Archive for December 2015

27 December ― 16 Masá’il   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_2451O peoples of the world! Forsake all evil, hold fast that which is good. Strive to be shining examples unto all mankind, and true reminders of the virtues of God amidst men. He that riseth to serve My Cause should manifest My wisdom, and bend every effort to banish ignorance from the earth. Be united in counsel, be one in thought. Let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday. Man’s merit lieth in service and virtue and not in the pageantry of wealth and riches. Take heed that your words be purged from idle fancies and worldly desires and your deeds be cleansed from craftiness and suspicion. Dissipate not the wealth of your precious lives in the pursuit of evil and corrupt affection, nor let your endeavours be spent in promoting your personal interest. Be generous in your days of plenty, and be patient in the hour of loss. Adversity is followed by success and rejoicings follow woe. Guard against idleness and sloth, and cling unto that which profiteth mankind, whether young or old, whether high or low. Beware lest ye sow tares of dissension among men or plant thorns of doubt in pure and radiant hearts.

O ye beloved of the Lord! Commit not that which defileth the limpid stream of love or destroyeth the sweet fragrance of friendship. By the righteousness of the Lord! Ye were created to show love one to another and not perversity and rancour. Take pride not in love for yourselves but in love for your fellow-creatures. Glory not in love for your country, but in love for all mankind. Let your eye be chaste, your hand faithful, your tongue truthful and your heart enlightened. Abase not the station of the learned in Bahá and belittle not the rank of such rulers as administer justice amidst you. Set your reliance on the army of justice, put on the armour of wisdom, let your adorning be forgiveness and mercy and that which cheereth the hearts of the well-favoured of God.

         

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 138-139

Unlocking the Power of Action

EVENING:

IMG_2520It is Our wish and desire that every one of you may become a source of all goodness unto men, and an example of uprightness to mankind. Beware lest ye prefer yourselves above your neighbors. Fix your gaze upon Him Who is the Temple of God amongst men. He, in truth, hath offered up His life as a ransom for the redemption of the world. He, verily, is the All-Bountiful, the Gracious, the Most High. If any differences arise amongst you, behold Me standing before your face, and overlook the faults of one another for My name’s sake and as a token of your love for My manifest and resplendent Cause. We love to see you at all times consorting in amity and concord within the paradise of My good-pleasure, and to inhale from your acts the fragrance of friendliness and unity, of loving-kindness and fellowship.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 315

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

IMG_7750Strive ye by day and night to cultivate your unity to the fullest degree. Let your thoughts dwell on your own spiritual development, and close your eyes to the deficiencies of other souls. Act ye in such wise, showing forth pure and goodly deeds, and modesty and humility, that ye will cause others to be awakened. Never is it the wish of `Abdu’l-Bahá to see any being hurt, nor will He make anyone to grieve; for man can receive no greater gift than this, that he rejoice another’s heart. I beg of God that ye will be bringers of joy, even as are the angels in Heaven.

Selections from the Writings of `Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 203-204

FROM LETTERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF THE BELOVED GUARDIAN SHOGHI EFFENDI:

IMG_9840Not by merely imitating the excesses and laxity of the extravagant age they live in; not by the idle neglect of the sacred responsibilities it is their privilege to shoulder; not by the silent compromise of the principles dearly cherished by `Abdu’l-Bahá; not by their fear or unpopularity or their dread of censure can they hope to rouse society from its spiritual lethargy, and serve as a model to a civilization the foundations of which the corrosion of prejudice has well-nigh undermined. By the sublimity of their principles, the warmth of their love, the spotless purity of their character, and the depth of their devoutness and piety, let them demonstrate to their fellow-countrymen the ennobling reality of a power that shall weld a disrupted world. We can prove ourselves worthy of our Cause only if in our individual conduct and corporate life we sedulously imitate the example of our beloved Master, Whom the terrors of tyranny, the storms of incessant abuse, the oppressiveness of humiliation, never caused to deviate a hair’s breadth from the revealed Law of Bahá’u’lláh.

12 April 1927

Bahá’í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932, pp. 131-32

Shoghi Effendi would like you also to make all your effort to increase among the friends the spirit of unity and co-operation and to encourage the young believers to come into closer contact with the older generation of friends, so that through this harmonious co-operation the Cause may be given a further chance to develop and expand. The Faith needs both the experiences and the wisdom of age as well as the enthusiasm and the energy of youth. When all these qualities are harmoniously combined great results will be achieved.

