THERE are seeming contradictions between men; and then there are impassable contradictions existing between some. There are those who are equal and opposing contestants who complement each other and strengthen each other's fields of being. Whilst there are those contradictory forces between certain egos which jar at the heart and provoke a subservience or bitterness as a result of their simple proximity.
In first comment to the premise that true friendships may override any or all differences, and in so saying, that the love will disable any contradiction that lies between them - we say no. Upon observation it can be noted (not necessarily in activity passing between any two), that simply amongst the ethers surrounding them, it will be evident if people are in soul agreement or not, with harmonious interplay or lack thereof. It is a given at the outset, and one cannot manufacture a true friendship, especially a friendship which is based on a decision to ignore the aspects of a man, and all that he is - simply because it is contradictory to yourself and your preferred ideas of him.
This would be a greater contradiction to the terms of the meaning of friendship. We love well what we know well, and we may only identify what it is we know well if indeed it lives within ourselves harmoniously to begin with. Taking the World within ourselves holds literal meaning; and for some the empathetic contours are as vast and varied as the peaks and valleys atop the seas.
When St. Francis of Assisi embraced Sister Poverty he wedded himself to the World. When he renounced his inheritance of status and goods, he did this full knowing of that which would alter the course of his life remaining. Not belligerent to hardship, he compelled all hardship to call him Master; and on behalf of the meek souls he encountered, whose troubles compounded upon themselves daily, whose wills were sore-worn by the fears deep within their aching beings, Francis brought reasoning into a soul-environment gripped with an insanity.
Reasoning itself is born from the clarity of a spiritual purity and the love that follows. Selflessness promotes awareness and gives over to reasoning in observation and primary detail. For the selfish, self-orientated, self-invested individual, there becomes an insanity of sorts which holds to false statements, interpretations and clings to a comfortable false knowledge of the world about them.
In this respect, perhaps above any other, the danger of a materialistic greed (or fear) is that of this insanity - of becoming witless and unclarified, of presuming and devising and manipulating without regard, of losing touch in a detachedness removed from the truth, severing off from the real graces found here and also in Heaven.
Material wealth holds very little bearing on individual attitude. The gambling house is a good case in point; and not only does it promote the false optimisms in both the rich and the poor, it also will contribute to much same insanity. For that gorgon of madness straddles the height of that institution and feeds from the lust and the valueless intercourse within - the stimulative forces excited in the men in wanting their loveless monies - with no true gain - whilst their souls suffer the disquiet, being cheated of any true and savored connection in their misplaced affection.
Men of fortune may lavish themselves with the conceit of expensive indulgences, full knowing that there are impoverished families who live in need and have not such excessive squander. Folk may trivialize wealth but then they trivialize another's suffering by doing so - they may explain it away, but truly, does one man deserve any more than another? Surely all belongs to Father God, and as such it must be our first joy to give as He does give - if not in goods or belongings, but in love.
Love brings in creativity, just as selflessness bears reasoning. The powers associated with creativity enter in the Christ-force from which all creativity here originates. Creativity is not the perverse, for the sake of the perversity, neither is it a re-hash of the old dressed up in a newer or delirious costume. Creativity, in its aliveness, forms new conjunctures, and from those new life will then emerge. This is why love must be the qualifying principle here, because the meeting of new conjunctures requires a coming together of two otherwise separate forces in being.
If two men are in contradiction to one another (truly, not in affable sparring, but essentially and measurably distinct) there will be no such opportunity for these conjunctures to cross or become apparent; for if anything, the ego recedes as the individual recoils back from the encroaching differences.
This is useful in respect to our practical mingling. It has never been a worthy ideal to mix thoughts and ideas, commerce and relationships, amongst every soul, singly or collectively, reasonably or creatively. That we may refer to the Love of Father God directly, we may arterially comprehend and love as He does. We need not seek the community of co-mingling and abject sameness.
Instinctively men realize that they cannot reconcile themselves to all other men, and feel this as a pressure of inadequacy. This pressures spurs them on to become 'more' - and by ambitious means they may well, mistakenly, set out to achieve a 'higher status' because of the original differences so intuited. So from this you can see that it is a preferred and wholesome view to understand at the outset that individual differences may co-exist; but that we are foolhardy to pretend that they do not, unwary to ignore when they challenge us, and potentially over-reactive if we are unconsciously uncomfortable because of the nature of it all.
