Allan Kardec

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The salvation of the rich. - Preserve yourself from avarice. - Jesus in the house of Zacchaéus. - The parable of the had rich man. - The parable of the talents. - The providential utility of riches. Trials of riches and misery. - The inequality of riches. - INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS: True property. - The application of riches. - Detachment from earthly possessions. - Transference of riches


1. No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve both God and Mammon (Luke, 16:13).

2. And behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good things shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto Him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal,, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

The young man saith unto Him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven: and come and follow me.

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said unto His disciples, Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God (Matthew, 19:16-24. This same text is also repeated by Luke, 18: 18-25, & by Mark, 10:17- 25).


3. And one of the company said unto Him, Master, speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me. And He said unto him, Man, take heed, and beware of covertousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And He spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater, and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say unto my soul, Soul,, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God (Luke, 12:13- 21).


4. And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaéus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who He was; and could not for the press, because he was little in stature. And he ran before and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him: for He was to pass that way And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaéus, make haste and come down; for today I must bide at thy house. And he made haste and came down and received Him joyfully And when they saw it, they all murmered, saying, That He was gone to be the guest of a man that is a sinner. (See the 'INTRODUCTION' under the heading - PUBLICANS.)

And Zacchaéus stood and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor,' and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house forsomuch as he is a son ofAbraham. For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke, 19: 1-10).


5. There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day' and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the Angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried: and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torment and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted and thou art tormented. And beside al/things, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from hence.

Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment Abraham said unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them: And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they would repent And he said unto them, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be pursuaded, though one rose from the dead (Luke, 16:19-31).


6. For the Kingdom of Heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them and so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: Behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: Enter thou into the joy of the Lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: Behold, I have gained two other talents besides them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant, Thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: Enter thou into the joy of the Lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid and went and hid thy talent in the earth: Lo, there thou has that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knowest that I reap where I sowed not and gathered where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given and he shall have abundance: but for him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew, 25: 14-30).


7. If riches were meant to constitute a total obstacle to salvation for all who possess them, as might be inferred from certain words supposedly uttered by Jesus when they are interpreted in a literal fashion instead of in their spiritual meaning, then God, who conceded them would have placed an instrument of ruination in the hands of certain people against which they could not appeal. But this idea is quite repugnant to all reason. However, it is beyond doubt that from the destruction it causes, the temptations it provokes and the fascination it holds, we may deduce that riches constitute a very dangerous trial, even more dangerous than that of misery. It is the greatest provoker of pride, selfishness and sensuality. It is the strongest tie which holds Man to Earth and distracts him from thoughts of Heaven. On many occasions it produces such a state of dizziness that those who go from misery to wealth completely forget their first condition, together with those who had shared this state with them, even those who had helped them, turning them into insensitive, selfish and futile people. Nevertheless, from the fact that riches make the journey difficult, it does not follow that it becomes impossible or that it cannot become a means of salvation for those who know how to utilize it, just as certain poisons may restitute health when employed in the correct quantities and used with discernment.

When Jesus said to the young man, who inquired how he could obtain eternal life, that he should dispose of all his worldly goods and follow Him, it did not mean that Jesus was establishing an absolute principle, that everyone should get rid of everything they possess, nor that this is the only price to be paid for salvation. It was meant to show that attachment to worldly goods was an obstacle to salvation. The young man in this case had judged himself to be released from further struggle because he had observed certain commandments, and therefore he refused the idea of abandoning all the worldly goods he possessed. His desire to obtain eternal life did not run to the extreme of acquiring it through this sacrifice.

What Jesus proposed to him was a decisive test destined to uncover the depths of his thoughts. Beyond doubt he could be a perfectly honest man in the eyes of the world, never causing harm to anyone, never cursing his neighbours, never being vain, futile or prideful, and always honouring his mother and father. But still he did not possess true charity, because his virtues did not go as far as abnegation. This is what Jesus wished to demonstrate by applying the principle: Without charity there is no salvation.

In the strict acceptance of these words, the consequence would be the abolition of riches due to their being detrimental to future happiness and the cause of a great deal of the evil on Earth; for the rest, it would be the condemnation of all work, as being the means of gain. This would be an absurd consequence which would only convey mankind back to a primitive existence which, for that very reason, would be in complete contradiction to the law of progress, which is one of God's laws.

