DO GOOD WITHOUT OSTENTATION
DO NOT LET YOUR LEFT HAND KNOW WHAT YOUR RIGHT
HAND IS DOING
Do good without ostentation. - Hidden misfortune. - The widow's mite. - To invite the poor and the lame.
To give without thought of recompense. - INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS: Material charity and
moral charity. - Beneficence. - Compassion. - Orphans. - Beneficence recompensed by ingratitude. - Exclusive benevolence.
1. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye
have no reward of your Father which is in Heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do
not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets,
that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when
thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may
be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly (Matthew,
2. When He was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And
behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make
me clean. And Jesus put forth His hand and touched him, saying, I will: Be thou clean. And
immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go
thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for the
testimony unto them (Matthew, 8:1-4).
3. There is great merit in doing good without ostentation. But it is of even greater merit to
hide the hand that gives. This is the indisputable mark of great moral superiority, since in order to
regard things from a higher level than the multitude it is necessary to be able to disregard the
present life, and identify oneself with the future. In a word, to place oneself above humanity so as
to be able to renounce the satisfaction that comes from the recognition of one's fellow creatures,
and await the approval of God. Those who prefer the approval of mankind prove they put more
faith in them than in God, and value the present life more than the future one. If they say anything
to the contrary, then they act as if they do not believe in what they themselves are saying.
How many there are who only give with the expectancy that the one who has received will
shout it to all sides! How many there are who publicly give large sums of money, but who
nevertheless would not give a penny if the fact were to be hidden! This is why Jesus declared:
"Those who do good ostensibly have already received their recompense." Indeed, those who seek
their glorification on Earth through the good they do, have already paid themselves; God owes
them nothing more; the only thing left is punishment for their pride.
Let not your right hand know what your left hand does is an image which admirably
characterizes modest beneficence. But if there is true modesty, then there is also false modesty, a
mere imitation of modesty. There are certain people who hide the hand that gives, but take great
care to leave a small piece showing while they look about them to see if anyone has seen them
trying to hide it. This is shameful, a parody of Christ's maxim! If prideful benefactors are despised
by mankind, what then must they be before God? These too have already received their recompense
on Earth. They are seen and are satisfied by this fact. That is all they will have.
So then, what recompense will there be for the person who causes their benefits to weigh
heavily on the shoulders of the receiver; who demands at all costs recognition for the recompense;
who makes their position felt by extolling the cost of the sacrifice they have made? Oh! Here there
is not even earthly recompense, seeing that this person finds themself deprived of the pleasing
satisfaction of hearing their name blessed. This is the first punishment for their pride. The tears
they dried in benefit of their own pride, instead of rising to Heaven will fall back upon the afflicted
heart and cause it to ulcerate. For the good that was practised there will be no reward because it was
deplored, and all benefit that is deplored is counterfeit and so has no value.
When beneficence is practised without ostentation it is doubly meritorious. Apart from
material charity there is also moral charity, seeing that this protects the susceptibility of the
beneficiary, so enabling them to receive a benefit without feeling resentment from a loss of self-
respect. This safeguards human dignity, since there are those who will accept a job but refuse alms.
Now depending on the manner in which it is done, converting work into alms can mean humiliating
the receiver, and there is always pride and evil in the act of humiliating another. On the other hand,
true charity is delicate and inventive in disguising a benefit, avoiding even a simple appearance
which might cause hurt, given that all moral friction increases suffering originating from necessity.
Therefore the giver of true charity will find tender affectionate words which will place the receiver
at ease, especially in the presence of the benefactor, whereas prideful charity will crush the
receiver. Real generosity acquires total sublimity when the benefactor, inverting the parts, finds a
way of placing themself in the position of being the one who is indebted when facing the person
whom they are helping. This is what is meant by the words: Let not your left hand know what your
right hand does.
4. When great calamities occur charity is filled with emotion, and generous impulses are
seen on all sides in the repairing of these disasters. But apart from these general disasters, there are
millions of private catastrophes which go unnoticed, for there are those who lie on beds of suffering
without complaining. These discreet and hidden misfortunes are the ones which true generosity
knows how to discover without even waiting to be asked for help.
Who is that woman with the distinctive air, simply dressed, although well cared for, who is
accompanied by an equally modestly dressed young girl? They enter a sordid looking house where
the lady is obviously well-known because they are greeted with respect as they enter. Where is she
going? Up to the garret where a mother lies surrounded by her many children. On their arrival
happiness bursts forth upon the thin faces. This is because the woman has come to soothe their
pains. She has brought everything they need, tempered with gentle and consoling words which
allows her protégés, who are not professional beggars, to accept these benefits without blushing.