It was asked as to whether or not it is advisable for a poor person to pray for that which they need. Should folk ever pray for money and does this outlook affect their lifestyle accordingly?
Money is a nonsense to God, however, need speaks to His emissary angels. Any currency which is an abstraction from the real dealings does not translate in a prayer, but moreover a want, which we may be assuming or experiencing.
Angels do not guide cheque books or promissory contracts, because of the nature of the operation concerned - i.e. when a man has signed his name to any promise he has given himself in a questionable way. It simply isn't done amongst the higher beings ... inasmuch as the signature is a dubious promise and an aggravant to the future will of the man concerned. The practice is not deemed holy, and any such ceremonies or manuscripts that require a signature are held to be intrusively encroaching on the future freedoms of the individuals taking part. (Often though, unbeknownst to them - which invalidates the process by intent, but discredits the procedure therefore, anyways.)
Coinage bears an interesting history simply when we consider the many influences surrounding the metals that were used themselves. In this respect Angels have been known to pass gold or even coppers from time to time, but they would not interpret this as strictly money, but would rather pick up upon the envisioned metal and need thereof. Printed paper notes and bonds, stocks and deeds, mean absolutely nothing to them. Merging interests and corporate containments do speak to the higher worlds, because of the implications of group beings and so forth. Collective destinies rest on many greater transactions.
If a poor person (or for that matter a soul suffering any deficit) prays because of need of definite measure, then it becomes a matter then of answering that need - and it may not necessarily come in the terms that are requested, in a specific, because that specific is best left to the host to work with.
Should a man pray from the promptings of a greed and not an immediate and pressing deficit, then it shall be that his soul need will be answered eventually - once again, not in ways first envisaged, but in those respects pertinent to his soulic longings. So if a wealthy man prays that things will go his way so that he may accumulate more digits, his real need exposed to Heaven is a supplication to the demon of wrongful desire; and accordingly this will be addressed. He may even wonder why such and such has happened, when all of the time it began with his initial calling for help!
You see, in prayerful terms, help means help. When you open yourself up to converse and confide with the soul-world of your inner Heaven's keepers and charge, you ask consciously and soulfully, from both the ego's desires and also the heart's hopes as well.
All of your story is read at that moment.
All that could not be voiced or phrased into form is received.
All that has been carried and weighted is unburdened and delivered.
In soul, as well as mind, we are answered.
If men were left alone in this to ask what was best for them they would be sorry fellows indeed! We are all still quite inarticulate in spirit-speak, incoherent in thought when it is placed beside our desire. But we shall, and do learn the proper askings ... and come to know that the strongest currency runs vigorously in Christ; and that Father God defends and protects every love a man can share, for in the highest reality, all else, apart from that ennobling and enlivening love, is worthless.
Addendum: Money and the Higher Worlds
Perhaps the answer to this lies in the fact that (unlike this Physical world at times) things are what they are in the higher worlds, apparent and obviously so. In real terms and in inner terms it is the essence and nature of something which relates back to its parent existence. In the higher worlds all things have individual signatures that livingly correspond with an apparent truth. The point of money in this world is that commerce is designed for the exact opposite to this. The exchange rates in commerce are relative to their own laws and standards as made by men - and further to this the entire wealth of one country can dominate and dictate to a poorer country and thereby affect their rates, currencies and exchange in the longterm, artificially.
If a soul views currency after death (say for example they are to look at it in review - holding it in the palm of their hand) they will see only paper and metal. The paper's reality will speak to them of the plant pulp and the signature of that forest from which it came; the metal will hold influence in regards to the men who mined it and the planet to which it is parented - but the soul itself will not perceive 'worth' other than what is intrinsically within it.
Masters at Steiner's Esoteric Classes - July 9, 1904, Berlin. Stenographic notes by Franz Seiler: First a prayer spoken by Dr. Steiner. Then a remark that the masters are speaking through Dr. St...