A true work of art! And out of respect for Rilke's disdain for criticism--"Works of art are of an infinite solitariness, and nothing is less likely to bring us near to them than criticism. Only love can apprehend and hold them, and can be just towards them."--I will keep my own thoughts to a minimum and let Rilke speak instead.
On God becoming: "If he is the most perfect, must not the inferior precede him, that he may choose himself out of abundance and profusion?--Must he not be the last, in order to embrace everything within himself, and what sense should we have if he for whom we crave had already been?"
On the necessity of having courage in the face of difficulty: "We have no cause to be mistrustful of our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors they are our terrors; if it has abysses those abysses belong to us, if dangers are there we must strive to love them. And if only we regulate our life according to that principle which advises us always to hold to the difficult, what even now appears most alien to us will become most familiar and loyal."
On solitude: "Going into yourself and meeting no one for hours on end,--that is what you must be able to attain."
On mystery: "Do not search now for the answers which cannot be given you because you could not live them. It is a matter of living everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, one distant day live right into the answer."
Really, the letters are beautiful works, made the more remarkable by the fact that Rilke had never met Herr Kappus. Rilke shows his unknown correspondent (and mediocre aspiring soldier-poet) great respect through his earnest, kind, and immensely complex responses. A thought-provoking, lyrical read for a rainy day.