Manfred Kyber - The Promised Land

Table of Contents
The Path into the Wilderness
The First Brother
The Chain of the Things
The Shebear and her Child
The Earthen and the Crystal Bowl
God's Guests
The Promised Land

The Path into the Wilderness

I do not know when this story happened, the way I tell it.  Perhaps it was many hundred years ago, perhaps it was yesterday.  Perhaps it is happening today or tomorrow, or in many hundred years time that our eyes will no more see.  For it is long ago that the earth was free of blood and sin and mistake, and it will take a long time until it will be free of sin.  After all, in general it is so hard to tell when something happens; because all time is delusion, and what we are seeing here, is nothing but thousandfold form that is being shaped.  But the real events are behind the tangible things in a spiritual world, and this story is written in the spiritual world from where all forms come into being and change and, measured by no time, eternity breathes.  But I think this story has happened many times, many years ago, and it has to happen again many, many times until the earth will be free of sin.  For it is a long way, and no poor, human knowledge is able to say something about its duration.  Only that it is very arduous and laborious for the few who are going it today, that we know.  That's why this story will also wear different clothes, depending on when it happened or when it will happen again; for without clothes, a poor human knowledge cannot understand it.  After all, we always see only the clothes from it all and have to try hard to interpret the nature of the things from them.

The story that I want to tell, takes place in the wilderness, and the one who experienced it wore the Holy Francis of Assisi's brother's habit.  It really has to be this way; for it is a story of brotherhood, and in it lives the consecrated of La Vernia's spirit.  But no-one has to wear these clothes externally who wants to follow the path, and it also does not need be a wilderness in which this story happens and will happen.  It may be a town with modern chimneys and machines, it may be a village with fields and pastures, or a dusty country road.  That is quite the same, and all that are only clothes, like the life today still is a wilderness to the one who follows Francis of Assisi's path.  One has to consider that, after all, we all live on a threshold and that the real stories of existence happen in a spiritual world behind the things and behind that what we call events.  Perhaps we only dream the things, but because we dream, we are not awake for that that really is.  It may be hard to understand but I have to say that because it is true.

So, once upon a time, seen in the clothes of the events, it happened that brother Immanuel of the Holy Order of the Francis of Assisi said goodbye to his brothers, to go out into the wilderness.  That is said very easily, but it is certainly not easy to begin such a new path.  He had been unable to find his peace in his cell, in no penance practice, in no meditation and in no prayer at the Redeemer's portrait.  He could not learn the view that alone leads to peace in this world of delusions and sin and mistake.  He was seized with horror of mankind as he saw it day after day, and he did not understand why he was placed on this earth.  And yet, he was too strong inside to look down on all that with a weary, lost smile, and say a rosary silently and devotedly, when the people outside in front of the monastery walls were argueing, beating and slandering each other, when they were a horror to themselves, the people and the animals.  If you do not find your God in the cell, you have to search him outside, in the wilderness.  He is everywhere, the prior said to him and blessed him on parting.  There will come a time when all will have to search him outside, everyone at the place where God has put him.  Go your path, carry your cross, and you will find God.

So brother Immanuel packed his few possessions, some tools and vegetable seeds from the monastery garden and put the Redeemer's cross on top of it.  He also took a little bell with him, that had a fine, silvern voice, so he could ring the Hail Mary in the wilderness when the sun was setting.

He lifted up the sack onto his back and said goodbye to all brothers, not to return again.  It was certainly hard for him and the others, but what is farewell?  Everything is farewell on this earth, farewell to the day, to the morning and to the evening, to the night with its peace to a new day's work, farewell to people, animals and flowers.  It is a continual path and no habitation on this earth; but it is a consolation that it is a path to a home that all are searching who are of good will.

Brother Immanuel wandered with his sack on the back over a long, dusty road.  The brothers' shapes became blurred in the distance, became spots that were hardly visible, and only from far, the monastery church's spire sparkled in the sunrise.  Then it also disappeared and the wilderness took him up, the new path and, as he hoped, the path to the peace and to his god.

It was around the Easter time.  Carried though the thin blue air, the Good Friday's bells sounded, and on the meadows, the anemones, cowslips and violets blossomed.  Bumble-bees and bees hummed around the first trees that were in blossom.  There was resurrection in nature and the Easter miracle, that is understood by so few because they think that all life comes from the things itself and not from that, that hallows all things in one single breath, that includes all life in the same love and changes it in the same mystery of becoming and dying.

There, a hope came to brother Immanuel's soul, a hope that never had awoken in him in the monastery cell.  He felt, as strange as the people had become to him in their horror, his brotherhood towards the animals and flowers, and he began to suspect something of the all-embracing understanding of his master of La Vernia.

Will this mountain with its rocks, its torrents, its dark firs, become La Vernia to me?  ill I behold God, will I find the peace here, that I could never find among the people?, he asked himself and started an arduous journey uphill into the deep forest, without a path, and in confidence in this Easter morning's spirits.  The heavy sack pinched him; but his foot went easily and gently on a soft carpet of moss and evergreen.  The birds were singing, and it was as if they called him deeper and deeper into their blessed wilderness, into the peace without the people's strife.

But it was a peace in the distance.  When he came closer, all creatures fled him horrified, the birds in the twigs became silent, the deers darted away though the thicket, and hedgehogs and mice crept away into their holes.  In vain, he called them with the name of the brother.  Wherever he put his foot, the earth became silent and lifeless, and he realized in horror that they all fled man in him, that he who should be God's image, was an outcast in God's creation, that he was shaped like those who had murdered people and animals, and are still murdering today, who had sullied a thriving earth; and all life hid from them, full of fear and horror.

Dark shadows were cast on the Easter peace, and it became a lonely and sad path to the mountain's summit.  At the top, a silvern spring sang gently, and the top of the firs rustled in the wind that bent their tops back and forth; but brother Immanuel was as lonely as never before in his life.  The people who he had fled were no longer with him, and the animals which he recognized as his brothers, fled him.  For he was a man, the most terrible creature in God's world.

So he fell on his knees beside the sack of his miserable possessions, and wept.  He saw how dreadful it is to be a man.  O, brother Immanuel, all who followed your path have wept like you, and as you are weeping, all will weep who will follow your path.  For your story is a timeless story, and only its clothes are changing in the change of things.  And what you have understood, all those who followed your path, have understood, and all those will understand who will follow your path.  It is dreadful to be a man, it is dreadful, as a spirit from the realm of love towards all beings, to be banned down into a human body who once was God's image and that has been distorted to a caricature since Cain's times.  It is dreadful to be a branded one in a world that has become confused over the first fratricide.  It is no peace, brother Immanuel, what you have found, it is the big, icy loneliness that all those have to go through, who are searching God on this desecrated earth.

Far, far away, a bird sang, but it did not come nearer.  It feared man.

The spring at whose banks brother Immanuel was kneeling, murmured and made its way down the valley in silvern waves.  It formed a little cove in front of him, twined around with flowers, and in its silvern water surface, he recognized his picture little by little.  But he also saw something else in it, that he had not seen before: on his forehead, there was an ugly, blood-red mark, big and clear — the mark of Cain, that mankind had engraved into god's image.  He ran his hand into the water and rubbed his forehead; but the mark of Cain is not washed off by any water of the earth.

The evening descended over the wilderness, and the night came quietly with its veils and shadows.  But it was no night of peace.  Brother Immanuel was still kneeling beside his miserable things, and around him, there was the boundless loneliness of those who go his path.

Maybe too, it is not only his path, for one time, it will have to be everyone's path.  But that is still a long time, for it will take long until this earth will be free of sin.

Above him were the stars and in their shining writing, one could read all lonely journeys, and one could see the path that leads to the redemption of all life.