The father is in hospital and while he is there the mother is unable to provide the necessities of life
with her work. By the grace of this good woman these poor children will no longer feel cold nor
hungry; they will go to school well-clothed and, for the smaller ones, the mother's breasts which
feed them will not go dry. If any member of this family falls sick, this good woman will not refuse
the material care which they may need. From their house she will go on to the hospital to take the
father some comforts and also to put his mind at rest as to his family. At the corner of the road a
carriage awaits, and inside is a store of everything destined for her various protégés, for one after
the other they all receive visits. She never asks what their religion is nor what their opinions are,
because she considers them to be her brothers and sisters and the children of God, as are all men
and women. When she has finished her rounds she can say to herself: "I have begun my day well."
What is her name? Where does she come from? No one knows. To all those unhappy ones she has
given a name which indicates nothing. But she is the personification of a consoling angel. Each
night a host of blessings rise up to the heavens in her name from Catholics, Jews and Protestants
Why such modest clothing? So as not to insult their misery with her luxury. Why does she
take her daughter? So that she too may learn how to practise beneficence, for the young lady also
wishes to be charitable. However, the mother says to her: "What can you give, my daughter, when
you have nothing of your own? If I give you something of mine to give away, what merit will that
be for you? In that case it is really I who am giving, so what good would that bring you? It would
not be just. So when I visit the sick you will help me treat them. To offer care to someone is to give
something of yourself. Do you not think that is sufficient to start with? Well then, nothing could be
simpler; you can begin by learning how to make useful articles and clothes for the children.
In this manner you will be giving of yourself." When she is a true Christian, this is how a mother
should prepare her children to practise those virtues which Christ taught. Is she a Spiritist? What
does that matter!
In her own home she is a woman of the world because her position demands it of her. Those
about her know nothing of what she is doing, as she does not wish for any approval other than that
from God and her own conscience. However, one day an unexpected circumstance brought one of
her protégés to her door, selling hand-made articles. When this woman saw her, she recognised her
benefactor. The lady told her to be silent and “Tell no one!” Jesus also spoke in this manner.
THE WIDOW'S MITE
5. And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into
the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow,
and she threw in two mites which make a farthing. And He called unto him His disciples and
saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast in more than all they
which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance: but she of her
want did cast in all that she had, even all her living (Mark, 12: 41-44).
And He looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He
saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And He said, Of a truth I say unto
you, that this poor widow hast cast in more than they all. For all these have of their
abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living
that she had (Luke, 21:1-4).
6. Many people deplore the fact that they are unable to do all the good they desire due to
lack of financial resources. They would like to be rich in order, so they say, to be able to make
good use of those funds. Their intention no doubt is laudable and in some cases even sincere.
However, in the vast majority is this desire totally disinterested? Will there not be those who, whilst
wishing to do good to others, would also appreciate being able to begin by doing good to
themselves, of being in a position to offer themselves a few more pleasures or the enjoyment of
something superfluous they lack, after this then being quite ready to offer the poor what is left
over? This second thought behind the desire, perchance concealed even from their own eyes, which
they would have to face if they scrutinized the depths of their hearts, annuls all merit for the
intention, seeing that true charity thinks of others before it thinks of itself. The sublimity of charity,
in this case, would be for each one to seek within their work the necessary resources they lack to be
able to realise their generous intentions, by means of employing their strength, intelligence and
aptitudes. In so doing they would be offering the kind of sacrifice most pleasing to the Lord.
Unhappily the majority live out their lives dreaming of ways and means of easily and quickly
acquiring riches for themselves without any effort. By running after foolish fancies like the
discovery of buried treasure, or some favourable random chance, or even the possibility of receiving an unexpected inheritance etc. What
can be said then about those who expect to find spiritual helpers to second their attainment of these
objectives? Certainly they know nothing at all nor do they understand the sacred finalities of
Spiritism, and even less of the mission of the Spirits whom God permits to communicate with
incarnate men. Hence it happens that they are punished by deceptions. (See THE MEDIUM'S
BOOK, second part, items 294 & 295.)
Those whose intentions are totally exempt from personal interest must console themselves
with the knowledge that it is impossible to do all the good that could be wished, and to remember
the mite of the poor, taken from meagre resources which causes deprivation, but which weighs
more on God's scales than the gold of the rich who give without depriving themselves of anything.
