PRIDE AND HUMILITY
11. My dear friends, may the peace of the Lord be with you! I am come in order to encourage you to follow the good pathway.
The humble Spirits, who in other times inhabited the Earth, have been commissioned by God to enlighten you. Blessed be the Lord for the grace that He has granted us of being able to help you improve. May the Holy Spirit illuminate me, so helping to make my words understandable and grant me the favour of being able to put them within reach of all! You who are incarnate, who undergo trials and are searching for the light, I pray that the will of God come to my aid so that I may make His teachings shine before your eyes!
Humility is a virtue much forgotten amongst you. Of the many examples given very few have been followed. However, is it possible to be charitable to your neighbour without being humble? Of course not, because this sentiment reduces mankind to the same level by telling them they are brothers and sisters who should help one another mutually, which leads then to a state of goodness. Without humility you are merely adorning yourself with virtues you do not possess, as if you used clothes especially for the purpose of hiding some physical deformity. Remember He who saved us; remember His humility which was so great as to put Him above all the prophets!
Pride is the terrible adversary of humility. If Christ promised the Kingdom of Heaven to the poor it was because the great ones of this Earth imagined their titles and riches to be recompenses, conferred upon them due to merit, and so considered themselves to be of an essence much purer than that of the poor. They judged that the titles and riches were due to them, in view of which, when God took them away, they accused Him of injustice. Oh! What a mockery of God's justice, what blindness! Does God then distinguish by means of the body? Is not the physical covering of the poor person just the same as that of the rich person? Has the Creator made two kinds of humanity? Everything made by God is wise and great. Therefore never attribute to Him those ideas created by your own prideful minds.
Oh, you who are rich! While sleeping beneath your golden ceilings safe from the cold, are you unaware that thousands of your brothers and sisters, who in God's eyes are worth just as much as you, sleep upon straw? Are not those who go hungry your equals? I know full well that your pride revolts at my words. You agree to give alms, but you will never shake their hands! "Why so!" you will say, "I, who am of the noblest blood, one of the great of this Earth, equal to those miserable wretches covered in rags! This is a vain Utopia of pseudophilosphers! If we are equal, why would God have placed them so low and me so high?" It is quite true that your vestments are not alike, but if you undressed yourselves what difference would there be between you and them? Nevertheless, those of noble blood would say there is a chemical difference; but till today no such difference has even been discovered between the blood of a lord and that of a plebeian, or that of a master and that of his slave. Who can guarantee that in the past you too have not been wretched and unfortunate as they are now? That you too have not begged for alms? Who can say that one day in the future you will not beg alms of one you despise today? Are riches eternal? Do they disappear when the body extinguishes itself? After all, the body is nothing more than the perishable covering of the Spirit! Ah! Cover yourselves with a little humility! Cast your eyes finally on the reality of the things of this world, on what leads to greatness on the one hand and debasement on the other. Remember you will not be spared from death, for no one is; nor can your titles be preserved from its blow, which may strike today, tomorrow or at any hour. If you bury yourself in your pride, oh, how much you will have to lament! Then you will be deserving of great compassion.
You who are so full of pride, what were you before you became noble and powerful? Probably you were beneath the lowest of your servants. Therefore, bow down your haughty brows, for God can cause you to fall at the exact moment when you most exalt yourselves. All men are equal on the divine scale of justice; only virtue marks the distinction in the eyes of God. All Spirits come from the same essence and all bodies are formed from the same matter. Your titles and names modify nothing. They remain in the tomb and in no way contribute to the possibility of enjoying the fortunes of the chosen. Their titles of nobleness are based solely on acts of charity and humility.
Poor creature! You are a mother! Your children suffer! They are cold and hungry while you, bent under the burden of your cross, go out to humiliate yourself in order to bring them bread! Oh! I bow down before you! How saintly and noble you are, how great in my eyes! Pray and wait, because happiness still is not of this world. God will grant the Kingdom of Heaven to the poor and oppressed who have confidence in Him.
And you, sweet maiden, who are still but a child, thrust into work and privations. Why do you have such thoughts? Why do you cry? Lift up your eyes to God, who is serene and full of pity. He will not abandon you. The sound of parties and the joys of this world make your heart beat faster. You wish to adorn yourself and join together with the fortunate of this sphere. You say to yourself that, like the women you see passing by free of cares and full of laughter, you too could be rich. Oh! Dear child, do not say such things! If you only knew how many tears and what unspeakable pain are hidden beneath those embroidered dresses, how many sobs are muffled by the sound of that noisy orchestra, you would prefer your humble position and pauperism. Maintain yourself pure in the eyes of God if you do not want your Guardian Angel to turn from you, covering his face with his white wings, leaving you to your remorse on this planet, without a guide, without support, where you will be lost and where you will be forced to await punishment in the next world.
All you who suffer injustice from your fellow men, be indulgent with the faults of your brothers and sisters, pondering that you are not exempt from guilt. This is charity and also humility. If you suffer from slander, then bow down your head before this trial. What importance does the slander of this world have for you? If your conduct is pure, cannot God recompense you? Support courageously the humiliations put upon you by man; be humble and recognise that only God is great and powerful.