If riches be the cause of much evil, if they aggravate so many evil passions, if they really provoke so many crimes, it is not the riches themselves that we should blame but mankind who misuses them, as he does all of God's gifts. It is through ill usage that humanity constantly turns what could be most useful into something pernicious. This is a consequence of the inferior state of earthly life. If only wrongdoing and mischief could be produced by riches, then God would not have placed them upon Earth. It is up to Man to make them produce good, and even if they are not a direct element of moral progress, then beyond doubt they are a powerful element in intellectual progress.

Indeed, Man has the mission of working for the material betterment of this planet. It is up to him to reclaim it, to make it salubrious and to make arrangements so that one day the planet may receive all the population that its area can and should contain. Therefore, so as to be able to feed this larger population, it will become imperative to increase production. If the production of one country is insufficient, then it will be brought in from outside. This is why the relationships between nations constitute a vital necessity. In order to make this easier, it behoves that all the material obstacles which separate these countries be destroyed, so that communication be made rapid. For this work, which has required centuries to complete, it was essential to extract materials from the entrails of the Earth, which made Man look to science for the means of executing these tasks with more speed and safety. But in order to do this he needed resources; this necessity caused him to create riches, just as it caused the creation of science. All these activities imposed the need to amplify and develop intelligence, which man has used primarily for the satisfaction of material necessities. Nevertheless, it is this same intelligence which will later help humanity to understand all the great moral truths. Seeing that riches are the primary means of executing these tasks, there would be no more great works without them, no activity, no stimulation nor research. It is with good reason then that riches should be considered as an element of progress.


8. The inequality of riches is one of the problems which humanity will go on trying to resolve without success as long as only the present life is considered. The first question which presents itself is: Why are we not all equally rich? For the simple reason that we are not equally intelligent, active and industrious enough to acquire it, nor sober and careful enough to keep it Besides, it is a mathematically demonstrable fact that riches, if equally divided would give a minimum and insufficient portion to each one. So that, supposing this division were actually made, in a short time this equilibrium would be undone by the diversity of characters and aptitudes. That supposing it to be possible and lasting, if each one had sufficient to live upon, then the result would be an annihilation of all great works which contribute towards progress and the well-being of humanity. And finally, if it were conceded that each person was given the indispensable, then there would no longer be any goad to impel men and women to make discoveries or to found useful enterprises. Therefore if God has concentrated riches in certain areas, it is in order that from there it can be expanded in sufficient quantities according to needs.

Having accepted this fact, we then ask why God has conceded riches to people who are incapable of making them bear fruit for the good of all. Here we have yet another proof of the wisdom and goodness of God. By giving Man free-will, He wishes that the position of being able to distinguish right from wrong be reached through individual experience, and that the practice of good be solely the result of effort and choice. Man should not be fatally conducted towards either good or evil, as then we would be nothing more than passive and irresponsible instruments, as are animals. Wealth is a means of being able to test one's morality. But, as it is also a powerful means of action towards progress, God does not wish it to remain unproductive over long periods of time, so He unceasingly displaces it Each one possesses it sooner or later, so that they may drill themselves in utilizing it and demonstrate what uses they have learnt to put it to. Nevertheless, it is materially impossible for all to possess it at the same time, as it happens that if everyone had riches, then no one would work, which would result in the improvement of the planet being compromised. Each one then has a turn in possessing it In this manner, those who do not have it today, have already had it or will have it at some future time. Likewise, those who have it now perhaps will not have it tomorrow. There are rich and poor because God, being just, prescribes work to each one in turn. For those who suffer it, poverty is a test of patience and resignation; for others, riches are a test in charity and abnegation.

It is with good reason that the very bad uses to which some people put their riches are to be deplored, as are the ignoble passions provoked by their greed. This makes us ask ourselves if God is just to give riches to such creatures. It is certain that if man had but one life nothing could justify such a division of worldly goods. However, if we keep in sight not only the present life, but also the assemblage of existences, we would see that everything is justly balanced. From this point of view, the poor person lacks a motive with which to accuse providence, just as he has no motive to be envious of the rich who, in their turn also lack a motive to glorify themselves for what they possess. On the other hand, if the application of these riches is abused it will not be by means of decree of sumptuary laws that the wrongdoing will be remedied. The law can temporarily change the exterior, but it cannot succeed in changing the heart. Hence these laws would be of fleeting duration and would then be followed by more unrestrained reactions. The origin of evil lies in pride and selfishness; therefore, all manner of abuses will cease when humanity is governed by the law of charity.


