Duty

What is duty? Does it affect us? Do we need to do anything about it?

Let us have a few considerations on this topic, based on the Gospel according to spiritism, chapter 17, item 7.

Universal law

Duty is a moral obligation, firstly to ourselves and then to others. Duty is a law of life encountered in the smallest details as well as in the most elevated acts. Now I wish to speak only of moral duty and not of that duty which refers to the professions.
Allan Kardec, Gospel according to spiritism, chapter 17, item 7

Duty concerns everyone, it is a universal law of life. From the smallest things to the greatest ones. Not only in professional life but in each and every one of our behaviours.

Within the order of sentiments, duty is a very difficult one to fulfill because it finds itself in antagonism with the seductions of interest and of the heart.
Allan Kardec, Gospel according to spiritism, chapter 17, item 7

Our imperfect tendencies, our vices and our own interests often prevent us from fulfilling our duty.

But how can we know what our duty is? What should we do?

The voice of our conscience

The pressure of Man’s conscience, this guardian of interior integrity, alerts and sustains him, but shows itself frequently impotent against the deceptions of passion.
Allan Kardec, Gospel according to spiritism, chapter 17, item 7

Our conscience tells us what is right or what is wrong. The laws of God are written in our conscience. However, we often drown this voice with our desire to satisfy our passions.

Where does duty begin? Where does it end? Duty begins exactly at the point where the happiness or tranquility of our neighbour is threatened, and therefore terminates at the limit we would not wish to be passed in relation to ourselves.
Allan Kardec, Gospel according to spiritism, chapter 17, item 7

As a general guidance, we should not go too far in a way that would hurt our neighbour. Before doing something, we should ask ourselves if we would like it if someone else were to do this unto us. If our answer to this question is negative, we should refrain from this action.

God has created all men equal in relation to pain; whether we be small or great, ignorant or educated, we all suffer for the same motives […].
Equality in the face of pain is God’s sublime providence. He desires that all of His children, being instructed through their common experiences, should not practice evil with the excuse of not knowing its effects.
Allan Kardec, Gospel according to spiritism, chapter 17, item 7

Knowing how painful some things are, we should not inflict them upon others. We do not have the excuse of not knowing that something is bad if we experimented its effects. If we act badly toward others, we may receive the same kind of offense in return, as an educational experience.

Progress through love

The man who fulfills his duty loves God more than his fellow beings and loves his fellow beings more than himself.
Allan Kardec, Gospel according to spiritism, chapter 17, item 7

This is the ultimate goal of duty, this is where it leads us to. It starts from the smallest daily acts, reaching for the sublime conquest of loving God above all and others more than ourselves.

Man should love duty, not because it protects him from the evils of life from which humanity cannot escape, but because it transmits vigour to the soul, which it needs so as to be able to develop.Allan Kardec, Gospel according to spiritism, chapter 17, item 7

Duty gives us the strength to progress! It pushes us forward! Far from being a chore, it is a blessing that is designed to help us improve and come closer to God! How beautiful 🙂

Responsibility

Duty grows and irradiates under a constantly more elevated form in each of the superior stages of humanity.
Allan Kardec, Gospel according to spiritism, chapter 17, item 7

The level of duty that each one of us has grows with our level of elevation. The more consciousness we have, the greater our duty. The more we know what is right and what is wrong, the more we are obligated to act accordingly.
The more we grow in consciousness, the more light we invite in. As we progress, we come closer to God.

Roles of duty

Duty has three main roles: inner peace, maintenance of the order, and evolution.

Inner peace

Peace is one of the greatest treasures that we can conquer in life. It is something that we reach through our efforts and belongs to us. We find peace when our behaviour is in harmony with our conscience. When what we do and what we know we should do are one and the same.

Maintenance of order

By defining limits which should not be exceeded, duty helps maintain the order in the creation. Respecting the freedom of others, taking care that our actions are not detrimental to our neighbour.

Evolution

Duty promotes evolution. It is the impulse that causes us to make necessary changes. We humans tend to get accommodated easily. Once we reach a certain level, we stay there and enjoy it, avoiding further efforts.

When problems come our way, it forces us to address them, to analyse our current situation and what we can do to improve. Problems are like stones that are placed in the bed of a river. When the water cannot bypass the stones because they are too high, the current is forced to rise above to pass. Likewise, problems force us to overcome ourselves, to reach a higher level in order to move on.

Because the solutions to the problems we face are not found at the level we are currently at – the solutions are on the level above.

Cast out of paradise

In the biblical Genesis, Adam and Eve were cast out of the paradise after eating from the fruit of knowledge.

When we look at the symbolism of this story, we conclude that getting cast out of a paradise is what happens to all of us once we gain knowledge.

We learn something new, we gain more conscience about what is good and what is not. This new knowledge forces us to leave our “paradise” – the ways of life that we are accommodated to. Ways of thinking and acting that we used to be immersed in are no longer acceptable. We are forced to leave this zone of comfort to improve our ways and conquer higher levels.

This is also the reason why it is common for people who decide to change their lives for the better suddenly face many problems. The external situation did not actually change – the people, the situations of life are the same. However, behaviours that used to be seen as good or acceptable suddenly aren’t anymore.

This reasoning made it easier for me to understand the following words of Jesus:

Therefore see whether the light that is in you isn’t darkness.
Luke 11:35 (World English Bible)

Seen this way, this means: be careful that the knowledge that you gain (the light in you), does not become a source of more pain, due to your failure to act according to this new knowledge!

