Archive for the ‘“Summons of the Lord of Hosts”’ Category

5 May ― 8 Jamál   Leave a comment

A chaotic international society, torn by conflicting perceptions and interests, is assailed by rising terrorism, lawlessness and corruption, and eroded by economic failure, poverty and disease. In its midst the Bahá’í community is becoming increasingly visible, inspired by a divinely revealed vision, building on solid foundations, growing in strength through the processes that are now in place, and undaunted by seeming setbacks. An example of the capacity of the Bahá’í world to respond to unexpected conditions occurred a year ago, when multiple dangers required the cancellation of the International Bahá’í Convention; the election of the Universal House of Justice was duly held and the Plan went forward without a missed step. Concurrently, despite the disruption and chaos of life in Iraq, it was possible to contact the Bahá’ís in that land and reconstitute their Local Spiritual Assemblies. Now we announce with great joy the election, this Riḍván, of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Iraq, restored after more than thirty years of stifling oppression, to take its rightful place in the international Bahá’í community. What the Divine Plan requires at this stage is for us to continue confidently and dynamically in the present direction, undeterred by storms battering the world of humanity. Be sure that the Blessed Beauty will guide your steps and the Hosts of the Supreme Concourse will reinforce your every effort for the progress of His Faith.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Riḍván 161 2004

 

MORNING:

Know thou, moreover, that He it is Who hath, by His own behest, created all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. How can, then, the thing that hath been created at His bidding prevail against Him? High is God exalted above what ye imagine about Him, ye people of malice! If this Cause be of God, no man can prevail against it; and if it be not of God, the divines amongst you, and they that follow their corrupt desires and such as have rebelled against Him will surely suffice to overpower it.

 —His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp: 220-221

EVENING:

Say: God hath made My hidden love the key to the Treasure; would that ye might perceive it! But for the key, the Treasure would to all eternity have remained concealed; would that ye might believe it! Say: This is the Source of Revelation, the Dawning-place of Splendour, Whose brightness hath illumined the horizons of the world. Would that ye might understand! This is, verily, that fixed Decree through which every irrevocable decree hath been established.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶ 15

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

By the word religion I do not mean the present dogmatic and theological superstitions which are in the hands of the people. By religion I mean the world of celestial attributes. After the moral aspect of humanity becomes readjusted, then the greatest unity will be realized; but without this moral readjustment it is impossible to establish harmony and concord, for it is a fact that war, conflict, friction and strife are but the visible results of deterioration of morality and corruption of character. But when the morality of humanity is beautified with praiseworthy virtues there will be an end to war.

Divine Philosophy, pp:176-177

4 September ― 16 Asmá’   Leave a comment

The 105th Anniversary of the Visit of Abdu’l-Bahá to Montréal, Québec, Canada   4 September 1912

 

One evening, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland Maxwell in Montreal, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá summed up in a few intensely poignant words both the crisis He saw engulfing humankind and the sole means of deliverance:

“Today the world of humanity is walking in darkness because it is out of touch with the world of God.  That is why we do not see the signs of God in the hearts of men….  When a divine spiritual illumination becomes manifest in the world of humanity, when divine instruction and guidance appear, then enlightenment follows, a new spirit is realized within, a new power descends, and a new life is given.  It is like the birth from the animal kingdom into the kingdom of man.  When man acquires these virtues, the oneness of the world of humanity will be revealed….  Then will the justice of God become manifest, all humanity will appear as the members of one family, and every member of that family will be consecrated to cooperation and mutual assistance.”

It is to this divine illumination that you have turned your hearts. It is the force of this spiritual enlightenment — sharply focused in the institute process — that is opening your minds even wider to the possibilities of the Cause of God.  And it is not surprising that, for those who are exposed to such influences, the experience does indeed seem like the birth from an old condition to an entirely new one.

With hearts filled with admiration for all that your community is accomplishing and with the brightest hopes for the contributions that you as youth will particularly bring to the great adventure ahead, we urge you to make a wholehearted commitment to this vision of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.  Like the rest of the world, Canadian society stands in urgent need of moral transformation.  Such transformation, as amply evidenced by decades of contentious history, cannot be achieved through political passion, the conflict of vested interests, or technical recipes.  What is called for is a spiritual revival, as a prerequisite to the successful application of political, economic and technological instruments.  But there is a need for a catalyst.  Be assured that, in spite of your small numbers, you are the channels through which such a catalyst can be provided.

