The fourth Commandment
Thou shalt honor father and mother!
God gave this Commandment to mankind at one time through Moses. But it has caused unspeakable anguish of soul. How many a child, how many an adult, has struggled desperately not to offend most grossly against just this Commandment? How can a child honor the father who degrades himself to the level of a drunkard; or a mother who grievously embitters the hours of the father and the entire household through her moodiness, through her unrestrained temperament, lack of self-discipline and so much else, making a peaceful atmosphere quite impossible! Can a child honor its parents when it hears them roundly abusing and deceiving each other, or even coming to blows? Many a marital incident has often made the Commandment a torment for the children, rendering it impossible of fulfillment. After all it would indeed be nothing but hypocrisy if a child were to assert that it still honored a mother when she behaves in a much more friendly way towards strangers than towards her own husband, the child's father. When it observes her tendency to superficiality, when it sees her lower herself in the most ridiculous vanity to being the weak-minded slave of every fashion fad, which so often can no longer be reconciled with the concept of earnest noble motherhood, and which deprives motherly dignity of all beauty and sublimity,... what is left for a child to base voluntary reverence for its mother on? What indeed lies in the one word: “Mother!” Yet, what does it demand! A child that is not yet contaminated must unconsciously sense within that a person of mature, serious spirit will never be able to choose to expose her physical body merely for the sake of fashion. How then can the mother remain sacred to the child! Natural reverence spontaneously deteriorates into the empty form of a dutiful habit, or depending upon the upbringing, into commonly accepted conventional politeness, and thus into hypocrisy, which lacks all upward buoyancy of the soul. Just that buoyancy which holds warm life which is indispensable to a child! And which accompanies him like a secure shield as he grows up and sets out in life, guarding him against temptations of all kinds, and remaining a strong inward refuge for him, whenever doubts of any kind assail him. Right up to old age! The word “mother” or “father” should at all times call forth a warm, fervent intuitive perception out of which the image arises before the soul in full purity, dignified, warning or assenting, as a guiding star throughout his entire earthly existence!
What a treasure is now taken from every child when it cannot honor its father or its mother with its whole soul!
Yet the cause of these torments of the soul is again only men's false interpretation of the Commandment. The hitherto-prevailing view was wrong; it limited the meaning, making it one-sided, while nothing sent by God can ever be one-sided. More wrong yet, however, was the distortion of this Commandment, in that it was to be improved according to human discretion, made more explicit by an addition: “Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother!” In this way it became personal. This was bound to lead to errors; for the Commandment in its right form is only: “Thou shalt honor father and mother!”
Hence it does not refer to particular, specific persons, whose nature cannot be determined and foreseen at the start. Nothing so illogical ever occurs in the Divine Laws. On no account does God demand that something be honored which does not absolutely deserve to be honored!
On the contrary, this Commandment embraces the concept of fatherhood and motherhood instead of the individual personality. Therefore it does not primarily address the children but the parents themselves, demanding of them to honor fatherhood and motherhood! The Commandment imposes absolute duties upon parents, always to be fully conscious of their high task, and therewith also to bear in mind the responsibility it involves.
In the beyond and in the Light one lives not with words but in concepts.
For this reason putting these concepts into words can easily lead to a restriction occurring, as becomes obvious in this case. Woe unto those, however, who have not respected this Commandment, who have not taken the trouble to recognize it aright. It is no excuse that hitherto it has so often merely been misinterpreted and wrongly perceived. The consequences of not keeping the Commandment are felt even at procreation and with the entry of the soul. Things would be very different on this earth if the incisive Commandment had been understood and fulfilled by man. Quite different souls could then have incarnated, who would have been incapable of permitting the corruption of morals and ethics to such a degree as exists today! Just look at the murdering, at the wild dances, look at the orgies into which everything is building up today. The crowning, as it were, of the triumph of sultry currents of the Darkness. And look at the uncomprehending indifference with which the decline is accepted, and even encouraged as being right or as always having existed.
Where is the man who takes the trouble to recognize the Will of God aright, who, swinging himself upwards, seeks to grasp the comprehensive greatness, instead of ever again stubbornly compressing this great Will into the wretched limitation of the earthly brain, which he has made into the temple of the intellect. He himself thereby forces his gaze to the ground, like a slave who walks in chains, instead of lifting it upwards, expanding it with radiant joy to meet the ray of recognition.
Do you not see the pitiful position you place yourselves in with every conception of all that comes to you out of the Light! Be it Commandments, the Promises, the Message of Christ, or indeed the whole of Creation! Nothing will you see, nothing will you recognize! Indeed, you do not even seek really to understand a single thing! You do not take it as it is; rather you seek desperately to reshape everything ever again into the inferior opinions to which you have succumbed for thousands of years. Free yourselves from these traditions at last. You do have the power to do so at your disposal. At any moment. And without your having to make sacrifices. But they must be thrown off with one push, with one act of will! without eyeing it longingly, and trying to retain any of it. As soon as you try to find a transition you will never become free of what has been, but the old will ever again tenaciously drag you back. It can be easy for you only if you sever all the old with one slash, and thus step before the new without any old burden. Only then will the gate open to you; otherwise it will remain firmly shut. All that is required is one, really serious, volition. It is the happening of a single moment. Just as the awakening from sleep. If you do not rise from your bed at once you become tired again, and joy in the new day's work flags, if it is not lost altogether.
Thou shalt honor father and mother! Make this now a sacred Commandment for yourselves. Bring honor to fatherhood and motherhood! Who today still knows what great dignity lies in them. And what power to ennoble mankind! Human beings who unite here on earth should become clear about this; then every marriage will be a true marriage, anchored in the spiritual! And all fathers and mothers will be honorable according to the Divine Laws!
For children, however, this Commandment will become sacred and alive through their parents. They will simply be unable to do anything other than honor father and mother from out of their souls, regardless of the individual nature of these children. Indeed the very quality of their parents will compel them to do so. Woe then unto those children who do not absolutely fulfill the Commandment. A heavy karma would fall upon them; for which they would then provide ample cause. But in the reciprocal action obedience will soon become a matter of course, a joy and a need! Therefore go forth and heed the Commandments of God more earnestly than hitherto! That means, observe and fulfill them! So that you will become happy! —