But brother Immanuel did not yet understand to read the star's writing.  It was hard to read it, and only those eyes learn to read it, that have cried thousands upon thousands of tears.  It is dreadful to be a man…


The First Brother

Many weeks had passed since brother Immanuel had moved to the wilderness.  With great effort, he had made himself a simple cabin from strong beams, he had filled the sack in which he had carried his possessions, with moss and had made himself a bed on it.  He had fastened the Redeemer's portrait on his cabin's wall in a way so that the first rays of the morning sun fell on it, and he had hung up the bell high in the roof's gable, but he had not rung it one single time.  He did not dare it and hedid not know the cause why he did not dare it.  It was as if he was waiting for a holiday of his soul, and this holiday had not yet come since he had seen the mark of Cain on himself and since this Good Friday's night had spread its shadows over him.  Full of devotion and memento of his human brothers he had eaten the last bread from the monastery and since then lived on roots and spring water.  For the vegetables that he had carefully brought with him in varied seeds, had been sown into the earth, but had not yet become ripe.  Only the first shoots stretched out of the patches that formed a garden around the cabin, and next to them, brother Immanuel had planted flowers of the forest, the only brothers that he now had, but they were sleeping souls, no people and no animals.  After all, he had fled the people to search God, and the animals fled him because they could no more recognize God's image in man.  The people have destroyed it in themselves, and brother Immanuel also had to bear their curse.  It was a meagre life in this wilderness, but with very little a man can live who stops being a predator, the most dreadful predator that creation knows, and who begins to prepare his body to his God's and his self's temple.  Very strange visions brother Immanuel had, as all have who live like this.  But still the signs were confused, yet it were only the first signs of a spiritual world that, behind all things, weaves becoming and dying according to eternal laws.  One has to wait until that clears up, until the images are moving and the laws are speaking, wait for very long.  First, one has to overcome the sorrow in oneself and the big, icy loneliness, but often that takes long, and it also takes a lot of humility and devotion.  The path to La Vernia is a long path.  So brother Immanuel waited in humility and devotion.  But that his journey had begun, that he clearly noticed in his soul.  One can travel so very far, even when one stays in one place with one's body; one can see and hear so very much when the body's chains work themselves loose and one becomes aware of oneself in this earth's prison.  Of course, brother Immanuel had in the past also fasted in his cell for penance practice, but the effect had been a different one than it was here. In the body's purification, unhindered from all manhood, streamed the powers of the earth and the heaven and filled him like a bowl.  Falling asleep and waking up were no longer such sharply delimited moments, the consciousness' thresholds began to even out, and also at daytime, brother Immanuel wandered about like a light figure in the earth-heavy one that appeared to him as hardly more than a cabin, woven from stones and plant.

Also, the things around him began to change.  He saw the trees and flowers in their colors and shapes, but he felt as well something that created these colors and shapes: he heard the birds singing in the branches and the faraway call of the forest creatures, but he felt that these sounds meant something and that all life was embedded in a big, all-embracing common ground.  It was a stream of flowing existence that encompassed everything, himself, the animals, the plants and the stones.  But he no longer needed, as at the begin of his stay in the cabin, to count the days and carve them into a piece of wood; he felt it when there was Sunday in nature, and when she prepared to celebrate it.  There was all-life in everything and he in it, and gently, an idea stirred in him of the way of redemption, to change all-life into all-love.  Wasn't all creation a mysterious brotherhood, wasn't the elder brother obliged to turn to the younger, untiring and full of compassion, for the earth to be freed from the sin of the first fratricide and its thousands upon thousands of others?  The eldest brother was man, and it was him who brought the fratricide into the world.  He was who had to atone and deliver first.

So brother Immanuel prayed that god may give him a brother.

It was at Whitsun when he found a brother.

He had walked deep into the forest, as he was used to do often at daytime, and had looked for roots and herbs.  He sensed the Whitsun miracle of the breathing earth and heard how the holy spirit was talking from the fir's tops and from the flowers at the wayside.  The stream of existence was stronger at this day and he was filled with something new, liberating, as if the earth was woven from lighter matters than usual.  His own thin body moved more silently and even more lightly over the moss and his foot barely snapped the blades of grass at the wayside.  The birds no longer fled when they saw him, and at his sight, the forest creatures no longer darted into the thicket so terrified.  He also had experienced a change, in his body and his soul, that change that leads to Whitsun via the Good Friday.

Then, he heard wailing, crying sounds and as he followed them, he saw a squirrel that had been caught in a trap, and tried, full of horror, to free its crushed paw from the trap.  A man's Whitsun celebration in god's creation.  Brother Immanuel was overcome by the same feeling as at that evening of his arrival in the wilderness: it is dreadful to be a man!

But he did not hesitate long and freed the poor creature, cautiously and as gently as possible.  He buried the trap, and took the squirrel with him and carried it home into his cabin.  He washed its wound and bandaged it.  The animal was not afraid of him and let all happen with it.  The paw was broken but maybe it would heal again, at least he would try.  He brought the squirrel water, looked after a fir cone for him and built a soft nest for him under the Redeemer's portrait.  The animal talked in cooing sounds, very excited at first and then gradually calmer.  Eventually, it fell asleep and the Crucified's portrait was above it.

So brother Immanuel went outside to the spring, where he had kneeled at the evening of his arrival, in the despair of his great loneliness, and thanked god that he had found a brother.  Then something very strange happened.  But maybe it was not so strange, for it was Whitsun Sunday in nature.  A figure came walking along the creek, similar to a man but completely illuminated from a light that came from itself.  The figure wore the Franciscans' habit, and in it, brother Immanuel recognized his master Francis of Assisi, after the portrait in the monastery.  There he kneeled down and bowed deeply to him, and the same did the flowers at the creek and the trees, that stood at the clearing.

Francis of Assisi stayed at brother Immanuel's cabin, looked inside and made the sign of the cross over the wounded squirrel.  Then he turned and came up to brother Immanuel.

Blessed be your path, brother Immanuel, he said, it is a path full of thorns, it is a path full of loneliness, but it leads to La Vernia where I beheld Jesus Christ.  Few are following it today, and the earth is full of blood and sin; but one time, all will have to follow it, until the earth is free of sin.  It is very hard to go ahead, the elder brothers have to go ahead, brother Immanuel.  But it is easy to go it if one knows that one is going it for the younger brothers. So brother Immanuel looked up and he behold beside Francis of Assisi's figure the wolf of Agobbio and the lamb that the saint had saved from the butcher's hand, and the birds to which he had preached were sitting on the twigs and were listening.  All that was in this world and again not in it, it was bathed in a clear, blue light that came from itself.

I was very lonely and am no more lonely, the light figure said and pointed to the animals that surrounded him, you, too, will not remain alone.  No-one remains alone who follows the elder brothers' path.  God has given you a younger brother today who will stay with you, and you with him.  I will also give you something before I go.  Blessed be your path, brother Immanuel.

The saint of La Vernia made the sign of the cross above brother Immanuel, and it was as if the blue light was building a bridge into a blue distance, and as if Francis of Assisi, accompanied by the wolf of Agobbio, by the lamb and by the birds, walked across into a promised land.

When brother Immanuel got up and opened his earthly eyes, then he not only saw the things around him, but he behold the soul of all creation, and he understood what the animals were saying.  That was Francis of Assisi's gift for him, who had followed his path.

Then, brother Immanuel went into his cabin to look after his younger brother.  The squirrel was sitting under the Redeemer's portrait and held a fir cone in its paws.

How is your paw, my little brother? brother Immanuel asked because he saw that the bandage had fallen off.

I thank you, the squirrel said, my paw is well again.  Someone was here who healed it.  It was an elder brother.

