Allan Kardec

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The following poem was sent to us by one of our corresponding members from Lyon. He is so deeply-rooted in the Spiritist Doctrine that we cannot let go of the opportunity of giving it a space in our Review.

How can I, oh mortals, with my weak accents,

Give your hearts the most sublime incense!

You will learn from these verses during this career,

How to pray and the meaning of prayer.

It is a surge of love, of fluid fervor,

That escapes the soul and rises towards our Savior.

Sublime effusion of the humble creature,

Returning to his source, ennobling his nature!

Praying does not change the Creator’s art,

Always immutable; but the paternal heart

Spreads its divine stream upon the one who implores,

And doubles the heat of the fire it devours.

He then feels elevated, growing,

Through the love to the neighbor, the heart is pounding.

The more he grows in love the more the Sublime Being

Fulfills his heart with the blessings of learning.

Then comes a holy desire to pray for the dead,

Carrying their burden of pain, a bitter regret,

Showing the needs their condition claims.

He then addresses to them his invisible balms,

Whose efficacy, consoling remedy,

Penetrates their souls, giving them liberty.

They revive; it is a new hope, a glimmer

Helping in their struggle; freedom they conquer.

Like the mortals overwhelmed by evil,

That a supreme balm returns to normal,

They regenerate before this impulse, occult

From the majestic and ardent prayer, and its divine cult.

Let us multiply the enthusiasm; nothing is lost my friend;

Prayers, prayers for them, prayers to the end;

Prayer, it is always prayer, the divine star

That becomes a focus of love, and overwhelms afar.

Let us pray for the dead, yes, and before long and from above

Outpours upon us their rays of love!

The objective and the effects of prayer are perfectly defined in these verses, evidently inspired by an elevated spirit. God certainly does not breach his own law by our request since this would be the denial of one of his attributes: immutability; but the prayer acts in particular upon its target; it is both a testimony of sympathy and commiseration that is addressed to that spirit, thus helping to lessen their burden. Next, its active effect is to excite in the soul the desire for repentance, inspiring the will for the practice of good. “God will reward each of us for what we have done.” – Romans 2:6. That eminently fair law keeps the fate in our own hands and consequently rendering the duration of sufferings subordinated to the duration of the unrepentant. It thus follows that if the soul were forever remorseless the penalties would be eternal. Thus, if through the moral action of praying we provoke repentance and voluntary reparation, it is then through the prayer that the time of atonement is abbreviated.

All of that is perfectly clear in those verses above. Such doctrine may not seem very orthodox to the eyes of someone that believes in a merciless God, deaf to the pleading voices, and that condemns his own creatures to endless sufferings for their failures in a transient life; one must acknowledge, however, that the doctrine above is more logical and according to the true justice and to God’s benevolence. We learn from everything, religion as well as reason, that God is infinitely good. With the dogma of the eternal fire we should add that he is infinitely ruthless, an attribute that is in contradiction with the former since one denies the other.

In fact, the number of believers in the eternity of sufferings diminishes by the day, and that is a positive and unquestionable thing. They will soon be so few that they will be counted, and even if the Church claimed heresy, rejecting all those who don’t believe in the eternal penalties from its ranks, there would be more heretics among the Catholics than true believers and it would then be necessary to condemn every clergyman and theologian that, like us, interpret those words in a relative rather than absolute sense.

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