Be not dismayed if your endeavours are dismissed as utopian by the voices that would oppose any suggestion of fundamental change.  Trust in the capacity of this generation to disentangle itself from the embroilments of a divided world.  To discharge your responsibilities, you will have to show forth courage, the courage of those who cling to standards of rectitude, who champion the cause of justice, whose lives are characterized by purity of thought and action, and whose purpose is directed by love and indomitable faith.

As one of the co-executors of the Divine Plan, your community’s mandate is not, of course, limited to Canada.  It is worldwide, and this global perspective must frame both your deliberations and your endeavours.  Be confident that, as you turn your hearts and minds to the challenge facing you, you will be surrounded by our ardent prayers at the Holy Threshold that Bahá’u’lláh will empower you to realize your highest aspirations.

With loving Bahá’í greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

2000 Jul 20, To Vancouver Youth Congress

 

MORNING:

Amongst the proofs demonstrating the truth of this Revelation is this, that in every age and Dispensation, whenever the invisible Essence was revealed in the person of His Manifestation, certain souls, obscure and detached from all worldly entanglements, would seek illumination from the Sun of Prophethood and Moon of Divine guidance, and would attain unto the Divine Presence. For this reason, the divines of the age and those possessed of wealth, would scorn and scoff at these people. Even as He hath revealed concerning them that erred: “Then said the chiefs of His people who believed not, ‘We see in Thee but a man like ourselves; and we see not any who have followed Thee except our meanest ones of hasty judgment, nor see we any excellence in you above ourselves: nay, we deem you liars.'” They caviled at those holy Manifestations, and protested saying: “None hath followed you except the abject amongst us, those who are worthy of no attention.” Their aim was to show that no one amongst the learned, the wealthy, and the renowned believed in them. By this and similar proofs they sought to demonstrate the falsity of Him that speaketh naught but the truth.

In this most resplendent Dispensation, however, this most mighty Sovereignty, a number of illumined divines, of men of consummate learning, of doctors of mature wisdom, have attained unto His Court, drunk the cup of His divine Presence, and been invested with the honor of His most excellent favor. They have renounced, for the sake of the Beloved, the world and all that is therein….

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 179-180

EVENING:

How many those who entered within the Abode of Paradise, the Seat wherein the throne of God had been established, and stood before their Lord, the Most Exalted, the Most Great, only to inquire about the four Gates or of some Imam of the Islamic Faith! Such was the state of these souls, if ye be of them that comprehend. It is even as ye witness in the present day: those who have disbelieved in God and joined partners with Him cling to a single one of Our Names, and are debarred from recognizing Him Who is the Creator of all Names. We testify that such men are of a truth amongst the people of the Fire. They ask the sun to expound the words of the shadow, and the True One to explain the utterances of His creatures, could ye but perceive it! Say: O people! The sun offereth naught save the effulgence of its own light and that which appeareth therefrom, whilst all else seek illumination from its rays. Fear God, and be not of the ignorant! Among them also were those who inquired of the darkness about the light. Say: Open thine eyes, that thou mayest behold the brightness which hath visibly enveloped the earth! This, verily, is a light which hath risen and shone forth above the horizon of the Dayspring of divine knowledge with manifest radiance. Would ye ask the Jews whether Jesus was the True One from God, or the idols if Muhammad was an Apostle of His Lord, or inquire from the people of the Qur’án as to Him Who was the Remembrance of God, the Most Exalted, the Most Great?

His Holiness Baháú’lláh

Súriy-i-Haykal

The Tablet of the Temple,

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp: 41-42

6 December ― 14 Qawl   Leave a comment

“Not everything that a man knoweth can be disclosed, nor can everything that he can disclose be regarded as timely, nor can every timely utterance be considered as suited to the capacity of those who hear it.”  Such is the consummate wisdom to be observed in thy pursuits. Be not oblivious thereof, if thou wishest to be a man of action under all conditions. First diagnose the disease and identify the malady, then prescribe the remedy, for such is the perfect method of the skilful physician.

