BLESSED ARE THE AFFLICTED
The justice of afflictions. - Causes of present-day afflictions. - Past causes of afflictions. - Forgetfulness of the past. -
Motives for resignation. - Suicide and madness. - INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS: To suffer well or badly. -
Evil and its remedy. - Happiness is not of this world. - Losing loved ones. Premature deaths. - If he had been a good
man he would have died. - Voluntary torments. True misfortune. - Melancholy. - Voluntary trials. The true hair shirt.
- Should we end our neighbour's probation? -Would it be licit to hasten the death of someone incurably sick who is
suffering? - Sacrificing one's own life. - Making one's own suffering useful to others.
1. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the Earth. Blessed are they which do
hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are they which are
persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew, 5: 5, 6 &
2. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is
the Kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye
that weep now: for ye shall laugh (Luke, 6: 20 & 21).
But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you
that are full! For ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh! For ye shall mourn and weep
(Luke, 6: 24 & 25).
THE JUSTICE OF AFFLICTIONS
3. The compensation promised by Jesus to the afflicted of this Earth can only be effected in
a future life. Without the certainty of this future these maxims would be a contradiction; still more,
they would be a decoy. Even with this certainty it is difficult to understand the convenience of
suffering in order to be happy. It is said that it is to acquire greater merit. But then we ask: Why do
some suffer more than others? Why are some born in misery and others in opulence without having
done anything to justify this situation? Why is it that some never manage to achieve anything, while
for others everything seems to smile? Yet what is even less understandable is why benefits and
misfortunes are divided so unequally between vice and virtue. Why do we find virtuous
people suffering side by side with the wicked who prosper? Faith in the future can console and
instil patience, but it does not explain these irregularities which appear to contradict God's justice.
However, once God's existence has been admitted one cannot conceive Him as being less than
infinitely perfect. He is naturally all powerful, all just and all kindness, without which He would
not be God. If He is supremely good and just then He cannot act capriciously, nor yet with
partiality. The vicissitudes of life derive from a cause, and as God is just so then that cause must
also be just. This is what each one of us must convince ourselves of. Through the teachings of
Jesus, God started Man on the path to find that cause, and now that Man is sufficiently mature as to
be able to understand, He has revealed the cause by means of Spiritism. That is to say, through the
words of the Spirits.
CAUSES OF PRESENT-DAY AFFLICTIONS
4. The vicissitudes of life are of two kinds, or if you prefer, stem from two different sources
which are important to distinguish. Some have their cause in present-day life, while others arise
outside this present life.
On going back to the origins of earthly misfortunes it must be recognised that many are
natural consequences of character and the behaviour of those who suffer them.
How many fail through their own fault? How many are the victims of their own
thoughtlessness, pride or ambition?
How many destroy themselves through lack of discipline, misconduct or from not knowing
how to limit their desires!
How many disastrous marriages are due to the fact that they were built on calculated interest
or vanity, in which the heart took no part!
How many disagreements and fatal disputes could have been avoided with the aid of a little
moderation and less susceptibility!
How many illnesses and diseases stem from intemperance and excesses of all kinds?
How many parents are unhappy with their children because they did not combat their bad
instincts from an early age! Either from weakness or indifference, they allowed the germ of pride,
selfishness and stupid vanity to grow in them, so causing their hearts to dry and shrivel. Later on,
when reaping what they have sown, they are surprised and afflicted by the lack of gratitude and the
indifference with which they are treated.
We ask each one whose heart has been hurt by vicissitudes or deceptions, to study their own
conscience closely; to go back, step by step, to the origins of each misfortune which is torturing
them. Like as not they will be able to say: if I had done, or not done, such and such a thing, I would
not be where I am now.
Who then is responsible for Man's afflictions if not Man himself? So then in a great number
of cases he is the cause of his own misfortunes. But instead of recognising this fact he finds it easier
and less humiliating to his vanity to accuse his bad luck, providence or even his unlucky star, when
in actual fact his unlucky star is his own carelessness.
When reckoning with the misfortunes of life, suffering of this nature undoubtedly forms the
greatest part of all vicissitudes. Only when Man works at bettering himself, both morally and
intellectually, will he be able to avoid this category of suffering.
5. Human laws cover various faults and prescribe punishment. In these cases it is possible
for the condemned man to recognise that he is suffering the consequences of the wrong committed.
But the law does not or cannot, reach every wrong; it falls principally upon those who cause
damage to society and not upon those who only cause damage to themselves. God, however, does
not allow any detour from the straight and narrow path to go unpunished. There is no wrong or
infraction of His Law, however small, which does not carry with it the inevitable consequence,
which may be more or less deplorable. From this it follows that in small things, as in great matters,
Man is always punished according to the manner in which he has sinned. The suffering which
follows is always a warning that wrong has been done. This offers him experience and makes him
feel the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, so that in the future these sources of
bitterness may be avoided, but without which there would be no motive for betterment. If Man
were to be confident of immunity he would only delay his own progress and therefore his future
Nevertheless, sometimes experience arrives rather late, when life has already been wasted
and become disordered, when strength is already spent and the person is no longer able to remedy
the wrongdoing. Then man will frequently say: If I had known then what I know now how many
false steps would have been avoided! If I had to begin again I would act differently, but now there
is no more time! Like the lazy workman who says, 'I have wasted my day', he also says, ' I have
wasted my life!' As the sun rising on a new day allows the worker the possibility of repaying any
lost time, so it is with Man that after a period of time in the tomb a new life shines forth which will
enable advantage to be taken of past experience, and good resolutions for the future to be put into
PAST CAUSES OF AFFLICTIONS
6. Although there are misfortunes in this life caused by Man himself, there are also others
which seem to be completely strange to him and which touch him like fate. For example: the loss of
a loved one or the bread winner of a family; accidents which no amount of foresight could have
prevented; reverses in fortune which precautions and judicial counselling could not avoid; natural
disasters; infirmities from birth, specially those which make work or the earning of a livelihood
impossible, such as deformities, insanity, idiocy, etc.