Brother Immanuel heard the cooing sounds in which the animal was speaking, but he also clearly understood what it was saying.  He looked at the bad paw and saw that it was well as if it had never been injured.

Then he turned to the squirrel and embraced in with both hands.

We will go the path of our life together, he said softly, it is the path to La Vernia, my little brother, and into the promised land

The Whitsun Sunday's sun set behind the dark fir tops like transfigured and illuminated blood, and an evening full of peace spread over the wilderness.  At this evening it happened that brother Immanuel rang the bell for the first time, that hung in the roof's gable.  With a fine, silvern voice, it sang the Ave Maria in the forest's loneliness.


The Chain of the Things

It is true, I have eaten eggs that did not belong to me, the squirrel said and ran its paw across the face, as if it wanted to wipe away a sinful memory, but I will do it no more because it hurts the birds.  In the past I just did not think about it; but now, I will also follow the elder brother's path.

It is very peculiar if such a tiny creature says such a great Word, but in the chain of the things, the smallest transformation is an event.

As well, the squirrel had done a lot since it had recovered.  It had jumped from branch to branch, and had announced everywhere that it had found an elder brother who had healed its injured paw.  At this very peculiar, but -given the squirrel's person- perfectly credible story, many squirrels appeared in front of the cabin of brother Immanuel — first the closer relatives and later, as the peculiar occurrence had got about further, the more distant members of the tribe, too.  They brought berries and, in the early fall, nuts, to show their gratitude.  One too wanted to something for the elder brother's support, after he had proved to be so helpful.  So brother Immanuel and the squirrel collected provisions for the winter.  The squirrel also knew extremely proficient to impale mushrooms on a twig and let them dry there.  In this way, long stretches of roads could be provided with food for the winter for the general well-being of all squirrels.  Brother Immanuel showed it to line up this mushrooms on strings and to store them this way.

In many cases, he was helpful for other animals too.  They no longer feared him since the squirrel had vouched for him, and in addition, the squirrel had also taken the vow and confirmed with risen paw, that it would no longer eat any eggs that did not belong to him.  This had made a great impression on the birds and they also saw on their part that it really had to be something very miraculous what had happened in the forest cabin.  Brother Immanuel had also repeatedly helped young birds to get into the nest again, that had trusted their skill to fly all too early.  It happened repeatedly that the parents came to thank for it, and they developed great effort and care on vocal performances.  Some also made their nests at the cabin, and there was a lot of life around the one who was once so lonely.  Brother Immanuel also helped a bee back on its feet again, that had got into a very unfortunate situation on the back.  After that, a delegation of forest bees came flying to him, sat onto his robe, and the senior bee expressed its thanks many times.  We also want to tell you, it hummed, that we always have honey ready for you.  It is our pleasure if we can show our appreciation. Brother Immanuel accepted it gratefully because the bees had in abundance, and for him, it was valuable food.  A hind offered her milk in case he needed some.  He had freed her calf that had got its foot caught in creeper roots.  Brother Immanuel thanked her many times but he did not want to take away any milk from the hind.  He would get by as well, he said.

Anyhow, think of it when someone of you is ill, the hind said, we willingly agree and one of us will certainly have milk.  You only need to call us.

Clearer and clearer, brother Immanuel saw how closely the chain of the things connects all life and how man had broken it so that its links no longer found into each other.  Only the predators were still retiring.  The were in fact convinced of the squirrel's, the bird's, the bee's and the hind's credibility, but they still wanted to wait for the rest.  A man was a too dangerous creature to be trusted so quickly.  The never did anything to brother Immanuel, but they were still withdrawn and also did not greet him when he greeted them.  Brother Immanuel accepted all that devotedly and waited.  He could wait in calmness, after all, he was no longer alone.

He lived in the chain of the things and it inside of him.  It is very much if someone has achieved that.  One feels somehow safe, and one has reached the stream, from that one has once originated.

Often, he walked deeply into the forest, until near the borders where the people's land began.  There, the squirrel did not accompany him.  It then stayed at home, sorted nuts, climbed about on the cabin's roof, or it invited someone from his family to a fir cone.  The then talked about the elder brother's path, as far as a squirrel can follow it.

On such a journey, it then happened that brother Immanuel met another man.  That had not happened for a very long time, and he had the feeling as if he saw his home in a distorted picture.  It was something that attracted and repelled at the same time — God's image that was distorted.  The man was shabbily dressed and had a bandaged hand.  Brother Immanuel greeted him and asked him what was the matter with him.

The man looked at him strangely.  Brother Immanuel had not considered that he had not lived among people for many months, that his habit was torn and his hair was unkempt.

I have crushed my hand, the man said, distrustfully and surly. Brother Immanuel looked at him very calmly, with the inner eyes that he had gained and that the other did not have.

You have crushed your hand in a trap that you have set up for the animals, he said, it was on a clearing where young birches stand and a spring flows from the rock.  To this spring the animals come, according to God's will, to drink, not to be catched in the people's traps.

Where do you know that from? the man asked.

From the spirit of god and from the demon of the people, brother Immanuel said.  I freed a creature from a trap, it lives with me, and it is my brother.

Can you see behind the things?, the man asked, and he did not know if it was fear or pleasure that spoke out of him.

Nobody can see behind the great things, brother Immanuel said, nobody who is a man.  But behind the little things that you mean, I can see as if they were of glass.

It is not a little thing if my hand will heal again or not, the man replied, it would be worth a lot if you could tell me that.

It will not heal again as long as you are setting traps in which the animals' paws are broken, brother Immanuel said, but it will heal if you pick up all traps and bury them, so that no-one of your younger brothers will be harmed.

How shall I do this? the man said.  I earn my living from setting traps and killing the animals that I catch in them.  I am too stupid to anything else from childhood, I am not given any other work in the village.

He was a simple-minded, but maybe it was good that he was a simple-minded, because someone who has what people call cleverness, cannot grasp the chain of the things.  But God helps the simple-minded, they are not yet so far from him as the others who are clever in this world.

Brother Immanuel took the simple-minded by the hand and let him behold the chain of the things.  Only a wise man can show that to a simple-minded, not to a clever one according to this world's cleverness.  Then, the simple-minded saw how all things form a chain in God's creation and how man had broken it so that its links no longer found into each other.  He also saw how the younger brothers were waiting for the redemption by the elder brothers, and he was seized by a great sorrow about what he had done, because he saw the many younger brothers who raised their mutilated limbs up to him and accused him of the fratricide.

I cannot do that again, he said softly and helplessly, but from what shall I earn my living?  I am poor and very simple-minded, and people are laughing at every work that I begin.

Do according to that what you have seen, brother Immanuel said, and churches and kings will be seeking your work.  God bless your path, dear brother, for it will become the elder brother's path for his younger brothers.  Many powers are hidden in the chain of the things for the one who has seen the chain of the things.

With that, they parted.

Where can I meet you again? the man asked.  It may be that I need your advice or your help, because it seems to me as if I would be very alone now among the people.

You will find me if you follow your path, brother Immanuel said.  But it will well be that you will be very lonely for a while.  A while is nothing, my dear brother, if you consider it properly.

Then, brother Immanuel turned and the forest's darkness took him up.

But the simple-minded went and buried all traps that he had set.  When he came home, his hand was healed.  He did not set a trap again and stubbornly refused when he was instructed to do so.  He is an idiot, the people said and set the traps themselves in the forest.  But no-one found them again.  The simple-minded found them all and buried them.  But since no-one in the village could find that out, and so they let it be.  The simple-minded lived very poorly and very lonely for a while.  Of mercy, he was given a piece of bread, but no work, because he was an idiot, and he was jeered at.  But he patiently waited for the chain of the things, because he knew that his hand had been healed in one single day.  A while is nothing, he thought by himself, and said to himself again and again, and yet, it was very hard.