The satisfaction of the former would truly be great if they could help all the destitute on a large
scale. But if this is denied them, then they must submit to this fact and limit themselves to what is
possible. Furthermore, can tears be dried only with money? Should we remain inactive because we
have no money? All those who sincerely wish to be of use to their fellow beings will find thousands
of ways of helping. If you look for them they will appear, if not in one way then in another,
because there is no one who, having full command of their faculties, cannot help someone, offer
consolation, minimise both physical and moral suffering or do something useful. While money may
be lacking, do we all not have time, work and hours of repose to spare which we can offer to help
others? This too is the alms of the poor, the widow's mite.
TO INVITE THE POOR AND THE LAME. TO GIVE WITHOUT
THOUGHT OF RECOMPENSE
7. Then said He also to him that bade Him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper,
call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they
also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the
poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense
thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just And when one of them that
sat at meat with Him heard these things, he said unto Him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread
in the Kingdom of God (Luke, 14:12-15).
8. Jesus tells us that when we prepare a feast we should not invite our friends and relations,
but instead the poor and the maimed. In their literal sense these words appear to be absurd. But if
we understand their spiritual essence they are in fact sublime. It is not possible that Jesus intended
us to invite the maimed and beggars from the streets to unite round our table instead of friends. His
language was almost always figurative as the people of those times were not capable of
understanding delicate shades of thought. Therefore it was necessary for Him to use strong words
which could produce colourful
images. Nevertheless, the essence of His thought is revealed is this sentence: "And thou shalt be
blessed, for they cannot recompense thee." This means that we should not do good for a calculated
reward, but only for the pleasure to be felt in so doing. Using a striking comparison, Jesus says:
"Invite the poor to your feast because you know they cannot recompense you." By the use of the
word 'feast' we should understand not the actual repast but a participation in the abundance
However, the warning can also be applied in a more literal sense. How many of you invite
to your table only those who, as is said, will honour you or will return your invitation? On the other
hand, there are others who find satisfaction in receiving friends and relations less fortunate than
themselves. Well, how many amongst you have people like this in your family? In this way a great
service can sometimes be done without it showing. These people put into practice the teachings of
Jesus without recruiting the blind and the maimed only if they do so with benevolence, without
ostentation, and if they know how to dissimulate the benefit by means of sincere cordiality.
INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS.
MATERIAL CHARITY AND MORAL CHARITY
9. "Love one another and do unto others what we wish they would do unto us. All that is
religion and moral is contained in these two precepts. If they were observed in this world then
everyone would be happy and there would be no more hate or resentment. I go even further: there
would be no more poverty because all the poor people would be fed from the superfluity of the
rich. Neither would poor women be seen dragging wretched children along the dark and sombre
streets where I lived during my last incarnation.
Those among you who are rich, think on this a while! Help to the best of your abilities all
those who are less fortunate. Give, in order that one day God may recompense the good you have
done; and so, on leaving your terrestrial body behind, you may encounter a host of grateful Spirits
who will receive you at the threshold to a happier world. Oh! If you could but know the joy felt
when, on reaching the world beyond, I found those whom I had been given to serve!..
Therefore, love your neighbours; love them as you would love yourself, because you now
know that by repelling even one wretched person it is always possible that perhaps you are sending
away a brother, father or friends from other times. If this happens to be the case, imagine your
despair when you recognise them again on reaching the spiritual world!
I wish you to understand exactly what moral charity really is. It is something that all can
practise, that costs nothing materially speaking, but which is most difficult to exercise. Moral
charity then comprises the giving of support to all our fellow creatures and is least done in this
inferior world where you now find yourselves incarnated. Believe me, there is great merit in keeping quiet while another, perhaps less
intelligent, is speaking. This is but one kind of moral charity. To play deaf when mocking words
escape the lips of one accustomed to deride, or to ignore the disdainful smiles of those who are
receiving you, when they quite wrongly suppose themselves to be far above you, constitutes merit.
However, in actual fact it will quite often be found that in the spiritual world, the only real life,
these same persons are far below us. The merit to be gained in these situations is not due to
humility, but to charity, in as much as to ignore bad behaviour is a moral charity.
Nevertheless, this kind of charity must not be allowed to interfere with the other kind
already mentioned. Therefore, be specially careful never to despise your fellow beings. Remember
everything I have told you, and that if you repel a poor or needy person you may perhaps be
repelling a Spirit who was once dear to you, who temporarily finds him or herself in an inferior
position to you. I have found here one of the destitute from Earth whom happily I had been able to
help several times and from whom, in my turn, I must now implore help.
I remind you that Jesus said we are all brothers and sisters. Always think of this before
repelling a beggar or even someone with a contagious disease, like leprosy. Goodbye; think of
those who suffer and pray for them. - SISTER ROSALIE (Paris, 1860).
10. My dear friends, there are many amongst you whom I have heard saying: How can I
practise charity if I am frequently without the necessities of life?