Those who are born with restricting conditions like those mentioned, have done nothing in
their present life to deserve such a sad fate, which they could not avoid and are totally impotent to
change, which leaves them at the mercy of public commiseration. Why then are there these
unhappy beings, when beside them, under the same roof, in the same family, are others who have
been blessed in every way? In short, what can be said of children who die at a tender age and who,
during their short life, knew only suffering? These are problems which as yet no philosophy has
been able to find a solution for, anomalies which no religion has been able to justify and which
appear to be a contradiction of goodness, justice and God's Divine Providence. If the hypothesis of
the soul being created at the same time as the body and that of destiny being irrevocably determined
after but a few instants upon Earth were to be verified, this would indeed be the case. If these
creatures had just left the hands of the Creator, what had caused them to come into the world to
face such misery? How could they have received any recompense or punishment seeing that they
had been unable to practice either good or bad?
Nevertheless, by virtue of the axiom according to which every effect has a cause, these
miseries are effects which have to have a cause, and if we admit that God is just, then that cause
must also be just. Therefore as an effect is always preceeded by a cause, and if that cause is not to
be found in the present life, then it follows it must come from before this life, that is to say from a
preceding life. On the other hand, God, being unable to punish goodness that has been done or
badness that has not been done, it follows that if we are being punished then wrong must have been
committed. If that wrong is not of the present life then it must come from a past existence. This is
an alternative that no one can avoid and where logic determines on which side God's justice lies.
Man is not always punished or completely punished in the present life, but he cannot escape
the consequences of his faults indefinitely. The prospering of badness or evil is but temporary, for
if he does not atone today then he will atone tomorrow. Likewise, he who suffers is atoning for his
past. Misfortunes which appear at first sight to be undeserved have their reason to be. Those who
find themselves in a state of suffering may always say: "Lord forgive me, for I have sinned."
7. Sufferings due to causes prior to the present existence, as well as those which originate
from present causes, are frequently the consequences of errors which have been committed. That is
to say through the action of a rigorously distributive justice, we come to suffer what we have made
others suffer. If we have been hard and inhumane we may be treated with harshness and
inhumanity; if we were too full of pride we may be born in humble circumstances; if we have been
miserly, selfish or made bad use of our riches
we may find ourselves deprived of the necessary means of survival; if we have been a bad son or
daughter we may suffer from the behaviour of our children.
It is only through the plurality of existences and the destiny of the planet as a world of
atonement, which it now is, that we can explain the abnormalities in the distribution of happiness or
unhappiness amongst good and bad alike. Nevertheless, these abnormalities exist only in
appearance, due to the fact that they are considered solely from the point of view of the present. If
we elevate ourselves, by means of thought, in such a way as to see a succession of existences, we
will perceive that to each one is given what is deserved, after taking into consideration that which
was gained in the spiritual world. Only then does it become apparent that God's justice is
Man must never forget that he finds himself in an inferior world to which he is confined,
due exclusively to his imperfections. Each time he suffers a vicissitude he must remember that if he
belonged to a more advanced world these things would not happen, and that it depends on himself
alone to see that he never returns to this world, by working harder to improve himself.
8. Tribulations may be imposed on Spirits who are ignorant or who have become hardened,
in order to induce them to make a choice with knowledge of what they are doing. Repentant Spirits
who wish to repay the evil they have committed and who desire to behave better, are free to make
their own choice. Such was the understanding of one Spirit who, after having failed to complete a
task, asked to be allowed to repeat it so as not to lose the benefit of his work. Therefore tribulations
are at the same time atonements for the past, for which we receive the deserved retribution, and
also tests relating to the future, which we are preparing. We offer thanks to God who, in His
goodness, helps Man to repay his debts and does not irrevocably condemn the first fault.
9. It is not to be thought, however, that all suffering in this world denotes the existence of a
determined shortcoming. Many times it is simply an ordeal requested by the Spirit, which will help
it towards purification and active progress. So atonement is always a test, but a test is not always an
atonement. Tests and atonements though, are always signs of a relative inferiority, as that which is
perfect needs no testing. Nevertheless, it is possible that a Spirit, having reached a certain degree of
elevation and being desirous of further progress, may request a mission or task to perform by
means of which he or she will be more or less compensated, depending on whether or not they are
victorious, and according to the difficulty of the requested test. These then are those people who
have naturally good instincts, whose souls are elevated and who possess inborn sentiments. They
apparently bring nothing from their past existences and who despite great torments, suffer with true
Christian resignation, asking only that God help them to support their trials without complaining.
On the other hand, we may consider as atonements those afflictions which provoke complaint and
which cause revolt against God.
Beyond doubt the suffering which does not provoke complaint can also be considered as
atonement. But this indicates it was voluntarily sought rather than imposed. This constitutes a test
of our strength of resolution, which in itself is a sign of progress.
10. Spirits cannot aspire to complete happiness till they have become pure. Any kind of
stain prohibits entrance into the blissful worlds. It is like the passengers on a plagued ship who find
themselves prohibited from entering port until they have undergone a cleansing. The imperfections
of Spirits are slowly overcome by means of various corporeal lives. The tribulations of life, when
well supported, help them towards progress. They erase faults and find purification by means of
atonement, which is the remedy which cleanses the sores and heals the sick. The more grave the
illness, the more energetic must be the remedy. Therefore, those who suffer greatly must realise
that they have most to atone for, and should rejoice in the proximity of the cure. It will depend on
each one to take every advantage from suffering, by being resigned and not spoiling things with
impatience, seeing that, if that be the case, they will then have to begin all over again.
FORGETFULNESS OF THE PAST
11. It is useless to object that forgetfulness constitutes a barrier against the utilization of
experience acquired in past lives. If God considered it convenient that a veil be cast over the past it
is because it is to our advantage that this be so. In fact, remembrance would be a very great
inconvenience. It could in certain cases, cause a person great humility or perhaps make them
prideful, which would interfere with their free will. In any case it would certainly cause inevitable
perturbation in social relationships.
