364. The poor come into heaven not on account of their poverty but because of their life. Everyone's life follows him, whether he be rich or poor. There is no peculiar mercy for one in preference to another;# he that has lived well is received, while he that has not lived well is rejected. Moreover, poverty leads and draws man away from heaven just as much as wealth does. There are many among the poor who are not content with their lot, who strive after many things, and believe riches to be blessings;## and when they do not gain them are much provoked, and harbor ill thoughts about the Divine providence; they also envy others the good things they possess, and are as ready as any one to defraud others whenever they have opportunity, and to indulge in filthy pleasures. But this is not true of the poor who are content with their lot, and are careful and diligent in their work, who love labor better than idleness, and act sincerely and faithfully, and at the same time live a Christian life. I have now and then talked with those belonging to the peasantry and common people, who while living in the world believed in God and did what was just and right in their occupations. Since they had an affection for knowing truth they inquired about charity and about faith, having heard in this world much about faith and in the other life much about charity. They were therefore told that charity is everything that pertains to life, and faith everything that pertains to doctrine; consequently charity is willing and doing what is just and right in every work, and faith is thinking justly and rightly; and faith and charity are conjoined, the same as doctrine and a life in accordance with it, or the same as thought and will; and faith becomes charity when that which a man thinks justly and rightly he also wills and does, and then they are not two but one. This they well understood, and rejoiced, saying that in the world they did not understand believing to be anything else but living. # There can be no mercy apart from means, but only mercy through means, that is, to those who live in accordance with the commandments of the Lord; such the Lord by His mercy leads continually in the world, and afterwards to eternity (n. 8700, 10659). ## Dignities and riches are not real blessings, therefore they are granted both to the wicked and to the good (n. 8939, 10775, 10776). The real blessing is reception of love and faith from the Lord, and conjunction thereby, for this is the source of eternal happiness (n. 1420, 1422, 2846, 3017, 3406, 3504, 3514, 3530, 3565, 3584, 4216, 4981, 8939, 10495).