Friends, there are thousands of ways of practising charity. You may do this by means of
thought, words and actions. With thought by praying for the unfortunate who have been abandoned,
for those who die without even finding conditions to enable them to see the light A prayer from
your heart will alleviate their suffering. Through words, by giving good advice to your daily
companions, to those who are desperate and to all for whom privations have caused embitterment
which has led them to blaspheme against God, by saying to them: "I was like you; I too suffered
and felt myself wretched, but I believed in Spiritism and now I am happy." To those who are old
and who say to you: "It is useless, now I am at the end of my journey. I will die as I have lived,"
you must say to them: "God shows equal justice to all; remember the workers of the last hour." To
the children who are already corrupted by the companions who surround them, who go through life
ready to succumb to evil temptations, you must say: "God is looking at you, my children," and
never get tired of repeating these gentle words to them. One day they will germinate in these
childlike minds, and instead of being vagabonds they will then become men and women. This too is
Others amongst you may say: "Pooh! We are so numerous here on Earth that God cannot
possibly see each one of us." Listen carefully, my friends. When you are on the top of a mountain
do you not see the millions of grains of
sand which cover it? Well then, that is how God sees you. He allows you your free-will, just as He
permits the grains of sand to move with the winds which disperse them. Except for one thing, in
His infinite mercy, God has put a vigilant spark in the bottom of your hearts which is called your
conscience. Listen to it because it will give good advice. Sometimes you manage to numb it by
setting the spirit of evil against it. Then it is silent. But you can be sure that as soon as you begin to
have even a shadow of remorse, your poor rejected conscience will again make itself heard. So
listen to it, ask it questions, and frequently you will find yourself consoled by the counsel you have
My friends, to every new regiment the general always offers a banner. To you I offer this
maxim of Christ as your watchword: "Love one another." Observe this precept, let everyone unite
under this flag, and you will have happiness and consolation. - A Protecting Spirit (Lyon, 1860).
11. The act of beneficence in this world, my friends, gives you happiness of the heart, being
the purest and sweetest delight, which neither remorse nor indifference can perturb. Oh! If only you
could understand something of the greatness and enjoyment which encompasses the generosity of
beauteous souls! It is a sentiment which makes people look at each other as they would look at
themselves and gladly disrobe in order to clothe a fellow creature in need! If only you could have
as your single occupation that of making others happy! What worldly feats can be compared to
those celebrated when men and women, as Divine representatives, have taken happiness to families
who have known only bitterness and vicissitudes; when they see mortified faces suddenly glow
with hope because without any bread these unfortunate parents only heard their children, who were
ignorant of the fact that to live is to suffer, crying out unceasingly with clenched fists the words
which were as daggers penetrating the maternal hearts: "I'm hungry! . . ." Oh! You must understand
then the joyous impressions of those who see happiness born again, where but a moment before
there had been nothing but despair. You must understand the obligations that you owe to your
brothers and sisters! Go! Go then to meet misfortune! Go and offer help! Offer help, especially
against hidden miseries which are the most painful of all! Dearly beloved brethren, go
remembering these words of our Saviour: "When you clothe any one of these little ones, remember
it is Me that you clothe!"
Charity! That sublime word which synthesizes all the virtues, it is you who will conduct all
peoples of the world towards happiness. It is only by the act of charity that infinite delights can be
created for each one in the future. Yet even while you remain exiled on Earth, it will be your
consolation, a foretaste of the joys to be possessed later when you find yourselves united in the
bosom of the God of love. It was you, divine Virtue, that enabled me to experience the only
moments of satisfaction I was to enjoy while on Earth. I hope my incarnate
brothers and sisters on this planet will believe these amicable words when I say: It is within charity
that you must seek peace of heart, contentment of the soul and the remedy for life's afflictions. Oh!
When you are on the point of accusing God, first cast your eyes down and you will see all the
miseries waiting to be alleviated, the poor children without families, the old without even a friendly
hand to close their eyes when death claims them! How much good there is waiting to be done! Oh!
Do not complain! On the contrary offer thanks to God and lavish handfuls of sympathy,
understanding and money on all who, disinherited from wordly possessions, languish in suffering
and isolation. You will reap sweet happiness in the world, and later... Only God knows!...
ADOLF, Bishop of Argel (Bordeaux, 1861).