A Spirit is frequently reborn into the same ambient where it has previously lived,
establishing once again the same relationships, in order to repay the evil done. Recognition of these
same persons, who perhaps had been hated, would only serve to rekindle that emotion. In any case,
humiliation would be felt on confronting those who had been offended. So in order that we may
improve ourselves God has bestowed upon us precisely what we need, that which is sufficient and
nothing more, this being none other than the voice of conscience and our instinctive tendencies. He
has only deprived us of what would be prejudicial.
On being reborn, Man brings with him what he has acquired. He is born exactly the way he
has made himself. In each life he begins from a new starting point. It matters little to him to know
what he was before. If he finds himself being punished it is because he did wrong. His actual
tendencies indicate what is still to be corrected, and it is upon this he should concentrate all his
attention, seeing that no trace is left of what has been rectified. The good resolutions he feels bound
to make are the voice of conscience, calling attention to what is right and what is wrong, so giving
strength to resist temptation.
Moreover, this forgetfulness only occurs during bodily existence. On returning to the
spiritual world the remembrance of the past is regained. So it is only temporary, a slight
interruption similar to that which occurs during sleep, but which does not prevent the remembrance
on the subsequent day of what was done on the previous one.
But it is not only after so-called death that the Spirit may recover remembrance of the past It
can be said that it is never lost, even whilst incarnate, as experience demonstrates that during sleep,
being a period when a certain amount of liberty is enjoyed, the Spirit is conscious of its past acts. It
knows why it is suffering and that it suffers justly. Memory is only extinguished during the course
of exterior existence, in the life of relationships. But during these partial remembrances, which if
they were otherwise might cause added suffering and harm social relations, the Spirit absorbs new
strength in these moments of emancipation of the soul, if it knows how to take advantage of them.
MOTIVES FOR RESIGNATION
12. With the words: Blessed are the afflicted for they shall be consoled, Jesus indicates the
compensation which awaits those who suffer and the resignation which leads Man to bless suffering
as a prelude to the cure.
These words can also be understood in this manner: that one should be content to suffer,
seeing that the pain of this world is the payment for past debts which have been incurred. Patiently
supported here on Earth, these pains will save centuries of future suffering. One should be happy
that God is reducing the debt by permitting payment now, thereby guaranteeing a tranquil future.
Suffering Man is like a debtor who owes a large sum and to whom the creditor says: "If you
pay me even a hundredth part of your debt today, I will exonerate you and you will be free; but if
you do not, then I shall torment you till you pay the very last instalment." Would not the debtor feel
happy in supporting all kinds of hardships in order to liberate himself, so paying only a hundredth
part of what he owed? Instead of complaining to the creditor, would he not be grateful?
This is the meaning of the words, 'Blessed are the afflicted for they shall be consoled'. They
are happy because they are paying their debts and also because after payment they will be free.
However, if on acquitting himself on the one side, Man becomes indebted on the other, he will
never find liberation. Therefore, each new fault only increases the debt, there being not one,
whatsoever, which does not entail a compelling and inevitable punishment. If not today, then
tomorrow; if not in this life, then in another. Amongst the list of failings, it behoves Man to put the
lack of submission to God's Will in first place. So if we complain about our afflictions, if we do not
accept them with resignation, or if we accuse God of being unjust, we contract new debts which
in turn make us lose the fruits which should have been gathered from these sufferings. This is why
we must begin again from the start, exactly as if after paying part of a debt to a creditor who has
been tormenting us, we then took out another loan.
On entering into the spiritual world, Man is like the labourer who arrives on the day of
payment. To some God will say: "Here is your recompense for the days you have worked", while to
others, the so-called lucky ones on Earth who have lived in idleness, or those who have built their
happiness on the satisfaction of their own self-esteem, and on wordly pleasures, He will say: 'There
is nothing more to come: you have already received your salary on Earth. Go and begin your tasks
13. Man can soften or increase the bitterness of his trials according to the manner in which
he regards earthly life. His suffering will be all the more depending on how long he imagines it to
be. But those who can see life through a spiritual prism understand bodily existence at a glance.
They see that life is but a point in eternity, comprehend the shortness of its duration, and recognise
that this painful moment will soon pass. The certainty of a happier future sustains and animates
them and far from complaining, they offer thanks to God for the pain which will permit them to
advance. On the other hand, for all those who see only bodily life before them, the duration seems
interminable and the pain oppresses with all its weight.
The result of looking at life in a spiritual way is a diminishing in importance of all worldly
things, and Man feels himself compelled to moderate his desires, to content himself with his
position without envying others. This in turn enables him to receive weakened impressions of
reverses and deceptions that may be experienced. From these attitudes comes calmness and
resignation, so useful to bodily health as well as to the soul; whereas from jealousy, envy, and
ambition Man voluntarily condemns himself to tortures and increases the misery and anguish
during his short existence.
SUICIDE AND MADNESS
14. The calm and resignation which can be absorbed according to the manner in which
terrestrial life is viewed, together with confidence in the future, give the Spirit a serenity which is
the best preventive measure against madness and suicide. To be sure, it is certain that the vast
majority of cases of madness are due to the commotion produced by vicissitudes which Man has
not had the strength to face. But if the things of this world are looked at from the point of view with
which Spiritism regards them, all the reverses and deceptions which in other circumstances would
cause Man to become desperate, can be received with indifference, even with happiness. It is
evident then, that this inner strength puts him above these happenings, so protecting him from
shocks to the mind which, if it were not for this, would cause serious disturbances.