But at one time he took a knife to carve a figure that he had beheld, because he beheld many figures since that day when he had buried the traps.  He carved arduously on it and thought it was nothing more than a way of passing the time; but when it was finished, it was a work of art, and the people admired it.  He carved all the village church's choir stalls new, his reputation spread wide across the country, monasteries and kings seeked his work, and he was highly honoured.

All called him master, but he himself stayed pensive and very humble.  After all, he had beheld the chain of the things and knew that he was following the elder brother's path.  He knew that all great art is nothing but beholding the creation, near to god and near to the animals and flowers, and far from this world's cleverness.  He also suspected, that his hands that were hitherto so clumsy, had become master hands because the skillfulness of all animal paws that he had saved, had been transferred into him.  Very miraculous is this world, when one sees it like the people do not see it, and very strange and very delicately spun is the chain of the things.


The Shebear and her Child

Brother Immanuel worked diligently in his garden together with the squirrel.  He dug over the ground with a spade that he had lugged with him, and the squirrel carefully scraped little holes in the prepared patches and buried the seeds in them.  It also collected seeds for future times and developed many and great domestic virtues.  The provisions for the winter were modest but increased visibly, and it was also considered that guests would appear that had nothing put aside for the snow-covered months.

An ant colony had also settled at the cabin, after it had asked for permission and promised not to touch the forest bee's honey.  Also some hedgehogs had arrived and eagerly offered to do garden work.  Actually, they could not identify any particular skills but they had little and very funny children, and brother Immanuel did not stop them.  The big ones busily ran back and forth and helped digging, the little ones were lying on the meadow and sunned themselves.  It was a very agile group.  They repeatedly declared that they would certainly not touch the carrots that brother Immanuel had grown, although they had been attracted by just the rarity's smell, besides of all the laudable that they had learned about the elder brother.  Brother Immanuel divided the provisions and gave the hedgehogs carrots and the ants honey, but only on Sunday because there was not much available of it all.  After all, the animals exactly know when Sunday comes, and the trees and the flowers suspect it.

So the days changed into nights, and the nights into days, and brother Immanuel felt it more and more inwardly that he became one with the life around him.

In between it happened, that brother Immanuel got a visit from the simple-minded who had become a master.  He found the way into the wilderness and to his elder brother's cabin without any effort, even as he went it for the first time.  He not even needed to search.  There was a radiance around him that lead him the way, very similar to that sureness with that he beheld his work in front of him and gave artistic form to it.  He brought bread with him, some tools and simple linen for a habit.  More, brother Immanuel did not want to have.  He had experienced all to deep inside himself how much one creates a new man in oneself when one attends everything, completely relying upon oneself and on the laws of nature that surround one.  It is as if one experienced in oneself again the childhood of man's history with consciousness, and as if the earth became young again as on the first day.  We all who go forward, first must go back very far, brother Immanuel told the simple-minded who had become a master, many thousand years we have to journey back, as the powers formed that are at work today.  It is as if we had to become timeless in ourselves.  The body has to become flexible and light like a plant, belonging to the earth and yet not bound to it with any desire, and the soul does not have to be attached to the body more like a butterfly that hides in a flower.

It is very hard, the other said.

It is only hard in the beginning, brother Immanuel said, then the big loneliness comes, and afterwards, actually everything is very easy.  Lo, when I look at people, animals, trees and flowers, I see all their colors and shapes, but I see that they all are bodies of one substance, I see the powers that create the variety in the whole.  It is as if the tree that stands just in front of us, became of glass and quite transparent.  Behind the miracle of its bark, its branches and leaves, I see what the real tree is, it is the part of a a great soul, and all souls are somehow connected to each other in the chain of the things and are waiting for redemption by the elder brothers.

I want to follow, like you, the elder brother's path, said the simple-minded who had become a master.

Don't you also go this path when you behold your images in the soul and give artistic form to them, so that others can see them with their earthly eyes? brother Immanuel said.  Don't you call the longing in others who are not yet awake, the longing to free the earth of sin?  Very different, dear brother, are the elder brothers' ways, but they all live in the longing that still sleeps in the others.  One has to remind them of what they also were in, of an earth without sin, of a children's earth, as it once was and will be again some day.

When and where will this new earth come into being? the simple-minded who had become a master asked.

A while is nothing if you consider it properly, dear brother and where there will be decided on, there is no more time.  But this new earth will be created of the spirit of love, in atonement and longing.  Call for that, we have to be awake and we have to call those who sleep.

Often, I do not know what to create, the other said.  It happens frequently that a master says that.  Only those who are no masters, never say that.

You have to call others and yourself follow the one who calls you.  Your caller will always be beside when it is about time.  Go home now, dear brother, and on your way home you will encounter someone, his image create!  We always find what we are looking for when the soul is on its way home.

So the simple-minded who had become a master, went home, and in the deep forest he encountered someone, whose image he created.  It was a man of great kindness, with a gleam of light around him, and by his side walked a wolf and a lamb, and the birds of the forest sat on his shoulder.  So the simple-minded who had become a master, created the image of the Holy of La Vernia.  This was the crown of his works.

But bother Immanuel betook himself to his cabin and laid down on his bed.  The squirrel was already sleeping in his nest under the Redeemer's cross.  A dark night covered forest and meadows in deep shadows, and above the cabin, the stars shone.  Brother Immanuel did not sleep, he was awake and was looking though a small window onto the star's writing.  He had now learned to read the star's writing, and in this writing he also meet the image of the Francis of Assisi.  It stood there, big and clear, in characters that will never vanish.

It was already late, there it happened that it was knocked at the cabin's door.  This had not happened before — who should knock at the door in this forest loneliness?  It was unlikely but brother Immanuel got up from his bed and opened the door.  In front of him, in the darkness of the night stood a big shebear, like a huge shadow.  Someone else could have been terrified, but brother Immanuel saw that the shebear was in need because she lead her child at her paw which was ill.

I have heard that you are an elder brother, the shebear said very modestly, my child is ill, maybe you can help him.

Brother Immanuel took the bear child on the arms and laid it down on his own bed very carefully.  The little bear let himself be lifted up without any fear and quite naturally, the shebear followed slowly and somewhat distrustful.

We tried with some herbs that we know, she said, but this time, is was of no use.

For that, one has to know some other herbs, dear sister, there is also something in you of the confusion in the chain of the things, otherwise you would not become ill.  That also will be no more some day.

The squirrel had got up, growling and hissing.

Dear brother, brother Immanuel told him, go and look for the flower with the read cup that blooms at the path of the thorns, and call the hind for I need some milk because someone is ill.

The squirrel disappeared in the dark, and brother Immanuel covered the little bear carefully.

We do not know this medicinal herb, the shebear said.

You will also get to know it in the change of the things.  It blooms at the path that the elder brothers are going.

Then he took a slice of bread, spread honey on it and offered it the shebear.  The shebear sniffed at it, but she was in worry about her child and did not want to eat.

We both will eat it together, brother Immanuel said, it is not only good for you because you are hungry from the journey and exhausted from the worry about your child.  It is also good in another way, if we are eating the bread together.  It is not only an ordinary meal but something very miraculous when are breaking the bread together.  It will then be much more easy for me to heal your child.

Then the shebear took the bread and they both ate together.  Brother Immanuel sat down beside the little bear's bed and began to carve a simple ball from wood.

Is that a magical cure? the shebear asked and creeped closer, distrustfully.  Somehow she still felt a worry about her child.

