Clara Rivier was a young girl who died at the age of ten. She belonged to a family of day laborers, in a village in the south of France; from the time she was four years old she had been entirely deprived of the use of her limbs. Throughout her life, she never uttered a complaint, never showed the least impatience; although totally uneducated, she consoled her sorrowing family by talking to them of the future life and of the happiness she would enjoy in it. She died in September 1862, after four years of tortures and convulsions, during which she prayed incessantly. “I am not afraid to die,” she frequently repeated, “because a life of happiness is awaiting me afterwards.” To her father, who was weeping, she said: “Be comforted; I shall come to visit you; my hour is near, I feel it; but, when it comes, I shall know it and will warn you of it, beforehand.” Just before she died, she called all her family to her bedside, saying: “I have but five minutes to live; give me your hands.” They did so; and she died at the moment she had indicated.
After her death, a rapping spirit frequently disturbed her parents’ house, upsetting everything, striking heavy blows on the tables, shaking curtains and clothes, displacing cups and platters. The spirit of Clara herself appeared to her younger sister (five years old), who asserted that she frequently came and talked with her, and who often exclaimed, joyfully, “Oh, look at Clara! How pretty she is!”
1. (Evocation of Clara Rivier.) – A. I am beside you, ready to reply to your questions.
2. Whence did you derive, young and uneducated, as you were, the elevated ideas you expressed, in regard to the future life, before your death?
A. From the shortness of the time I had to pass on your globe, and from my preceding incarnation. I had been a medium during that previous life; and I was a medium when I came back among you. My last life was the result of predestination; I felt and I saw all that I stated.
3. How could a child of your age refrain from uttering a single complaint through four years of constant pain?
A. My physical suffering was controlled by a still greater power – that of my Guardian Angel, whom I beheld constantly beside me; he reduced the pains I felt, and he rendered my will superior to my suffering.
4. How did you foresee the moment of your death?
A. My Guardian Angel had told me when it would take place; he was never mistaken.
5. You said to your father: “Be comforted; I shall come to visit you.” Why, having felt so affectionately towards your parents, do you now torment them, by making such a racket in their house?
A. They have to undergo this trial, which it is my mission to direct. Do you suppose there is no end to be gained by these disturbances? The noises, movements, and confusion determined by my presence, are a warning to the entire neighborhood. I am assisted in this work by spirits whose turbulence is employed in view of an aim to be attained, as I also have an aim in appearing to my sister. Thanks to these visitations, many will be convinced of the reality of another life. My parents had to undergo a trial; it will soon be ended, but only after having brought conviction to many minds.
6. It is not you, then, in your own person, who produce these manifestations?
A. I am seconded by other spirits, who serve as the agents of the trial appointed to my dear parents.
7. How could your sister have seen you, if it is not you who produce these manifestations?
A. My sister saw only me. It is not the last time I shall come to console and encourage her.
8. Why were you, being so young, afflicted with so many infirmities?
A. I had to expiate the faults of a former life; I had misused health and a brilliant position in my preceding incarnation. God, therefore, said to me: “You have enjoyed immensely, without stint or measure; you shall suffer on the same scale. You have been proud, you shall be humble; you have been vain of your beauty, you shall be as a broken reed; instead of seeking your own selfish satisfaction, you shall seek to acquire charity and kindness.” I did what was appointed me by the Divine will; and my Guardian Angel aided me.
9. Would you like to say anything to your parents?
A. By the advice of a medium, my parents have done many charitable acts; this is well, for men must pray, not with the lips only, but also with the heart and the hand. To give to those who suffer is the true prayer for Spiritists.
God has given to every soul freewill, that is to say, the faculty of progressing; to all, He has given the same aspiration, for which reason the humble garment of serge is nearer to the robe of cloth- of-gold than is generally supposed. Apply yourselves, then, to drawing your social classes nearer to each other by the exercise of charity; bring the poor to your houses, encourage them, raise them, do not humiliate them. If this great law of Conscience were practiced by the people of your Earth, you would not have to undergo, from time to time, the great cataclysms that are a disgrace to nations calling themselves “civilized,” and that are sent by God to punish them for their blindness and to make them open their eyes.
My dear Parents! Pray, love, practice the love of Christ. Do, to others, only what you would have them do to you; when God sends you a trial, implore His aid in bearing it, as being imposed by His high and holy will. Arm yourselves, as a preparation for the future, with courage and perseverance, for you have still to suffer; and remember that you must earn admission to a happier world before you can enter it. I shall always be with you dear parents. Good bye, or better yet, until later. Cultivate resignation, charity, the love of the neighbor, and you will thus arrive at the abode of felicity. CLARA
“The humble garment of serge is nearer to the robe of cloth-of-gold than is generally supposed” is a charming metaphor referring to the fact that spirits pass, in their successive existences, from a brilliant position to one that is obscure and poverty-stricken, or vice versa, according as they have misused the one, or made, through patience and resignation, a good use of the other. The justice of this providential arrangement is too obvious to call for comment.
Another thought, equally profound, expressed in the foregoing communication, is that which attributes the calamities of nations to their infractions of the law of God, for God punishes nations as He punishes individuals. It is certain that, if nations practiced the law of charity, there would be neither wars nor any other great troubles. The aim of Spiritism is to lead men to the practice of this law; is that the reason why it encounters such violent opposition? Are the words, addressed by the spirit of this young girl to her parents, those of a demon?”