8 August 1933, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

Unlocking the Power of Action

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

IMG_9599The main sequence of courses is organized so as to set the individual, whether Baha’i or not, on a path being defined by the accumulating experience of the community in its endeavour to open before humanity the vision of Baha’u’llah’s World Order.  The very notion of a path is, itself, indicative of the nature and purpose of the courses, for a path invites participation, it beckons to new horizons, it demands effort and movement, it accommodates different paces and strides, it is structured and defined.  A path can be experienced and known, not only by one or two but by scores upon scores; it belongs to the community.  To walk a path is a concept equally expressive.  It requires of the individual volition and choice; it calls for a set of skills and abilities but also elicits certain qualities and attitudes; it may seem easy at the outset but becomes more challenging further along.  And crucially, one walks the path in the company of others.

Letter to all National Spiritual Assemblies of 12 December 2011, p. 2, ¶4

26 December ― 15 Masá’il   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_9547Say: Take heed lest your devotions withhold you from Him Who is the object of all devotion, or your worship debar you from Him Who is the object of all worship. Rend asunder the veils of your idle fancies! This is your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, Who hath come to quicken the world and unite all who dwell on earth. Turn unto the Dayspring of Revelation, O people, and tarry not, be it for less than the twinkling of an eye. Read ye the Evangel and yet refuse to acknowledge the All-Glorious Lord? This indeed beseemeth you not, O concourse of learned men!

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 57

 

 EVENING:

IMG_0466Verily, it is enjoined upon you to offer a feast,

once in every month, though only water be served; for

God hath purposed to bind hearts together, albeit

through both earthly and heavenly means.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Aqdás, p. 40

FROM LETTERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

IMG_0456¶ 82 Verily, it is enjoined upon you to offer a feast, once

in every month # 57

This injunction has become the basis for the holding of

monthly Bahá’í festivities and as such constitutes the

ordination of the Nineteen Day Feast. In the Arabic Bayán

the Báb called upon His followers to gather together once

every nineteen days to show hospitality and fellowship.

Bahá’u’lláh here confirms this and notes the unifying role of

such occasions.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi after Him have

gradually unfolded the institutional significance of this

injunction. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá emphasized the importance of the

spiritual and devotional character of these gatherings.

IMG_9847Shoghi Effendi, besides further elaborating the devotional

and social aspects of the Feast, has developed the

administrative element of such gatherings and, in systematically

instituting the Feast, has provided for a period of

consultation on the affairs of the Bahá’í community,

including the sharing of news and messages.

In answer to a question as to whether this injunction is

obligatory, Bahá’u’lláh stated it was not (Q and A 48). Shoghi

Effendi in a letter written on his behalf further comments:

Attendance at Nineteen Day Feasts is not obligatory

but very important, and every believer should consider it

a duty and privilege to be present on such occasions.

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 202

25 December ― 14 Masá’il   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_1140Consider likewise, how numerous at this time are the monks who have secluded themselves in their churches, calling upon the Spirit, but when He appeared through the power of Truth, they failed to draw nigh unto Him and are numbered with those that have gone far astray. Happy are they that have abandoned them and set their faces towards Him Who is the Desire of all that are in the heavens and all that are on the earth.

They read the Evangel and yet refuse to acknowledge the All-Glorious Lord, notwithstanding that He hath come through the potency of His exalted, His mighty and gracious dominion. We, verily, have come for your sakes, and have borne the misfortunes of the world for your salvation. Flee ye the One Who hath sacrificed His life that ye may be quickened? Fear God, O followers of the Spirit, and walk not in the footsteps of every divine that hath gone far astray. Do ye imagine that He seeketh His own interests, when He hath, at all times, been threatened by the swords of the enemies; or that He seeketh the vanities of the world, after He hath been imprisoned in the most desolate of cities? Be fair in your judgement and follow not the footsteps of the unjust.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 10

 

 EVENING:

IMG_1172Open the doors of your hearts. He Who is the Spirit verily standeth before them. Wherefore banish ye Him Who hath purposed to draw you nigh unto a Resplendent Spot? Say: We, in truth, have opened unto you the gates of the Kingdom. Will ye bar the doors of your houses in My face? This indeed is naught but a grievous error. He, verily, hath again come down from heaven, even as He came down from it the first time. Beware lest ye dispute that which He proclaimeth, even as the people before you disputed His utterances. Thus instructeth you the True One, could ye but perceive it.

