Archive for the ‘Prayer and fasting’ Tag

19 March ― 19 ‘Alá’   Leave a comment

19 March ― 19 ‘Alá’

The Holy Period of the Fast

Day 19

 

MORNING:

1B Newby 021The plants that have sprung forth, O my Lord, in the hearts of Thy loved ones have withered away. Send down upon them, from the clouds of Thy spirit, that which will cause the tender herbs of Thy knowledge and wisdom to grow within their breasts. Rejoice, then, their hearts with the proclamation of Thy Cause and the exaltation of Thy sovereignty.

Their eyes, O my Lord, are expectantly turned in the direction of Thy bounty, and their faces are set towards the horizon of Thy grace. Suffer them not, through Thy bounty, to be deprived of Thy grace. Potent art Thou, by Thy sovereign might, over all things. No God is there but Thee, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 199-200

 

EVENING:

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.

Thou art He, by Whose name the Hidden Secret was divulged, and the Well-Guarded Name was revealed, and the seals of the sealed-up Goblet were opened, shedding thereby its fragrance over all creation, whether of the past or of the future. He who was athirst, O my Lord, hath hasted to attain the living waters of Thy grace, and the wretched creature hath yearned to immerse himself beneath the ocean of Thy riches.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 240-241

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

Thank God that the evidence and the proof became clear and manifest to thee. He gave thee eyes to see therewith the lights of guidance; He gave thee ears to hear the divine call; He gave thee nostrils to sense the beautiful fragrance of the rose-garden of the Kingdom; He gave thee  taste to find the sweetness of the love of God; He gave thee a tongue to mention Him. Therefore, thou must thank Him night and day for having attained this bounty. Thus mayest thou become firm in trials and bear every difficulty and, like unto the mountains, hold thy feet firm and steadfast, so that thou mayest not be shaken by the adverse winds.

The bounty of the Lord of the Kingdom is great and His outpouring is glorious. His favors are boundless. I ask, through His bounty, to grant thee readiness and capacity, so that the rains of mercy may cultivate flowers of significances in the garden of the heart.

The essential thing is firmness and steadfastness. I hope that all the friends and the maid-servants of the Merciful One may be strengthened and confirmed therein.

To pardon shortcomings is an attribute of the Lord of forgiveness. Thank God, thou art a dawning-point of kindness and the recipient of pardon and forgiveness.

Sacrifice thy life to the Lord of the Kingdom and seek only His will. Make thy meeting the house of ‘Abdul-Bahá and the rose-garden of the heavenly birds…

…Know thou the value of the day of the Lord and take a portion and a share of the bounty in this glorious cycle. If a tree doth not thrive and grow in this divine springtime, in what season will it bear fruit? I hope that, through the life-nurturing breeze of the rose-garden of the Kingdom, thou mayest become a tree full of blossoms and fruit.

Convey reverential greeting to the maid-servant of God, . . . .and say: “Happy is thy condition that thou art meek and humble and directed to the Kingdom of God and looking to God. I ask God that, day by day, thou mayest become more illumined and more spiritual…

Be in sympathy with . . . .and in the utmost of kindness. Close thine eyes to shortcomings and live according to the divine teachings. I hope that the breath of life may penetrate them. Thank God that in the world of vision thou art witnessing great signs.

In great tenderness blow the breath of life into . . . . . and . . . .and call them to God. Perchance, through divine bounty and providence, their hearts may become radiant and illumined and may remain firm and steadfast through trials.

To be far in body is of no account. To be near in spirit is essential. Seek that from God. When thou hast attained that, thou art always with me.. .

…The real light is the light of the love of God. Praise be to God! thy face is illumined by the radiance of the divine love and thy nostrils are perfumed through the fragrances of the garden of the Kingdom of Abhá, and thou art engaged, night and day, in service in this divine garden and art spreading the Tablets of ‘Abdul-Bahá. Wherefore, thank God that thou art assisted to such a service….

Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, pp: 694-697

Advertisements

18 March ― 18 ‘Alá’   Leave a comment

18 March ― 18 ‘Alá’

The Holy Period of the Fast

Day 18

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

“In one of His Tablets ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, after stating that fasting consists of abstinence from food and drink, categorically says that smoking is a form of ‘drink’. (In Arabic the verb ‘drink’ applies equally to smoking.) “In the East, therefore, the friends abstain from smoking during the hours of fasting, and friends from the East living in the West do likewise. But, as stated in our letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of New Zealand, this application of the Divine Law has not been extended to the friends in the West for the present, and therefore it should not be made an issue.”
Letter from the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, March 15, 1972
Lights of Guidance, p. 235

MORNING:

Look not upon the creatures of God except with the eye of kindliness and of mercy, for Our loving providence hath pervaded all created things, and Our grace encompassed the earth and the heavens. This is the Day whereon the true servants of God partake of the life-giving waters of reunion, the Day whereon those that are nigh unto Him are able to drink of the soft-flowing river of immortality, and they who believe in His unity, the wine of His Presence, through their recognition of Him Who is the Highest and Last End of all, in Whom the Tongue of Majesty and Glory voiceth the call: “The Kingdom is Mine. I, Myself, am, of Mine own right, its Ruler.”

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 32

 

EVENING:

O Son of Justice! In the night season the beauty of the immortal Being hath repaired from the emerald height of fidelity unto the Sadratu’l-Muntahá, and wept with such a weeping that the Concourse on high and the dwellers of the realms above wailed at His lamenting. Whereupon there was asked, Why the wailing and weeping? He made reply: As bidden I waited expectant upon the hill of faithfulness, yet inhaled not from them that dwell on earth the fragrance of fidelity. Then summoned to return I beheld, and lo! certain doves of holiness were sore tried within the claws of the dogs of earth. Thereupon the Maid of Heaven hastened forth unveiled and resplendent from Her mystic mansion, and asked of their names, and all were told but one. And when urged, the first letter thereof was uttered, whereupon the dwellers of the celestial chambers rushed forth out of their habitation of glory. And whilst the second letter was pronounced they fell down, one and all, upon the dust. At that moment a voice was heard from the inmost shrine: “Thus far and no farther.” Verily, We bear witness unto that which they have done, and now are doing.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp 91-92

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

O thou faithful and confident!

 

Thanks be to God that thou hast obtained that which was sought by all prophets and holy souls; namely, the knowledge of God and the love of God. First, the knowledge; and, second, His unfathomable love. Also the different members of thy family, who followed thee and who obtained that which thou didst obtain.

This is a great gift from God and hath no equal; although in this physical world its greatness is not perceivable, nor its nature clearly known, yet in the spiritual world it shineth like the sun.

So long as the pearl remaineth hidden at the bottom of the sea, its value is not known nor its brilliancy and fineness seen, it is only when in the hands of the expert jeweler that its great beauty becomes revealed.

Thou shouldst be at the utmost height of joy and satisfaction, for thou art surrounded by the bounties of the Merciful and hast become the object of the appearance of divine guidance.

In order to give thanks for this great and glorious gift, thou shouldst do all thou canst to guide His creatures, to give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf; life to the dead, and endeavor to turn those who are still attached to material things in the way which leads to spiritual heights; to help them to travel in the way of the Kingdom and to walk in the path that leads to the King of Kings.

Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, pp: 415-416

17 March ― 17 ‘Alá’   Leave a comment

17 March ― 17 ‘Alá’

The Holy Period of the Fast

Day 17


MORNING:

Praise be unto Thee, O my God! Thou art He Who by a word of His mouth hath revolutionized the entire creation, and by a stroke of His pen hath divided Thy servants one from another. I bear witness, O my God, that through a word spoken by Thee in this Revelation all created things were made to expire, and through yet another word all such as Thou didst wish were, by Thy grace and bounty, endued with new life.