That is no remedy, brother Immanuel said, very friendly, the remedy is fetched by the squirrel, and it will arrive soon.  This here is something quite simple.  It will become a wooden ball, and your child shall play with it tomorrow morning, when it awakes and is well again.

Then, the shebear licked him the hands that carved the ball, and now she believed that brother Immanuel was an elder brother.

In the meantime, the squirrel had returned and had brought the red flower that grows at the path of the thorns.  Outside, in front of the cabin stood the hind, and brother Immanuel stepped out to her.

I thank you many times that you have come, he said, it is for the shebear and her child, if you give your milk.

For the bears I do not want to give of my milk, the hind said, they have often killed animals such as me in the forest.

That is well true, brother Immanuel said, but look, it is her child and it cannot become well again it you do not give him of your milk.  Only this milk can help the child, just because the bears have done you an injustice though the confusion in the chain of the things.  You will go the elder brother's path if you do it.  I also go this path; otherwise I would not be allowed to ask you for it.

Then, the hind gave of her milk and brother Immanuel thanked her many times for that.  For it was much more, what she had done, than she had given her milk.  One link had been disentangled in the confusion in the chain of the things, and one step had been done on the great way of redemption.  Maybe it was not much what happened on this earth of the appearances; but in the world of the spiritual realities, it was a powerful event.  Brother Immanuel put the red flower that blooms at the path of the thorns, together with the hind's milk in a bowl and gave it the little bear.  The bear child finished the bowl and fell asleep very deeply.

The hind, of whose kind you have killed many, dear sister, gave you this milk, brother Immanuel told the shebear.  Tomorrow, your child will be well again.

In the shebear's soul, something happened which she had never experienced before.  It was a miraculous night.

We will never again kill a hind or one of her calves in this forest, the shebear said, I will tell all the bears and they will see it.

That was again a powerful event in the world of the spiritual realities, even if it was only a word in this world of the appearances.

You can sleep now, brother Immanuel told the shebear, I will keep watch by your child's bedside.

Then, the shebear laid down at his feet, breathed a sigh of relief and fell asleep.

The other morning, she awoke and saw that her child was romping around in the cabin and was playing with a wooden ball.  In the course of this, it growled of pleasure, because the wooden ball was very beautiful.

The shebear thanked the squirrel many times for the effort that it had made, and brother Immanuel for the miracle and the healing that he had accomplished.

I alone can perform no miracles and accomplish no healing, brother Immanuel said, but behold, the miracle and the healing are in yourselves.  And when your child became well again, you owe it to the squirrel, the hind and yourself.  I cannot do more than to go ahead on the elder brother's path.

There, the shebear suspected what had happened, and she said goodbye, with many bows, to brother Immanuel and the squirrel, and the bear child did the same and gave the paw for goodbye.  With the other paw, it held the ball of wood, and it took it with it, to carry on playing with it.  Of course, it was only a toy; but it was a toy that an elder brother had carved.

So, another link in the chain of the things closed.

In this forest, never again a hind or a hind's calf was killed, and when brother Immanuel walked though the forest, the predators greeted already from far.  The shebear bowed, the wolves and foxes barked softly and the wildcats purred when they saw him.

But he all blessed them with the elder brother's blessing, and he discussed with them that on the mountain on which his cabin stood, no animal must do harm to another.

But still the chain of the things was not disentangled, and still it had to happen that one killed the other for food.

But on this mountain it should happen no more, and the animals all promised to stick to it, and they did so.

So the animals had grasped what sanctuary is, and this was a great event on the earth and an even greater event in the world of the spiritual realities, and it was the greatest of the great events of this miraculous night.


The Earthen and the Crystal Bowl

It was not that brother Immanuel lived alone only with the animals of the forest; it was also not that he saw no human soul except the simple-minded who had become a master.  Certainly he would not have been alone even then.  But yet it was still different, and so it is always when someone follows the elder brother's path.  Brother Immanuel behold with the inner eyes, that had opened for him, not only the animals' souls and the powers of the plants and things, it also often happened that he perceived figures with these inner eyes, who walked beside him or sat beside him in his cabin's peace and talked to him, at day or night-time.  They were elder brothers who had gone his path before him and were preparing the same paths on the world's other shore.  Still, the dead and the living are building at the bridges to the promised land and pour the earth's soul into ever new forms.  The people who are caught in a body, only forgot that they came from a different shore of the world and again reach this different shore when the death leads then over the dark stream in his barque.  That is certainly very important, as the people's nature is nowadays, but it need not be so important.  There is a crystal bowl in an earthen bowl.  A body of coarse materials that was finer body's earthen bowl, remains, and that is all.  Oneself lives on in the crystal bowl; but one had this finer body already when one was still in the earthen bowl, but one did not pay attention to it, because one only pays attention to the earthen bowl.  In the sleep, the people know that because they then leave their earthen bowl and stand in front of it in a finer body, and often, they wander far away from their earthen bowl that stays connected with them only like through a thin, silvern ribbon.  During death, this ribbon, too, detaches because the earthen bowl is no longer usable and one does no longer need it in the other shore's different kind of materiality.  But is that very important?  One continues to live in the crystal bowl, in that one always lived, even when the earthen still surrounded it.  Actually, it is very simple and the people just do not recognize how simple it is, because their earthen bowl is too thick and too coarse and they forget that all when they again enter into their earthen bowl.  It is therefore also very important that one shapes one's earthen bowl finer, so that one still takes something into it from a more lucid consciousness, when one comes from the other shore.  For the earthen bowl shall only carry the crystal one and not obscure it, and the crystal one shall illuminate the earthen bowl.  It is a mystery from this and the other world, and one cannot understand life and death if one does not understand this.

With such finer bodies of the other shore, the elder brothers who had shipped over the stream, sat beside brother Immanuel and talked to him about the elder brothers' paths and about the promised land.  In between, it was also that brother Immanuel left his earthen bowl in his sleep, and, in his crystal bowl, visited the elder brothers on the other shore, when he wanted to speak to them.  He only had to take care that the silvern ribbon that connected him with his earthen bowl and that spanned the dark stream, would not tear.  But well, who should tear it, for brother Immanuel lived far from the people who take hold of that with ungainly hands, and beside his earthen bowl, the squirrel waited patiently until he returned.  After all, the dark stream is nothing else than a small brook for those who follow the elder brother's path, and it is not far for them from this shore to the other.

I have to say that so that one does not think that brother Immanuel's life had been lonely and naïve.  It was only the unimportant that had receded into the distance, and what was essential, was close.

Now it once happened that brother Immanuel sat in front of his cabin with the figures of his elder brothers from the other shore, and talked about the nature of the things, when a big noise rose in the forest and many animals hurried fearfully towards the mountain on whose summit brother Immanuel's cabin stood.

Something very terrible must have happened, the squirrel said that was already awake although it was around the first morning hour.  But it was very eager to learn and listened with pleasure when the elder brothers were talking.  They all were always so very friendly towards it.  A big long-eared owl came flying towards the cabin with silent beats of its wings, and sat down on brother Immanuel's lap.

A king with awfully many people, horses and dogs has invaded the forest for a big hunt.  They carry terrible spears with themselves, and all animals are fleeing horrified to your cabin.  But it is a long way, and they also have their little ones with them, which they cannot let down, and so they will not be able to save themselves if you do not help them.  I have come to ask for help because I am the only one who is able to fly so fast in the darkness.

The long-eared owl was very exhausted, and its wings were shaking.

There, brother Immanuel asked his elder brothers of the other shore, and they made it, that a thick, gray fog enveloped the king with all his people, horses and dogs.  But over the animals of the forest, the sun rose and showed them the way.  The long-eared owl closed its eyes, blinded, and brother Immanuel brought it into his cabin, so that it could rest and sleep at daytime.

