Skip to main content

Meister Eckhart – ‘Adolescens,tibi dico: surge’- Sermon XVIII

Meister Eckhart witch a student,

sculpture by Lothar Spurzem,

in Bad Wörishofen, Bavaria, Germany.


Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA is ‘Sermon XVIII’ by German mystical luminary Meister Eckhart, as a follow up of our post presenting both Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart a while ago: Dr. Syafaatun Almirzanah: A Selection From ‘When Mystic Masters Meet’, here in our Via-HYGEIA English translation from the French Edition of Meister Eckhart’s Collected Sermon by Gwendoline Jarczyk and Pierre-Jean Labarrière, Albin Michel-Spiritualités vivantes, Paris-1998. Depending on the 2 main German editions of the collected works of Meister Eckhart, numbering of the texts  vary. Here it is taken from the Josef Quint edition (see below) and its number is XVIII, while in the Franz Pfeiffer edition it is number XXXVI. ‘Sermon 18 is a reflection upon the nature of the Word and the nature of human language; it tells us something of why and how Eckhart preached the One to the Many. The starting point, significantly, is in the Word of God, i.e. biblical revelation, in an account of how Jesus, the Word who dwelled among us, brought physical life by his own spoken words to one who was dead. The Word, or the words in their many forms, is the subject of Eckhart’s own word, his sermon, which concludes with the hope that the ‘natural light’ of his listeners will unite with the ‘divine light’, and that they too ‘will reply in the Word’. Rarely, if ever, has Eckhart compressed into a single sermon so many variations upon the theme of the Word and words, crucially including in this case a reference to human language itself as that which ‘works wonders’ and has its ‘power from the first Word‘. (From Professor Oliver Davies in his article, ‘Meister Eckhart, preaching the One to the many’-link to the full text of this great article below in the post’s source section).



Sermon XVIII-‘Adolescens, tibi dico: surge’

‘Our Lord went to a city named ‘Naïm’ (ניין) followed by the disciples and a great crowd. When they arrived at the gate and standing under its lintel, a dead young man was brought, a widow’s only son. Our Lord came closer and touched the stretcher upon which the dead boy was laying and said: ‘Young man, I call upon you, rise up !‘. The young man stood up and started speaking-by virtue of the might of the Eternal Word that has raised him up.

Thus, I say: ‘He went to the city‘. The city, it’s the soul, well structured and prepared, protected from defects, and from which all multiplicity has been banished, hence unified and fortified in the salvation of Jesus, surrounded by walls and bathed in the divine light. This is why the prophet says: ‘God is a wall surrounding Sion‘ (Isaiah 26-1). Eternal Wisdom says:’ I will equally rest in the consecrated city and in the sanctified one‘ (Sirah 24, 10-11). Nothing rests or unites better than between equals; consequently everything equal is interior and close and nearby. This soul is consecrated in which God alone is and in which no no other creature rest within. This is why he says: ‘I will equally rest in the consecrated city and in the sanctified one‘. Any sanctity arises from the Holy Ghost. Nature does not jump; it always starts to operate from the inferior and progresses upwards, until the highest point. The masters say that from the air fire is never born if it hasn’t become subtle and burning yet. The Holy Ghost takes the soul and purifies it in the light and in the grace, and drags it upwards, until the highest point. This is why it is said: ‘I will equally rest in the consecrated city and in the sanctified one‘. The soul rests in God as much as God rests in the soul. If it partly rest in Him, then he will rest in it, partly; if it rest in Him fully, then He will rest in it fully. This is why Eternal Wisdom says: ‘I will rest equally‘.

The masters also say that yellow and green color in the rainbow join each other in a manner so equal that no eye has a vision so sharp that it can actually perceive this; it is the equal way nature operates with and she equals itself at the original gushing, alike very much the angels that Moses didn’t venture to describe, so that superstitious people wouldn’t  start worshiping them: So equal are they at the original gushing. A great master (note: Avicenna) has even said that the highest angel among all the angels is so close to the original gushing and offers so much divine resemblance and might, that he create everything and consequently all the angels below him. Here lies a good  doctrine, that God is so lofty, limpid and simple that he operates in his most elevated creature, so that it can operate in His might, like an officer of the king operates in the might of his king and governs his country. He says: ‘I will equally rest in the consecrated city and in the sanctified one‘.

