1 - GENERAL PRAYERS.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
2. PREFACE. - The Spirits recommended that we begin this anthology with the Lord's Prayer, not simply as a prayer, but also as a symbol. Of all the prayers, this one is considered the most important because it came from Jesus Himself (see Matthew, 6: 9-13) and because it can substitute all others, according to the intention and the thoughts that are joined to it. It is the most concisely perfect model; a truly sublime work of art in its simplicity. With effect, in its very reduced form, it manages to summarize all Man's duties before God, before himself and before his neighbour. It includes a mark of faith, an act of adoration and submission, a request for those things necessary to terrestrial life and the principle of charity. Whoever says this prayer for another, asks for them what they would ask for themself. SPIRITIST MEETINGS
Nevertheless, because of its shortness, the deep meaning of some of its words escapes most people. This is usually because they say it without thinking of the meaning of each of its phrases. They say it just like a mechanical formula, whose efficiency is proportional to the number of times it is repeated. This number is almost always cabalistic: three, seven or nine, in view of the ancient superstitious belief in the power of numbers and of their practical use in magic.
In order to fill the void often felt by the shortness of this prayer, the Spirits recommended and helped us to odd a commentary to each of the phrases which increases their meaning and shows the best way to make use of each one. In accordance with individual circumstances and the time at your disposal at any given moment, you con say the Lord’s Prayer in its simple form or in the more developed way.
(1) Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name!
Lord, we believe in thee, because everything about us reveals Your goodness and Your
power. The harmony of the Universe is proof of a wisdom, a prudence and a foresight which surpasses all human faculties. The Name of a Being Who is supremely great and wise is written on all the works of Creation, from the humble grass and the smallest insect up to the stars and planets in space. On all sides we see proof of a paternal solicitude. Blind then is the one who does not recognise Your works, prideful is the one who does not worship You, and ungrateful is the one who does not give thanks to You.
(2) Thy kingdom come!
Lord, you gave Man laws full of wisdom, which would make him happy if only he observed them. With these laws, justice and peace could be established, and all could help each other instead of causing mutual harm as they do. The strong should uphold the weak instead of crushing them. All the evils which are born of abuses and excesses of all kinds could be avoided. AH the miseries of this world stem from the violation of Your laws, because there is not one infraction that does not bring its fatal consequences.
You gave the animals an instinct which traces the limits of their necessities and to which they respond mechanically. But to Man, as well as instinct, You also gave intelligence and reason. Still more, You gave the liberty to keep or to violate those of Your laws which concern each one personally, or rather the faculty to choose between good and bad, so that we have the merit and the responsibility for our acts.
No one can protest ignorance of Your laws, because in Your paternal providence You desired that they be recorded in the consciousness of each one, without distinction as to cults or nationality. In this manner those who violate them do so because they despise You.
The day will come when according to Your promise, all will practise these laws. Then incredulity will have disappeared; all will recognise in You the Supreme Lord of all things and the reign of Your laws will herald Your Reign here on Earth.
Lord, deign to hasten Your accession by giving to Man the necessary enlightenment which will conduct him along the pathway of truth!
(3) Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!
If submission is the duty of a son towards his father, of the inferior towards his superior, how much greater is that of a being towards his Creator! By the words: 'Your will be done, Lord,' it is for us to observe Your laws and to submit ourselves without lamentations to all Your divine designs. Man will become submissive when he understands You are the source of all wisdom and that without You he can do nothing. Then he will do Your bidding on Earth as do Your elected ones in Heaven.
(4) Give us this day our daily bread!
Give us the necessary food for the maintenance of our physical strength and give us also spiritual nourishment for the development of our spirits.
The animals find their pastures, but Man depends on his own activity and his mental resources to produce his food because You gave him freedom.
You have said: "You will earn your bread by the sweat of your brow," and with these words You made work an obligation, which makes us exercise our intelligence in the search for the means to provide our necessities and to attend to our well-being: some by their material work, others by their intellectual work. Without work, Man would remain stationary and could not aspire to the happiness of the Superior Spirits.
Please help those of goodwill, who depend on You for what is necessary, but not those who take pleasure in being lazy and like to receive all things without any effort, nor those who seek superfluity (See chapter 25).
How many succumb throught their own fault, through negligence, through being improvident, through ambition, or through not being content with what You had given them! These are the authors of their own misfortunes and do not have the right to complain, since they are punished according to the manner in which they sinned. But You will not abandon even these because You are infinitely merciful and will extend a providential hand to them, if they return to You with sincerity, like the prodigal son (See chapter 5, item 4).