Send out the birds from their nests at your cabin, the elder brothers said, to tell all animals of the forest, they should be unconcerned; the fog around the king and his entourage will not disappear until you want it to, people and horses will not intrude further, and the dogs will not be able to take up any trail.

There, the birds flew away into all of the forest's directions and they were happy that they could proclaim peace.

Wait until the night, the elder brothers said, then go and talk to the king!  He is a fool and he shall become a wise man.

When do I have to go out, so that I will come in time, brother Immanuel asked, how many hours of way is it from here?

It does not matter how far it is, the elder brothers said, go in your crystal bowl when your earthen bowl is asleep, and we will be with you and escort you.

With these words, the went to the other shore, but brother Immanuel betook himself into his cabin, gave the long-eared owl and the squirrel their food, and they waited for the night.

When the first stars appeared in the sky, brother Immanuel laid down on his bed and left his coarse-material body, effortlessly as one takes off a garment.  But in his fine-material body, he stood, peculiarly illuminated, in front of the squirrel and the owl, and made the sign of the cross at the portrait of the one who redeemed him of his journey.

Stay with my earthen bowl in the cabin, dear brother, he told the squirrel, for you, the way is too far.  But my sister, the owl, is used to flying, she can accompany me.

With nearly silent beats of its wings, the owl glided into the dark of the night, and even more silently, even more insubstantially in the earthly, brother Immanuel's figure glided beside her, and there were no obstacles for it, no trees and no branches.  It was of a substance that penetrates though everything that is not from the other shore.  It is very hard to describe it to a man who lives only in the consciousness of his earthen bowl, but it is this way, and one has to tell it because it is true.

In the kings hunting camp, no-one had been able to do a single step the whole day because one did not see anything in the thick, gray fog, and everybody had gone to sleep, grumpy and morose.  Only the king was awake and stared grimly into his little campfire in front of his tent.  He was angry that something was stronger than him and that his pleasure was being disturbed.

Brother Immanuel glided in front of him, and the owl sat down on the roof of the king's tent, because it wanted to hear all of it to tell the animals of the forest afterwards.  It was very strange, but the dogs also did not notice that someone had arrived.  Or maybe they had noticed it, but they gave no bark because they suspected that it was something from the other shore.  The animals are often wiser than the people.

You have to leave this forest, dear brother, brother Immanuel told the king, because you have come here to kill.

The king look up, frightened.  It was peculiar that suddenly, a strange man stood in front of him and that his guards had let him pass.  It was even more peculiar that this man looked different than all others, because it was as if his body was illuminated.  The king was seized by a horror; but he remembered that he was the king and lord of this whole region.

I am not your brother, he said, I am the king of this forest.  Clear off, here no-one may command except me alone.

He wanted to call the guards, but he could not do it.

You are not yet my brother, brother Immanuel said, but I called you like this out of kindness, because you will be it some day, sooner or later, depending on your will.  But some day, you will have to be it, and it is good for you if it happens early.  The king of this forest is not you, God is the king of this forest, and he gave it to his animals.

You are an animal yourself, the king shouted furiously and took hold of his spear.

I am the brother of the animals and follow the elder brother's path, that you will also have to follow some day.  Leave your spear, because I am not in my earthen bowl as you are.

I do not know who you are, and I also do not want to know it, the king said, go away from me, you give me the creeps, go away from me, I command it to you, I am the king.

A command of a king who is not a spiritual king, is something ridiculous in the world of the other shore, brother Immanuel said.  He said that softly and friendly, as one emphasizes a fact.  There was no attack in this statement , and spontaneously, the king had to be silent, because he did not know what to answer.

Look, dear brother, brother Immanuel continued and sat down beside the king, it is so that one has to go back many thousands of years if one wants to do one step forward.  I will lead you back. And he put his hands on his eyes so that the king's earthly eyes closed themselves and his inner eyes began to behold.

Do you look back the many thousands of years, and for god, they are like one day?  All people are walking through many earthly lives and all creatures with them, that are interlinked in the chain of the things.  You say that you are a king.  I do not believe that because you are not a king in the land of the other shore.  In your previous earthly life, you were the servant of a great one and liked to become a great one yourself.  In the land of the other shore, you were a beggar with this wish; but your wish was fulfilled, and after your rebirth, you became a king among the people.  For the people today still choose their kings not among the spiritual kings, but mostly among the fools, because they are fools themselves.  Do you think it is something great, to be the greatest among the fools? The angels that guided you and did not stop you, thought, maybe you would still become a king if your hands grasped a job that you wished.  But you have only learned to give orders and to kill.  No-one who gives orders and kills, is a king.  You have remained a servant, the servant of a dark power, and you are too stupid to recognize it.  You would also never have become a king on this earth, if the people would not still deserve to have you as their king.  Are you still proud to be a king?

The king behold that what brother Immanuel behold.  For he saw the life with his inner eyes.

I see that I am a beggar and not a king, he said.  I will leave this forest as soon as the fog lifts again.

The fog will clear when you want it to.  It is not the fog of the forest that has settled around you.  My elder brothers create this fog around you of your own thoughts.

What shall I do? asked the king who was a beggar.

Never kill again, brother Immanuel said, no man and no animal!  Hallow all life, for that alone is kingship.  Follow the elder brother's path, like I followed it, because reign may only who respects the brother even in the smallest creature.

And if I live like a saint, I have to wage wars, as long as I am a king, said the king.

Nobody who is wise, needs to wage war, brother Immanuel said, it is so that not the kings are waging the war, but the war leads the kings.  It is a fool's rope full of blood.  Do not let yourself be lead by the war, and you will not need to wage war, neither on the people nor on the animals.  It is so much avoidable for the one whose crystal bowl is pure.  Look, you are living in the consciousness of your earthen bowl, and it conceals the land of the other shore and the wisdom of this and the other world.  I have taken off this earthen bowl and I am with you in my crystal bowl.  Live in a way that your crystal bowl improves and that you behold yourself in your crystal bowl!  But clean this crystal bowl from all desire, so pure and clear that all light from the other shore can pour into it.  Because this light pours into all bowls that are prepared for it.  Then you will be a spiritual king, and no earthly king can defeat a spiritual king.  Hold your crystal bowl ready in atonement, longing, and love, because it is the bowl of the grail, who everyone carries in oneself, who god has created.

Silently, as he had arrived, brother Immanuel disappeared in the night's darkness, and the owl followed him.  Just as silently, he again glided into his earthen bowl in the cabin and laid down on his bed, and the squirrel slept in his arm.

I will follow the elder brother's path, said the king who had been a beggar, and as soon as he had said that, the fog disappeared and the morning sun came.  Its rays fell into a crystal bowl that had become clear and pure, and was held ready in atonement, longing, and love for the grail.  Now, the king was no longer a beggar, but he had really become a king.

The people were silent, the hunting horns did not sound, and the dogs did not bark as the king moved home with his hunting entourage.  But the forest was no more entered by anyone who wanted to kill, since that day.  The king hunted no more, and he also did not wage wars, because it was so, that the war could no longer lead him since he was a spiritual king and since he carried the grail's bowl consciously in himself.

But the owl related in the whole forest what it had heard, and since that, it was regarded as the wisest bird among the animals of the forest.  Because it talked of atonement, longing and love, and of the mystery that includes death and life, and of the earthen and the crystal bowl.


God's Guests

It is a hard time for the animals when the snow falls and the wonders of the forest return into the earth's lap.  Many birds migrate away because they cannot bear such a cold, and many animals creep away into their caves and nests to hibernate and to wait on the threshold between this and that world until the seeds of the life start to stir again.  These animals have it easier than the others.  But there are also many who commence battle with the winter.  Probably, there must be a reason for that they do it, perhaps it is a job in the mysterious run of the things.