 

His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

IMG_6476

Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 269

 

IMG_8466MORNING:

Through affliction hath His light shone and His praise been bright unceasingly: this hath been His method through past ages and bygone times.

“The people shall know what today they understand not when their steeds shall stumble, their beds be rolled up, their swords be blunted, and their footsteps slip. I know not how long they shall ride the steed of desire and wander erringly in the desert of heedlessness and error. Of glory shall any glory endure, or of abasement any abasement? Or shall he endure who used to stay himself on high cushions, and who attained in splendor the utmost limit? No, by My Lord the Merciful! ‘All that is thereon is transient, and there remaineth the face of My Lord’ the Mighty, the Beneficent. What buckler hath not the arrow of destruction smitten, or what pinion hath not the hand of fate plucked? From what fortress hath the messenger of death been kept back when he came? What throne hath not been broken, or what palace hath not been left desolate? Did men but know what pure wine of the mercy of their Lord, the Mighty, the All-Knowing, was beneath the seal, they would certainly cast aside reproach and seek to be satisfied by this Servant; but now have they veiled Me with the veil of darkness which they have woven with the hands of doubts and fancies. The White Hand shall cleave an opening to this sombre night….On that day men shall arise from the tombs and shall be questioned concerning their riches. Happy that one whom burdens shall not oppress on that day whereon the mountains shall pass away and all shall appear for the questioning in the presence of God the Exalted! Verily He is severe in punishing.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh quoted by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

A Traveller’s Narrative, pp: 80-81

IMG_9364EVENING:

O dwellers of the earth! Would ye contend that if We raise up a soul unto the Sadratu’l-Muntaha,1 it shall then cease to be subject to the power of Our sovereignty and dominion? Nay, by Mine own Self! Should it be Our wish, We would return it to the dust in less than the twinkling of an eye. Consider a tree: Behold how We plant it in a garden, and nourish it with the waters of Our loving care; and how, when it hath grown tall and mature, and brought forth verdant leaves and goodly fruits, We send forth the tempestuous gales of Our decree, tear it up by its roots, and lay it prostrate upon the face of the earth. So hath it been Our way with all things, and so shall it be in this day. Such, in truth, are the matchless wonders of Our immutable method — a method which hath ever governed, and shall continue to govern, all things, if ye be of them that perceive. None, however, knoweth the wisdom thereof save God, the All-Powerful, the Almighty, the All-Wise.

Would ye gainsay, O people, the very thing that your eyes behold? Woe unto you, O assemblage of deniers! That which alone is exempt from change is His own Self, the All-Merciful, the Most Compassionate, were ye to gaze with the eye of insight, while all else beside Him can be altered by an act of His Will. He, verily, is the All-Powerful, the Almighty, the All-Wise.

1 The Tree beyond which there is no passing

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Súriy-i-Haykal

The Tablet of the Temple, ¶¶: 69-70

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp: 36-37

10 November ― 7 Qudrat   Leave a comment

Although outwardly cataclysms are hard to understand and to endure, yet there lies a great wisdom behind them which appears later. All the visible material events are inter-related with invisible spiritual forces. The infinite phenomena of creation are as interdependent as the links of a chain.

When certain links become rusty, they are broken by unseen forces, to be replaced by newer and better ones. There are certain colossal events which transpire in the world of humanity which are required by the nature of the times. For example, the requirements of winter are cold, snow, hail and rain – but the birds and animals who live for six months, enjoying a short span of life, not realizing the wisdom of winter, chide and make lament and are discontent, saying, “Why this awful frost? Why this hail and storm? Why not the balmy weather? Why not the eternal springtime? Why this injustice on the part of the creator? Why this suffering? What have we done to be meted out with this catastrophe?”

However, those souls who have lived many years and have acquired much experience and have weathered many severe winters realize that in order to enjoy the coming spring they must pass through the cold of winter.

HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ

Divine Philosophy, p. 116

MORNING:

Regard the world as the human body which, though at its creation whole and perfect, hath been afflicted, through various causes, with grave disorders and maladies. Not for one day did it gain ease, nay its sickness waxed more severe, as it fell under the treatment of ignorant physicians, who gave full rein to their personal desires, and have erred grievously. And if, at one time, through the care of an able physician, a member of that body was healed, the rest remained afflicted as before. Thus informeth you the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

We behold it, in this day, at the mercy of rulers so drunk with pride that they cannot discern clearly their own best advantage, much less recognize a Revelation so bewildering and challenging as this. And whenever any one of them hath striven to improve its condition, his motive hath been his own gain, whether confessedly so or not; and the unworthiness of this motive hath limited his power to heal or cure.

That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired Physician. This, verily, is the truth, and all else naught but error….

His Holiness Baháú’lláh

The Proclamation of Baháú’lláh, pp:  67-68

EVENING:

We have learned that ye are increasing your outlay every year, and are laying the burden thereof on your subjects. This, verily, is more than they can bear, and is a grievous injustice. Decide ye justly between men, O kings, and be ye the emblems of justice amongst them. This, if ye judge fairly, is the thing that behoveth you, and beseemeth your station.

Beware not to deal unjustly with anyone that appealeth to you and entereth beneath your shadow. Walk ye in the fear of God, and be ye of them that lead a godly life. Rest not on your power, your armies, and treasures. Put your whole trust and confidence in God, Who hath created you, and seek ye His help in all your affairs. Succour cometh from Him alone. He succoureth whom He willeth with the hosts of the heavens and of the earth.

Know ye that the poor are the trust of God in your midst. Watch that ye betray not His trust, that ye deal not unjustly with them and that ye walk not in the ways of the treacherous. Ye will most certainly be called upon to answer for His trust on the day when the Balance of Justice shall be set, the day when unto everyone shall be rendered his due, when the doings of all men, be they rich or poor, shall be weighed.

If ye pay no heed unto the counsels which, in peerless and unequivocal language, We have revealed in this Tablet, Divine chastisement shall assail you from every direction, and the sentence of His justice shall be pronounced against you. On that day ye shall have no power to resist Him, and shall recognize your own impotence. Have mercy on yourselves and on those beneath you, and judge ye between them according to the precepts prescribed by God in His most holy and exalted Tablet, a Tablet wherein He hath assigned to each and every thing its settled measure, in which He hath given, with distinctness, an explanation of all things, and which is in itself a monition unto them that believe in Him.

His Holiness Baháú’lláh

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp: 189-190

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

The body of the human world is sick. Its remedy and healing will be the oneness of the kingdom of humanity. Its life is the Most Great Peace. Its illumination and quickening is love. Its happiness is the attainment of spiritual perfections. It is my wish and hope that in the bounties and favors of the Blessed Perfection we may find a new life, acquire a new power and attain to a wonderful and supreme source of energy so that the Most Great Peace of divine intention shall be established upon the foundations of the unity of the world of men with God. May the love of God be spread from this city, from this meeting to all the surrounding countries. Nay, may America become the distributing center of spiritual enlightenment, and all the world receive this heavenly blessing! For America has developed powers and capacities greater and more wonderful than other nations. While it is true that its people have attained a marvelous material civilization, I hope that spiritual forces may animate this great body and a corresponding spiritual civilization be established. May the inhabitants of this country become like angels of heaven with faces turned continually toward God. May all of them become the servants of the Omnipotent One. May they rise from present material attainments to such a height that heavenly illumination may stream from this center to all the peoples of the world.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace,  pp: 19-20

29 September ― 3 Mashíyyat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_9202These* are they who circle round the Cause of God even as the shadow doth revolve around the sun. Open, then, your eyes, O people of the Bayán, that haply ye may behold them! It is by virtue of their movement that all things are set in motion, and by reason of their stillness all things are brought to rest, would that ye might be assured thereof! Through them the believers in the Divine Unity have turned towards Him Who is the Object of the adoration of the entire creation, and by them the hearts of the righteous have found rest and composure, could ye but know it! Through them the earth hath been established, the clouds have rained down their bounty, and the bread of knowledge hath descended from the heaven of grace, could ye but perceive it!

* “…such souls as will remain unswayed by the insinuations of the rebellious, and who will quaff at all times of the cup that is life indeed. These, truly, are of the blissful.”

