4- PRAYERS FOR THOSE NO LONGER ON EARTH
FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS JUST DIED
59. PREFACE - Prayers for those who have just left the Earth ore not for the exclusive purpose of showing our sympathy. They also have the effect of helping to release them from their Earthly ties, and in this manner shorten the period of perturbation which always follows the separation, so allowing a more peaceful awakening on the other side. Nevertheless, in this case, as in all other circumstances, the efficacy depends on the sincerity of the thought and not on the quantity of words offered with more or less solemnity in which very frequently the heart does not participate.
Prayers which truly come from the heart encounter a resonance in the Spirit to whom they are directed, whose ideas are still in a state of confusion, as if they were friendly voices come to awaken them from sleep (See chapter 27, item 10).
Almighty God, may Your mercy be shown to the soul of X . . . whom You have just called back from Earth. We beg and implore that the trials suffered here may be counted in their favour and that our prayers may soften and shorten the penalties still to be suffered in the Spirit form!
Good Spirits who came to fetch this soul, and most especially their Guardian Angel, help them to free themself from matter. Give them light and a consciousness of themself so that they may quickly leave the state of perturbation, inherent in the passing from the body back to the spiritual life. Inspire in their Spirit a repentance for all errors and faults committed and a desire to obtain permission to remedy them, so as to quicken their advancement in the direction of the life of those who are eternally blessed.
And you, ... ., who have just entered into the World of the Spirits, we wish to say that despite this fact, you are still with us; you hear and see us, since you have merely left the perishable physical body, which will quickly be reduced to dust.
You have left the gross envelope which is subject to vicissitudes and death, now retaining only your etheric body which is imperishable and inaccessible to material suffering. If you no longer live through a physical body, you live instead through your Spirit, and the spiritual life is free from those miseries which afflict humanity.
You no longer have over your eyes the veil which hides the splendours of the future existence from us. Now you may contemplate new marvels, while we remain bathed in darkness.
You may travel through space and visit the worlds in all liberty, while we still painfully drag ourselves about here on Earth, prisoner in our material bodies, which are like heavy armour.
The infinite horizons stretch themselves before you, and on seeing their grandeur you will understand the vanity of terrestrial desires, of worldly aspirations and the futility of the so-called joys to which Man delivers himself.
For Man, death is nothing more than a separation from matter, lasting but a few instants. From this place of exile in which we continue to live according to the Will of God, and with the duties we still have to fulfill in this world, we will continue to follow you in thought till the moment when it is permitted for us to join you once again, just as now you are reunited with those who preceded you.
We cannot go to where you are, but you may come here. So come then to those who love you and whom you love; help them in the trials of life; watch over those who are dear to you; protect them as much as you are able; lessen the bitterness of absence by suggesting to them the thought that now you are happier and that one day, for certain, you will again be reunited in a better world.
In the place you are now, you must extinguish all earthly resentments. You must hold yourself inaccessible to them now, for the sake of your future happiness! Therefore forgive all those who may have incurred debts towards you, just as those against whom mistakes were committed now forgive you.
NOTE - To this prayer, which applies to everyone, can be added some special words according to the intimate circumstances of the family, the relationship to the deceased of the one who is praying or the social position of the departed. When dealing with a child, Spiritism teaches us that we are not referring to a Spirit that has been recently created, but to one that has already lived other lives and may even be well advanced. If the lost existence has been a short one, then it is because it was needed only to complete a test or trial, or because it was needed as a test for the parents (See chapter 5, item 21).
61. PRAYER *:
All Powerful Lord, may Your mercy extend over all those brothers and sisters who have just left the Earth! May Your light shine upon them! Remove them from darkness! Open their eyes and ears! May the Good Spirits surround them and let them hear Your words of hope and peace!
Lord, even though we are not worthy, we beg and implore Your merciful indulgence for this brother (or sister) who has recently been recalled from exile. Make their return that of the prodigal son. Forget, O Lord, the faults they may have committed and remember only the good they have done. Your justice is immutable, as we know, but Your love is immense. We beseech You therefore, to mitigate Your justice from the fountain of kindness which emanates from You!
You who have just left the Earth, may the light shine brightly before your eyes, my brother! May the good Spirits come to be near you, to surround you and help you to break your earthly chains! Now you can understand and see the grandeur of God: so submit yourself without complaint to His justice; however, never despair of His mercy. Dear brother! (or sister) May a profound examination of your past open the doors of the future, by making you understand the errors you have left behind, as well as the work that awaits, so you may remedy them! May God forgive you and may the good Spirits uphold and animate you! Your brothers and sisters on Earth will pray for you, and ask that you pray for them.
