Am I My Brother/Sister’s Keeper?

All that are in the earth today are thy brothers.

            -Edgar Cayce Reading 262-104 

One of the oft-repeated quotes from the Cayce material is “Am I my Brother’s Keeper?” Although originating in Genesis and dealing with the sibling rivalry (and murder) between brothers Cain and Abel, the Cayce readings frequently use the quote as a reminder of our responsibility toward one another. In fact, during the 1940s, a booklet of reading’s excerpts dealing with World Affairs was compiled using “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” as its title. Just what is the readings overall focus on this topic?

As part of preparing for a Membership Congress lecture he planned to give in June 1938 on the topic of “World Affairs,” Edgar Cayce himself asked for a reading on present world conditions, especially as it related to politics, economics, and the general situation throughout the globe. The reading suggested that the main focus of the talk needed to be one that championed a global understanding that “we ARE our brother’s keeper.” He went on to suggest that without that basic understanding the only possible outcomes were crime, rioting, and revolution: “For these are the leveling means and manners to which men resort when there is the plenty in SOME areas and a lack of the sustenance in the life of others.” The reading went on to provide the solution:

“Then those who are in power must know that they ARE their brother’s keeper, and give expression to that which has been indicated in ‘Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart and mind and body, and thy neighbor as thyself.’
“This rule must be applied.”

-Edgar Cayce Reading 3976-19 

On another occasion, during a life reading given to a ten-year-old boy, the sleeping Cayce advised the boy’s parents that their child had come into life with a sense of cynicism and indifference toward organized religion because in past lives the soul had seen some religious groups make “a sham” out of religion. The reading went on criticize those groups with the following: “they have gradually forgotten they are their brother’s keeper.” Cayce then counseled the parents:

“Let that rather be thy watchword, ‘I am my brother’s keeper.’ Who is thy brother? Whoever, wherever he is, that bears the imprint of the Maker in the earth, be he black, white, gray or grizzled, be he young, be he Hottentot [indigenous people of South Africa], or on the throne or in the president’s chair. All that are in the earth today are thy brothers.”

-Edgar Cayce Reading 2780-3

Similar advice was given to a fifty-seven-year-old engineer whom the readings encouraged to “never become weary in well-doing.” He was reminded of the obligation we all have toward one another, told point-blank: “self is indeed thy brother’s keeper,” and encouraged with the following:

“As ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; but not always insisting that they do your way. Sow the seeds of truth, of life, but don’t plow them up too often. Be sincere in purpose and in deed, and there will be found the greater peace, the greater harmony, coming to thee in thy undertakings to make for better conditions under which all labor, or in which all share.”

 -Edgar Cayce Reading 3297-1

Just as individuals bear a responsibility toward one another, Cayce suggested that organizations and countries bear the very same responsibility. When a reading was requested on the work of the A.R.E., Cayce suggested that every member of the association should find some avenue of service to others. He described the appropriate approach, as follows:


“Not as ones seeking for self-exaltation, not as individuals seeking for an easy way, not as individuals seeking for a manner or a means of escaping their own selves; but rather as in using their understanding, their comprehension, their knowledge, their love their patience, their long-suffering, in such ways and manners that there may not indeed be the perishing of hope and faith in the earth.
“Such opportunities are before all those who have purposed in their heart to DO good unto those not only of the household of faith in their individual tenets or beliefs but unto ALL, because each soul that manifests itself in human form IS thy brother – and the spirit and soul of same is in the form of thy Maker. For the Lord’s sake, then, the opportunities are not to be used to self’s own glory but that the glory of the Father may be made manifest in the earth.
“THESE be the opportunities …”

 -Edgar Cayce Reading 254-91

In terms of the obligations of countries, a reading was given during the Great Depression in which Cayce suggested that all of the World’s problems could be traced to the fact that the world had lost its ideal. The reading stated that any problem in society problems could be addresses by agreeing on the same ideal, a common basis upon which the whole world could agree. It then added:  

“You say at once, such a thing is impractical, impossible! What has caused the present conditions, not alone at home but abroad? It is that realization that was asked some thousands of years ago, ‘Where IS thy brother? His blood CRIES to me from the ground!’ and the other portion of the world has answered, IS answering, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ The world, AS a world – that makes for the disruption, for the discontent – has lost its ideal. Man may not have the same IDEA. Man – ALL men – may have the same IDEAL!
“ … ‘Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thine heart, thy neighbor AS thyself!’ This [is] the whole law, this [is] the whole answer to the world, to each and every soul. That is the answer to the world conditions as they exist today ...
“Man’s answer to everything has been POWER - Power of money, Power of position, Power of wealth, Power of this, that or the other … today, wilt THOU, thine self, make of thine OWN heart an understanding that thou must answer for thine own brother, for thine own neighbor! and who is thine neighbor? He that lives next door, or he that lives on the other side of the world? He, rather, that is in NEED of understanding! He who has faltered; he who has fallen even by the way. HE is thine neighbor, and thou must answer for him!”

-Edgar Cayce Reading 3976-8

Why does the Divine hold us responsible for one another? The simplest answer comes from the question, “How do you think God in Spirit impacts things physical?” The answer is through each of us. In fact, another reading clearly states that each of us is the “representative of the Father in the earth”: 

“Who is - Who IS - the representative of the Father in the earth? Hath not He committed unto mankind the keeping of his brother? Hast thou answered that question that has been of old in thine experience; ‘Am I My Brother's Keeper?" The answer that should ring in the heart and soul of every individual is: ‘Know ye not that the blood of your brother crieth unto me from the ground!’
“So, in the experience of those that have sent and made the conditions are greed, selfishness; that has been practiced in the minds, in the lives, in the experience of the nation. Think not any soul, ‘Yea, that is true for the other fellow.’ But it applies to Jim, to Tom, to those in ordinary walks of life, to those who have been given\ those powers in high places, those that have wealth about them; THEY are the oppressors; yea, look within thine own heart! Hast thou not practiced the same? For, as it has been given, ‘Yea, though there be only ten just men, they may save the city; they may save the nation; they may save the world,’ if they will but PRACTICE in their daily experience that which has been the command from the first: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and thy neighbor as thyself.’
“This is the basis of all SPIRITUAL law …

-Edgar Cayce Reading 3976-14

There can be no doubt. We are our Brother and Sister’s Keeper.

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