15. The same applies to suicide. Leaving aside those which occur due to drunkenness or
madness, which can be classified as unconscious, it is incontestable that in every case the cause is
discontentment, whatever the private motives may be. But for those who are sure they will only be
unhappy for a day, and that the days to come will be much better, it is easy to be patient. Man only
becomes desperate when he can see no end to his sufferings. What is a lifetime compared to
eternity? Is it not less than a day? But for those who do not believe in eternity, or who judge that
everything ends with life, for the unfortunate and the afflicted who become dejected, grief-stricken
or heartbroken, death appears to be the only solution for so much sorrow. Expecting to receive
nothing, it seems natur~ and even logical to them to shorten their miseries by means of suicide.
16. Total incredulity, simply doubting as to the future or having materialistic ideas, are in
fact the greatest of all incitements towards suicide because they cause moral cowardice. When
scientists, upheld by the authority of their knowledge, do their best to prove to those who will listen
or read what they write, that we have nothing to expect after death, are they not in fact leading us to
deduce that if we are wretched then the best thing to do is to kill ourselves? What can they offer as
a reason to turn away from this consequence? What compensation do they have to offer? What
hope can they give? None at all, except nothingness! From this we should conclude that if
nothingness is the only heroic remedy, the only prospective, then it would be better to seek it
immediately and not later on, so as to suffer less.
So then, the dissemination of materialistic doctrine is the poison which inoculates the idea
of suicide into the majority of those who actually come to commit this act, and those who become
disciples of such doctrines assume tremendous responsibilities. With Spiritism, however, this doubt
is impossible and the aspect of life changes completely. For the believer, existence prolongs itself
after the so-called death, although in many varied conditions. From this belief stems patience and
resignation which naturally leads all thought away from the idea of suicide. This then is the process
which enables us to acquire moral courage.
17. In the same aspect, Spiritism produces yet another equally positive result, one which is
perhaps even more decisive. It presents to us these actual suicides, who inform us of the unhappy
situation in which they find themselves, so proving that no one violates God's laws with impunity.
God prohibits Man to cut short his own life. Amongst these suicides there are those whose
suffering, although temporary and not eternal, is none the less terrible and of such a nature as to
make those who might be considering this act reflect, before leaving this world sooner than God
ordained. The Spiritist however, has various reasons against the idea of suicide: the certainty of a
future life in which he knows that his happiness will be in proportion to his misfortunes and the
degree of resignation shown while on Earth; the certainty that if he abbreviates his life he will in
fact reap the exact opposite of the desired result.
By liberating himself from a trial in this manner, he will consequently encounter another and far
worse one in its place, longer and more terrible. The Spiritist knows that he is mistaken in
imagining that by killing himself he will reach Heaven more quickly; he knows that suicide is an
obstacle which will prevent him joining those he loves and hopes to meet on the other side. From
whence the consequences of suicide, which only bring deceptions, are against his own interests. For
these reasons alone the number of people already saved from suicide is quite considerable. From
this we may conclude that when all men and women are Spiritists, conscious suicide will cease to
When comparing the results of materialist doctrines with those of the Spiritist Doctrine, on
this one point alone we are forced to recognise that whereas the logic of the first leads towards
suicide, the second prevents suicide, which is a fact proven on many occasions.
INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS.
TO SUFFER WELL OR BADLY
18. When Christ said: 'Blessed be the afflicted, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to
them", He did not refer to all those who suffer, seeing that everyone on Earth suffers, whether they
be seated upon thrones or lie upon straw. But alas! So few suffer well! A mere handful understand
that only trials which have been well supported can lead to the Kingdom of God. Despondency is a
fault and God will refuse consolation to those who lack courage. Prayer supports the soul; however,
alone it is not enough. It is also necessary to have a firm belief in the kindness of God as the basis
for deep faith. You have heard it said many times that He does not put a heavy burden on weak
shoulders. The burden is always in proportion to the strength, just as the recompense depends on
the degree of resignation and courage. The more painful the affliction the greater the recompense. It
behoves then to make ourselves worthy and it is for this purpose that life presents itself so full of
The soldier who is not sent to the front is discontent because by resting in camp he will
never receive promotion. So then, be like soldiers and do not desire repose which will only allow
the body to debilitate, and benumb the soul! Be content when God sends you into battle because
this is not a battle of the fireing-line, but of the bitterness of life, where frequently the one who
stands firm before an enemy weakens when confronted with the tenacity of moral suffering.
Although there is no reward for this kind of courage on Earth, God will reserve the laurels of
victory and a place of glory for those who withstand. When facing sufferings or obstacles, if you
are able to place yourself above the situation, by managing to dominate the impulses of impatience,
anger and despair, then you may say to yourself with just satisfaction, 'I was the stronger'.
So then, blessed are the afflicted may be translated in the following manner: blessed are those who
have occasion to prove their faith, firmness,
perseverance, and submission to the Will of God, because they will have multiplied a hundred
times the happiness they lacked on Earth, for after labour comes repose. LACORDIARE (Havre.
EVIL AND ITS REMEDY
19. Is the Earth a place of enjoyment and a paradise of delights? Does the voice of the
prophet no longer reecho in your ears? Did He not proclaim there would be weeping and gnashing
of teeth for those who were born into this valley of pain? So then, all who live here must expect
bitter tears and suffering, and no matter how acute or how deep the pain, lift up your eyes to
Heaven and offer thanks to the Lord for wishing to test you! ... Oh mankind! Can you not recognise
the power of our Lord except when He cures the sores of your bodies, and crowns your days with
beauty and fortune? Can you not recognise His love except He adorns you with all the glories, and
restores the brilliance and whiteness? You should imitate the one who was given as the example.
Having reached the final degree of abjection and misery, while laying upon a dung heap, he said to
God, "Lord, I have known all the delights of opulence and You have reduced me to the most
absolute misery; thank you, thank you, my Lord, for wishing to test your servant!" How long will
your eyes remain fixed upon the horizon limited by death? When will your soul finally decide to
launch itself beyond the limits of the tomb? But even if you suffer and cry the whole of this life,
what is that compared to the eternal glory reserved for those who suffer their trials with faith, love,
and resignation? Seek consolation for your ills in the future which God will prepare for you, and
search for the causes in the past. And you, who have suffered the most, consider yourselves the
blessed of this Earth.