* This prayer was dictated to a medium from Bordeaux at the moment when an unknown funeral procession was passing by their residence.
THOSE FOR WHOM WE HAVE AFFECTION
62. PREFACE - How terrible is the idea of nothingness! How deserving of pity are those who think that the voice of one who weeps is lost in a vacuum, without encountering the least sign of response! A pure and saintly affection has never been known by those who think everything dies with the body. They believe that the genius who enlightened their world with vast intelligence, is a mere combination of matter which, as a flame, is extinguished for ever; that of a dearly loved person such as a father, mother or adored child, nothing remains but a handful of dust which time will inevitably disperse.
How can anyone who has a heart remain indifferent to this idea? Why are they not frozen with terror at the thought of absolute annihilation and do not even show a wish that this be not so? If till now reason has been insufficient for them to have been able to dissipate their doubts, behold, Spiritism has come to dispel all uncertainty as to the future, by means of the material proof of survival of the soul and the existence of beings in the beyond that it gives! This is happening to such an extent, that on all sides these proofs are being received with joy. Confidence is reborn, because Man henceforth knows that terrestrial existence is only a brief passage leading to a better life, that work done in this world is not lost and that really pure affections are not shattered beyond hope (See chapter 4, item 18 & chapter 5, item 21).
O Lord, may You see fit to favourably receive this prayer in the name of X... Help them perceive the divine lights that will make their pathway to eternal happiness easier. Permit the good Spirits to take them my words and thoughts.
You who were so dear to me in this world, listen to my voice which calls to offer anew my pledge of affection. God allowed you to be liberated before me and I cannot complain about this without being selfish, because this would be equal to a wish that you be still subject to the sufferings of life. So wait with resignation for the moment of our reunion in this happier world, where you have arrived before me.
I know that this separation is only temporary, and that however long it may appear to be, its duration is nothing compared to the blessed eternity which God has promised to His chosen ones. May His goodness preserve me from doing whatever it might be that could delay this longed for moment, so that I may be saved from the pain of not encountering you when I leave my earthly captivity.
Oh, how sweet and consoling is the certainty that there is nothing between us but a material veil which hides you from my sight! That you can even be here at my side, hear me speak as of old, or perhaps even better than then; to know that you do not forget me as I do not forget you; that our thoughts are constantly intermingling and that your thoughts accompany me and uphold me.
May the peace of the Lord be with you.
FOR SUFFERING SPIRITS WHO ASK FOR PRAYERS
64. PREFACE - So as to appreciate the relief that prayer gives to suffering Spirits, it is necessary to remember by what manner this is achieved, as has been previously explained (See chapter 27, items 9, 18 & subsequent). Those who are convinced of this fact will be able to pray with greater fervour, because of the certainty that they d0 not do 50 in vain.
God of clemency and mercy, may Your goodness extend to all the Spirits we have recommended to You in our prayers, especially the Spirit of X .
Good Spirits, whose only occupation is to do good, intercede together with me for their relief'. Make a ray of hope shine before their eyes and enlighten them as to the imperfections which maintain them distant from the homes of the blessed. Open their hearts to repentance and the desire to cleanse themselves, so they may accelerate their advancement Make them understand it is by their own efforts that they may shorten the duration of their trials.
May God, in all His goodness, give them the necessary strength to persevere with their good resolutions!
May these words, infused with benevolence, soften their trials, so showing them that there are on Earth those who sympathize and wish them happiness.
We ask, Lord, that You shower the blessings of Your love and mercy on all who suffer, be they wandering Spirits or incarnates. Have pity for their weaknesses. You made us fallible, but gave us the capacity to resist evil and conquer it. May Your mercy extend to all those who are not able to resist their evil tendencies and still continue to drag themselves along evil pathways. May the good Spirits surround them; may Your light shine in their eyes, and so attracted by the life- giving warmth of this light, may they come to prostrate themselves at Your feet, humbly, repentant and submissive.
Merciful Father, we also ask for those of our brothers and sisters who have not had the strength to resist their earthly trials. Lord, You gave us a burden to carry, to be laid only at Your feet. However, our weaknesses are great and our courage fails us sometimes during the course of the journey. Have pity on these indolent servants who have abandoned the work before time. May Your justice spare them and allow the good Spirits to take them some relief, consolation and hope for the future. The prospect of pardon strengthens the soul; Lord, show this pardon to those guilty ones who have given themselves up to despair, so that upheld by hope they may absorb enough strength from the actual immensity of their failings and sufferings, so they may redeem the past and prepare themselves for the conquest of the future.
