Archive for December 2016

30 December ― 19 Masá’il   Leave a comment

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MORNING:

The whole duty of man in this Day is to attain that share of the flood of grace which God poureth forth for him. Let none, therefore, consider the largeness or smallness of the receptacle. The portion of some might lie in the palm of a man’s hand, the portion of others might fill a cup, and of others even a gallon-measure.

Every eye, in this Day, should seek what will best promote the Cause of God. He, Who is the Eternal Truth, beareth Me witness! Nothing whatsoever can, in this Day, inflict a greater harm upon this Cause than dissension and strife, contention, estrangement and apathy, among the loved ones of God. Flee them, through the power of God and His sovereign aid, and strive ye to knit together the hearts of men, in His Name, the Unifier, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

Beseech ye the one true God to grant that ye may taste the savor of such deeds as are performed in His path, and partake of the sweetness of such humility and submissiveness as are shown for His sake. Forget your own selves, and turn your eyes towards your neighbor. Bend your energies to whatever may foster the education of men. Nothing is, or can ever be, hidden from God. If ye follow in His way, His incalculable and imperishable blessings will be showered upon you. This is the luminous Tablet, whose verses have streamed from the moving Pen of Him Who is the Lord of all worlds. Ponder it in your hearts, and be ye of them that observe its precepts.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh: 8-9

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EVENING:

Thou art surely aware of their idle contention, that all Revelation is ended, that the portals of Divine mercy are closed, that from the day springs of eternal holiness no Sun shall rise again, that the Ocean of everlasting bounty is forever stilled, and that out of the Tabernacle of ancient glory the Messengers of God have ceased to be made manifest. Such is the measure of the understanding of these small-minded, contemptible people. These people have imagined that the flow of God’s all-encompassing grace and plenteous mercies, the cessation of which no mind can contemplate, has been halted. From every side they have risen and girded up the loins of tyranny, and exerted the utmost endeavor to quench with the bitter waters of their vain fancy the flame of God’s Burning Bush, oblivious that the globe of power shall, within its own mighty stronghold, protect the Lamp of God….

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 23

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

One of the proofs and demonstrations of the existence of God is the fact that man did not create himself: nay, his creator and designer is another than himself.

It is certain and indisputable that the creator of man is not like man because a powerless creature cannot create another being. The maker, the creator, has to possess all perfections in order that he may create.

Can the creation be perfect and the creator imperfect? Can a picture be a masterpiece and the painter imperfect in his art? For it is his art and his creation. Moreover, the picture cannot be like the painter; otherwise, the painting would have created itself. However perfect the picture may be, in comparison with the painter it is in the utmost degree of imperfection.

The contingent world is the source of imperfections: God is the origin of perfections. The imperfections of the contingent world are in themselves a proof of the perfections of God.

For example, when you look at man, you see that he is weak. This very weakness of the creature is a proof of the power of the Eternal Almighty One, because, if there were no power, weakness could not be imagined. Then the weakness of the creature is a proof of the power of God; for if there were no power, there could be no weakness; so from this weakness it becomes evident that there is power in the world. Again, in the contingent world there is poverty; then necessarily wealth exists, since poverty is apparent in the world. In the contingent world there is ignorance; necessarily knowledge exists, because ignorance is found; for if there were no knowledge, neither would there be ignorance. Ignorance is the nonexistence of knowledge, and if there were no existence, nonexistence could not be realized.

Some Answered Questions, pp: 5-6

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29 December ― 18 Masá’il   Leave a comment

Praise be to God, thou art severed from all else save the Heavenly Father. Thou hast been of the earth — thou art now of the Kingdom. Thou hast been of the world — thou art now of the Realm of Might. Thou art spreading the divine Teachings. Thank thou God, thou art bearing trials in the path of the Kingdom and art enduring persecutions and sufferings. These afflictions are conducive to the spiritual development and the descent of the Holy Spirit.