I have spoken recently about the door from which God is spreading, and that door is goodness. But being is what is rooted and doesn’t spread, rather it spread within itself. (note: original German: ‘ez smilzet în‘). And unity is what holds One-in-one-self and One-in-relationship-with-all-things, and does not communicate itself with the outer. But goodness, it is there where God spreads Himself and bonds with all creatures. Being is the Father, Unity is the Son with the Father, goodness is with the Holy Ghost. But the Holy Ghost takes the soul- the sanctified city-up to the most limpid and elevated point, and drags it even further towards its origin, that is the Son-then the Son drags it further towards its origin, that is the Father, in the deepness, in the principle, where the Son holds its being, where Eternal Wisdom lays equally ‘in the consecrated city and in the sanctified city’, in the innermost (‘in daz erste‘). (note by the French Translators:  The soul symbolized here by the holy city making its piercing-way-home, rising up to the level of the Son, Who then leads it towards the Father, as Unity’s final expression).

But, he says: ‘Our Lord went to the city of ‘Naïm‘. ‘Naïm'(ניין) means in a literal sense ‘son of the dove’ and its inner meaning is ‘simplicity’. The soul must not find rest in its operative might (note by the French translators: ‘in der mügelîchen kraft‘-it is understood here as a faculty of the soul that makes actions by the soul potent, possible), unless it becomes one with God.  It means also a great flow of water (note: plenty of water in ‘Naïm’) and finally, that Man should be unwavering in front of sin and defects. ‘the disciples‘, it is the divine light, that ought to flow as a wave in the soul. ‘a great crowd‘, they are the virtues I have spoken of earlier. The soul must-with a burning desire-rise and even surpass the dignity of the angels in the great virtues. Therefore, this is how we arrive under the lintel of the door, in the state of love and unity; the ‘door’ through which the dead was brought, the son of a widow. Our Lord came closer and touched the stretcher upon which the dead was laying. How He came closer and how He touched him, I shall not speak, but, rather I shall speak of what He said: ‘Rise up, young man!’

He was the son of a widow. Her husband was dead, this is why her son was also dead. The only child of the soul, it is will; and it is also all the powers of the soul; they are all One in the innermost part of the intellect. The intellect is the husband in the soul. then, because he is dead, the son is dead also. To this dead son, our Lord says: ‘I call upon you, young man, rise up !‘ The Eternal and living Word, in which all things are alive and which sustains everything, it summons life within death, ‘and he stood up and started speaking‘. When the divine Word speaks in the soul and when the soul respond to the living Word, then the Son becomes alive within the soul.

The masters say: ‘What is best? Might of plants, might of speech, or might of stones? One must reflect upon what one has chosen. Plants inherently possess a great might. I heard that a snake and a weasel had a fight. The weasel ran away and went to fetch a certain plant and wrapped it in something else and rushed back to the field of the fight and threw it to the snake, which burst from the inside and fell dead. What gave the weasel this knowledge? It is because it knew the might of this plant. In this lays a great wisdom. Spoken words have a great might; one can operate miracles with spoken words. All spoken words take their might from the original spoken Word. Stones also possess a great might, due to the equal operations of the stars and heaven in them. Because the equal operates at the same level in the equal, it is for this reason that the soul must rise, in its natural light, up towards the highest and most limpid point-therefore entering the angelical light, therefore reaching the divine light. Then, clothed with such an angelical light, the soul stands-in-the-height, between the three great luminaries at the crossroads where they conjoin. There, the Eternal Word speaks life into it; there it becomes alive and responds to the Word. May God come to our help, so that we may likewise respond to the Eternal Word! Amen.’


Modern German edition

from the ‘Middle High German’ original 




The most important hour is always the present. The most significant person is precisely the one sitting across from you right now. The most necessary work is always love.’ Meister Eckhart.


More about Meister Eckhart:🌿Professor Oliver Davies’s article in full: 🌿More about professor Oliver Davies: 🌿About the French Edition and the publisher: 🌿 About the English edition: 🌿 About the German Edition:
Meister Eckhart – ‘Adolescens,tibi dico: surge’- Sermon XVIII

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

all rights reserved Via Hygeia 2022