HEAVEN AND HELL OR THE DIVINE JUSTICE ACCORDING TO SPIRITISM

Allan Kardec

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Nicknamed the Beggar-woman

In the Commune of La Villate, near Nozai (Loire-Inferieure), there was a poor woman named Julienne-Marie, old, infirm, who lived by begging. One day, she fell into a pond, from which she was rescued by a physician of the place, who was in the habit of giving her alms. Carried home, she died from the effects of the accident. It was generally supposed that she had tried to drown herself. On the very day of her death, the physician who had rescued her from the water, and who is a spiritist and a medium, felt a sensation, which he could not account for, over his whole person, as though some one had rubbed against him in passing; when he learned the death of “The Beggar-woman,” it occurred to him that her spirit probably came to him at the time.

At the suggestion of one of his friends, who was a member of the Spiritist Society of Paris, and to whom he had spoken of the sensation he had felt – he evoked the woman, with a view to being useful to her; but, before doing so, he asked the advice of his guides, who gave him the following reply: –

“You may evoke her, and your doing so will give her pleasure, but she has no need of the help you are wishing to give her; she is happy, and devotedly grateful to all who formerly took pity on her. You are one of those whom she loves the most; she scarcely leaves you, and she often talks to you without your knowing it. Sooner or later, every service is rewarded, either by the spirit to whom it has been done, or by those who are interested on his behalf; while a spirit is still in the state of confusion, other spirits who are in sympathy with him, testify their gratitude in his name. This explains what you felt on the day of her death. She, herself, now helps you in all the good you do to others. Remember Christ’s words: ‘He who humbles himself shall be exalted;’ and you may infer the greatness of the services she is now able to render you, provided you only ask her help in being useful to those about you.”

Q. Good Julienne-Marie, I rejoice to know that you are happy; it was all that I wished to know; but I shall often think of you, and I shall never forget you in my prayers.

A. Put your trust in God, inspire your patients with the same trust, and your treatment will almost always be successful. Do not trouble yourself about the recompense you will receive; it will be more than you ever hoped for. God always knows how to compensate where it is justified, whoever dedicates himself to alleviate the pain of his fellow man, and does so, without any ulterior motive. Otherwise it would be no more than an illusion. But, prior to anything, it is necessary to have faith, as without it nothing can be achieved. Remember this maxim and you will be surprised by the results you will obtain. Proof of this is in the two patients that you cured. Under these circumstances, solely with the medication, you would have failed.

When you ask God to permit the good spirits to radiate His beneficial energy over you, if this petition does not produce an involuntary trembling, it is because your prayer has not been sufficiently fervent to be heard. They will only be effective under the conditions that I’m going to recommend. These are the prayers that have produced the sensations that you have experienced, by saying from the bottom of your heart: “All Powerful God, Merciful God, God of Infinite Kindness, please hear my prayer and permit the Good Spirits to assist me in the cure of ...; Take pity on him, Dear God, and provide him health. Without You I am helpless. Let your will be done.”

You have done well not to neglect the humble; the voice of him who has suffered with resignation in your world is always listened to in this one; and, as you see, by the help I am permitted to promise you, no service ever goes unrewarded. I now add a word about myself, which will confirm all that I have just stated.

Spiritism explains to you the language I address to you as a spirit; it is useless to enlarge on that point, or to inform you of the existences I had undergone before the one in which you knew me. That last one should suffice to convince you that those previous ones had not been always irreproachable. Through the whole of my last life, doomed to poverty, infirm, and unable to work, I subsisted by begging. I put nothing by; in my old age, all my savings amounted to only a hundred francs, which I had scraped together for the time when I should no longer be able to crawl after alms. When my trial and my expiation were considered sufficient by God, I was mercifully recalled from the miseries of the earthly life; for I did not commit suicide, as has been thought. I died suddenly, on the edge of the pond, just when I had been praying to God; the presence of my body in the water was due, simply, to the slope of the ground where I fell.

I did not suffer in dying; and I rejoice to have fulfilled my mission without revolt and with resignation. I was useful, to those around me, in the measure of my strength and of my means; and I wronged no one. I am now rewarded for my fidelity: and I thank God, our Divine Master, who softens the bitterness of our trials by causing us, during life, to forget our former existences, and by placing, upon our road, charitable souls who aid us to bear the load of our past wrongdoing.