These souls are the protectors of the Cause of God on earth, who shall preserve its beauty from the obscuring dust of idle fancies and vain imaginings. In the path of their Lord they shall not fear for their lives; rather will they sacrifice their all in their eagerness to behold the face of their Well-Beloved when once He hath appeared in this Name, the Almighty, the All-Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Most Holy.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Súriy-i-Haykal

Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 9

EVENING:

O thou who hast set thy face towards the Realm on High and hast quaffed My sealed wine from the hand of bounteousness! Know thou that the term ‘Infallibility’ hath numerous meanings and divers stations. In one sense it is applicable to the One Whom God hath made immune from error. Similarly it is applied to every soul whom God hath guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like. However, the Most Great Infallibility is confined to the One Whose station is immeasurably exalted beyond ordinances or prohibitions and is sanctified from errors and omissions. Indeed He is a Light which is not followed by darkness and a Truth not overtaken by error. Were He to pronounce water to be wine or heaven to be earth or light to be fire, He speaketh the truth and no doubt would there be about it; and unto no one is given the right to question His authority or to say why or wherefore. Whosoever raiseth objections will be numbered with the froward in the Book of God, the Lord of the worlds. ‘Verily He shall not be asked of His doings but all others shall be asked of their doings.’* He is come from the invisible heaven, bearing the banner ‘He doeth whatsoever He willeth’ and is accompanied by hosts of power and authority while it is the duty of all besides Him to strictly observe whatever laws and ordinances have been enjoined upon them, and should anyone deviate therefrom, even to the extent of a hair’s breadth, his work would be brought to naught.

* Qur’án 21:23

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 108

Portrait of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá by Kalil Gibran

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

In cycles gone by, each one of the Manifestations of God hath had His own rank in the world of existence, and each hath represented a stage in the development of humanity. But the Manifestation of the Most Great Name—may my life be a sacrifice for His loved ones—was an expression of the coming of age, the maturing of man’s inmost reality in this world of being. For the sun is the source and well-spring of light and heat, the focal point of splendours, and it compriseth all the perfections that are made manifest by the other stars which have dawned upon the world. Make thou an effort that thou mayest take thy place under the sun and receive an abundant share of its dazzling light. In truth do I tell thee, once thou hast attained this station, thou shalt behold the saints bowing down their heads in all humility before Him. Haste thou to life before death cometh; haste thou to the spring season before autumn draweth in; and before illness striketh, haste thou to healing—that thou mayest become a physician of the spirit who, with the breaths of the Holy Spirit, healeth all manner of sickness in this famed and glorious age.

Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Centre, 1982 lightweight edition, pp: 56-57

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN SHOGHI EFFENDI:

IMG_7561What the Cause now requires is not so much a group of highly cultured and intellectual people who can adequately present its Teachings, but a number of devoted, sincere and loyal supporters who, in utter disregard of their own weaknesses and limitations, and with hearts afire with the love of God, forsake their all for the sake of spreading and establishing His Faith.

Directives from the Guardian, p. 75

Quickeners of Mankind, p. 19

Seat of The Universal House of Justice, Haifa, Israel

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

Acceptance of the oneness of mankind is the first fundamental prerequisite for reorganization and administration of the world as one country, the home of humankind. Universal acceptance of this spiritual principle is essential to any successful attempt to establish world peace. It should therefore be universally proclaimed, taught in schools, and constantly asserted in every nation as preparation for the organic change in the structure of society which it implies.

In the Bahá’í view, recognition of the oneness of mankind “calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world—a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units.”

Elaborating the implications of this pivotal principle, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, commented in 1931 that: “Far from aiming at the subversion of the existing foundations of society, it seeks to broaden its basis, to remold its institutions in a manner consonant with the needs of an ever-changing world. It can conflict with no legitimate allegiances, nor can it undermine essential loyalties. Its purpose is neither to stifle the flame of a sane and intelligent patriotism in men’s hearts, nor to abolish the system of national autonomy so essential if the evils of excessive centralization are to be avoided. It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It insists upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity in diversity”.

The Promise of World Peace,

Bahá’í World Centre, October 1985, p.10

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