35. The essential aim of Spiritism is human improvement. In it one should only seek for what can really help mankind's improvement.
36. The true Spiritist is not one who believes in its manifestations, but he who profits from the teachings given by spirits. It is useless to believe if this faith does not make one progress positively and also do the utmost for one's fellow creatures.
37. Selfishness, pride, vanity, greed, hate, enviousness, jealousy and slander are like venomous plants to the soul, the stems of which must be pulled daily; their antidote is charity and humbleness.
38. Spiritism faith is only useful for those who can say: we are better today than yesterday.
39. The value which man gives to its ephemeral goods is inversely proportional to his faith in the spirit life. His doubts concerning the future make him look for his happiness in this world even at the sacrifice of his fellow creatures.
40. Earth afflictions are remedies to the soul. They salve for the future like a painful surgical treatment which relieves a sick person's life and brings back heath. For this reason Christ said: ''Blessed are the afflicted for ye shall be comforted''.
41. Always look below you and not above you when you are suffering. Think about those who suffer more than you.
42. Despair is a natural feeling for he who believes everything ends with death. It is nonsense for those who believe in the future.
43. Man is sometimes the artisan of his own unhappiness in this world. If he went back to the source of his misfortunes he would see that his pains are the consequence of his unawareness, pride and avidity and, therefore, his violation of God's law.
44. Prayer is an act of worship. Praying to God is to think about Him, to approach Him, to get in touch with Him.
45. He who prays with devotion and trust is stronger against evil's temptations and God sends good spirits to watch over him. It is an ever fulfilled request provided if it is honest.
46. Pray a lot is unimportant, but one must pray well. Some people believe that prayer's merit lies in its length, while they close their eyes to their flaws. Prayer is an occupation to them, a time killer, and not a self evaluation.
47. He who asks God to forgive his mistakes is only pardoned if he changes his behaviour. Good actions are better than prayers since acts are more valuable than words.
48. Prayer is recommended by all good spirits. It is also practiced by imperfect spirits as a way of alleviating their sufferings.
49. Prayer can not change providence resolutions. But suffering spirits feel less deprived of protection and become less unhappy through praying. Prayer stimulates their courage and will for improvement through regret and repair. It can also change spirit's inclination from evil. In this sense, prayer can not only lessen but also shorten sufferings.
50. Let each one pray according to their beliefs and in the manner they consider more convenient, since form is nothing, but thought is everything. Sincerity and pureness of purpose is essential. Good thoughts are worth more than thousand words which are like the noise of a mill and where the heart can not be found.
51. God makes some persons strong and powerful in order for them to help the weak. Powerful people who oppress the weak are warned by God. In general they receive their punishment in the present life without impairing their future.
52. Fortune is a bounty whose owner can only temporarily enjoy it, since he can not take it to the grave. The affluent will be severely called to account for the use of their wealth.
53. Fortune is a more dangerous test than misery since it constitutes a temptation to the abuse and excess, and because it is harder to be moderate than extravagant.
54. The ambitious person who prevails and the rich one who sustains his material pleasures should be pitied rather than envied, since one must take into account the consequences. By the terrible examples of the dead who have communicated to us their experience after death, Spiritism demonstrates the truthfulness of Christ's statement: ''He who elevates himself will be humiliated and he who humiliates himself will be elevated''.
55. Charity is the supreme Christ's law: ''Love each other as brothers and sisters; - Love your neighbour as yourself; - forgive your enemies; - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you''; all this is summed up in the word charity.
56. Charity is not only alms-giving, for there can be charity in thought, in words and in acts. He who is charitable in thoughts is lenient towards his fellowman's mistakes; he who is charitable in words say nothing against his fellowman, and he who is charitable in acts helps his fellow sisters and brothers according to his capacity.
57. A poor person who shares his bred with someone even poorer is more charitable and has much more merit in God's eyes than those who, lacking for nothing, give only that which is superfluous to them.
58. He who declares himself a Christian and, at same time, feeds evil feelings, hate, jealousy and lack of charity towards his neighbour, is both lying and offending God.
59. People of all casts, sects and races, you are all brothers and sisters since God is calling all you to Him. Join your hands in whatever manner you may adore Him. Do not anathematize each other, as anathema is a violation of the law of charity proclaimed by Christ.
60. Through selfishness, people are in eternal conflict while through charity they will be at peace. If charity alone constitutes the basis of human institutions, people's happiness in this world will be guaranteed. According to Christ words, only charity will also guarantee future happiness, since all virtues which can lead people to perfection are implicitly contained in it. There will be no room for selfishness, vanity, hate, jealousy and slander with the
true charity that was taught and practiced by Christ, nor for strong attachment to this world's goods. For this reason, Christian Spiritism exhorts the maxim: WITHOUT CHARITY THERE IS NO SALVATION
Charity: benevolence for every one, indulgence for the imperfections of others, forgiveness of injuries. (SB, 886) International Spiritist Council
Pain and Suffering (by Elsa Rossi)
Pain has been a matter of reflection since the beginning of civilization. Scientists, religious leaders, psychologists and theologists discuss it and propose solutions for the problems of moral and physical suffering. Although science has provided an accumulating arsenal to fight physical pain, it is in Spirituality that most people seek the healing of their moral sufferings. We, Spiritists, believe that all diseases of the body are part of a paradoxical educational process which heals the soul.
The "Gospel According to Spiritism" has many passages in which Jesus heals the souls in pain offering them the medicine of the purity of heart, charity and love towards our neighbours. Many people would seek for this medicine that Jesus prescribed but many of them would still "sin again" and their physical and moral sufferings would restart.
The "SPIRITIST MAGAZINE" from 1860 which was edited by Allan Kardec and translated to Portuguese by the Brazilian Spiritist Federation (FEB) in 2004, states on its page 548 ("The Education of a Spirit") an interesting matter for thought. At some point in the article the spirit who is suffering says "I want all my sufferings to be over..." but the spirit who is teaching him continues as this is clearly not the solution for the case. We all suffer, in different ways, because is an integral part of this world. It is through pain that we purify our souls thus benefiting the eternal evolution of our spirits. The law of cause and effect clarifies the nature of our sufferings. God is good and just and does not give us any more suffering than we deserve. Often we alone are responsible for our own pain, sometimes due to things we have done in previous lives.
Allan Kardec ("The Genesis", chapter 3, page 71) teaches that "pain is the moving force that propels spirits in evolution towards the path of progress".
Hermínio C. Miranda book "Reencarnação e Imortalidade" (Reincarnation and Immortality), page 265) says: "pain is an instrument of ransom, improvement and warning". Leon Denis The Problem of Life and Destiny, ("O problema do Ser, do Destino e da Dor") says: "Pain is in the law of balance and education but it is very difficult to make mankind understand that pain is actually something good. All that lives in this world, in this nature, suffers. The suffering of the animals is already a work for the evolution of the vital principle that exists in them; it is through pain that they acquire the first rudiments of conscience (Leon Denis, page 297 ? Enciclopedie Spirite www.spiritisme.net ) and Genesis by Allan Kardec.
It is very important that we try to know and evaluate what we are going through in terms of pain and sufferings. Is suffering truly part of a regenerative process or are we stuck in a particular situation because we are not willing to get out of it? The matter of pain and suffering was discussed in the BUSS seminar in June 2008 by Dr. Andrew Powell and Professor Divaldo Franco. It was a great joint Seminar by the two great speakers.
Translation into English: Dr Laura Silveira -