His sufferings" to which He calls us, and the demand which we hear as He hears it. This aspect of the Cross and its lesson has been summed up in the following words, which warrant our careful consideration, and our consequent consecration to the service of the Cross, which is the service of humanity.

"When I... turned from that world-appealing sight, Christ crucified for us, to look upon life's most perplexed and sorrowful contradictions, I was not met as in intercourse with my fellowmen by the cold platitudes that fall so lightly from the lips of those whose hearts have never known one real pang, nor whose lives one crushing blow. I was not told that all things were ordered for the best, nor assured that the overwhelming disparities of life were but apparent, but I was met from the eyes and brow of Him who was indeed acquainted with grief, by a look of solemn recognition, such as may pass between friends who have endured between them some strange and secret sorrow, and are through it united in a bond that cannot be broken."
- Colloquia Crucis, by Dora Greenwell, p. 14 f.

Then there burst upon Christ's consciousness the wonder of accomplishment. He had succeeded, so that, with full realization of the significance of the statement, He could say, "It is finished." He had done what He came into incarnation to do. The gate into the kingdom stood open. The boundary between the world and the kingdom was clearly defined. He had given us an example of service unparalleled in history. He had shown us the way that we should go. He had demonstrated to us the nature of perfection. There was [224] no more that He could then do, and so we hear the triumphant cry, "It is finished."

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