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His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 223

 

 

MORNING:

How vast the number of the loved and chosen ones of God who have lamented and moaned by day and by night that haply a sweet and fragrant breeze might blow from the court of His good-pleasure and dispel altogether the loathsome and foul-smelling odours from the world. However, this ultimate goal could not be attained, and men were deprived thereof by virtue of their evil deeds, which brought upon them the retribution of God, in accordance with the basic principles of His divine rule. Ours is the duty to remain patient in these circumstances until relief be forthcoming from God, the Forgiving, the Bountiful.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 176

IMG_2867EVENING:

It behoveth thee, however, to exert thine utmost to attain the very essence of fidelity. This implieth to be well assured in thy heart and to testify with thy tongue to that whereunto God hath testified for His Own exalted Self, proclaiming: ‘Verily, self-subsisting am I within the Realm of Glory.’ Whoso is enabled in these days to solemnly affirm this truth, hath attained unto all good, and the heavenly Spirit shall descend upon him in the daytime and in the night season, shall graciously assist him to glorify the Name of his Lord and suffer him to unloose his tongue and uphold with his words the Cause of his Lord, the Merciful, the Compassionate. And none can ever achieve this except he who hath purged his heart from whatsoever is created between heaven and earth, and hath entirely detached himself from all but God, the sovereign Lord, the Almighty, the Gracious.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 181-182

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

“The main purpose is that all should be wholly attached to the Cause of God. They should not suppose that the greatness of number is necessary to accomplish the Mission of the Cause. Nay, I swear by God, than whom there is no other God, that if five persons arise and act wholly and literally in accord with the laws and commandments of the Blessed Perfection, they would equal five million souls in efficiency, Thus, the believers must adorn themselves with good deeds and pure actions, and obey the Law.” Then pointing to the lamp in the room, He said: “This lamp is efficient through its light, so the light of men is their deeds. To be brief: Whatever may happen in ‘Akká, the believers throughout the world must not become lax in their duties; nay, they must serve the Cause which is of the utmost importance. When His Holiness the Spirit (Christ) was martyred, the only one who was not disturbed at all was Mary Magdalene. For the rest of the disciples were confused and discouraged. When Mary became a believer, and fell upon the feet of Christ, although she was a villager of no good repute, Christ did not withhold His feet from her. This caused many of His followers, as well as many among the Jews, to turn away from Him. But Christ heeded them not, and said to Mary: ‘Arise, thy sins are forgiven.’ Then Mary arose and repented; and from that time on devoted herself to the service the Cause. Mary had a friend among the Roman officers (who at that time were Masters of the Holy Lands). He was the one who protected her from enemies after the death of Christ. When she had brought the disciples together and confirmed them in the service and inspired them with courage after the Crucifixion, she herself went to Rome into the presence of the Emperor. How marvellous indeed were the words she spoke to him! She said to the Emperor: ‘I have come in behalf of the Christians to bring to your notice the fact that Herod and Pilate martyred the Christ at the instigation of the Jews. But now they have both repented of their deed. For they were Roman Governors and to them Jews and Christians made no difference. For, indeed it was not the Romans, but the Jews who were the chief antagonists of Christ. Now that they have realized the wrong they have done and have repented, they are engaged in punishing and suppressing the Jews for instigating them to commit this act. But I have come to appeal to the Emperor to prevent Herod and Pilate from punishing the Jews. For neither Christ nor we Christians are pleased that the Romans punish the Jews because of their condemnation of Christ!’ The Emperor was greatly impressed by these words, and he praised Mary highly. This was why in those days the Christians did not suffer persecutions in those lands, and engaged in spreading the Gospel.

“Later the Roman officer who protected Mary asked her to marry him. She answered that, as a follower of Christ, she would not marry him unless he believed in Christ also. Thus he was converted and then joined to Mary according to the ceremonies of a Christian marriage. By relating this, it was meant to illustrate the steadfastness and firmness which was manifested by Mary after Christ’s Crucifixion. Now the beloved of God must live up to their own duties and serve the Cause, and they must continue firm and steadfast no matter what may happen in ‘Akká. They must gaze toward the horizon of the Cause and obey the Laws or Bahá’u’lláh.”