9. The only true property that Man can own is that which may be taken with him on leaving this world. What is found on arrival on Earth and that which is left behind on parting, is enjoyed only while living here. Therefore, as humanity is forced to abandon all worldly possessions, it can be inferred that it has no real ownership of riches, only their temporary usage. What then constitutes true property? Nothing which is for the use of the body, but everything which is for the use of the soul, such as intelligence, knowledge and moral qualities. This is what man brings and takes with him, which no one can take away and which will be far more use in the next world than in the present one. It is up to him to be richer on departure than he was on arrival in this world, seeing that his future position will depend solely on what qualities have been gained in the present life. When someone travels to a distant country they take as part of their luggage only those things which will be useful to them in that place; they do not worry about those things which will be of no use. Proceed in a like manner in relation to your future life and provide yourselves with all that can be of use to you there.

The traveller who arrives at a hostel is only given a good room if he is able to pay for it. Those who have sparse resources are forced to make do with something less agreeable. When they have nothing which belongs to them, they must sleep on a pallet bed. The same applies to Man on his arrival in the world of the spirits, for it will depend entirely on what he owns as to where he will go. Nor will payment be made in terms of gold. No one will be asked what it was they had had on Earth, or what position they had occupied, nor even if they were a pauper or a prince. Instead, they will be asked what they have brought with them. Neither worldly goods nor titles will be valuated, only the total sum of virtues acquired. Well now, looked at from this aspect, it is possible that the simple worker be far richer than the prince. In vain may the latter allege that before leaving the Earth his entrance into the next world was paid for in gold. The only reply he would receive is that no one may buy a place here; it must be conquered by each person by means of doing good to others. Earthly money may buy land, houses or palaces, but in our world everything is paid for by means of the qualities of the soul. Are you rich in these qualities? Then you are welcome and may go to one of the high places where all kinds of happinesses await you. But if you are poor in these qualities then you must go to the low places, where you will be treated according to that which you possess. - PASCAL (Geneva, 1860).

10. Earthly goods belong to God, Who distributes them in accordance with His wishes. Man is nothing more than the usufructuary, a relatively honest and intelligent administrator of these goods or properties. They belong so little to him that frequently God annuls all such provisions and these riches escape from even those who considered themselves to hold the best entitlement.

You would say perhaps that this is understandable when related to inherited property, but not to that acquired by work. Undoubtedly if there were such a thing as legitimate riches, then it would apply to the latter, when honestly gained. However, a property is only legitimately acquired when during its acquisition there has been no harm done to anyone. An account will have to be given of all ill-gotten gains, that is to say gains which may have injured someone. But from the fact that a person may owe the acquiring of riches to themself, does it follow that, upon dying, any advantage may be gained from this circumstance? Are not precautions that may have been taken to transfer these riches to descendants frequently inutile? This is correct, for if God does not desire them to receive certain riches, then nothing can prevail against His wishes. Can someone use and abuse what he owns during his lifetime without needing to give an account of these acts? No, because in permitting the acquisition of this property it is to be supposed that God had in mind to recompense the person, during the actual existence for their effort, courage and perseverance. If however, the property be used exclusively for the satisfaction of pride and the senses, or if they become the cause of failure, then it would have been better not to have received them seeing that what is gained on the one hand is lost on the other, so annulling all merit for the work. In this case, upon leaving the Earth, God will say that the recompense has already been received. - M. a Protecting Spirit (Brussels, 1861).


11. It is not possible to serve both God and Mammon. Those of you who are dominated by the love of gold, who would sell your very souls in order to possess treasure, do not forget this reminder, because these things permit you to elevate yourselves above other men and women, so allowing you to enjoy passions which make you their slaves. No, it is not possible to serve both God and Mammon! So then, if you feel your soul to be dominated by the lust of the flesh, make haste to rid yourself of this yoke that tyrannizes you, in as much as God, who is just and strict, will say unto you: 'What did you do with the property I entrusted to you, unfaithful steward? This powerful motive for good works has been used exclusively for your own personal satisfaction!'