As discarnates, when floating in space, you chose your own trials, judging yourselves
sufficiently strong to support them. Why then do you complain now? You asked for riches and
glory because you wished to hold fight with temptation and overcome it. You asked to fight with
body and soul against both moral and physical evil, knowing that the harder the trial the greater and
more glorious the victory; that as long as you have triumphed, despite the fact of your body ending
up on a dung heap at death, it will release a soul of radiant whiteness purified by the baptism of
atonement and suffering.
What remedy can be prescribed for those attacked by cruel obsessions and mortifying evils?
There is but one infallible way: through faith, which is the appeal to Heaven. If at the moment of
highest poignancy in your suffering you intone hymns to the Lord, then the angel at your bedside
will show you the sign of salvation and the place which you will one day occupy... Faith is the only
sure remedy for suffering. It will always show the infinite horizon before which the few cloudy
days of the present will vanish. Therefore, do not ask what is the remedy for ulcer or sore,
temptation or trial. Remind yourselves that those who believe are strengthened through the remedy
of faith, and those who doubt of its efficiency, be it even for an instant, will be immediately
punished because they will quickly feel the pungent anguishes of affliction.
The Lord has put His seal upon all those who believe in Him. Christ told you that it was
possible to move mountains by faith alone, and I tell you that he who suffers, yet has faith to
uphold him, will remain under the protection of the Lord and will suffer no more. The moments of
greatest pain will become the first happy notes of eternity. The soul will detach itself from the body
in such a manner that, while the latter is still writhing in convulsions, it will be gliding into the
celestial regions, singing hymns of gratitude and glory to the Lord together with the angels.
Fortunate are those who suffer and weep! Happy be their souls because God will heap them with
blessings. - SAINT AUGUSTIN (Paris, 1863).
HAPPINESS IS NOT OF THIS WORLD
20. Mankind in general, from all walks of society, is constantly complaining either that he is
not happy, or that happiness was not made for him. This, dear brothers and sisters, proves better
than any possible form of reasoning the truth of the maxim from the book of Ecclesiastics:
'Happiness is not of this world.' Indeed, not riches, power or even the blossom of youth are
essential conditions for happiness. Furthermore, not even by uniting these three elements, so
desired by many, can happiness be assured because we are constantly hearing of people of all ages,
even those from the most privileged classes, bitterly complaining of the situation in which they find
Before this fact it is inconceivable that the militant and working classes envy, with great
anxiety, the positions of those who are apparently favoured by fortune. In this world, despite what
anyone can do, each must face his own part of work and misery, his quota of suffering and
deceptions, from which it is easy to reach the conclusion that the Earth is a planet of trials and
So then, those who preach that the Earth is Man's only home, and that it is here during only
one existence he must reach the highest level of happiness possible to his nature, are merely
deluding themselves and those who listen to them, seeing that it has been demonstrated through
multi-secular experiences that only in exceptional cases can this globe offer the necessary
conditions for complete happiness for any one individual. In general terms, it is possible to affirm
that happiness is a Utopia, whose conquest has been striven after by successive generations without
their ever having been able to reach their objective. If the sensible man or woman is a rarity in the
world, then the absolutely happy person has never been found.
Happiness on Earth consists of something so fleeting for those who are not guided by
wisdom, that but for a year, a month or a week of complete satisfaction the rest of their existence is
a series of bitter deceptions. And note, dear children, that I refer to those who are considered the
lucky ones of the Earth, those who are the envy of the masses.
Consequently, if the earthly dwelling-place is specifically for trials and atonement, then we
are forced to admit that somewhere there are more
favourable dwelling places where the Spirit, although still a prisoner in a material body, may
possess the delights of human life in all its fullness. This is the reason why God has planted those
beautiful superior planets in your vortex, towards which your efforts and tendencies will one day
cause you to gravitate, when you have become sufficiently purified and perfected.
However, do not deduce from my words that the Earth is perpetually destined to remain a
penitentiary. No, certainly not! From the progress that has already been achieved we may readily
infer further progression, and from the various social betterments obtained, new and more fertile
improvements. This is the immense task allotted to this new doctrine which the Spirits have
So then, dear children, may you be animated by a saintly emulation so that you may
energetically change your ways. Everyone should dedicate themselves to the propagation of
Spiritism, which has already begun your own regeneration. It is your duty to help your brothers and
sisters to participate in the rays of this sacred light. Accordingly set to work, dear children! Let us
hope that within this solemn reunion all hearts may aspire to this great objective, which is to
prepare a world for future generations where the word happiness is no longer meaningless. -
FRANÇOIS-NICOLAS-MADELEINE, Cardinal MORLOT (Paris, 1863).
LOSING LOVED ONES. PREMATURE DEATHS
21. When death cuts down someone in your family, carrying off the youngest before the
oldest without discrimination, you are accustomed to say that God is not just: because He sacrifices
he who is strong and has all his future before him, leaving those who have lived many years and are
full of deceptions: because He takes those who are useful and leaves behind those who are no
longer able to work: because He breaks the heart of a mother by depriving her of the innocent
creature who was her only joy.
Humans, it is on this point that you must lift yourselves above commonplace thoughts about
life in order to be able to understand that goodness is frequently where you judge there to be evil,
and the wisdom of providence where you think you perceive the blind fatality of destiny. Why do
you evaluate divine justice by you own ideas? Do you suppose that the Lord of the Worlds applies
justice through mere caprice, in order to inflict cruel punishment? Nothing happens that has not an
intelligent meaning and no matter what happens there is always a reason for it. If you scrutinize
better all the pain that redounds to you then you would surely find divine reason, regenerating
reason, wherein you would see the worthlessness of your interests which, as a consequence, would
become so secondary as to be cast into last place.