The river Jordan is joined to the Most Great Ocean, and the Son, in the holy vale, crieth out: ‘Here am I, here am I O Lord, my God!’, whilst Sinai circleth round the House, and the Burning Bush calleth aloud: ‘He Who is the Desired One is come in His transcendent majesty.’ Say, Lo! The Father is come, and that which ye were promised in the Kingdom is fulfilled! This is the Word which the Son concealed, when to those around Him He said: ‘Ye cannot bear it now.’ And when the appointed time was fulfilled and the Hour had struck, the Word shone forth above the horizon of the Will of God. Beware, O followers of the Son, that ye cast it not behind your backs. Take ye fast hold of it. Better is this for you than all that ye possess. Verily He is nigh unto them that do good. The Hour which We had concealed from the knowledge of the peoples of the earth and of the favoured angels hath come to pass. Say, verily, He hath testified of Me, and I do testify of Him. Indeed, He hath purposed no one other than Me. Unto this beareth witness every fair-minded and understanding soul.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 11

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE CAUSE  ‘ABDU’L-BAHA:

IMG_1145Thou didst begin thy letter with a blessed phrase, saying: ‘I am a Christian.’ O would that all were truly Christian! It is easy to be a Christian on the tongue, but hard to be a true one. Today some five hundred million souls are Christian, but the real Christian is very rare: he is that soul from whose comely face there shineth the splendour of Christ, and who showeth forth the perfections of the Kingdom; this is a matter of great moment, for to be a Christian is to embody every excellence there is. I hope that thou, too, shalt become a true Christian. Praise thou God that at last, through the divine teachings, thou hast obtained both sight and insight to the highest degree, and hast become firmly rooted in certitude and faith. It is my hope that others as well will achieve illumined eyes and hearing ears, and attain to everlasting life: that these many rivers, each flowing along in diverse and separated beds, will find their way back to the circumambient sea, and merge together and rise up in a single wave of surging oneness; that the unity of truth, through the power of God, will make these illusory differences to vanish away. This is the one essential: for if unity be gained, all other problems will disappear of themselves.

Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp: 29-30

FROM THE HOLY BIBLE, THE GOSPEL OF SAINT JOHN [King James Version, 1604-1611]:

IMG_1176

16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

 

24 December ― 13 Masá’il   Leave a comment

MORNING:

In like manner, when the hour of the Revelation of Jesus drew nigh, a few of the Magi, aware that the star of Jesus had appeared in heaven, sought and followed it, till they came unto the city which was the seat of the Kingdom of Herod. The sway of his sovereignty in those days embraced the whole of that land.

These Magi said: “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east and are come to worship Him!”* When they had searched, they found out that in Bethlehem, in the land of Judea, the Child had been born. This was the sign that was manifested in the visible heaven. As to the sign in the invisible heaven — the heaven of divine knowledge and understanding — it was Yahya, son of Zachariah, who gave unto the people the tidings of the Manifestation of Jesus. Even as He hath revealed: “God announceth Yahya to thee, who shall bear witness unto the Word from God, and a great one and chaste.”** By the term “Word” is meant Jesus, Whose coming Yahya foretold. Moreover, in the heavenly Scriptures it is written: “John the Baptist was preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”*** By John is meant Yahya.

    * Matthew 2:2

  ** Qur’án 3:39

*** Matthew 3:1-2

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp: 64-65

 

 EVENING:

Bethlehem is astir with the Breeze of God. We hear her voice saying: ‘O most generous Lord! Where is Thy great glory established? The sweet savours of Thy presence have quickened me, after I had melted in my separation from Thee. Praised be Thou in that Thou hast raised the veils, and come with power in evident glory.’ We called unto her from behind the Tabernacle of Majesty and Grandeur: ‘O Bethlehem! This Light hath risen in the orient, and travelled towards the occident, until it reached  97  thee in the evening of its life. Tell Me then: Do the sons recognize the Father, and acknowledge Him, or do they deny Him, even as the people aforetime denied Him (Jesus)?’ Whereupon she cried out saying: ‘Thou art, in truth, the All-Knowing, the Best-Informed.’