12. To be good and charitable, that is the key to Heaven which you hold in your hands. The
entirety of eternal happiness is contained in this maxim: Love one another. The soul cannot elevate
itself to the high spiritual realms except by devotion to one's fellow creatures; it will not find
happiness and consolation except in charitable impulses. Be good and sustain your brothers and
sisters; root out that horrible ulcer known as selfishness. In fulfilling this duty, the pathway to
eternal happiness should open up before you. Besides, who amongst you has not yet felt their heart
beat with jubilation and inner joy at the narration of an act of wonderful dedication or some truly
charitable work? If you only seek the pleasure to be felt from a good deed, then you will remain
forever on the pathway to spiritual advancement. Good examples are not wanting; what is rare 5
simply goodwill. Take note that history keeps pious remembrance of a multitude of good men and
Did not Jesus tell you everything concerning the virtues of charity and love? Why then
despise His divine teaching? Why do you close your ears to His divine words and your hearts to His
kindly maxims? I would wish that you demonstrate more interest, and more faith, in the reading of
the New Testament. However, as you despise this book, considering it to be a compilation of
hollow words, a closed letter, this admirable code has been forgotten. All your ills stem from your
voluntary abandonment of this resume of the Divine Laws. Read the scintillating pages of the
devotion shown by Jesus and meditate upon them!
Those of you who are strong, prepare yourselves for battle. Those who are weak, make your
gentleness and faith into your arms. Let us be more persuasive and more constant in the
dissemination of your new doctrine. It is only so as to give you encouragement and to stimulate
your zeal and your virtues that God has given permission for this manifestation. But if you so
wished, God's help and your own free-will would be sufficient for all needs, because spiritual
manifestations only produce themselves for those whose eyes are closed and those with troubled
Charity is the fundamental virtue upon which all earthly virtues are based. Without this
virtue there would be no others. Without charity there would be no hope of a better life, no interest
in a moral guide line. Without charity there
is no faith, because faith is nothing more than pure luminosity which makes a charitable soul
become brilliant with light. In all worlds charity is the eternal anchor of salvation, the purest
emanation which comes direct from the Creator, part of His own virtue which He gives to all
creatures. How then can we despise this supreme generosity? What heart knowing this, is so
perverse as to suppress and expel this divine sentiment? What child of God is so evil as to rebel
against this sweet caress, which is charity.
I do not presume to speak of what I did, because Spirits also have their modesty.
Nevertheless, I believe that the work I began during my earthly life is the kind of work which will
contribute most to the alleviation of our fellow beings. I frequently see Spirits who, having asked,
are given the work of continuing my task as their mission in life. I see them, these generous and
beloved brothers and sisters, in their pious and divine ministry, practising these virtues which I
recommend with a joy that can only be derived from a life of dedication and sacrifice. It is my
immeasurable good fortune to see how their condition is honoured, how they are protected and
esteemed in the mission they perform. Therefore, fellow beings of good and strong will-power,
unite yourselves so that you may continue the work of expanding the diffusion of charity. You will
find your reward in the very exercise of this virtue, and there are no bounds as to the spiritual
happiness which may be felt, even in the present life. So be united, and love one another according
to the teachings of Christ. So be it! - SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL (Paris, 1858).
13. They call me 'Charity'. I follow the principal path which leads to God. Accompany me,
since I know the goal for all to aim at.
This morning I went on my habitual rounds, and now I come with great anguish in my heart
to say to you: Oh! My friends! How many miseries and tears! How much must be done to dry all
those tears and put to rights all those miseries! In vain I tried to console some of the poor mothers
by whispering in their ears: Courage! There are good souls watching over you and you will not be
abandoned, have patience! God exists! You are loved by Him, you are His chosen ones! They
seemed to hear me and turned their startled eyes in my direction, and I could read from the
appearance of their bodies, that terrible oppressor of the spirit, that they were hungry, and even if
my words brought a little serenity to their hearts it was no comfort for their stomachs. I repeated:
Courage! Courage! Then one poor mother, still very young and with a small child, held it up with
outstretched arms, as if asking me for protection for that small creature, who found only
insufficient nourishment in those sterile breasts.
Elsewhere my friends, I saw destitute old people who, being without work, found
themselves without shelter and prey to all manner of sufferings and hardships. Being ashamed of
their misery and never having begged, they found themselves lacking in courage to implore pity
from passers by. With my heart bursting with compassion I, who possess nothing, have turned to
begging for them, and so go from place to place in order to stimulate beneficence and
inspire good thoughts in generous and compassionate hearts. This is why I am come here to tell you
that hereabouts there are those who are wretched, in whose hovels is no bread, whose stoves are
without heat and whose beds are without blankets. I do not tell you what you must do; I leave this
initiative to your kindly hearts. If I were to tell you how to proceed, you would gain no credit for
your good deeds. I say only that I am Charity and I extend my hands towards you through those of
your suffering brothers and sisters.
