By the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul
(Society of Spiritist Studies, session of June 8th, 1858)
Be good and charitable, this is the key placed in your hands. The whole eternal happiness is
contained in this statement: “Love one another”. The soul cannot rise to the spiritual regions unless
through dedication to their neighbor; it cannot find happiness and consolation but in the ecstasy of
charity. Be good, help thy brothers, and put aside this horrible ulcer of selfishness. Once this duty
has been accomplished it shall open to you the paths of eternal happiness. As a matter of fact, who
among you has not felt the heart beat and intimate joy expanding by the practice of one single act of
charity? You should not think but in that kind of happiness provided by a good deed, with what you
shall always be in the path of spiritual progress. There is no lack of examples. It is only the will
power that is rare.
See the crowd of good men whose devoted memory history remembers. I can name by the
thousands those whose moral had no other objective but to improve your globe. Hasn’t Christ told
you everything that concerns the virtues of charity and love? Why His Divine teachings are left
aside? Why are the ears covered to His Divine words and the heart closed to all his sooth teachings?
I wish the reading of the Gospel were done with more personal interest. But that book is abandoned;
it is transformed into empty expressions and dead words; that remarkable code is forgotten. All your
evils come from the voluntary abandonment allowed to its summary of the Divine laws. Thus, read
those pages of fire from Jesus’ devotement and meditate about them. I feel ashamed myself for
daring to promise you an essay about charity when I think that in that book you will find all
teachings that should take you to the celestial regions.
Strong men, get ready; weak men, have by weapons your kindness and your faith; have more
persuasion, more constancy in the propagation of your new doctrine. We only came to bring you
encouragement; it is only to stimulate the zeal and virtues that God allows us to manifest to you.
But, if you want, you won’t need anything but God’s help and your own will power. The spiritist
manifestations were made but to the closed eyes and indocile hearts. There are men among you that
must execute missions of love and charity: listen to them and exalt their voices; make their merits
shine and you will be exalted by the disinterest and by the living faith that shall impregnate you.
Too extensive and detailed should be the advices given to you about the widening of the circle of
charity; about the inclusion of all the unfortunate in this circle whose miseries are ignored; about
every pain which should be sought after in their own refuge to console them in the name of this
Divine virtue, charity. I see with satisfaction the number of prominent and powerful men that help
in the search for that progress, which shall unite all human classes: the fortunate and the disgraced.
Strange thing! All the unfortunate extend their hands and help one another in their own misery. Why
do the happy ones take so long to hear the voices of the unfortunate? Why is it necessary a powerful
earthly hand to promote the charitable missions? Why don’t they respond with more zeal to those
appeals? Why do they allow misery, as if with pleasure, blemishing the image of humanity?
Charity is the fundamental virtue that must sustain the whole edifice of the earthly virtues. Without
it there is no other. Without charity, there is no faith or hope. Without charity, there is no hope of a
better fate or moral interest to guide us. Without charity, there is no faith since faith is a pure light
beam that enlightens a charitable soul. It is its decisive consequence.
When you allow your heart open to the first supplicating miserable whose hand reaches out to you;
when you extend your hand not asking if that misery is true or if that fate has a vice by cause; when
you let the whole justice in God’s hands; when you pass to the Creator the punishment of all false
miseries; finally when you practice charity by the pleasure it provides, without questioning its
utility, then you shall be the children that God will love and embrace.
Charity is the eternal anchor of salvation in all globes; it is the purest emanation of the Creator; it is
His own virtue passed on to the creatures. How can you ignore such a supreme benevolence? With
that thought, who would be the sufficiently perverse heart to suppress and repel that Divine feeling?
Who would be the sufficiently evil child to rebel against such a sweet touch of charity?
I dare not mention what I have done as the spirits also have the modesty of their work. However I
think that the work I have initiated is one of those that should contribute a lot to alleviate your
neighbors. I frequently see spirits requesting the mission to continue my work; I see my kind and
dear sisters in their devout and divine ministry; I see them practicing the virtues that I recommend
to you, finding the true joy provided by their existence of devotement and sacrifices. It is a great
happiness to me to see how much dignified their character is; how much appreciated and protected
their mission is. Good men, men of good and strong will, unite to continue the work of amplifying
the propagation of charity. You shall find the reward of such a virtue through its own exercise. There
isn’t a spiritual happiness that cannot be provided by that, in this existence already. Be united; love
one another, according to the precepts of Christ.
- Q. We thank St. Vincent de Paul by this beautiful and good communication just given.
- A. I wish it were beneficial to all.
- Q. Would you allow us a few complementary questions about what you have just said?
- A. Certainly, as my objective is to enlighten you. Ask whatever you want.
1. Charity can be understood in two ways: the alms properly said and the love towards
humanity. When you said that we should open our hearts to the requests of the unfortunate
that reaches out to us, without asking if their misery is fake, wasn’t your intention to talk
about charity from the point of view of alms?
- - Yes, only in that paragraph.
2. You said we should leave it to God’s justice to appreciate the false misery. However, it
seems to us that giving to those that do not deserve it without discernment or that could earn
their leaving through honest work is to encourage addiction and laziness. Had the lazy ones
easily found their neighbors’ wallet open then they would multiply to infinity, in detriment
of those in real need.
- - You can identify those who can work then charity compels you to do everything to provide
them with work. However, there are also miserable charlatan who know well how to
simulate miseries that are not theirs. These are the ones who should be left to God’s justice.
3. Someone who can only give a cent and can choose between two unfortunate persons who
beg for something, has he the right to inquiry to see which one is in real need or should he
give to the first to come, without examination?-
Should give to the one who seems to suffer the most.
4. Shouldn’t it be part of charity the way it is done?-
The merit of charity is in the way it is done, above all. Benevolence is always an indication
of a nice soul.
5. Which kind of merit do you recognize on those who are generally known as occasional
They only do half of the good deeds. Their benefits are received but don’t do them any
6. Jesus said: “...do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”. Do those who
give for ostentation have any merit?-
They have only the merit of pride for which they shall be punished.
7. Christian charity, in its broadest meaning, does it not encompass kindness, benevolence and
indulgence towards others’ weaknesses?-
Do as Jesus. He told you everything. Listen to him more than ever.
8. Is charity well understood when exclusive among creatures of the same opinion or from the
No. It is the spirit of sect or party that, above all, has to be abolished. Hence, all men are
brothers. That is the point where we concentrate our efforts.
9. Suppose a person sees two men in danger, but he can only save one. One is his friend the
other his enemy. Who should he save?-
He must save the friend as the friend could accuse him of lack of friendship. As for the
other, God will take care of him.