Before lamenting our bad luck, help us ask ourselves if it is not our own work; at each misfortune which befalls us, help us to verify if we could have avoided it; help us repeat to ourselves that God has given us intelligence so as to be able to get ourselves out of any slough and that it depends on us to put this intelligence to good use.
Seeing that Man is subject to the law of labour here on Earth, give us the courage and the strength to fulfill this law, Give us also prudence and moderation so that we may not lose its fruits.
Give us then, Lord, our daily bread, or rather the means of acquiring our necessities through work, because no one has the right to ask for superfluity.
If we are unable to work, help us have confidence in Your divine providence.
If it is within Your design to test us with great privation, despite our efforts, we accept this as a just expiation for the faults which we have committed in this life or in a previous one, because we know that You are just, and that there are no undeserved penalties since You never punish without cause.
Lord, preserve us from envying those who have what we have not, or of those who have superfluous things at their disposal, when we are wanting in what is necessary. Forgive them, Lord, if they forget the law of charity and of love towards one's neighbour, which You have taught (See chapter 16, item 8).
Withdraw also from our spirit the idea of denying the existence of Your justice when we see evil prosper, and the unhappiness which sometimes falls upon the godly man. Thanks to the new enlightenment which You have given us, we know that Your justice never fails and does not make any exceptions; the material prosperity of one who is evil is as fragile as his bodily existence and he will experience terrible reverses; whereas life will be eternal bliss for those who suffer with resignation (See chapter 5, items 7, 9,12 & 18).
(5) Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us!
Lord, each one of our infractions against Your laws is an offence we commit against You, a debt contracted, which sooner or later will have to be paid. We implore that You forgive us through Your infinite mercy, subject to the promise we make to employ all our strength in not contracting others.
You made charity an express law for everyone; but charity does not only consist of helping our fellow beings in all their needs, but also in the forgetfulness and the forgiving of offences. With what right do we demand your indulgence, if we lack charity towards those who have given us motive for complaint?
Dear Lord, give us the strength to stifle within ourselves all resentment, hate and rancour. Do not let death surprise us with a desire for vengeance in our hearts. If You approve of our being taken from this world today, help us to be able to present ourself to You completely cleansed of animosity, just like Christ, Whose last words were in favour of His tormentors (See chapter 10).
The persecutions which those who are evil inflict upon us constitute part of our earthly tests; we should accept them without complaint, as we should accept all other tests, without cursing those who by their wrongdoing, open up a pathway for us to eternal happiness seeing that You said, through the intermediary of Jesus: "Blessed be those who suffer for the sake of justice!" Consequently, blessed be the hand that injures and humiliates us, as the mortifications of the body strengthen our soul, and we shall then be raised up from our humiliations (See chapter 12, item 4).
Blessed be Your name Lord, because You have taught us that our destiny is not irrevocably fixed after death; we will find in yet other existences, the means by which we may make atonement and repay all our past debts, and be able to realise in a new life, all those things to help our progress that we were unable to do in this one (See chapter 4; chapter 5, item 5).
In this manner all the apparent irregularities of life are finally explained. The light is cast over our past and our future, as a brilliant sign of Your supreme justice and of Your infinite goodness.
(6) Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from all evil. *
Lord, give us the necessary strength to resist all impulses towards evil which will try to divert us from the path of goodness by inspiring us with bad thoughts.
But nevertheless we too are also imperfect Spirits incarnated on Earth so as to expiate our sins and to be able to better ourselves. The cause of evil lies deep within our souls and the bad Spirits only take advantage of these inferior tendencies so as to be able to tempt us. Each imperfection is an open door to their influences; just as they are powerless and give up any attempt against perfect beings. We are only unable to get rid of them as long as we do not put up a decided and unshakable desire for goodness, together with total renunciation of all evil. Therefore it is against ourselves that our strength must be directed and if we do this, the bad Spirits will naturally leave us since it is the evil which attracts them, whereas goodness repels them (See further on in this chapter: Prayers for the obsessed).
Dear Lord, uphold us in our weakness, inspire us through the voices of our Guardian Angels and the good Spirits, with the desire to correct our imperfections so that we may prevent access to our soul by the evil Spirits (See further on, item 11).
Evil is not Your work Lord, because the source of all goodness cannot engender any badness. It is ourselves who create it when we infringe Your laws and through the bad use we make of the liberty You concede to us. When Man has learnt to keep Your laws then evil will disappear from Earth, just as it has already disappeared from more advanced worlds.
Evil does not constitute a fatal necessity for anybody and only appears to be irresistible to those who take pleasure in it. So if we have a desire to practise evil, we can also have a desire to practise good. For this reason, dear God, we beg Your assistance and that of the good Spirits so we may resist temptation.