Oh dear God! Will it be necessary for Christ to return to Earth a second time in order to teach His laws because Man has forgotten them? Will He once again have to expel the merchants from the temple for defiling His house, which should have been kept exclusively for prayer? Ah, who knows? Oh mankind, if God granted this grace once more would you not reject Him yet again? Would you not accuse Him of blasphemy because He would humble the pride of modern pharisees? Perhaps it is even possible that you would make Him follow the road to Golgotha again.
When Moses climbed mount Sinai to receive God's commandments, the people of Israel left to themselves abandoned the true God. Men and women gave whatever gold they possessed in order that an idol could be made for them to worship. Civilized Man still imitates them. Christ bequeathed His doctrine to you, giving examples of all the virtues, but you have abandoned these examples and precepts. Each one of you, charged with passions, has made a god in accordance with your desires; for some, bloody and terrible, for others, indifferent to the interests of the world. Nevertheless, the god you have fabricated is still the golden calf which each adapts to his own tastes and ideas.
My friends, my brothers and sisters, awaken! Let the voices of the Spirits echo in your hearts. Be generous and charitable without ostentation, that is to say, do good with humility. Let each one, little by little, begin to demolish the altars erected by everyone to their pride. In a word, if you are a true Christian you will possess the kingdom of truth. Do not continue to doubt the goodness of God when He is giving so many proofs of this fact. We have come to prepare the way so that the prophesies may be fulfilled. At some possible future time, when the Lord gives you a more resounding demonstration of His clemency, may His celestial messenger find you gathered together in a great family. It is hoped that by then, your hearts being gentle and mild, you will be worthy to hear the divine words He would offer. May the Chosen One encounter only laurels in His path which have been laid there by your having returned to goodness, charity and fraternity amongst men. Then will your world become an earthly Paradise. However, if you remain insensible to the voices of the Spirits who have been sent to purify and renew your civilized society, which although rich in science, is so poor in noble sentiments, then sadly there will be nothing left for you but tears and groans of unhappiness. But that will not happen! You will return to God the Father, and all of us who have contributed to the fulfilling of His wishes will join together in singing a hymn of thanksgiving for His unbounding goodness, so as to glorify Him throughout all the coming ages. So be it. LACORDAIRE (Constantine, 1863).
12. Mankind, why do you complain about the calamities which you yourselves have heaped upon your heads? You despise the saintly and divine morality of Christ, so do not be surprised that the cup of iniquity should overflow on all sides.
Trouble has become generalised. Who is to blame if not you who have unceasingly tried to crush each other? It is impossible to be happy without mutual benevolence; but how can benevolence coexist alongside pride? Pride! This is the root of all your troubles. Apply yourselves therefore to destroying it, if you do not wish continually to perpetuate these fatal consequences. There is only one way which offers itself for this purpose, but it is infallible: take Christ's law as your invariable rule of conduct, that very same law which has been spurned or falsified in its interpretation.
Why do you hold that which shines and enchants the eyes in higher esteem than that which touches the heart? Why do you make the vice of opulence the object of your adulations, whereas you are disdainful of true merit when it is obscure? Whenever a rich debauchee appears, even though he be lost in body and soul, all doors open, all rush to give him attention; whereas a godly person who lives by his work is hardly given a good-day! When the consideration dispensed to others is measured by the gold they possess or the name they use, what interest can they have in correcting their defects?
But it would be very different if the many degrading and immoral practices which are gilded over, were censured by public opinion as much as is the failing of poverty. But pride shows itself ever indulgent to all who flatter it. You say that this is the century of cupidity and money. Beyond doubt; but why allow material necessity to overshadow your good sense and reason? Why must each one wish to place themself above their brother? Society today suffers the consequences of this fact.
Never forget that this state of affairs is always a sign of moral decay and decline. When pride reaches extremes it is an indication of an imminent fall, for God never fails to punish the arrogant. If He sometimes allows them to rise, it is only in order to give time for meditation and to mend their ways under the blows which come to strike their pride from time to time, to serve as warnings.But instead of becoming humble, they rebel. Thus when the cup is full God will cause them to descend, and according to how high they have risen, the more terrible will be their fall.
Suffering humanity, whose selfishness has corrupted all things, we beg you to renew your courage despite everything. In His infinite mercy God has sent you a powerful remedy for all your ills, an unexpected help for all your miseries. Open your eyes to the light! Here are the souls of those who no longer live upon the Earth, who have come to call you to the fulfilment of your true obligations. They will tell you, with the voice of experience, that compared to eternity the vanities and grandeurs of this passing existence become mere trifles. There, the greatest is the one who has been the humblest amongst the most humble of your world; he who has most loved his fellow beings will himself be the best loved in Heaven. If the powerful on Earth abuse their authority, they will find themselves reduced to a position of obedience to their own servants and lastly, humility and charity, who are as two brothers going hand in hand, are the most efficient means of obtaining grace before He who is Eternal. - ADOLF, Bishop of Argel (Marmande, 1862).