1906 Pilgrim Notes of ‘Alí Kuli Khan

by ‘Alí Kuli Khan

edited by David Merrick.
first written or published 1907

Alí Kuli Khan 1906 Pilgrim Notes, pp: 55-57

28 December ― 17 Masá’il   Leave a comment

Make me ready, in all circumstances, O my Lord, to serve Thee and to set myself towards the adored sanctuary of Thy Revelation and of Thy Beauty. If it be Thy pleasure, make me to grow as a tender herb in the meadows of Thy grace, that the gentle winds of Thy will may stir me up and bend me into conformity with Thy pleasure, in such wise that my movement and my stillness may be wholly directed by Thee.

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His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

  Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 240

 

IMG_1089MORNING:

Say: We have caused the rivers of Divine utterance to proceed out of Our throne, that the tender herbs of wisdom and understanding may spring forth from the soil of your hearts. Will ye not be thankful? They who disdain to worship their Lord shall be of those who are cast off. And oft as Our verses are rehearsed unto them, they persist in proud disdain, and in their gross violation of His law, and know it not. As for them who have disbelieved in Him, they shall be in the shadow of a black smoke. “The Hour” hath come upon them, while they are disporting themselves. They have been seized by their forelock, and yet know it not.

The thing that must come hath come suddenly; behold how they flee from it! The inevitable hath come to pass; witness how they have cast it behind their backs! This is the Day whereon every man will fly from himself, how much more from his kindred, could ye but perceive it. Say: By God! The blast hath been blown on the trumpet, and lo, mankind hath swooned away before us! The Herald hath cried out, and the Summoner raised His voice saying: “The Kingdom is God’s, the Most Powerful, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.”

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 43-44

IMG_8594EVENING:

Open ye your eyes, and consider His clear evidence. Paradise is on your right hand, and hath been brought nigh unto you, while Hell hath been made to blaze. Witness its devouring flame. Haste ye to enter into Paradise, as a token of Our mercy unto you, and drink ye from the hands of the All-Merciful the Wine that is life indeed.

Drink with healthy relish, O people of Bahá. Ye are indeed they with whom it shall be well. This is what they who have near access to God have attained. This is the flowing water ye were promised in the Qur’án, and later in the Bayán, as a recompense from your Lord, the God of Mercy. Blessed are they that quaff it.

O My servant that hath turned thy face towards Me! Render thanks unto God for having sent down unto thee this Tablet in this Prison, that thou mayest remind the people of the days of thy Lord, the All-Glorious, the All-Knowing. Thus have We established for thee, through the waters of Our wisdom and utterance, the foundations of thy belief. This, verily, is the water whereon the Throne of thy Lord hath been raised. “His Throne had stood upon the waters.” Ponder this in thine heart, that thou mayest comprehend its meaning. Say: Praise be to God, the Lord of all worlds.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 46

27 December -16 Masa’il   Leave a comment

MORNING:

O 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

 

 

House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois

EVENING:

It 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

The Master at Green Acre 1912

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

Strive 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:

 

Not 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:

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The 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

Posted December 27, 2016 by Once in Uncategorized

26 December ― 15 Masá’il   Leave a comment

Likewise is it written, “And be ye not like those who forget God, and whom He hath therefore caused to forget their own selves. These are the wicked doers.”1

 

1 Qur’án 59:19

 

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Four Valleys, p. 52

 

IMG_1330MORNING:

On this plane, the traveler meeteth with many a trial and reverse. Now is he lifted up to heaven, now is he cast into the depths. As it hath been said: “Now Thou drawest me to the summit of glory, again Thou castest me into the lowest abyss.” The mystery treasured in this plane is divulged in the following holy verse from the Surih of THE CAVE:1

 

1 Qur’án 18:16. This is a reference to the station of complete faith. The companions of the Cave are identified with early Christian martyrs

“And thou mightest have seen the sun when it arose, pass on the right of their cave, and when it set, leave them on the left, while they were in its spacious chamber. This is one of the signs of God. Guided indeed is he whom God guideth; but for him whom He misleadeth, thou shalt by no means find a patron.”