(7) So be it!
O God, may the realisation of our desires be accomplished! But we nevertheless bow down before Your infinite wisdom. In all things that we are unable to understand, may Your blessed Will be done and not ours, since You only desire our improvement and know better than us what is best for us.
We offer You this prayer, Lord, not only for ourselves, but also for all suffering creatures, both incarnate and discarnate, for our friends and our enemies, for all those who demand our help, and especially for X . . . We beseech Your mercy and blessing for all.
(NOTE: Here you can offer thanks to God for all that has been conceded to you and formulate any request you may have, either for yourself or for others (See further on, prayers No. 26 & 27).
* There are some translations of the Bible which say: do not induce us to temptation (et nos inducas in tentationem). This sentence gives us to understand that temptation stems from God and that He voluntarily impels Man towards evil; which is a blasphemous idea putting God on an equal basis with Satan and therefore, could not have been in the mind of Jesus. Actually, it is in accordance with the popular idea that exists about the part played by Devils (See HEAVEN & HELL, 1st part, chapter 9 - THE DEVILS).
4. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew, 18: 20).
5. PREFACE - In order to be gathered together in the name of Jesus, our material presence alone is not enough, because it is indispensable to be assembled in the spiritual sense as well, by means of a communion of intentions and thoughts towards goodness. In this way Jesus will be found in your midst, that is to say either He or those pure Spirits who are His representatives. Spiritism enables us to understand the way the Spirits can be with us. This is by means of their fluidic or spiritual body, and if they should make themselves visible they do so with an appearance that allows us to recognise them. The more elevated in the spiritual hierarchy the greater is their power of radiation, so that on possessing the gift of ubiquity, they may be present in various places simultaneously. In order to achieve this it requires merely the emission of a thought.
With these words Jesus wished to show the effect of union and fraternity. It is not the greater or lesser number of people which attract the Spirits, but the sentiment of charity which animates them reciprocally. If it depended on numbers, He would have said some ten or twenty instead of two or three people. Well, for this purpose two persons are enough. But if these two people pray separately, even if they direct themselves to Jesus, there will be no communion of thought between them, especially if they are not motivated by a mutual sentiment of benevolence. If they are animated by mutual prejudice, hate, jealousy or envy, then the fluidic currents of their thoughts will repel each other instead of uniting them in a harmonious impulse of sympathy. So then they Will not be united in the Name of Jesus. In that case, Jesus will only be the pretext for that meeting and not the true motive (See chapter 27, item 9).
This does not mean to say that Jesus will not listen to only one person. However, if He did not say: "I will attend anyone who calls Me." it is because He demands, above all else, the love of one's neighbour, far which it is possible to give greater proof in a group than in isolation, and because all personalized sentiment denies it. It follows then, that in a large meeting, f two or three people joined themselves through their hearts in a sentiment of true charity, while all the others remained isolated, concentrating their ideas on selfish and worldly things, Jesus would be with the first group and not with the rest. It is not then the simultaneity of the words, the songs or the exterior acts which constitute the gathering together in the name of Jesus, but rather the communion of thought according to the true spirit of charity, of which He is the personification (See chapters 10, items 7 & 8, and 27, items 2 & 4).
This should be the character of all serious Spiritist meetings, in which the assistance of the good Spirits is earnestly desired.
6. PRAYER (For the commencement of a meeting):
We beseech You, O Lord God, the All Powerful, to send us the good Spirits to help us and take away all those who may induce us towards error; give us the necessary light so that we may distinguish truth from falsity.
Remove too, the maleficent Spirits, be they incarnate or discarnate, who may try to launch discord amongst us, and so turn us away from charity and love for our neighbours. If some of these Spirits try to enter our ambient, do not allow them access to any of our hearts.
Good Spirits, you see fit to come and teach us, make us yielding to your counselling, turn us away from all thoughts of selfishness, pride, jealousy and envy. Inspire us to indulgence and benevolence towards our fellow beings, present or absent, friends or enemies; lastly, through the sentiments with which we are animated, make us recognise Your beneficial influence.
To those Mediums You chose as transmitters of Your teaching, give awareness of their mandate and the seriousness of the act they are about to practise, so they may perform this act with the necessary fervour and meditation.
If at our meeting, there be any persons present driven by sentiments other than those of goodness, open their eyes to the light and forgive them Lord, as we forgive them, for any evil intentions they may harbour.
We ask especially that the Spirit of X..., who is our spiritual Guide, assist us and watch over us.