But if I ask, I also give and give generously. I am inviting you to a great banquet wherein I
will furnish a tree upon which all will be satiated! See how beautiful it is, how full of flowers and
fruits! Go! Go! Gather all the fruits of this magnificent tree which is called beneficence. Then, in
place of the foliage and fruit you have taken away, I will fasten to it all the good deeds you have
practised. Then I will take this tree to God and He will load it again, in as much as beneficence is
inexhaustible. Accompany me then, my friends, so that I may count you amongst those who follow
my banner! Do not fear, for I will conduct you along the pathway to salvation for I am Charity -
CARITA, martyred in Rome (Lyon, 1861).
14. There are various ways of practising charity, which many of you confuse with the giving
of alms. However, there is considerable difference between the two. Alms, my friends, are useful
sometimes because they can bring alleviation to those who are poor. But this is almost always
humiliating, not only for the giver but also for the receiver. On the other hand, charity joins the
benefactor to the one who is receiving the benefit because it can be disguised in so many ways! It is
possible to be charitable even to friends and relations, simply by being indulgent to one another, by
mutually forgiving all weaknesses and by taking care not to hurt anyone's self-respect. You who are
Spiritists, can be charitable in the manner in which you behave towards others who think differently
than you do, or by inducing those who are less enlightened to believe without shocking them,
without attacking their own convictions. You can also attract them lovingly to our meetings, so
they may listen to us and so that we may know how to discover a way into their hearts. All this is
just one aspect of charity.
Listen now to what is meant by charity towards the poor, those disinherited of this world,
who will be recompensed by God if they are able to accept their miseries without complaint, which
in turn will depend upon you and the way in which you offer help. You will understand what I
mean by the following example.
Several times each week I go to watch a meeting of ladies of all ages. For us you know, they
are all sisters. What do they do? They work quickly, very quickly with their agile fingers. I see how
radiant are their faces and note how their hearts all beat in unison. But what is the purpose of all
this work? It is because winter approaches, which will be very hard for those who are poor. During
the summer those busy ants could not put by all the necessary provisions and most of their utensils
have been pawned. The needy mothers
are anxious and frequently weep thinking of their children who will go cold and hungry during the
long winter! Poor unfortunate women, be patient, for God has inspired others more wealthy than
yourselves and they have joined together to make clothes! One of these days, when the Earth is
covered with snow and you are complaining and accusing God of being unjust, which is what you
always do and say every time you suffer, then you will see someone appear, sent by these good
workers who have established themselves as labourers for the poor. Yes, it is for you that they work
like that and your complaints will be turned into blessings, because in the hearts of those who are
unhappy, love follows close behind hate.
As all workers need encouragement, communications from the good Spirits come from all
sides. The menfolk also take part in this society, bringing their help in the form of readings, which
are pleasing to all. As recompense for the enthusiasm of everyone, and of certain individuals in
particular, we the Spirits promise to bring these hard-working labourers good customers, who will
pay in the form of blessings, which after all is the only currency acceptable in Heaven. We also
assure them without fear of contradictions, that this currency will never be lacking for any one of
these workers. - CARITA (Lyon, 1861).
15. My dear friends, every day I hear some of those amongst you say: "I am poor, so I
cannot offer any charity," and yet each day I see that you lack indulgence towards your fellow men.
You forgive nothing and set yourselves up as very severe judges without even asking if you would
like the same done to you. Is indulgence not a charity? You, who can do nothing more than offer
the charity of indulgence, do at least this, but do it grandly. Referring to material charity, I would
like to tell you a story from the other world:
Two men having just died, God was heard to say that while these men had been alive all
their good deeds were to be deposited in two separate sacks, and that on their death the sacks would
be weighed. When each of them reached their last hours, God sent word for them to bring their two
sacks. One was crammed full, voluminous and resounding with the metal it contained. The other
was so small and thin that it was possible to see the few coins it contained through the cloth. Each
man recognised the sack that belonged to him: "This is mine," said the first one, "I recognise it; I
was rich and gave away a great deal." The other man said: "This one is mine. I was always poor.
Ah! I had almost nothing to give." But what a surprise when they were put on the scales, because
the voluminous one became light in weight and the small one showed itself to be heavy, so much so
that it raised the first sack high into the air! Then God spoke to the rich man: "It is true that you
gave much. But you did so from ostentation and to see your name on view in all the temples of
pride. Furthermore, in giving you deprived yourself of nothing. Go to the left and be satisfied that
the alms you gave count for something, however small." Then God spoke to the poor man: "You
gave very little, my friend, but each one of your coins which are on the scales, represents a
privation for you. Even if you did not distribute alms, you were charitable and the best thing is that
you did it
naturally, without preoccupying yourself whether it would be put into your account You were
indulgent and did not judge your neighbours; on the contrary, you found excuses for all their
actions. Go to the right and you will receive your recompense." A Protecting Spirit (Lyon, 1861).