What then is the best way to employ riches? If you look for the answer in the words 'love one another' you will find the solution, for here lies the secret of the best way of employing riches.

Those who love their neighbour already have a line of action delineated for them in these words, because the application which most pleases God is charity. Not that cold and selfish charity which consists in distributing only that which is superfluous from their golden existence, but rather that charity full of love which seeks out misfortune, and helps raise it up without causing humiliation. You who are rich, give what you have in excess! But do even more, give something of what is necessary to you because what you consider to be necessary is, in reality, also superfluous, but give wisely. Do not reject those who weep because you may be afraid of being duped, but get to the bottom of the matter. In the first place seek to alleviate; secondly seek information and then see if the possibility of work, counselling, or even offering affection would not be more efficient than the mere giving of alms. Diffuse all around you with joy and in plenty, your love for God, for work and for your neighbour. Place your riches on a secure base which is that of good works, and you will be guaranteed great profit. The riches of intelligence should serve you just as do those of wealth; therefore disperse around you the benefits of education and scatter the treasure of your love over your brothers and sisters that they may bear fruits. - CHEVERUS (Bordeaux, 1861).

12. When I consider the brevity of life, I am painfully impressed by the incessant preoccupation placed on material well-being; whereas so little time or significance is given to moral improvement, though nevertheless, this is what is really important to eternity. From the amount of effort we put into our material welfare it would appear that we were dealing with a question of the utmost importance for humanity; when in reality it will be found that in the majority of cases, this same work is nothing other than an attempt to satisfy exaggerated needs and vanities, or is a surrender to excesses. What grief, sorrow and torments you cause yourselves! What sleepless nights, just to increase what is often a more than sufficient wealth! At the height of blindness, it is not infrequent to see those whose immoderate love of wealth and pleasures allows them to be subjected to arduous and tiring work, boasting of the life of sacrifice and merit they lead, as if they were working for others and not for themselves! What fools you are! Do you really believe that the care and effort expended will be taken into consideration when, on the one hand, you are motivated by selfishness, cupidity and pride, while on the other hand you neglect your future and the duties which fraternal solidarity imposes on all who reap the advantages which society has to offer? You have thought only of your physical bodies! Your own well-being and pleasures have been the exclusive object of your selfish solicitude. For the sake of the body that perishes you have despised the Spirit that will live forever. This is why that spoiled and flattered lord becomes your tyrant; it dominates your Spirit, thus making you its slave. Can this possibly be the objective for which God granted you life? - A Protecting Spirit (Krakow, 1861).

13. Seeing that Man is both administrator and trustee for the property which is placed in his hands by God, it will therefore be indispensable to render a strict account of the uses it has been put to by virtue of man's free-will. Bad usage consists of it being used exclusively for personal satisfaction; good usage, on the contrary, is whenever this results in benefit to others. Each person's merit is in the degree of sacrifice they impose upon themself. Beneficence is just one way of employing riches; it can be used to alleviate misery, appease hunger and offer shelter and warmth to those who have none. Nevertheless, an equally imperious obligation, which is also very noteworthy, is that of preventing misery. This, above all else, is the mission of the great fortunes, a mission to be fulfilled through the many kinds of work for which it can be used. Neither does the good resulting from these works cease to exist because those who work in this manner take legitimate benefit from it, seeing that it develops intelligence and ennobles the dignity of Man by allowing him the satisfaction of being able to say that he earns his means of sustenance; whereas the receiving of alms only humiliates and degrades. Riches which are concentrated in one hand should be like a spring of running water which spreads fertility and well-being wherever it goes. Oh wealthy men and women! Employ your riches according to the wishes of God, Who would be the first to quench your thirst at this blessed spring! Even in this present life you could reap unequalled happiness for the soul, instead of the material pleasures of selfishness, which only produce a sensation of emptiness in the heart. Your name would be blessed on Earth and when you leave it, the Lord our God would say unto you as was said in the parable of the talents: "Good and faithful servant, enter into the happiness of your God." In this parable the servant who buried the money that was entrusted to him, represents those who are miserly and in whose hands riches remain unproductive. Meanwhile, if Jesus spoke principally of alms it was because in those days, in the country in which He lived, the kinds of work in the arts and industry in which riches could be usefully employed were not yet known. So then, to all who are able to give, be it much or little, I would say this: give money only when it is necessary, and then as often as possible convert it into wages so that the person who receives it is not ashamed. - FENELON (Argel, 1860).


