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 charity.
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 received.
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).