Brother Immanuel helped with the small means that he had; but he could not always help all, and this was a very depressing consciousness for him.

He found this poverty towards the younger brothers even more depressing, as Christmas was approaching.  He saw it clearly that Christmas was coming, because he behold with his inner eyes how the earth became more and more illuminated in its depths, as if the seeds that had been buried into it, were radiating little flames and were mutually connecting themselves in their varied shapes, to form a writing of the future life that should awake around Easter.  Also in the trees that stood in the icy whirlwind, was this inner light, and it was really that way that the whole forest was an ocean of little flames, although all that was veiled with ice and snow like in a blanket of death.  But death is everywhere only something apparent.  So, the earth's inner light increased from day to day, and the Holy Night draw closer and closer.

Brother Immanuel had laid out ample seeds, that he had grown, for the birds, cabbage and turnips for the deers, roedeers and rabbits, and nuts and dried mushrooms for the squirrels and other rodents.  For the predators and for the fish in the creek, he had provided bread, which the simple-minded who had become a master, had brought more frequently than usual at this time.  But brother Immanuel asked himself if it sufficed for all those who he wanted to request the pleasure of their company for Christmas.  Because it was miserable if one considered how many animals of the forest would come if he called.

Anyhow he decided to give away all he had, and the squirrel had diligently helped to arrange the provisions so that it looked pretty and pleasing and one could see at once that is was no ordinary table, but a Christmas celebration table.  Otherwise, the squirrel had slept a lot until these days, because it also did not endure the winter especially well.  Only in between, it got out of bed, rubbed its eyes with the paws, consumed a nut or a dried mushroom or threw some branches into the fire that brother Immanuel maintained permanently.  But brother Immanuel had gone out into the forest long before Christmas and had told all animals that he met, that he invited his younger brothers to celebrate Christmas with him, and the animals had thanked many times and one had told the other.

At the afternoon before the Holy Night fanned the fire in his cabin and opened the door to the white, wide snow landscape so that a flaring play of flames ran over it.  He had decorated the door with fir twigs, and in front of the door, he had spread all his provisions.  But in front of the Redeemer's portrait, a consecrated candle was burning that the simple-minded who had become a master, had brought to that purpose.  The squirrel sat in front of it and looked raptly into the calm and tranquil flame.  But brother Immanuel rang the bell with the fine, silvern voice and called the animals of the forest to the celebration of their and his Christmas.

When the animals heard the bell, the came in big crowds and gathered on the mountain's summit, and brother Immanuel invited them to eat.  That was all that he had, and they should break the bread with him to the Christmas of the forest.  After that, he wanted to tell them of the miracle of Christmas.

We thank you many times, some animals for themselves and for the others, but we do not want to eat your bread.  How will you live then?  We did not come for that.  But we would really like to listen when you explain the miracle of Christmas to us.  We all feel it when it comes over the forest, but perhaps we are too young to understand it.  Or it is only because that nobody explained it to us.  Probably, an elder brother has to do it, because surely, it is very hard.

The miracle of Christmas is not hard to understand, brother Immanuel said, it is only hard for those who do not want to understand it, and most of the people do not want it.  Because these people celebrate their Christmas by killing countless creatures of God.  But these creatures of God are their brothers and sisters.  So it is a violated night and no Christmas.  The people are far from Christmas because they are far from love, and nevertheless they have to go ahead in Christmas and in love, because they are the elder brothers.  But it is not so that you shall not eat my bread.  I have collected it for you for that purpose, and many of you will be very hungry.  It is my Christmas that you are my guests, and it is my and your Christmas if we eat the bread together.

Then, the animals began to eat.  But brother Immanuel saw that it would not be enough, because many of the animals were very hungry and their number was very large.  There he turned to the Redeemer's portrait with the consecrated candle in front of it and said: I beseech you that my brothers and sisters will become replete when they celebrate Christmas with me.

Darkness was already falling, but all of a sudden, it became quite light on the mountain.  Two big angles stood to both sides of the cabin, and the snow and the ice began to melt, because the angles had called the hot springs that flowed underneath the mountain that they come up and warm the earth.  But over the earth that had been liberated of snow, both angles stretched out the hands, and there, grass and flowers and many other plants were growing out of the soil that had never ever grown here, so that the mountain was green as in spring and the animals had lavish to still their hunger.

Even the predators ate of it and they found it so tasty as they had never imagined, because it was Christmas, and all creatures who declared themselves for it, had become children again, as it once was and will be again some day in the Promised Land when the earth is free of sin.  But the angles walked around among the animals and talked to them as one talks to his younger brothers and sisters.  They told the animals that they had proclaimed the Redeemers birth also to them, when the star stood above Betlehem.  And it was to the animals as if they remembered something what they had forgotten, what they had known in their soul's ground and what had only become confused because of the confusion in the chain of the things.  But the earth was full of flowers right out of the middle of the winter, and the world's two shores touched each other.  The earth, too, has its earthen and its crystal bowl, and it was as if the crystal bowl had pervaded the earthen one and had illuminated it with the love to all creatures — and it will also be like this some day, when all have followed the elder brother's path.

When all animals were replete, brother Immanuel sat down with them and the squirrel climbed onto his shoulder.  But he told the animals of the miracle of Christmas, when the love had been born into the earth to illuminate it more and more, and he told them that this happened when a king was born in a poor manger and in a barn, and the animals had been standing n the king in the manger.  But above the king, the star of Betlehem shone.  There, the animals understood that this had to be the real king of the earth, because no crown but a star had stood above his cradle.  It is a mystery of creation, and yet, it is so easy to understand as the miracle of love.

This is the only way to redemption, brother Immanuel said, that all elder brothers go ahead of the younger brothers, in atonement, longing, and love.  The king who was not born under a crown but under a star, told the people that they shall go all over the world, to preach the Gospel to all creature; but the people were not of good will, and they are not yet today.  This was the light that shone in the darkness, but the darkness did not grasp it.  The people did not become elder brothers to the people and the animals, but tyrants and murderers, and therefore, they all bear the mark of Cain on their forehead, and all creatures of God flee when they see God's image.  Therefore, you have fled me because I was not like the Saint of La Vernia and because I bear the mark of Cain on my forehead.  Believe me, dear younger brothers, it is dreadful to be a man when one wants to follow the path of love and one understands, full of horror, that one is a branded one in God's creation.

We do no more see a mark on your forehead, the animals said.  It is no longer so that you bear a mark of Cain.

There, brother Immanuel hid the face in the hands and wept for the first time since that sad evening when he had arrived on this mountain.  But these were different tears than at that evening of loneliness, and the angles stood beside him and closed their wings above him and the squirrel that had become his first brother.

This was the Christmas of brother Immanuel and his brothers, the animals.  When the animals said goodbye, the all went up to brother Immanuel one by one.  The birds sat down on his hand, the deers and roedeers bowed, the fish greeted in the creek, the wolves, the wildcats, the foxes, the rabbits, the squirrels and all others gave him the paw, like the wolf of Agobbio had given the holy Francis of Assisi the paw when he had taken the vow.  We thank you many times for all that you have told us, the animals said, and we also thank the angles and you for all with what you have stilled our hunger.  It is very much what happened today, and there are also many among us who want to follow the elder brother's path, as far this will be possible today in the confusion in the chain of the things.

I wanted you to be my guests, and it has been something very Holy to do it, brother Immanuel said, but I myself have received the greatest gift during that.  It is also that you have not been my guests, but you have been God's guests, because he himself has invited you to his table of love.