FOR AN ENEMY WHO HAS DIED
67. PREFACE - Charity towards our enemies should accompany them into the Beyond. We need to understand that the evil they did was a test for us, which can be useful to our state of advancement, if we know how to take advantage of it. It can be even more beneficial to us than purely material afflictions, by the fact of our being allowed to join together courage, resignation, charity and the forgetting of offences (See chapter 10, item 6, & chapter 12, items 5 & 6).
Lord, it pleased You to call the soul of X... before You called me. I forgive him the evil he did and the bad intentions nurtured towards me. Maybe he is regretting this now that he no longer feeds off the illusions of this world.
Dear God, may Your mercy descend upon him and turn away from me any idea I might have of rejoicing at his death. If I am in debt towards him for any reason, may he forgive me, as I forget those misdemeanours committed against me.
FOR A CRIMINAL
69. PREFACE - If the efficiency of prayer was proportionate to its length, then the longest ones would be reserved for the most guilty, because they are in more need than those who have lived saintly lives. To refuse prayer to criminals is to Lack charity towards them and to be unaware of the mercy of God. To believe they would be useless because a man has committed this or that grove crime would be to prejudge the Almighty's justice (See chapter 11, item 14).
Lord God of Mercy, do not repudiate this criminal who has just left this Earth! Man's justice has condemned him, but this does not exempt him from Your justice, if his heart has not been touched by remorse.
Take away the blind-fold that hides the gravity of his faults! His repentance may deserve Your kindly treatment and soften the sufferings of his soul. Our prayers can also help and the intercession of the good Spirits may offer him hope and consolation. Inspire in him the wish to make amends for his actions in another existence and give him strength so as not to succumb in the new battles which he will undertake!
Lord, have pity on him!
FOR A SUICIDE
71. PREFACE - Man never has the right to dispose of his life, since it is only given to God to retrieve him from captivity on Earth, when He judges opportune. Nevertheless, Divine justice may soften the rigours in accordance with the circumstances, reserving however all severity towards he who wished to evade the trials of life. The suicide is like a prisoner who escapes from prison before he has served his sentence, and who when recaptured is treated with greater severity. The same happens with a suicide who imagines he is escaping from the miseries of the moment, only to plunge into even greater misfortunes (See chapter 5, item 14 onwards).
We know, Lord, the destiny that awaits those who violate Your law, by voluntarily abbreviating their days. But we also know that Your mercy is infinite. So please condescend to extend this mercy to the soul of ... . May our prayers and Your commiseration lessen the harshness of the sufferings they are experiencing for not having had the courage to await the end of their trials.
Good Spirits, whose mission it is to help those who are wretched, take this Spirit under your protection; inspire him to regret the error committed. May your assistance give him strength to support with greater resignation the new trials through which he will have to pass in order to make reparation. Turn aside from him the evil Spirits who are capable of once again impelling him towards that same act and so prolonging his sufferings by making him lose the fruits of future expiations.
We also direct ourselves to you, whose unhappiness is the motive for our prayers, to offer a wish that our commiseration may diminish the bitterness and help to create within you the hope for a better future. This future lies in your hands; believe in the goodness of God, whose bosom opens to accept all repentance and only remains closed to hardened hearts.
FOR REPENTANT SPIRITS
73. PREFACE - It would be unjust to include in our category of evil Spirits the suffering and repentant ones who ask for prayers. They may have been bad; nevertheless, they no longer are, ever since they recognised the error of their ways and deplore them; they are only unhappy. Some of them have even begun to enjoy relative happiness.
God of Mercy, who accepts the sincere repentance of the sinner, be they incarnate or discarnate, here is a Spirit who has taken pleasure in evil, who recognises his errors and is entering into the good pathway. Condescend, Lord, to receive him like the prodigal son and forgive him.
Good Spirits, whose voices he did not pay attention to but now wishes to hear, permit him to glimpse the happiness of the elected ones of the Lord, so that he may persist in his desire to purify himself in order to be able to reach them. Uphold him in all his good intentions and give him the necessary strength to resist his bad instincts.
To the repentant Spirit of X..., we offer our congratulations for the inner change s you have made and we thank the good Spirits who have helped you to do this.
