Allan Kardec

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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).

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