Believe me, in the case of an incarnation of twenty years, death is preferable to any of the
shameful dissipations which bring untold distress to respectable families, break the hearts of
mothers and cause parents' hair to whiten before
their time. Premature death is frequently a great blessing which God concedes to those who depart,
so preserving them from the miseries of life or the seductions which possibly occasioned the loss of
life. The person who dies in the flower of youth is not a victim of fate. God judges that it is not
suitable for that person to remain longer on Earth.
What a terrible tragedy, you say, to see the thread of life that was so full of hope, cut! To
what hope are you referring? That of the Earth? Where he who had gone could have perhaps shone
or made his way and become rich? Always there is this restricted vision which prevents one from
rising above that which is material. Who can tell what might have been the actual fate of that life
which you thought so full of hope? How do you know that it would not have been saturated with
bitterness? Do you then disdain the hopes offered by the future life, to the point of preferring this
fleeting existence here on Earth? Do you suppose that a high position amongst men is worth more
than an elevated place amongst the blessed Spirits?
Instead of complaining, rejoice when it pleases God to withdraw one of your children from
this vale of miseries. Would it not be selfish to wish that they continue suffering at your side? Ah!
This is the pain conceived by those lacking in faith, who see death as an eternal separation! But
those of you who are Spiritists know that the soul lives better when it is separated from its material
form. Mothers, know that your beloved children are near you, yes, very near. Their fluidic bodies
embrace you, their thoughts protect you and the remembrances that you keep delight them with
happiness; but your unreasonable pain afflicts them, because it reveals a lack of faith, so
constituting a revolt against the Will of God.
Those of you who understand the meaning of spiritual life, listen to the beatings of your
heart when calling to these loved ones. If you ask God to bless them, you will feel great
consolation, the kind which will dry your tears; you will feel magnificent aspirations which will
show you the future which our Supreme Lord has promised. - SAMSON, ex-member of the
Spiritist Society of Paris, (1863).
IF HE HAD BEEN A GOOD MAN HE WOULD HAVE DIED
22. When speaking of a bad person who has escaped some danger, it is customary to say
that if he had been a good man he would have died. Well then, in saying this you are speaking the
truth, because it frequently comes to pass that God bestows a longer trial on a Spirit who is only
commencing his path to progress than He would give a good Spirit who, by merit of his worthiness,
receives the blessing of the shortest possible period of atonement. Consequently, whenever you use
that aphorism you unsuspectingly commit a blasphemy.
If a good man dies, having a neighbour who is considered to be bad, it is soon remarked that
it would have been better if the neighbour had died instead. By saying this you are expressing something quite atrocious, because the one who departed had
completed his or her tasks and the other, who is left, has perhaps not even begun. Why should you
wish the bad person to be denied the necessary time to complete their tasks, while condemning the
good person to remain an unnecessary prisoner? What would you say if, after having served a
prison sentence, the convict were to be kept in prison, when another person, who had no right, was
set at liberty? It must be understood that true liberty for a Spirit is the breaking of the ties which
keep it captive within a physical body, and that while upon Earth it is really a prisoner.
Accustom yourselves then not to censure the things you do not understand, and more
especially to believe that God is just in all things, and that on many occasions what appears to be an
evil is really a blessing. Due to the fact that your faculties are so limited, it is not possible to have a
clear vision of the whole, nor can it be felt by your obtuse senses. However, if you strive to reach
beyond your limited sphere by means of thought, you will find the importance of all material things
diminishes, according to the manner in which you are able to lift up your thoughts. In this way life
presents itself as a mere incident in the infinite course of spiritual existence, which is the only true
life. - FÉNELON (Sens, 1861).
23. Man is incessantly searching for happiness which always escapes him, because pure
happiness does not exist here on Earth. However, despite the vicissitudes which form an inevitable
procession throughout earthly life, he may at least enjoy relative happiness, if he does not search
for it within perishable things subject to the same vicissitudes, that is to say within material
enjoyments, instead of seeking it within the delights of the soul. The only real happiness of this
world is to be found in heartfelt peace. But Man shows himself avid for all things which agitate and
perturb. It is really quite strange! It seems that, while it is possible to avoid problems, Man
purposely creates torments for himself.
Are there any worse torments than those created by envy and jealousy? For those who are
envious or jealous there is no rest; they suffer a state of perpetual fever. The possessions of others
cause sleepless nights; the success of rivals provoke giddiness; emulation, in their eyes, is
epitomized in eclipsing those around them; all their happiness consists in provoking a rage of
jealousy in those as imprudent as themselves. Poor foolish beings they are indeed! Never imagining
that tomorrow they will perhaps have to leave behind all these trifles, the covetousness of which
has poisoned their lives. The words: 'Blessed are the afflicted for they shall be consoled' certainly
do not apply to these, seeing that their preoccupations are not those which receive deserving
recompense in Heaven.
On the other hand, many torments will be avoided by those who are content with what they
have, who can see things they do not possess without envy, and
who do not try to appear better than they are. These will be constantly rich since, by looking below
oneself, it is always possible to see others with less than ourselves. These kind of people are calm
because they do not create imaginary necessities for themselves. Is calmness then not a happiness in
the midst of the turmoil of life? - FÉNELON (Leon, 1860).
24. Everyone talks about misfortune; everyone has experienced it and therefore judges they
understand its multiple character. I have come to tell you that almost everyone is deluded, as real
misfortune is absolutely not what Man, that is to say those who are unfortunate, believe it to be.
They see as misfortune the unheated stove, the threatening creditor, the empty cradle, tears, the
funeral procession and those following with broken hearts, the anguish of betrayal and the stripping
of pride from those who would wish to be dressed in the purple, but who can barely hide their
nudity beneath the ragged tatters of their vanity. To all this, and much more, Man gives the name of
misfortune. Yes, it is misfortune for those who only see the present. But real misfortunes are rather
in the consequences of these facts than in the facts themselves. Tell me then, is a happening which
at the time was considered to be a happy event, but which later caused disastrous consequences, not
really more calamitous than another, which initially caused contrariety, but finally produced
benefits? Tell me also, is a storm which uproots trees but purifies the air and dissipates unhealthy
miasmas, which can cause death, not more of a blessing than an unhappiness?