Consider, likewise, how numerous at this time are the monks who have secluded themselves in their churches, in My name, and who, when the appointed time came, and We unveiled to them Our beauty, failed to recognize Me, notwithstanding that they call upon Me at dawn and at eventide.

Read ye the Evangel and yet refuse to acknowledge the All-Glorious Lord? This indeed beseemeth you not, O concourse of learned men!… The fragrances of the All-Merciful have wafted over all creation. Happy the man that hath forsaken his desires, and taken fast hold of guidance.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 96-97

FROM THE HOLY BIBLE, THE GOSPEL OF SAINT LUKE [King James Version, 1604-1611]:

 

2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the Glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, His name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

23 December ― 12 Masá’il   Leave a comment

MORNING:

O SON OF EARTH!

Know, verily, the heart wherein the least remnant of envy yet lingers, shall never attain My everlasting dominion, nor inhale the sweet savors of holiness breathing from My kingdom of sanctity.

O MY SERVANT!

Purge thy heart from malice and, innocent of envy, enter the divine court of holiness.

 —His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Persian Hidden Words, #6, #42, respectively

 

 EVENING:

Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility. We pray God to protect thee from the heat of jealousy and the cold of hatred. He verily is nigh, ready to answer.” Thus hath My tongue spoken unto one of My Branches (sons), and We have mentioned it unto such of Our loved ones as have cast away their idle fancies, and clung unto that which hath been prescribed unto them in the day whereon the Daystar of Certitude hath shone forth above the horizon of the will of God, the Lord of the worlds. This is the day on which the Bird of Utterance hath warbled its melody upon the branches, in the name of its Lord, the God of Mercy. Blessed is the man that hath, on the wings of longing, soared towards God, the Lord of the Judgment Day.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp: 93-94

 

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

IMG_2733

Verily the Cause is great and great! Regiments and regiments enter therein! Some people must necessarily turn their backs upon it, on account of their lack of sincerity in the Cause of God and for their selfishness and egotism.

O maid-servant of God! A pure sea doth not accept a dead body, therefore the waves will necessarily throw the dead finally upon the shores.

O maid-servant of God! When some souls turn away from the love of God, there is no harm therein. Did not Judas Iscariot, the chief of the apostles, turn away on account of jealousy for Peter the apostle? Likewise, some people must necessarily turn away on account of jealousy for others.

As to thee: Consider the predecessors as a warning to posterity and purify thy heart from all else save God, under all circumstances. When thou wast in Acca we pointed this out to thee.

O maid-servant of God! Whenever sorrows and afflictions grow violent toward thee, remember that which we told thee during thy presence in these lands; then thy sorrows shall be removed and thy heart shall become dilated through the fragrances of God in these days.

Be thou rejoiced at the glad-tidings of God! Be as a globe of fire from which the heat of the love of God will be diffused. Sanctify thyself from the grades of this world, be purified from the superstitions of people and be characterized with spiritual qualities. Be thou a mountain of quiescence, a sign of meekness, a sea of patience, a light of love, a standard of utter separation (from all else save God), so that thou mayest become everlasting in the Kingdom of God.

The light shall surely encompass the maid-servants who are attracted by the fragrances of God and it will shine forth from their faces upon all regions.

O maid-servant of God! Let thy joy and happiness be increased every moment through the light of God.

Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, pp: 290-291

22 December ― 11 Masá’il   Leave a comment

MORNING:

The ninth Glad-Tidings When the sinner findeth himself wholly detached and freed from all save God, he should beg forgiveness and pardon from Him. Confession of sins and transgressions before human beings is not permissible, as it hath never been nor will ever be conducive to divine forgiveness. Moreover such confession before people results in one’s humiliation and abasement, and God — exalted be His glory — wisheth not the humiliation of His servants. Verily He is the Compassionate, the Merciful. The sinner should, between himself and God, implore mercy from the Ocean of mercy, beg forgiveness from the Heaven of generosity and say:

O God, my God! I implore Thee by the blood of Thy true lovers who were so enraptured by Thy sweet utterance that they hastened unto the Pinnacle of Glory, the site of the most glorious martyrdom, and I beseech Thee by the mysteries which lie enshrined in Thy knowledge and by the pearls that are treasured in the ocean of Thy bounty to grant forgiveness unto me and unto my father and my mother. Of those who show forth mercy, Thou art in truth the Most Merciful. No God is there but Thee, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Bountiful.