Having more conscience about what is good and what is bad, and not acting accordingly, only brings more inner unrest and a guilty conscience.

Therefore, we should strive to shine more light in ourselves and take care to put it in practice in our lives.

Universal solidarity

Duty gives us responsibilities. The responsibility to help those that are less evolved to progress on the evolutionary scale. To show good examples in our lives so that those on lower steps may be inspired to do likewise.

This means that spirits that are more elevated than we are, have the duty to help us progress. Spirits like Joanna de Ângelis, Bezerra de Menezes, are responsible for helping us.

What’s fascinating about this concept is that it is infinite.

It goes from the lowest to the highest level of evolution, from the simple and ignorant spirit to the highest angels of light that are in communion with God! How wonderful, this infinite chain of solidarity among God’s creations! Each and every one of us is a part of the universal masterpiece!

No matter where we are on our journey, we can make ourselves useful and help someone move forward, while others above are helping us as well.

Isn’t that amazing and wonderful? 🙂

Let’s do good

We learned that as we learn, we gain the responsibility to act well, to do good.

The following answer to question 932 in the Spirits’s book is particularly intriguing:

Q: “Why do the bad ones usually have greater influence over the good ones in the world?”

A: “Due to the weakness of the good ones. The bad ones are intriguing and audacious, the good ones are shy. When the latter so wish, they will dominate.”
The Spirits’ Book, Allan Kardec, question 932

The answer is quite direct. The fact that the bad has a greater influence in the world than the good is simply due to shyness and a lack of will!

If the workers of good were more ambitious and courageous, the world would be completely different!

Rossandro Klinjey made an interesting observation regarding this topic: what would happen if we created mafias of good? What would happen if we would all worked for good, practiced charity and fought moral corruption with the same intensity, determination and courage as the big criminal organisations?

We could do a lot more. We could change things. We could have a bigger positive impact in the world.

We need to abandon the fear of being judged, leave our inertia, and start acting with more strength to serve our master and disseminate light.

This beautiful quote from is also compelling:

If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.Mother Teresa

The best way to have a positive impact on the world is to start by loving our family and the people close to us. We tend to look outside and try to help people outside of our home, sometimes neglecting our own family.

As Chico Xavier was saying, in reincarnation, “noone gets sent to the wrong address”. Our incarnations are carefully planned so that we are with the people that we need to fix things with, and with the people who can give us all the necessary support in doing so.

The environment we are in is the right place for us to be. Let’s always strive to do our best possible wherever we are.

This other quote is fantastic as well (please let me know if you know who it is from):

Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.Author unknown

This means that words are nice, but there is nothing more effective than acts. Preaching beautiful words and not acting accordingly is a bad example.

Example shown in actions.

We are collectively responsible for the improvement of the planet. Each of us needs to contribute within his possibilities.

We are like small ants in a bigger scheme of things, but many ants working together can achieve great things! Let’s all collaborate! 🙂

Another encouragement:

For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 (World English Bible)

Let’s remember this phrase so that we can become a little more courageous and strong, daring to act out of love in our daily lives. God is always supporting and helping us.

8 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or who is there among you, who, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, who will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:8-11 (World English Bible)

God is infinite love and might. We can always trust Him to give us the resources and support that we need. Let’s strengthen our faith.

Destiny

Our destiny is to be in communion with God. The path to enlightenment is inevitable for all of us. All we can do is to make the journey longer by rebelling and acting childishly.

Let’s make the peregrination shorter and more enjoyable by working and doing our best 🙂

A little more

Reaching the highest level of illumination might sometimes seem like too big of a goal. The temptation to give up can be there at times.

But we need to know is that God never gives us a task too big for us to carry. We always receive the necessary resources and help.

We need to take it step by step. One little thing at a time. Every day a little more.

I find this message very comforting and encouraging:

Dear children, I would like to kindly ask of you:
a little more patience.
A little more tolerance.
A little more faith.
A little more hope.
A little more charity.
A little more spirituality.
A little more prayer.
A little more efforts.
A little more forgiveness.
A little more love.

It is not much, just a little bit more. Because with God, a little becomes a lot!
Bezerra de Menezes

Summary

To conclude this reflection, I would like to link to this beautifully moving video. On the occasion of Divaldo Franco’s 90th birthday, Haroldo Dutra Dias organised an interview with him, together with his friend Rossandro Klinjey. It is so amazing to see these three great examples.

Tirelessly working for 70 years for the well-being of mankind, Divaldo Franco explains his experience and mindset during all these years of service.

One sentence that stood out for me was when he said that when he got to know spiritism, he didn’t find a treasure map; he found found the treasure itself directly. And that since then, he never stopped spreading the good news and the comforting message of around the world.

This is such a beautiful example of love and dedication. It motivates me to try to be a little better every day, so that I can learn to be useful and use this treasure to help in any way possible.

To this, we should note that the question here is not about trying to convert others to our way of thinking. We should strive to help, comfort and enlighten when we can, firstly with our attitudes and then with our words.

Let the name of the LORD be praised, now and forevermore.

 
 

Bibliography

The Gospel According to Spiritism Kindle Edition
World English Bible

Divaldo Franco, 90 years! (Portuguese, captions can be auto-translated)
Artur Valadares – Duty (Portuguese)