In order to be able to judge, we must first consider the consequences. Thus in order to more
fully appreciate what is really fortunate or unfortunate for Man, we must transport ourselves
beyond the vision of this life, for it is only there that the consequences can begin to be felt. So
everything called unhappiness, according to the short-sightedness of human beings, ends with the
body and receives its compensation in the future life.
I will reveal unhappiness to you in yet another light, in the form of beauty and colour,
which is accepted and even earnestly desired by your poor deluded souls. Pleasure, commotion,
unnecessary agitation and the satisfaction of stupid vanities are the true misfortunes, causing Man
to ignore his conscience, prevent his thought process and leave him in a dazed state with regard to
his future. These true unhappinesses, so ardently sought after, are nothing more than the opium of
forgetfulness. Have hope all who cry! Tremble all who laugh because their body is satiated! It is
not possible to deceive God nor to escape one's destiny. Afflictions, those creditors more pitiless
than the wolf pack, unloosed by your miseries, are constantly lurking behind the illusion of repose
only to suddenly emerge in the form of agony, of real unhappiness, for all who have allowed their
souls to become flabby through indifference and selfishness.
Therefore, let Spiritism offer enlightenment and establish truth and error in their real
formats which, till now, have been so singularly deformed by your blindness! Act like brave
soldiers who, far from running away from peril, prefer the dangerous fight rather than peace, which
will bring them neither glory nor promotion! What does it matter to the soldier if he loses weapons,
baggage and uniform if he comes out of battle the winner, covered with glory? What does it matter
to those who have faith in the future if they leave riches and their physical bodies on the battlefield
of life, provided the soul enters into the celestial Kingdom full of glory? - DELPHINE DE
GIRARDIN (Paris, 1861).
25. Do you know why sometimes a vague sadness fills your heart, leading you to consider
that life is bitter? This is because your Spirit, aspiring to happiness and liberty, on finding itself tied
to the physical body which acts like a prison, becomes exhausted through vain efforts to seek
release. On recognising that these attempts are useless, the soul becomes discouraged, and as the
body suffers the influence of the Spirit, it feels itself weary, apathetic, full of despondency and it is
then that you judge yourself to be unhappy.
Believe me when I tell you to resist these tendencies with all your strength, as they only
weaken your will-power. Aspirations for a better life are inborn in all mankind, but do not seek
them in this world. Now that God is sending His Spirits to instruct you on happiness, which He has
reserved for you, await with patience for the time when the liberating angel will come to help you
break away from the ties which hold your Spirit captive. Remember, during your exile here on
Earth, you have a mission to fulfill that you do not even suspect; be it dedicating yourself to your
family or fulfilling the various obligations bestowed upon you by God. If within the course of this
exiled probation, while seeking exoneration, you feel about to collapse through anxiety, uneasiness,
or tribulations, be strong and courageous enough to support these pressures. Stand up to them with
resolution for they will soon pass. These are the only means by which you may reach those for
whom you pine and who, jubilant at seeing you once again amongst them, will hold out their hands
towards you so as to guide you to regions inaccessible to earthly afflictions. - FRANÇOIS DE
VOLUNTARY TRIALS. THE TRUE HAIR SHIRT
26. You ask me if it is licit for a man to lessen his own probation? This is equal to other
questions such as: is it licit for a drowning man to save himself? Should he take a thorn from his
hand? Should he call a doctor when he is ill? The reason behind our trials is to help us to use our
intelligence, patience and resignation. It may happen that a man is born into a difficult and painful
situation precisely to make him look for the means of alleviating these
problems. The merit is in suffering the consequences that cannot be avoided without complaining,
in persevering with the fight and in not allowing oneself to become desperate when one is not
successful. It is never to be found in negligence, which is more laziness than virtue.
This quite naturally leads to another question: if Jesus said 'Blessed are the afflicted,' can
merit be gained by seeking afflictions which could aggravate our trials by means of voluntary
suffering? To this we can reply very decidedly: yes, there is great merit in this, provided the
suffering and privation are of benefit to others; this is charity through suffering. But not when the
suffering and privations are of benefit to the inflictor; this would only be fanatical selfishness.
It is necessary to make a clear distinction in this matter. Regarding yourself personally, be
content with the trials and problems which God sends. Do not seek to increase this volume, as it
alone may at times be extremely heavy to bear. Accept it without murmuring but with faith; that is
all that God asks. Do not weaken your body with useless privations and mortifications that have no
objective, because you will need all your strength if you are to fulfill your work here on Earth. To
torture and martyr the body voluntarily is to go against God's Law. He has given Man the means to
sustain life, so to weaken the body needlessly is true suicide. Use it, but do not abuse it; that is the
law. The abuse of the best thing God has given you will bring inevitable consequences as a
But quite the contrary occurs when Man imposes suffering upon himself in order to alleviate
that of others. If you support cold and hunger with the object of offering heat and sustenance to
another, thereby causing your body to be affected, you are making a sacrifice which God will bless.
When you leave your perfumed homes to go to an infected hovel so as to console, or dirty your
hands to treat wounds, or lose sleep so as to hold vigil at the bedside of the sick, who after all are
your brothers and sisters in God, or put your health in jeopardy for the purpose of practising good,
then it is here that you find your hair shirt, the true and blessed hair shirt. You have not allowed the
delights of this world to shrivel your heart, nor have you slept upon the voluptuous breast of riches.
Rather you have become a consoling angel to the sadly deserted.
Therefore, what utility is served by those who retire from the world so as to avoid its
seductions and live in isolation? Where is the courage to face their problems? They have merely
run away from the fight and deserted the combat. If you wish to make a sacrifice, then apply it to
your soul and not to your body. Mortify your Spirit and not your flesh; whip your pride, receive
humiliations without murmur, scourge yourself of self-love, harden yourself against the pain of
insult and slander which is more pungent than physical pain. It is in these things that you find your
true hair shirt, whose wounds will be taken into account because they will testify to your courage
and submission to God's Will. - A GUARDIAN ANGEL (Paris, 1863).