Do you, also, persevere; and like me, you will be rewarded. I thank you for the service you rendered me; I shall never forget it. We shall meet again; and many things will then be explained to you; at present, such an explanation would be superfluous. Know, only, that I am entirely devoted to you; and that I shall always be near you when you need my aid in assisting those who suffer.

The Beggar-woman, JULIENNE-MARIE

The spirit of Julienne-Marie, having been evoked by the Paris Society, in June 1864, dictated the following communication: –

“Thanks, dear Friends, for admitting me into your midst! You have perceived that my social position, in my former existences, was higher than my last. It was through my vain pride, which led me to repel the poor and the miserable, that I incurred the necessity of coming back to the Earth to undergo the law of retaliation, as the most miserable beggar in all the countryside! Yet, even in this depth of wretchedness, as though to prove to me the goodness of God, I was not rejected by all, as I feared to be; and the kindness of the few enabled me to bear my lot without murmuring, sustained by a latent hope of a happier life, from which I should not again have to return to this Earth of exile and calamity.

“What happiness, when our soul, ever young, returns into the spirit-world and rejoins those it loves! This joy is mine; for I have loved, and I am delighted to have met again with those who had preceded me into the spirit-world. My thanks to Dr. A——, whose mediumship has opened to me the door of gratitude; for, without it, I could not have expressed my thankfulness nor have shown him that I do not forget the consoling influence of his excellent heart. Let him be diligent in propagating his divine belief; he is appointed to bring many a wanderer back to the right road. Let him count on my help; I will return to him a hundred times all his kindness to me, by aiding him to advance on the path he has chosen. Be thankful to the Divine ordering that permits the denizens of the spirit-world to come to you, to encourage the poor in bearing his troubles and to arrest the rich in his pride. Try to comprehend the baseness of repelling the unfortunate; let my example be a warning to you, that you may not have, like me, to come back to the Earth and to expiate your wrongdoing by occupying the painful social positions that bring you down so low, and that place you amidst the refuse of society.” JULIENNE-MARIE

This communication having been transmitted to Dr. A_, he obtained from her, in response to his evocation, the following, which confirms it:

Q. My kind Julienne-Marie, you have the desire to assist me with your good advice, in order to aid my progress on the path of our Divine Doctrine. Would you please communicate with me; I will do my best to take advantage of your teachings.

A. “Remember my counsels, and follow them steadily. Be always charitable to the utmost extent of your means; I need not enlarge on this duty, for you already understand how charity should be practiced in all the relations of human life. There is no need for me to come to give you a teaching on this subject. You, alone, will be the best judge, following always the voice of your conscience, which will never fool you when you listen with sincerity.

Don’t be misguided with the mission that you feel that you must fulfill. Small or large, each one has his own mission. Mine was hard to bear, but I deserved such punishment due to my prior existences. As I confess to the president of the main Society of Paris, which all shall join someday. That day is not as distant as believed, because Spiritism proceeds with giant steps, in spite of all the hindrances that are placed in its path. Go forth, therefore, without fear, fervent followers of the doctrine and your efforts will be crowned by success. What do you care what is said about you? Place yourselves above the insolent criticism, which will fall, finally, over the same adversaries of Spiritism. “Proud ones,” they think that they are strong and that they can beat you easily. And you my good friends remain at ease, and don’t fear an encounter with them, as they are easier to beat than you think. Many are fearful that the truth will overpower them. Be patient, as they will return, in time, to collaborate in the crowning ceremony of the building.” JULIENNE-MARIE

These three communications are exceedingly instructive, for they inculcate and confirm all the great principles of the spiritist doctrine. In the very first of these utterances, the spirit of her who was a mendicant upon the Earth shows her real superiority by the elevation of her language; like a beneficent fairy, the poor beggar-woman, resplendent and metamorphosed, extends her protection over him who had been charitable to her when her true personality was hidden under the rags of her earthly expiation. It is a practical exemplification of the assurance of the Gospel, “For whosoever exalts himself shall be debased, and he that humbles himself shall be exalted. Blessed are the humble; blessed are the afflicted for they will receive consolation,” and shows us that we should despise no one, but should remember that he, who seems to be one of the least in the earthly life, may be great and noble in the spirit-world.

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