16. Could not the rich and happy woman, who does not have to occupy her time with
household duties, dedicate some of the hours of her day to useful work in aid of her fellow beings?
Could she not buy clothes from the money that is left over from her pleasures, for those less
fortunate than herself, who shiver with the cold? Could she not make thick warm clothing with her
delicate hands, or help a mother-to-be clothe her unborn child? If her own child goes without some
ribbons and lace, at least a poor child will have something to keep it warm. By working for the
poor and needy you are working in the vineyard of the Lord.
And you, the poor labourer who has nothing superfluous, but nevertheless being full of love
for your fellow brothers and sisters also wish to give something from the little you have. Give then
a few hours of your time, which is the only treasure you possess; make some of those elegant
handicrafts which tempt those who are happy; also, try making and selling work done in your
evenings. Then you too can play your part in assisting your brothers and sisters in need. Perhaps
you will have a few ribbons less, but you will be giving shoes to the barefoot.
And you, the women who have vowed your lives to God, continue to work with your
undertakings. But take care that these achievements are not for the exclusive adornment of your
chapels, to call attention to your abilities and patience! Work, my daughters, so that the product of
your undertakings be destined to help your brothers and sisters before God. The poor are His dearly
beloved children; to work for them is to glorify Him. Be unto them the providence which says: God
gives sustenance unto the birds of the sky. Exchange the gold and silver threads with which you
embroider, for food and clothes for those who have none. Do this and your work will be blessed.
To all those able to produce, then give, give of your talents, inspirations and hearts and God will
bless you. Poets and literary men, you who are only read by those who are worldly, satisfy their
leisure, yes, but also dedicate the product of some of your works to help the needy! Painters,
sculptors, artists of all kinds! May you too use intelligence to benefit your fellow beings, for your
glory will be no less and some of your sufferings will be avoided.
Everyone can give! Whatever your social standing you will always find something to share
with another. From whatever it is that God has bestowed upon you, a part of what He has awarded
is owed to those who lack the necessities of life, seeing that, in their place you would wish others to
share with you. Perhaps your earthly treasures will be a little less. Nevertheless, your heavenly
treasures will likewise be increased. It is there, in Heaven, that you will reap a hundredfold of all
that you have sown as benefits to others in this world. - JOHN (Bordeaux, 1861).
17. Compassion is the virtue which draws you closer to the angels. It is a sister to charity,
which also conducts you to God. Ah! Allow your hearts to be moved by compassion before the
spectacle of the miseries and sufferings of your fellow creatures. Your tears will act as a balm on
their wounds, and when shed out of sympathy will restore their hope and resignation. Oh! What
sweetness is to be felt! Nevertheless, it is true that this same sweetness has a certain bitterness about
it because it springs up alongside misery. But it does not have the acrid flavour of worldly
pleasures, nor does it bring with it the pungent deceptions of emptiness which these pleasures leave
behind. The enveloping gentle penetration of this sentiment fills the Soul with joy. Compassion and
pity, when deeply felt, are acts of loving; love is devotion; devotion is the forgetfulness of self and
it is this, combined with abnegation in favour of those less fortunate than ourselves, which is the
height of virtue. It was that virtue which the Divine Messiah practised throughout His entire life
and which He taught in His saintly and sublime doctrine. When this doctrine is fully restored to its
original pureness and when mankind submits to it, then the world will become a happy place
wherein will reign harmony, peace and love.
The most appropriate sentiment for making mankind progress, by dominating his selfishness
and pride, which predisposes the soul towards humility, beneficence and the loving of one another,
is compassion! This is the same compassion which moves deep inside when you lay eyes on the
suffering of your fellow creatures, which imp ells you to extend a helping hand and which brings
tears of sympathy to your eyes. Accordingly, never stifle this celestial emotion within your heart.
Do not proceed as do those who are hard and selfish, who turn aside from the afflicted because the
sight of their miseries perturbs their cheerful lives for an instant. Be fearful of remaining indifferent
when you could be of help. Tranquility, bought at the expense of a guilty indifference, is like the
tranquility of the Dead Sea, at the bottom of which lies a vast hidden mass of putrid corruption.