If a man could know what lieth hid in this one verse, it would suffice him. Wherefore, in praise of such as these, He hath said: “Men whom neither merchandise nor traffic beguile from the remembrance of God….”1

1 Qur’án 24:37

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Four Valleys, p. 52

IMG_1332EVENING:

This station conferreth the true standard of knowledge, and freeth man from tests. In this realm, to search after knowledge is irrelevant, for He hath said concerning the guidance of travelers on this plane, “Fear God, and God will instruct thee.” 1 And again: “Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth.”2

 

1Qur’án 2:282

2 Hadith

Wherefore, a man should make ready his heart that it be worthy of the descent of heavenly grace, and that the bounteous Cup-Bearer may give him to drink of the wine of bestowal from the merciful vessel. “For the like of this let the travailers travail!”1

1 Qur’án 37:59

And now do I say, “Verily we are from God, and to Him shall we return.”1

1 Qur’án 2:151.]

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Four Valleys, pp: 53-54

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

On Wednesday, June 13, 1906, while at luncheon, my wife asked ‘Abdu’l-Baha concerning the interpretation of the following verse of the Gospel: “To him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not shall be taken away even that he hath.”
 
In answer ‘Abdu’l-Baha said in part: “This is the exposition of one of the great questions of Divine Wisdom which Christ has  couched in this brief and simple utterance. The great question is this: In the world of existence, pause (or discontinuation of progress) marks the beginning of fall and decadence. For instance, as long as the bird soars or moves upward in the air, it is in progress. But no sooner it pauses than it begins to descend. Or, as long as a merchant lives on the interest or income produced by his capital his business is successful and in progress. But no sooner he begins to consume his capital than the beginning of his decadence is reached and he inclines toward bankruptcy. Hence it is customary amongst men of trade and business to say of one who draws on his capital for self-sustenance, ‘It is all over with him.’ Now by the word of Christ, To him that hath shall be given,’ is meant briefly: To him that hath the capital of Truth and Faith shell be given an increase of such when he employs this capital by living up to the requirements of Faith, and by communicating them to others in word and deed. Thus he who is endowed with any degree of capacity and ability must constantly exert himself in order to increase them, or he will see the beginning of failure and decadence. For this pause is like unto consuming ones capital, or allowing his capacity to decrease and thus fulfilling in himself the verdict, ‘And from him that hath not shall be taken away even that he hath.'”
 

1906 Pilgrim Notes of Ali Kuli Khan

by ‘Alí Kuli Khan

edited by David Merrick.
first written or published 1907

Ali Kuli Khan 1906 Pilgrim Notes 11 / 55 Version  2010-04-17  20:22

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FROM LETTERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF THE BELOVED GUARDIAN 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)

The Compilation of Compilations vol II, pp: 24-25


[1] Mt 13:12, 25:29; Mk 4:25; Lk 8:18, 19:26

25 December ― 14 Masá’il   Leave a comment

MORNING:

Thou art He through Whom the ensign “Praiseworthy art Thou in Thy works” hath been lifted up, and the standard “Obeyed art Thou in Thy behest” hath been unfurled. Make known this Thy station, O my God, unto Thy servants, that they may be made aware that the excellence of all things is dependent upon Thy bidding and Thy word, and the virtue of every act is conditioned by Thy leave and the good-pleasure of Thy will, and may recognize that the reins of men’s doings are within the grasp of Thine acceptance and Thy commandment. Make this known unto them, that nothing whatsoever may shut them out from Thy Beauty, in these days whereon the Christ exclaimeth: “All dominion is Thine, O Thou the Begetter of the Spirit1“; and Thy Friend 2 crieth out: “Glory be to Thee, O Thou the Best-Beloved, for that Thou hast uncovered Thy Beauty, and written down for Thy chosen ones what will cause them to attain unto the seat of the revelation of Thy Most Great Name, through which all the peoples have lamented except such as have detached themselves from all else except Thee, and set themselves towards Him Who is the Revealer of Thyself and the Manifestation of Thine attributes.”