The mountain on which brother Immanuel's cabin stood, remained always green since that holy night, winter and summer, and one could see no more snow and ice though the changes of the years, so that all animals that had taken the vow of asylum on it, found their food and did not need to live in want.

It was as if a part of the earth had been freed from sin, and a bridge had been built across to the Promised Land.

But the animals never again forgot that brother Immanuel had invited them to this Christmas of the forest, that the angles had talked to them and that they had been God's guests.


The Promised Land

Now, there is not much left to tell of this story, because after all, it is only one of its uniforms I have clothed it in.  It is certainly a very simple story; but that is why it is without time.  It has already happened many times, many hundred years ago, it happened yesterday, and it happens today, and it must again happen many times, because it is a long way until the earth is free of sin.  I also cannot tell how long brother Immanuel lived in this miraculous world, together with his squirrel and the other animals.  Maybe, one could also think that, according to the way the earthly things go, the squirrel should have died earlier than his elder brother.  But that is not correct, and it may be that brother Immanuel's earthly life was shortened or the squirrel's earthly life was prolonged.  All that is irrelevant, and in the world of spiritual realities, only the relevant things are recorded.  I have read it from this world — where else could I have read it?  But in the world of the other shore, that were quite big events, although it is only an inconspicuous and very simple story here.  Because it is the way that the big events always lie behind the things.  I also cannot tell how long the time was, in that the events that I have told, have happened.  After all, they really happened in the realm of the spiritual realities, and there is not what we call the time.  Because the time is something irrelevant for the one who lives outside of it.  It may be hard to understand but I have to say that all this way because it is true.

So it once happened — and I do not know when it happened —, that brother Immanuel's angle went up to him.  It was his guardian angle, as each one has for his earthly journey.

Brother Immanuel, he said very friendly, now, you have to prepare yourself to loosen the silvern ribbon between your earthen and your crystal bowl and to come to the other shore, to further build the elder brothers' path there.

I will readily do that, brother Immanuel said, but I do not like to leave my younger brother alone, because he has got quite accustomed to go his earthly path with me, and he has become such a good brother to me, as there are not many.

We have considered that, the angle said, all creatures that God has created, come to the other shore in their crystal bowl.  You only need to take your little brother on the arm, when we call you for the journey.

We will soon walk across a bridge together, my little brother, brother Immanuel told the squirrel, it is irrelevant, and I will carry you on the arm, so that you will not notice at all if it is a short or a long way.  But in the land that we will enter, you will recognize what is relevant, and that all that has been relevant here, remains as if nothing had changed.

And when the simple-minded who had become a master, visited him, he told him: This is the last time, my dear brother, that we are together on this shore.  Now, you need no more come, but if you want to see me, call me before you fall asleep, so that we can meet in our crystal bowl!

That will be very hard for me, the simple-minded who had become a master said, because I am not so far advanced as you on the path that we both follow.

Behold, no-one is far or near, brother Immanuel said, because the goal is timeless, if you consider it properly.  After all, we both follow the elder brother's path on this and the other shore, and this path is a varied one for many creatures, so that nobody can tell what is near and what is far.  But you still have to create many pieces of work here, although I will go now.

It will be a sad time until I may also go, the simple-minded who had become a master, said.

You need not think that, brother Immanuel said, A while is nothing, if you consider it properly, maybe, it is just nothing.  And it is also that the chain of the things gets disentangled more and more.  God bless you path, dear brother, because it is the elder brother's path on this and on the other shore.

And brother Immanuel said goodbye to the simple-minded who had become a master.  That was at the end of a day and of a life.  But the evening of a life is nothing more than the end of a day, and it is also only on this shore, that evening comes.

The other morning, when the sun was rising, brother Immanuel's angle again went up to him.  You have to come to the other shore now, he said friendly.

There, brother Immanuel laid down on his bed in the cabin and took the squirrel onto his arm.  It was very strange.  The angle's features changed, the became pale and solemn, his wings black and his robe dark.  It was as if the angle of death had taken over and stood at his place.  Gently, the silvern ribbon between the earthen and the crystal bowl worked itself loose.  Then the angle of death's features changed into the features of the Redeemer at the cross, the wings became golden, and the robe white and translucent like illuminated snow.  There, the silvern ribbon between the earthen and the crystal bowl detached itself.  It was around the Easter time when this happened.  I cannot tell if it was just at the Easter Sunday.  But in brother Immanuel's cabin, it had become Easter Sunday.

The birds that nested on the cabin's roof, carried the news of brother Immanuel's death to the animals of the forest, and there was a big sadness among them that their elder brother had gone away from them.  Because they were the younger brothers and they still lived in the consciousness of this shore.  But in this sorrow is the realization of the other shore, and therefore, it has to be in this world, until both shores unite some day.

In interminable crowds, the animals of the forest came migrating onto the mountain on which brother Immanuel's cabin stood.  One after the other stepped in the cabin's door and looked at brother Immanuel's earthen bowl that laid there peacefully, with the squirrel on the arm, the Redeemer's portrait above him.  It was quite silent, and the morning sun was painting golden signs onto the walls.

The animals were also silent, and no-one disturbed the other.  Only two big bears were crying as they stepped into the cabin's door, and the tears were flowing down their muzzle.  These were the shebear and her son.  The shebear's son was no longer a bear child as at that time, but had become strong and mighty and even taller than his mother when he stood upright.  But he held a wooden ball in his paw although he was no longer a bear child.  Today, he only played no longer with it.

I cannot tell which animals all came to brother Immanuel's cabin, it would be too much to enumerate them all, and it is also irrelevant.  Relevant is only that they all felt united as younger brothers in front of this deathbed.  But that was a real and big event, and it is not always so when someone dies.

We will dig a grave for our elder brother, the bear said, and let the wooden ball glide into the grass, as one lays down something that is sacrosanct.

Then, the shebear and her son dug a grave for brother Immanuel and his squirrel in the cabin.  They laid both carefully into it, tipped soil over it and covered it with flowers.

The animals still stood a little while in front of their elder brother's grave.  Then, they turned sadly to go back to the forest, each one to his dwelling.  But as they turned around, they saw that brother Immanuel was standing among them, with the squirrel on the arm.

It is not the way, that I have walked away from you, dear brothers, he said, it is only that I have taken off my earthen bowl, and I am standing in front of you in my crystal bowl.  This is the great mystery of existence that encompasses death and life, as the owl has told you because it has seen it.  It is a great mystery, but it is very simple.  I now have to help preparing the paths of the elder brothers on the other shore, but I do not walk away from you, but I will come to you every day and look after you, and nobody of you will be alone.  There are always elder brothers around the younger ones; because this is the way of redemption in atonement, longing, and love.

There, the animals understood the great common ground that unites all creatures of God, and they were very grateful that they had seen that.  They also understood that nobody remains alone who is of a good will, and that even the smallest creature has a companion on its inconspicuous journey.  There, the great desertedness left them, and they went home.

Wild roses entwined themselves around brother Immanuel's cabin and swathed it in a coat of flowers.  So, it remained the temple of a piece of the earth that had been freed from sin.  But Francis of Assisi lead a human brother and an animal brother across the bridge to the other shore.

This story has happened many times, many thousand and many hundred years ago, it happened yesterday, and it happens today, and it will have to happen many times more until mankind's mark of Cain will be wiped out and the chain of the things disentangles.  Many followed the elder brother's path for their younger brothers, many are following it today, and very many will still follow it.  It is a path full of thorns in atonement, longing, and love, and above it stands the star of Betlehem.  But only when all are following it, the earth will be free of sin, and its both shores will unite to the Promised Land.


From: Das Manfred Kyber Buch, Rowohlt, December 1985
Translation: Ulrich Messerle, February 2003
Published on:

Text version: 2005-10-08 (a)