If you previously took pleasure in evil, it was because you did not understand how sweet is the enjoyment of doing good, and also because you felt too lowly to be able to manage to do it. But, from the moment you placed your first step on the path of goodness a new light shone in your eyes. Then you began to enjoy an unknown happiness and hope entered your heart. This is because God always hears the prayer of a sinner who repents; He never repels anyone who seeks Him.
So to be once again completely within God's grace, you must apply yourself from now on to not only never again committing evil but to doing good, and above all else to repair the evil that you have done. Then you will satisfy God's justice; each good action you practise will wash away all past errors.
The first step has been taken; so now as you continue to advance by this path it will become easier and more agreeable. Persevere then, and one day you will have the glory of being counted amongst the good Spirits and those who are blessed.
FOR HARDENED SPIRITS
75. PREFACE - The bad Spirits are those who hove not yet been touched by repentance, who delight in evil and who feel no regrets for this. They are insensitive to reprimands, repel prayer and frequently blaspheme in God's name. They are those hardened Spirits, who after death seek vengeance upon men for the suffering they had endured and pursue with hate all who practised evil against them during their existence, by either obsessing them or by exercising all kinds of disastrous influences over them (See chapter 10, item 6, and chapter 12, items 5 & 6).
There are two distinct categories of perverse Spirits: those who are plainly evil and those who are hypocrites. It is infinitely easier to bring the first ones back to goodness than the last ones. The first, more often than not, have brutal and coarse natures, just as is seen in men; they practise evil more from instinct than from calculation and do not seek to appear better than they are. However, there is in them a latent germ that needs to open up, which is usually achieved by means of perseverance; firm benevolence, counselling, reasoning and prayer. It h05 been noticed that in
automatic-writing these Spirits have difficulty in writing the name of God, which is a sign of an instinctive fear, an intimate voice of conscience which tells them they are unworthy. It is at this point that they ore ready to convert themselves and we can hove high hopes for them; we only need to find the vulnerable point in their hearts.
Hypocritical Spirits ore almost always very intelligent. But they do not have a grain of sensitivity in their hearts; nothing touches them. They simulate all the good sentiments so as to gain confidences and are happy when they encounter those who are foolish enough to accept them as good Spirits, because then they can control them as they like. The name of God, far from inspiring the least tremor of fear, serves them as a mask to cover their vileness. In both the invisible and visible worlds, the hypocrites are the most dangerous of beings because they act in the shadows, without anyone suspecting; they have only apparent faith, never real faith.
Lord, may it please You to cast a kindly glance over the imperfect Spirits who find themselves in the obscurity of ignorance and so do not know You, especially the Spirit of X ...
Good Spirits, help us to make them understand that by inducing men towards evil, obsessing them and tormenting them, they only prolong their own sufferings. Make the example of the happiness You enjoy into an encouragement for them.
Spiritual brother, you who still take pleasure in the practise of evil, listen to the prayer we offer for you; it should convince you that we only desire to help you and not to do you harm.
You are unhappy, because it is not possible to be happy while practising evil. So why do you remain in suffering when the possibility of avoiding it depends on yourself? Look at the good Spirits surrounding you at this moment and see how blessed they are! Would it not be more agreeable for you to enjoy the same happiness?
You say this is impossible; however, nothing is impossible to he who wants something, since God gave you, as He did all His creatures, the liberty to choose between good and evil, happiness and wretchedness, and no one is condemned to practise evil. Just as you have the will to do evil, you may also find the will to do good and be happy.
Cast your eyes back towards God. Direct your thoughts for an instant to Him and a ray of divine light will illuminate you. Say these simple words together with us: Dear God, I repent, forgive me! Try to repent and do good instead of doing bad things, and you will soon see His mercy descending upon you and an indescribable feeling of well-being will substitute the anguish you experience now.
Once you have taken the first step along the path to goodness the rest of the way will be easy to follow. You will understand then what a long period of happiness you have lost through your own fault. Nevertheless, a radiant future full of hope will open before you and make you forget your miserable past, full of perturbation and moral tortures, which would be hell for you if they were to last for eternity. The day will come when these tortures will be such that you will desire to make them cease at any price. Nevertheless, the longer you leave it the more difficult this will be.
Do not believe that you will always remain in your present state; no, this is not possible. You have two prospects before you: to suffer very much more than you have done until now, or to be blessed as are the good Spirits who surround you. The first is inevitable if you persist in being obstinate, when a simple effort on your part would be sufficient to take you out of the bad situation in which you find yourself. So hurry, seeing that each day you delay is a lost day of happiness!
Good Spirits, permit these words to echo in the mind of this backward soul so they may help him to approach God. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Who has such great power over evil Spirits.