Archive for the ‘Amity and concord’ Category

23 February ― 17 Mulk   Leave a comment

In the forefront of the Westerners who responded to the Master’s summons were the little groups of intrepid believers whom Shoghi Effendi has hailed as “God-intoxicated pilgrims” and who had the privilege of visiting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the prison-city of ‘Akká, of seeing for themselves the luminosity of His Person and of hearing from His own lips words that had the power to transform human life. The effect on these believers has been expressed by May Maxwell:

 

IMG_7172“Of that first meeting,” … “I can remember neither joy nor pain, nor anything that I can name. I had been carried suddenly to too great  19  a height, my soul had come in contact with the Divine Spirit, and this force, so pure, so holy, so mighty, had overwhelmed me….”

 

Mount Carmel in 1894

 

Their return to their homes became, Shoghi Effendi explains, “the signal for an outburst of systematic and sustained activity, which … spread its ramifications over Western Europe and the states and provinces of the North American continent….”  Fuelling their endeavours and those of their fellow believers, and drawing into the Cause growing numbers of new adherents, was a flood of Tablets addressed by the Master to recipients on both sides of the Atlantic, messages that threw open the imagination to the concepts, principles and ideals of God’s new Revelation. The power of this creative force can be felt in the words with which the first American believer, Thornton Chase, sought to describe what he was seeing:

His [the Master’s] own writings, spreading like white-winged doves from the Center of His Presence to the ends of the earth, are so many (hundreds pouring forth daily) that it is an impossibility for him to have given time to them for searching thought or to have applied the mental processes of the scholar to them. They flow like streams from a gushing fountain….

Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 18

MORNING:

The explanations which were set forth awaken the people from the slumber of heedlessness. Indeed the actions of man himself breed a profusion of satanic power. For were men to abide by and observe the divine teachings, every trace of evil would be banished from the face of the earth. However, the widespread differences that exist among mankind and the prevalence of sedition, contention, conflict and the like are the primary factors which provoke the appearance of the satanic spirit. Yet the Holy Spirit hath ever shunned such matters. A world in which naught can be perceived save strife, quarrels and corruption is bound to become the seat of the throne, the very metropolis, of Satan.

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, pp: 176-177

EVENING:

In the soil of whose heart will these holy seeds germinate? From the garden of whose soul will the blossoms of the invisible realities spring forth? Verily, I say, so fierce is the blaze of the Bush of love, burning in the Sinai of the heart, that the streaming waters of holy utterance can never quench its flame. Oceans can never allay this Leviathan’s burning thirst, and this Phoenix of the undying fire can abide nowhere save in the glow of the countenance of the Well-Beloved. Therefore, O brother! kindle with the oil of wisdom the lamp of the spirit within the innermost chamber of thy heart, and guard it with the globe of understanding, that the breath of the infidel may extinguish not its flame nor dim its brightness. Thus have We illuminated the heavens of utterance with the splendours of the Sun of divine wisdom and understanding, that thy heart may find peace, that thou mayest be of those who, on the wings of certitude, have soared unto the heaven of the love of their Lord, the All-Merciful.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 59

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

The world of humanity cannot advance through mere physical powers and intellectual attainments; nay, rather, the Holy Spirit is essential. The divine Father must assist the human world to attain maturity. The body of man is in need of physical and mental energy but his spirit requires the life and fortification of the Holy Spirit. Without its protection and quickening the human world would be extinguished. His Holiness Jesus Christ declared, “Let the dead bury their dead.” He also said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” It is evident therefore according to His Holiness that the human spirit which is not fortified by the presence of the Holy Spirit is dead and in need of resurrection by that divine power; otherwise though materially advanced to high degrees man cannot attain full and complete progress.

Bahá’í World Faith, pp: 241-242

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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