O Lord! Thou seest this essence of sinfulness turning unto the ocean of Thy favour and this feeble one seeking the kingdom of Thy divine power and this poor creature inclining himself towards the day-star of Thy wealth. By Thy mercy and Thy grace, disappoint him not, O Lord, nor debar him from the revelations of Thy bounty in Thy days, nor cast him away from Thy door which Thou hast opened wide to all that dwell in Thy heaven and on Thine earth.

Alas! Alas! My sins have prevented me from approaching the Court of Thy holiness and my trespasses have caused me to stray far from the Tabernacle of Thy majesty. I have committed that which Thou didst forbid me to do and have put away what Thou didst order me to observe.

I pray Thee by Him Who is the sovereign Lord of Names to write down for me with the Pen of Thy bounty that which will enable me to draw nigh unto Thee and will purge me from my trespasses which have intervened between me and Thy forgiveness and Thy pardon.

Verily, Thou art the Potent, the Bountiful. No God is there but Thee, the Mighty, the Gracious.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp:. 24-25

 

 

 EVENING:

The thirteenth Glad-Tidings

The men of God’s House of Justice have been charged with the affairs of the people. They, in truth, are theTrustees of God among His servants and the daysprings of authority in His countries.

O people of God! That which traineth the world is Justice, for it is upheld by two pillars, reward and punishment. These two pillars are the sources of life to the world. Inasmuch as for each day there is a new problem and for every problem an expedient solution, such affairs should be referred to the Ministers of the House of Justice that they may act according to the needs and requirements of the time. They that, for the sake of God, arise to serve His Cause, are the recipients of divine inspiration from the unseen Kingdom. It is incumbent upon all to be obedient unto them. All matters of State should be referred to the House of Justice, but acts of worship must be observed according to that which God hath revealed in His Book.

O people of Bahá! Ye are the dawning-places of the love of God and the daysprings of His loving-kindness. Defile not your tongues with the cursing and reviling of any soul, and guard your eyes against that which is not seemly. Set forth that which ye possess. If it be favourably received, your end is attained; if not, to protest is vain. Leave that soul to himself and turn unto the Lord, the Protector, the Self-Subsisting. Be not the cause of grief, much less of discord and strife. The hope is cherished that ye may obtain true education in the shelter of the tree of His tender mercies and act in accordance with that which God desireth. Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the drops of one ocean.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp:26-27

21 December ― 10 Masá’il   Leave a comment

MORNING:

The fifth Glad-Tidings

IMG_9576In every country where any of this people reside, they must behave towards the government of that country with loyalty, honesty and truthfulness. This is that which hath been revealed at the behest of Him Who is the Ordainer, the Ancient of Days.

It is binding and incumbent upon the peoples of the world, one and all, to extend aid unto this momentous Cause which is come from the heaven of the Will of the ever-abiding God, that perchance the fire of animosity which blazeth in the hearts of some of the peoples of the earth may, through the living waters of divine wisdom and by virtue of heavenly counsels and exhortations, be quenched, and the light of unity and concord may shine forth and shed its radiance upon the world.

We cherish the hope that through the earnest endeavours of such as are the exponents of the power of God — exalted be His glory — the weapons of war throughout the world may be converted into instruments of reconstruction and that strife and conflict may be removed from the midst of men.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 22-23

 

 

 EVENING:

IMG_9591It is incumbent upon every man, in this Day, to hold fast unto whatsoever will promote the interests, and exalt the station, of all nations and just governments. Through each and every one of the verses which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed, the doors of love and unity have been unlocked and flung open to the face of men. We have erewhile declared — and Our Word is the truth — : ‘Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.’ Whatsoever hath led the children of men to shun one another, and hath caused dissensions and divisions amongst them, hath, through the revelation of these words, been nullified and abolished. From the heaven of God’s Will, and for the purpose of ennobling the world of being and of elevating the minds and souls of men, hath been sent down that which is the most effective instrument for the education of the whole human race. The highest essence and most perfect expression of whatsoever the peoples of old have either said or written hath, through this most potent Revelation, been sent down from the heaven of the Will of the All-Possessing, the Ever-Abiding God. Of old it hath been revealed: ‘Love of one’s country is an element of the Faith of God.’ The Tongue of Grandeur hath, however, in the day of His manifestation proclaimed: ‘It is not his to boast who loveth his country, but it is his who loveth the world.’ Through the power released by these exalted words He hath lent a fresh impulse and set a new direction to the birds of men’s hearts, and hath obliterated every trace of restriction and limitation from God’s holy Book.