Compassion is far removed from causing disturbance and inconvenience, of which the
selfish person is so afraid. Nevertheless, on contact with the misfortunes and miseries of another
person, the soul, rebounding upon itself, experiences a natural and profound anguish which beyond
doubt vibrates throughout the whole being and causes it to be painfully affected. But the
compensation is great, however, when compassion suffices to give courage and hope to an unhappy
brother or sister, who are moved by a friendly handshake and so turn to you affectionately with
tear-filled eyes, perhaps from emotion and gratitude, even before they raise these same eyes to
Heaven in thanks for having sent someone to console and sustain them in their hour of need.
Compassion then, is the melancholic but celestial precursor of charity, being the first of all virtues,
which she has for sister and whose benefits she prepares and ennobles. - MICHAEL (Bordeaux,
18. Brothers and sisters, you should all love the orphans. If you only knew how sad it is to
be abandoned, especially in infancy! God permits there to be orphans so that we may be motivated
to be their parents. What an act of divine charity it is to protect a creature who has been sadly
abandoned, to stop them from being hungry and cold, and administer to their soul so they may not
fall prey to vice! When someone offers a helping hand to an abandoned creature they are being
agreeable to God because they have understood and practised His law. Meditate on the possibility
that frequently the child you are helping may be someone who was very dear to you in a past
incarnation, and that if they were able to recognise you, it would no longer be an act of charity but
a simple obligation. In this way, my friends, every sufferer is your brother or sister and so has a
right to your kindness. However, not the kind of charity that hurts feelings, nor yet the kind of alms
that burns the hand which receives it, for unfortunately help is frequently accompanied by
bitterness! How many times these sufferers would rather have refused, if it were not for the fact of
sickness or death being their only other option. So, give with delicacy and together with any
benefits you may offer, also give the most precious benefit of all, that of a kindly word, a loving
gesture and a friendly smile. Avoid being patronizing, which only turns the dagger of suffering in
the heart, so causing more bleeding. Consider that by doing good, you're working for your own
benefit as well as for those whom you love. - A Family Spirit (Paris, 1860).
19. What should be thought of those who, on receiving ingratitude in payment for benefits
they have done, cease practising good because they no longer get on with those who were
There is far more selfishness in these people than charity, seeing that they do good only for
the purpose of receiving demonstrations of acknowledgement and consequently do not do so
disinterestedly. The only act of goodness acceptable to God is the one done with complete
disinterest. There is of course also pride in these people, since those who behave in this manner
take pleasure in the humbleness shown by the receivers of the benefits when they come to lay
before them the testimony of their gratitude. Those who seek reward on Earth for the good they
have done will not then receive it in Heaven. However, God will esteem all who do not seek their
rewards here on Earth.
You should always help the weak, although knowing beforehand that you will receive no
thanks for your help. But you can always be sure that if the person to whom you did a service
forgets, God will take this even more into account than if the beneficiary had paid their debt. If God
permits that sometimes you are paid with ingratitude, this is only to test your perseverance 'n the
practice of goodness.
Who knows but that a momentarily forgotten benefit will not produce good fruits in the
future? You can be sure it is a seed which will germinate with time. Unfortunately, we never see
anything but the present! We work for ourselves and never for others. The receiving of benefits will
finally soften even the most torpid heart; they may be forgotten in this world, but after having
disposed of its outergarment, the Spirit who has received will remember this fact and this
remembrance will be their punishment. The Spirit will deplore its own ingratitude and desire to
make reparation by paying the debt in a future life, frequently seeking an existence of dedication to
its benefactor. In this way, without even suspecting, you will have contributed to the moral
advancement of that Spirit You will come to recognise the truth in the words: a benefit is never
lost. Besides which you will also have worked for yourself, since you will have earned merit for
having done good without self-interest, without becoming disanimated by deceptions.
Ah! My friends, if you knew of all the ties which link your present life with those of past
existences! If you could see at a glance the immense number of relationships that join us, one to
another, for the purpose of mutual progress, you would admire even more the wisdom and
goodness of the Lord, Who allows us to relive so as to be able, one day, to reach Him. - A
Protecting Guide (Senns, 1862).
20. Is it right to practise beneficence exclusively amongst persons of the same opinions,
beliefs or political parties?
No. It is exactly this idea of sects and parties which must be abolished, because there exists
a brotherhood between all mankind. The true Christian, being one who can accept that all are
brothers, does not stop to enquire as to beliefs or opinions before offering to help. Would a
Christian be obeying the precepts of Jesus Christ, Who told us to love our enemies, if he were to
repel an unfortunate person just because they professed a different belief? Therefore help without
asking that anyone give an account of themselves, because if they are enemies of religion, this is
just the way to make them accept it, whereas by repelling them you only cause them to hate
religion. - SAINT LOUIS (Paris, 1860).