1Jesus

2 Muḥammad

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 68

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EVENING:

Consider those who rejected the Spirit1 when He came unto them with manifest dominion. How numerous the Pharisees who had secluded themselves in synagogues in His name, lamenting over their separation from Him, and yet when the portals of reunion were flung open and the divine Luminary shone resplendent from the Dayspring of Beauty, they disbelieved in God, the Exalted, the Mighty. They failed to attain His presence, notwithstanding that  10  His advent had been promised them in the Book of Isaiah as well as in the Books of the Prophets and the Messengers. No one from among them turned his face towards the Dayspring of divine bounty except such as were destitute of any power amongst men. And yet, today, every man endowed with power and invested with sovereignty prideth himself on His Name. Moreover, call thou to mind the one who sentenced Jesus to death. He was the most learned of his age in his own country, whilst he who was only a fisherman believed in Him. Take good heed and be of them that observe the warning.

1 Jesus

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 9

24 December ― 13 Masá’il   Leave a comment

And when Jesus came with manifest proofs, he said, “Now am I come to you

with wisdom; and a part of those things about which ye are at variance I will

clear up to you; fear ye God therefore and obey me.

 

Verily, God is my Lord and your Lord; wherefore worship ye him: this is

a right way.”

          The Qur’án (Rodwell tr), Sura  43 – Ornaments of Gold

 

IMG_7869MORNING:

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 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.’ Verily, We behold all created things moved to bear witness unto Us. Some know Us and bear witness, while the majority bear witness, yet know Us not.

 

Mount Sinai is astir with the joy of beholding Our countenance. She hath lifted her enthralling voice in glorification of her Lord, saying: ‘O Lord! I sense the fragrance of Thy garment. Methinks Thou art near, invested with the signs of God. Thou hast ennobled these regions with Thy footsteps. Great is the blessedness of Thy people, could they but know Thee and inhale Thy sweet savours; and woe betide them that are fast asleep.’

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 14-15

IMG_7900EVENING:

Speed out of your sepulchres. How long will ye sleep? The second blast hath been blown on the trumpet. On whom are ye gazing? This is your Lord, the God of Mercy. Witness how ye gainsay His signs! The earth hath quaked with a great quaking, and cast forth her burdens. Will ye not admit it? Say: Will ye not recognize how the mountains have become like flocks of wool, how the people are sore vexed at the awful majesty of the Cause of God? Witness how their houses are empty ruins, and they themselves a drowned host.

This is the Day whereon the All-Merciful hath come down in the clouds of knowledge, clothed with manifest sovereignty. He well knoweth the actions of men. He it is Whose glory none can mistake, could ye but comprehend it. The heaven of every religion hath been rent, and the earth of human understanding been cleft asunder, and the angels of God are seen descending. Say: This is the Day of mutual deceit; whither do ye flee? The mountains have passed away, and the heavens have been folded together, and the whole earth is held within His grasp, could ye but understand it. Who is it that can protect you? None, by Him Who is the All-Merciful! None, except God, the Almighty, the All-Glorious, the Beneficent. Every woman that hath had a burden in her womb hath cast her burden. We see men drunken in this Day, the Day in which men and angels have been gathered together.

Is there any doubt concerning God? Behold how He hath come down from the heaven of His grace, girded with power and invested with sovereignty. Is there any doubt concerning His signs? Open ye your eyes, and consider His clear evidence. Paradise is on your right hand, and hath been brought nigh unto you, while Hell hath been made to blaze. Witness its devouring flame. Haste ye to enter into Paradise, as a token of Our mercy unto you, and drink ye from the hands of the All-Merciful the Wine that is life indeed.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh,, pp: 98-99