This Wronged One hath forbidden the people of God to engage in contention or conflict and hath exhorted them to righteous deeds and praiseworthy character. In this day the hosts that can ensure the victory of the Cause are those of goodly conduct and saintly character. Blessed are they who firmly adhere unto them and woe betide such as turn away therefrom.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 87-88

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE CONVENANT ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

IMG_5230

Unity is love. It cannot be established without love. Therefore try, as far as possible, to be filled with love. Love is perpetual life, the most perfect vitality. Consider how love has gathered us together from the East and the West! If there were no love between us our friendship would have been concluded with salutations, such as “Good morning” and “Good evening.” Love draws us in friendship to the people of every race and religion. He is a Baha’i, of the people of Baha, from whom we breathe the fragrance of this love again. …

The highest love is independent of any personal advantages which we may draw from the love of the friend. If you love truly, your love for your friend will continue, even if he treats you ill. A man who really loves God, will love Him whether he be ill, or sad, or unfortunate. He does not love God because He has created him — his life may be full of disassociations and miseries. He does not love God because He has given him health or wealth, because these may disappear at any moment. He does not love Him because He has given him the strength of youth, because old age will surely come upon him. The reason for his love is not because he is grateful for certain mercies and benefits. No! The lover of God desires and adores Him because He is perfection and because of His perfections. Love should be the very essence of love, and not dependent on outward manifestations.

A moth loves the light, though his wings are burnt. Though his wings are singed, he throws himself against the flame. He does not love the light because it has conferred some benefit upon him. Therefore he hovers round the light, though he sacrifices his wings.

This is the highest degree of love. Without this abandonment, this ecstasy love is imperfect.

The lover of God loves Him for Himself, not for his own sake.
Words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá quoted in Fortnightly Review, June, 1911; Star of the West, vol. VIII, no. 9, August 20, 1917

19 December ― 8 Masá’il   Leave a comment

6:2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

The Holy Bible; 1 Timothy

MORNING:

IMG_2701It is also recorded in the Gospel according to St. Luke, that on a certain day Jesus passed by a Jew who was sick of the palsy, and lay upon a couch. When the Jew saw Him, he recognized Him, and cried out for His help. Jesus said unto him: “Arise from thy bed; thy sins are forgiven thee.” Certain of the Jews, standing by, protested saying: “Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” And immediately He perceived their thoughts, Jesus answering said unto them: “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, arise, and take up thy bed, and walk; or to say, thy sins are forgiven thee? that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins.”* This is the real sovereignty, and such is the power of God’s chosen Ones! All these things which We have repeatedly mentioned, and the details which We have cited from divers sources, have no other purpose but to enable thee to grasp the meaning of the allusions in the utterances of the chosen Ones of God, lest certain of these utterances cause thy feet to falter and thy heart to be dismayed.

* Luke 5:18-26

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp; 133-134

EVENING:

IMG_2705Thus with steadfast steps we may tread the Path of certitude, that perchance the breeze that bloweth from the meads of the good-pleasure of God may waft upon us the sweet savours of divine acceptance, and cause us, vanishing mortals that we are, to attain unto the Kingdom of everlasting glory. Then wilt thou comprehend the inner meaning of sovereignty and the like, spoken of in the traditions and scriptures. Furthermore, it is already evident and known unto thee that those things to which the Jews and the Christians have clung, and the cavilings which they heaped upon the Beauty of Muḥammad, the same have in this day been upheld by the people of the Qur’án, and been witnessed in their denunciations of the “Point of the Bayán” — may the souls of all that dwell within the kingdom of divine Revelations be a sacrifice unto Him! Behold their folly: they utter the self-same words, uttered by the Jews of old, and know it not! How well and true are His words concerning them: “Leave them to entertain themselves with their cavilings!”1 “As Thou livest, O Muḥammad! they are seized by the frenzy of their vain fancies.”2

1Qur’án 6:91

2 Qur’án 15:72

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp; 134-135

FROM THE HOLY BIBLE [KING JAMES VERSION [1604-1611] THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT LUKE:

5:18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before Him.