SHOULD WE END OUR NEIGHBOUR'S PROBATION
27. Should anyone put an end to another's probation when they can, or should God's
purpose be respected, so leaving things to take their own course?
We have already said repeatedly that you are upon this planet of atonement for the purpose
of concluding your trials, and everything that happens is a consequence of past lives. This is the
interest on the debt you must pay. However, in some people this fact provokes reflections which
should be combated, due to the disastrous effects that might be caused.
Some people think that by being on Earth for the purpose of atonement all probation must
follow its course. Then there are others who will go to the point of believing that not only must
nothing be done to alleviate the suffering, but that on the contrary, they should help others to
benefit more by making these sufferings more active, more intense. This is a very big mistake. It is
quite true that trials must take their course as marked by God, but, and this is the difference, how
do we know what God has designed? Do we know to what extent they must reach? What if our
merciful Father designated that this or another suffering should only reach a certain point? How do
you know whether Divine Providence has placed you, not as an instrument of torture to aggravate
the suffering of the culprit, but as the soothing balm of consolation to help heal the wounds? So
therefore never say, It is God's justice and must follow its course.' Rather say, 'Let me see what
means our merciful Father has put within my reach so that I may lessen the suffering of my brother
or sister. Let me see if moral consolations, material help or advice can assist in overcoming these
trials with greater energy, patience and resignation. Let me see if God has given me the means of
putting an end to this suffering. Perhaps this possibility has been given to me as a test or even an
atonement, so that I may allay these troubles and substitute them with peace.
Therefore, always help each other mutually in your respective probations and never consider
yourself as an instrument of torture. Every person who has a heart should revolt against such an
idea, especially all Spiritists because they, more than anyone else, should understand the infinite
extension of God's goodness. All Spiritists should be convinced that their whole lives must be acts
of love and devotion, that although they do what they may in trying to oppose God's wishes, these
will always be fulfilled. Therefore they can apply maximum strength to attenuate the bitterness of
atonement without fear of the consequences, being certain that only God has the right to shorten or
prolong a trial, as He sees fit.
Is it not immense pride on the part of mankind to consider that it is right, in a manner of
speaking, to turn the knife in the wound or to increase the dose of poison in the viscera of one who
is suffering, under the pretext that it is part of the probation? Oh, always consider yourselves as
instruments for the alleviation of pain! So to summarize: all are on Earth for atonement but all,
without exception, must strive to lessen the atonement of one's fellow beings, which is in
accordance with the law of love and charity. - BERNADIN, a Protecting Spirit (Bordeaux, 1863).
28. A man is agonizing under cruel suffering. His state is known to be desperate. Would it
be licit to save him a few instants of anguish by hastening his end?
Who has given you the right to prejudge God's purpose? Can He not conduct a person to the
very brink of the grave and then withdraw them, in order that they may awaken and recognise the
need to change their ideas? Even when a dying person has reached the last extremes no one can be
absolutely sure the final hour has arrived. Has science never been wrong in its predictions?
Of course there are cases which, with good reason, can be considered desperate. But even if
there is no hope of a definite return to life and health, there always exists the possibility, testified
on many occasions, of a sick person recovering their faculties at the last instant. Well then, this is
the hour of grace conceded by God which may be of extreme importance. You do not understand
the reflections which the Spirit may have during those last agonizing convulsions, nor how a
lightning repentance may save them from many torments.
The materialist, who only sees the body and does not take into consideration the Spirit, is
not apt to understand these things. But the Spiritist who knows what happens in the after life,
comprehends the value of these last thoughts. So mitigate the last sufferings as much as you can,
but guard yourself against abbreviating life, be it even for a minute, as this minute can be the means
of avoiding many tears in the future. - SAINT LOUIS (Paris, 1860).
29. For he who finds himself tired of life, but who does not wish to extinguish it by his own
hands, would he be wrong to seek death on a battlefield with the intention of making his death
Whether a person kills themself or causes another to kill them, the intention is always to cut
the thread of existence. Therefore there is intent to commit suicide even if there is no actual fact.
The idea that this death would serve some purpose is mere illusion, just a pretext to cover up the act
and for the person to excuse themself in their own eyes. If they seriously wished to serve their
country, they would do their best to stay alive so they might be able to defend it, rather than seek
death, because if they are dead they can no longer be of help. Real devotion consists in not being
afraid of death when it is a matter of utility, of facing danger and, when necessary, in sacrificing
one's life without thinking about it. But in seeking death with a premeditated intent by exposing
oneself to risk, even if it be in service, annuls all merit for the action. - SAINT LOUIS (Paris,
30. If a person exposes themself to imminent danger in order to save the life of a fellow
being, knowing that they will succumb, will this act be considered as suicide?
If there is no intention to seek death in this act, then there is no suicide, only devotion and
abnegation, even though there is a certainty of death. But who can be sure? Who can say that
Providence has not reserved an unexpected means of salvation at the last moment? Is it not possible
even to save one who is before the cannon's mouth? On many occasions it happens that Providence
wishes to take a trial of resignation to the extreme limits, in which case an unexpected circumstance
will ward off the fatal blow. - SAINT LOUIS (Paris, 1860).
31. Do not those who accept suffering with resignation, because they are submissive to
God's wishes and are mindful of their future happiness, work only for their own benefit? Is it not
possible for them to make their suffering useful to others?
Materially and morally these sufferings may be useful to others; in a material sense, by the
work, privations and sacrifices they impose upon themselves, which can contribute to the material
well-being of their fellowmen; in the moral sense, by the example they offer of their submission to
God's Will. By showing the strength of the Spiritist faith many unfortunate and wretched persons
can be induced to resign themselves, so being saved from despair and its disastrous consequences in
the future. - SAINT LOUIS (Paris, 1860).