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

The beginnings of European civilization date from the seventh century of the Muslim era. The particulars were these: toward the end of the fifth century of the hegira, the Pope or Head of Christendom set up a great hue and cry over the fact that places sacred to the Christians, such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth, had fallen under Muslim rule, and he stirred up the kings and the commoners of Europe to undertake what he considered a holy war. His impassioned outcry waxed so loud that all the countries of Europe responded, and crusading kings at the head of innumerable hosts passed over the Sea of Marmara and made their way to the continent of Asia. In those days the Fatimid caliphs ruled over Egypt and some countries of the West, and most of the time the kings of Syria, that is the Saljuqs, were subject to them as well. Briefly, the kings of the West with their unnumbered armies fell upon Syria and Egypt, and there was continuous warfare between the Syrian rulers and those of Europe for a period of two hundred and three years. Reinforcements were always coming in from Europe, and time and time again the Western rulers stormed and took over every castle in Syria, and as often, the kings of Islam delivered them out of their hands. Finally Saladin, in the year 693 A.H., drove the European kings and their armies out of Egypt and off the Syrian coast. Hopelessly beaten, they went back to Europe. In the course of these wars of the Crusades, millions of human beings perished. To sum up, from 490 A.H. until 693, kings, commanders and other European leaders continually came and went between Egypt, Syria and the West, and when in the end they all returned home, they introduced into Europe whatever they had observed over two hundred and odd years in Muslim countries as to government, social development and learning, colleges, schools and the refinements of living. The civilization of Europe dates from that time.

The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp: 90-91

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN SHOGHI EFFENDI:

These “fallen stars” of the firmament of Christendom, these “thick clouds” that have obscured the radiance of the true Faith of God, these princes of the Church that have failed to acknowledge the sovereignty of the “King of kings,” these deluded ministers of the Son who have shunned and ignored the promised Kingdom which the “Everlasting Father” has brought down from heaven, and is now establishing upon earth — these are experiencing, in this “Day of Reckoning,” a crisis, not indeed as critical as that which the Islamic sacerdotal order, the inveterate enemies of the Faith, has had to face, but one which is no less widespread and significant. “Power hath been seized” indeed, and is being increasingly seized, from these ecclesiastics that speak in the name, and yet are so far away from the spirit, of the Faith they profess.

 

We have only to look around us, as we survey the fortunes of Christian ecclesiastical orders, to appreciate the steady deterioration of their influence, the decline of their power, the damage to their prestige, the flouting of their authority, the dwindling of their congregations, the relaxation of their discipline, the restriction of their press, the timidity of their leaders, the confusion in their ranks, the progressive confiscation of their properties, the surrender of some of their most powerful strongholds, and the extinction of other ancient and cherished institutions. Indeed, ever since the Divine summons was issued, and the invitation extended, and the warning sounded, and the condemnation pronounced, this process, that may be said to have been initiated with the collapse of the temporal sovereignty of the Roman Pontiff, soon after the Tablet to the Pope had been revealed, has been operating with increasing momentum, menacing the very basis on which the entire order is resting. Aided by the forces which the Communist movement has unloosed, reinforced by the political consequences of the last war, accelerated by the excessive, the blind, the intolerant, and militant nationalism which is now convulsing the nations, and stimulated by the rising tide of materialism, irreligion, and paganism, this process is not only tending to subvert ecclesiastical institutions, but appears to be leading to the rapid dechristianization of the masses in many Christian countries.

The Promised Day is Come, p. 103-104

FROM THE HOLY QU’RÁN:

5:50 And in the footsteps of the prophets caused we Jesus, the son of Mary,

to follow, confirming the law which was before him: and we gave him the

Evangel with its guidance and light, confirmatory of the preceding Law; a

guidance and warning to those who fear God; –

 

And that the people of the Evangel may judge according to what God hath

sent down therein. And whoso will not judge by what God hath sent down – such are the perverse.

 

And to thee we have sent down the Book of the Koran with truth,

confirmatory of previous Scriptures, and their safeguard. Judge therefore

between them by what God hath sent down, and follow not their desires by

deserting the truth which hath come unto thee. To every one of you have we

given a rule and a beaten track.

 

And if God had pleased He had surely made you all one people; but He

would test you by what He hath given to each. Be emulous, then, in good deeds.

To God shall ye all return, and He will tell you concerning the subjects of

your disputes.

Sura 5 The Table

[Rodwell translation]

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

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.