5:19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

5:20 And when he saw their faith, He said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

5:21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? 5:22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? 5:23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 5:24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (He said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

5:25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

5:26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

18 December ― 7 Masá’il   Leave a comment

MORNING:

O SON OF DUST!

All that is in heaven and earth I have ordained for thee, except the human heart, which I have made the habitation of My beauty and glory; yet thou didst give My home and dwelling to another than Me; and whenever the manifestation of My holiness sought His own abode, a stranger found He there, and, homeless, hastened unto the sanctuary of the Beloved. Notwithstanding I have concealed thy secret and desired not thy shame.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Persian Hidden Words, #22

 EVENING:

O SON OF DESIRE!

The learned and the wise have for long years striven and failed to attain the presence of the All-Glorious; they have spent their lives in search of Him, yet did not behold the beauty of His countenance. Thou without the least effort didst attain thy goal, and without search hast obtained the object of thy quest. Yet, notwithstanding, thou didst remain so wrapt in the veil of self, that thine eyes beheld not the beauty of the Beloved, nor did thy hand touch the hem of His robe. Ye that have eyes, behold and wonder.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Persian Hidden Words, #22

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

O thou who art attracted by a breath that passed upon thee from the Holy Garden, the Blessed Spot — the paradise of El-Abhá!

I have read thy brilliant letter, which although short in words yet is loquacious, and shows thy firmness in the Covenant of God, thy steadfastness in the religion of God, thy adherence to the laws of God, and thine energy which thou hast shown towards the doctrines of God. Thou hast done well. Thou hast done well, O thou shining star in the Horizon of El-Abhá! Well done! Well done! O thou burning candle in the glass of that remote country!

It hath been reported by . . . that thou hast rendered valuable services to the vineyard of God and His beloved servants, that thou art encouraging the shaking hearts and making them more firm and solid, and about the facilitations thou hast made for the promotion of the utterances of God amongst the people. By the life of God! the angels of heaven magnify thee, the Supreme Concourse praise thee, the party of the Kingdom of El-Abhá announce to thee the glad-tidings and the hosts of the unseen assist thee and render thee victorious through the banners of Bahá’í….

Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 239

 

FROM LETTERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF THE BELOVED GUARDIAN OF THE FAITH, SHOGHI EFFENDI:

When a person becomes a Bahá’í, actually what takes place is that the seed of the spirit starts to grow in the human soul. This seed must be watered by the outpourings of the Holy Spirit. These gifts of the spirit are received through prayer, meditation, study of the Holy Utterances and service to the Cause of God. The fact of the matter is that service in the Cause is like the plough which ploughs the physical soil when seeds are sown. It is necessary that the soil be ploughed up, so that it can be enriched, and thus cause a stronger growth of the seed. In exactly the same way the evolution of the spirit takes place through ploughing up the soil of the heart so that it is a constant reflection of the Holy Spirit. In this way the human spirit grows and develops by leaps and bounds.

Naturally there will be periods of distress and difficulty, and even severe tests; but if that person turns firmly toward the divine Manifestation, studies carefully His spiritual teachings and receives the blessings of the Holy Spirit, he will find that in reality these tests and difficulties have been the gifts of God to enable him to grow and develop. Thus you might look upon your own difficulties in the path of service. They are the means of your spirit growing and developing. You will suddenly find that you have conquered many of the problems which upset you, and then you will wonder why they should have troubled you at all. An individual must center his whole heart and mind on service to the Cause, in accordance with the high standards set by Bahá’u’lláh. When this is done, the Hosts of the Supreme Concourse will come to the assistance of the individual, and every difficulty and trial will gradually be overcome.

From a letter dated 6 October 1954 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

Living the Life, Item #1334

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

“…Contributing to the Fund is a service that every believer can render, be he poor or wealthy; for this is a spiritual responsibility in which the amount given is not important. It is the degree of the sacrifice of the giver, the love with which he makes his gift, and the unity of all the friends in this service which bring spiritual confirmations….