7. PRAYER (For the closing of the meeting):
We give thanks to the good Spirits who have come to communicate with us, and implore them to help us put into practise the instructions they have given, and also, that on leaving this ambient, they may help us to feel strengthened for the practise of goodness and love towards our fellow beings.
We also desire that Your teachings help all those Spirits who are suffering, ignorant or corrupt, who have participated in our meeting and for whom we implore God's mercy.
FOR THE MEDIUMS
8. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy (Acts, 2: 17& 18).
9. PREFACE - God wishes that the light shines for all men and that the voices of the Spirits penetrate to all parts so that everyone may obtain proof of immortality. It is with this objective in mind that the Spirits manifest themselves in all parts of the Globe, and that mediumship is revealing itself in people of all ages and all conditions, in men and in women, in children and in old people. This is one of the signs that the predicted times have arrived.
In order to know the things of the visible world and discover the secrets of material Nature, God has given Man bodily vision, the senses and special instruments. With the telescope his eyes reach into the vastness of space; with the microscope he discovers the world of infinite minuteness, and to be able to penetrate the invisible world He has given Man mediumship.
Mediums are interpreters who have undertaken to transmit to mankind the teachings of the Spirits; or rather, they are the material organs of which the Spirits avail themselves so as to be able to express themselves to Man intelligently. They fulfill a sacred mission, seeing that the aim is to open up the horizons of eternal life.
The Spirits come to instruct Man as to his destiny, so that he may be led towards the path of goodness, and not to save him from material work which must be fulfilled in this word for his advancement, nor for the furthering of his ambition and covetousness. This is something which must be clearly understood by mediums so that they will not make bad use of their faculty. Those who fully understand the seriousness of the mandate with which they have been invested will carry out this duty religiously. Their conscience will condemn them if by any sacrilegious act they transform into a distraction or amusement, far themselves or far others, those faculties which were given to them far a serious purpose, which is that of placing them in communication with beings from the other world.
As interpreters for the teachings of the Spirits, mediums should play a very important part in the moral transformation that is in process. The services they are able to offer will be in accordance with the correctness of the orientation they have given to their faculty, because those who follow an incorrect pathway cause more harm than good to the cause of Spiritism. More than one person will delay their progress due to the unfortunate impression these mediums produce. Therefore because of this, all mediums will have to given an account of the use to which they have put their faculty, which was given to them for the purpose of doing good to their fellow creatures.
The medium who desires to be constantly helped by good Spirits will have to work hard towards self-betterment. Those who wish their faculty to grow and be enriched, must therefore enrich themselves morally and abstain from all that can turn them aside from their providential purpose.
If sometimes good Spirits make use of an imperfect medium, it is in order to give good advice, with which they try to make them take the road to goodness. If, however, they meet hardened hearts and their advice is not listened to, they will leave and the field will then be free for the evil Spirits (See chapter 24, items 11 &12(.
Experience has proved that on the part of those who do not take advantage of the advice received from the good Spirits, communications which initially showed some brilliance will, little by little, degenerate and finally fall into error, either in the wording or by becoming ridiculous, which are incontestable signs of the retreat of the good Spirits.
To obtain the assistance of the good Spirits and to remove the lying and frivolous ones, must be the aim to which all serious mediums should join forces and without which mediumship becomes a sterile faculty; even capable of causing detriment to the one who possesses it, since it can become the cause of a dangerous obsession.
Any medium who understands their duty and is not proud of a faculty that does not belong to them, seeing that it may be taken away, will always attribute the good things they receive to God. If their communications receive praise, they will not become vain because they know that these are independent of their personal merit. They will give thanks to God for having allowed the good Spirits to be able to manifest through their intermediary. If there is occasion for criticism, they are never offended because the communications are not their own work. On the contrary, they recognize in their inner selves that they were not able to be good instruments and do not possess all the necessary qualities which would obstruct interference from backward Spirits. Therefore, take care to acquire these qualities and implore, by means of prayer, that your strength does not fail.
Almighty God, permit the good Spirits to come and help me in the communication that is solicited. Protect me from the presumption of judging myself to be safe from evil Spirits; from the pride which may induce me to err with respect to the value of what I receive; from all sentiments which are the opposite of charity towards other mediums. If I fall into error inspire someone to alert me of this fact; and give me the humility that will enable me to accept the deserved criticism and to recognise that the advice the good Spirits wish to give through me is not only addressed to others, but primarily to myself.
If I am tempted to abuse in whatever form, the faculty whose bestowal You approved, or to become proud of it, I ask that You take it back rather than it be permitted to stray from its providential objective, which is for the good of all and my own moral betterment.