14. My brothers, sisters and friends, I am come to offer you my contribution with the object of helping you to advance fearlessly along the pathway to improvement into which you are entering. We are all indebted one to the other. Therefore it is only possible to achieve regeneration by means of a sincere and fraternal union between Spirits and incarnate beings.

Attachment to earthly possessions constitutes one of the strongest obstacles to both moral and spiritual advancement. Through this attachment all faculties for loving are destroyed as these are only devoted to material things. Let us be sincere with each other: do riches bring unmixed happiness? When your safes are full of money, do you still feel an emptiness in your hearts? At the bottom of this basket of flowers is there not a viper? I understand the satisfaction which is experienced, and quite justifiably so, when by means of honourable and assiduous work a fortune has been gained. But from this same satisfaction, which is very natural and has God's approval, to the attachment which absorbs all other sentiments and paralyzes the impulses felt by the heart, there is a large gap. As large as the distance which separates exaggerated extravagance from that of sordid covetousness, two vices between which God has placed charity, that saintly and cleansing virtue which teaches the rich man and woman to give without ostentation, so that the poor may receive without being debased.

Whether the fortune has come to you from your family, or whether you have earned it by working, there is something you should never forget, which is that everything proceeds from God and everything refers us to Him. Nothing belongs to you on this Earth, not even your own physical body: death strips you of it even as it does of all earthly possessions. You are merely trustees and not the owners, so do not delude yourselves. God has only lent these things to you and they must be returned. What is more, they have been lent to you under the condition that at least the surplus should go to those who lack what is necessary.

One of your friends lends you a certain sum of money. However lacking in honesty you may be, you make a point of scrupulously restituting what was lent and are grateful to that person. Well then, this is the exact position of the rich man or woman. God is the Celestial Friend who lends you riches, wishing nothing more for Himself than love and recognition for the loan. However, He does demand that in turn the rich man or woman give to the poor, who just as much as he or she, are sons and daughters of God.

Ardent and demented greed are aroused in your hearts by the possessions which God has entrusted to you. Have you ever stopped to think that when you allow yourselves to become immoderately attached to a valuable or perishable object, which is just as transitory as yourselves, that one day you will have to account to God for what has been done with that which came from Him? Have you forgotten that by means of riches, you assume a sacred mission of charity here on Earth, to be intelligent distributors? Hence, when what was entrusted to you is used only for your own benefit, does it not follow that you are unfaithful trustees? What will be the result of this voluntary forgetfulness of duty? Inflexible and inexhaustible death will tear away the veil under which you have been hiding, so forcing you to give an account to Him Who has been forgotten and Who, at that moment stands before you as Judge.

It is useless to try to delude yourselves while on Earth by covering up, under the name of virtue, what is usually nothing more than selfishness. It is useless to call that which is only greed and cupidity by the name of economy and foresight, or to call that which is only prodigality for your own advantage, by the name of generosity. For example, a father abstains from practising charity, economizes and accumulates wealth so that, as he puts it, he may leave his children the greatest possible amount of property in order to avoid their ever knowing misery. This is very just and fatherly, I agree, and no one can censure him for this. But is it always the only motive behind his action? Does he not frequently feel bound by his own conscience to justify this personal attachment for earthly possessions, both in his own eyes and those of the world? However, even if paternal love be the only motive, is that reason enough to forget his brothers and sisters before God? When he has a surplus, will he leave his children in misery if they have a little less? In this manner, is he not giving them a lesson in selfishness and hardening their hearts? Will it not cause their love for their neighbours to wither away? Mothers and fathers, you are labouring under a grave error if you believe this is the way to gain affection from your children. By teaching them to be selfish with others you are only teaching them to be selfish with you too.

The man who has worked very hard in his life and who by the sweat of his brow has accumulated possessions, is commonly heard to say that the value of money is better appreciated when it has been worked for. This is very true. Well then! This man who declares he knows the full value of money should practise charity; his merit will then be greater than the one who, being born to abundance, is ignorant of toil and work. But also, if this same man who remembers his own sufferings and endeavours, is selfish and unmerciful to the poor he will be more guilty than the other, since the more each one knows for themselves the hidden pains of misery, the greater tendency there should be to help others.