“Much of the present rapid expansion of the Faith is taking place in areas of great poverty where the believers, however much they sacrifice, cannot produce sufficient funds to sustain the work. It is these very areas which are the most fruitful in teaching, and a sum of money spent here will produce ten times–even a hundred times–the results obtainable in other parts of the world. Yet in the past months the Universal House of Justice has had to refuse a number of appeals for assistance from such areas because there just was not enough money in the International Fund.

“It should therefore be the aim of every local and national community to become not only self-supporting, but to expend its funds with such wisdom and economy as to be able to contribute substantially to the Bahá’í International Fund, thus enabling the House of Justice to aid the work in fruitful but impoverished areas, to assist new National Assemblies to start their work, to contribute to major international undertakings….”

From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to Bahá’ís of the East and West, December 18, 1963: Wellspring of Guidance, pp. 19-20

Lights of Guidance Part 4, pp:250-251

17 December ― 6 Masá’il   Leave a comment

All the prophets have striven to make love manifest in the hearts of men. His Holiness Jesus Christ sought to create this love in the hearts. He suffered all difficulties and ordeals that perchance the human heart might become the fountain-source of love. Therefore we must strive with all our heart and soul that this love may take possession of us so that all humanity whether it be in the east or in the west may be connected through the bond of this divine affection; for we are all the waves of one sea; we have come into being through the same bestowal and are recipients from the same center. The lights of earth are all acceptable, but the center of effulgence is the sun and we must direct our gaze to the sun. God is the supreme center. The more we turn toward this center of light, the greater will be our capacity.

IMG_1140

 

His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Bahá’í World Faith, pp: 218-219

 

MORNING:

It is recorded in a tradition that of the entire concourse of the Christians no more than seventy people embraced the Faith of the Apostle of God. The blame falleth upon their doctors, for if these had believed, they would have been followed by the mass of their countrymen. Behold, then, that which hath come to pass! The learned men of Christendom are held to be learned by virtue of their safeguarding the teaching of Christ, and yet consider how they themselves have been the cause of men’s failure to accept the Faith and attain unto salvation! Is it still thy wish to follow in their footsteps? The followers of Jesus submitted to their clerics to be saved on the Day of Resurrection, and as a result of this obedience they eventually entered into the fire, and on the Day when the Apostle of God appeared they shut themselves out from the recognition of His exalted Person. Dost thou desire to follow such divines?

 

Nay, by God, be thou neither a divine without discernment nor a follower without discernment, for both of these shall perish on the Day of Resurrection. Rather it behooveth thee to be a discerning divine, or to walk with insight in the way of God by obeying a true leader of religion.

His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp: 123-124

EVENING:

IMG_1145In every nation thou beholdest unnumbered spiritual leaders who are bereft of true discernment, and among every people thou dost encounter myriads of adherents who are devoid of the same characteristic. Ponder for a while in thy heart, have pity on thyself and turn not aside thine attention from proofs and evidences. However, seek not proofs and evidences after thine idle fancy; but rather base thy proofs upon what God hath appointed. Moreover, know thou that neither being a man of learning nor being a follower is in itself a source of glory. If thou art a man of learning, thy knowledge becometh an honour, and if thou art a follower, thine adherence unto leadership becometh an honour, only when these conform to the good-pleasure of God. And beware lest thou regard as an idle fancy the good-pleasure of God; it is the same as the good-pleasure of His Messenger. Consider the followers of Jesus. They were eagerly seeking the good-pleasure of God, yet none of them attained the good-pleasure of His Apostle which is identical with God’s good-pleasure, except such as embraced His Faith.

His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 124

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT ‘ABDU’L-BAHA:

O thou who art uttering the mention of God!

Know, that the pure hearts upon which the mysteries of the Kingdom of God are printed and pictured, are reflections one upon another and thus the one can discover the secrets of the other, because such hearts are only mirrors confronting each other on which the secrets of unity, affinity and concord are printed and reflected. Accordingly, it would be possible that a certain servant of the servants of the Merciful might discover a treasured mystery or a preserved sign, whatever his shortcomings or defects might be; yet we do indeed rely upon God the Forgiver. I supplicate Him to deliver us from the pangs of lust and its dangers and from the destructive conditions of passion.

Verily, I do testify that thine heart is moved by the fragrance of the love of God, that thy memory is a fountain overflowing with the water of the knowledge of God. Therefore, finish the poem which thou art composing and send it here, that through reading it the breast of the believers may be refreshed and dilated with joy.

Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 669