THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SPIRITISM

Allan Kardec

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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.

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.

3. PRAYER:
(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).


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* 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).


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