Unhappily, in men and women who possess riches there is always a sentiment as strong as their attachment for the riches themselves, and that is pride. Not infrequently the newly rich can be seen making someone who asked for assistance, dizzy with the tales of their successes and abilities instead of helping, and then end by saying: "Do as I did". According to their way of thinking God's goodness doesn't even enter into the matter of their having obtained these riches. The merit for having obtained them being their's alone. Their pride has blinded their eyes and deafened their ears. Despite their intelligence and aptitudes they still do not understand that with only one word God can cast them down upon the Earth.

The squandering of riches is not a demonstration of detachment from worldly goods, merely carelessness and indifference. Man, as the trustees of these goods, has no right to dissipate them, neither has he the right to confiscate them for his own benefit. Extravagance is not generosity; rather it is frequently a type of selfishness. Someone who spends money by the handful in order to satisfy a fantasy will perhaps not give even a penny to someone in need. Detachment from worldly goods consists in appreciating them according to their just value, in knowing how to make use of them for the benefit of others and not exclusively in self-benefit, in not sacrificing all interest in a future life for them, and in being able to lose them without a murmur, in case it pleases God to take them away. If due to unforeseeable circumstances, you become as Job, then say as he did: "Lord, You have given and You have taken away. Let Your Will be done." This is true detachment. Above all else be submissive and trust He Who, having given and taken away, may once again restitute what was taken. Resist disanimation and desperation with all your courage, as these paralyze your strength. When God causes you to suffer a blow, never ever forget that alongside the most painful trial He always places a consolation. Above all, ponder the point that there are possessions infinitely more precious than those to be found on Earth and this thought will help you towards detachment. The less attachment you have for something means the less sensitive you will be to its loss. The man or woman who holds on to earthly possessions is like a child, who sees only the moment, whereas the person who is able to detach themself is like an adult, who sees the more important things in life because they understand the prophetic words of the Saviour: "My kingdom is not of this world."

The Lord orders no one to dispose of what they possess, since this would condemn them to voluntary pauperism, seeing that those who did this would turn themselves into social encumberances. To proceed in this manner is to misunderstand the true meaning of detachment from worldly goods. In fact this is a selfishness of another kind, because it means that the individual exempts themself from the responsibility which riches have placed on all who possess them. God gives riches to those He considers apt to administer them for the benefit of others. The rich person is given a mission which can be beautified by him and be personally profitable. To reject riches when God has bestowed them, is to renounce the benefits of the goodness it can do, when administered with good judgement. By knowing how to do without them when you do not have them, knowing how to employ them usefully when you receive them, and by knowing how to sacrifice them when necessary, you are proceeding according to God's wishes. Well then, let those into whose hands has come what in the world is called goodly fortune, say: "My Lord, you have entrusted me with a new mission; give me the strength to fulfill it according to your wishes."

My friends, here you have what I wished to teach about detachment from worldly possessions. I would summarize what I have written by saying: Know how to be content with only a little. If you are poor, do not envy the rich, because riches are not necessarily happiness. If you are rich, then do not forget that these riches at your disposal are only entrusted to you, and that you will have to justify the use to which you put them, just as you would have to give an account of an investment for which you are responsible. Do not be an unfaithful trustee, utilizing it only for the satisfaction of your own pride and sensuality. Do not think you have the right to dispose of a loan as if it were a gift, exclusively for your own benefit. If you do not know how to make restitution then you do not have the right of request, and remember that the person who gives to the poor is settling a debt contracted with God. - LACORDAIRE (Constantina, 1863).

15. Does the principle, according to which Man is merely the trustee for the fortune which God has permitted him to enjoy during his life-time, take away the right to transmit it to his descendants?

Man has a perfect right to transmit after his death that which he enjoyed during his lifetime, because the effect of this right is always subordinate to the Will of God, Who can, when He deems fit, prevent those descendants from enjoying what was transferred to them. This is the reason why many apparently solid fortunes collapse. Man's will then, is impotent when he desires to maintain his fortune in the hands of his descendants. This, however, does not take away his right to transfer the loan received from God, seeing that God can take it away whenever He judges opportune. - SAINT LOUIS (Paris, 1860).

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