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).