I render Thee thanks, therefore, and extol Thee, in the name of all them that are dear to Thee, for that Thou hast caused them to be born again, by reason of the living waters which have flowed down out of the mouth of Thy will. Since Thou didst quicken them by Thy bounteousness, O my God, make them steadfastly inclined, through Thy graciousness, towards Thy will; and since Thou didst suffer them to enter into the Tabernacle of Thy Cause, grant by Thy grace that they may not be kept back from Thee.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Bahá’í World Faith, p. 147

IMG_2462 

EVENING:

Praised be Thou, O Lord my God! I am Thy servant and the son of Thy servant. I have set my face towards Thy Cause, believing in Thy oneness, acknowledging Thy unity, recognizing Thy sovereignty and the power of Thy might, and confessing the greatness of Thy majesty and glory. I ask Thee, by Thy name through which the heaven was cleft asunder, and the earth was rent in twain, and the mountains were crushed, not to withhold from me the breezes of Thy mercy which have been wafted in Thy days, nor to suffer me to be far removed from the shores of Thy nearness and bounty.

I am he who is sore athirst, O my Lord! Give me to drink of the living waters of Thy grace. I am but a poor creature; reveal unto me the tokens of Thy riches. Doth it beseem Thee to cast out of the door of Thy grace and bounty such as have set their hopes on Thee, and can it befit Thy sovereignty to hinder them that yearn after Thee from attaining the adored sanctuary of Thy presence and from beholding Thy face? By Thy glory! Such is not my belief in Thee, for I am persuaded that Thou art the God of bounteousness, Whose grace hath encompassed all things.

I beseech Thee, O my Lord, by Thy mercy that hath surpassed the entire creation, and Thy generosity that hath embraced all created things, to cause me to turn my face wholly towards Thee, and to seek Thy shelter, and to be steadfast in my love for Thee. Write down, then, for me what Thou didst ordain for them who love Thee. Powerful art Thou to do what Thou pleasest. No God is there beside Thee, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Bountiful.

Praised be God, the Lord of the worlds.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 24-25

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

Verily I beseech God, with all humbleness, to remove the covering from thine insight and to show unto thee His great signs, and to make thee a banner of guidance, severed from all else save Him, enkindled with the fire of His love, engaged in His praise and apprehending the realities of things; so that thou mayest see with thine eyes, hear with thine ears and not imitate any of the fathers and ancestors; have perception in the matter of thy Lord, for the people are in dark veils. By God, the True One, verily the doors of the everlasting paradise are opened before the faces of the devoted ones and the Tree of Life therein overshadows the spiritual ones. Happy are those who enter it and are sheltered under its shadow!

O thou candle shining by the light of the Love of God!

That which thou hast inscribed and conceived of in thy mind was manifest and clear. The contents indicate spiritual signs and the meanings were like unto a sweet chalice. I trust in God that thy pure mind may become reflective of light; thus thou mayest become prepared for the divine manifestation and attract the light of guidance from the Heavenly Star.

O servant of God! Through the power of God’s love the weak become mighty, the poor become rich, the little bird becomes a great eagle soaring on the ethereal wave, the tiny plant grows into a great palm tree.

Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, pp: 63-64

From Mahatma Gandhi [1869 – 1948]

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

16 March ― 16 ‘Alá’   Leave a comment

16 March ― 16 ‘Alá’

The Holy Period of the Fast

Day 16

 

MORNING:

I beg of Thee by the Most Great Infallibility which Thou hast chosen to be the dayspring of Thy Revelation, and by Thy most sublime Word through whose potency Thou didst call the creation into being and didst reveal Thy Cause, and by this Name which hath caused all other names to groan aloud and the limbs of the sages to quake, I beg of Thee to make me detached from all else save Thee, in such wise that I may move not but in conformity with the good-pleasure of Thy Will, and speak not except at the bidding of Thy Purpose, and hear naught save the words of Thy praise and Thy glorification.

— His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 115

 

 

EVENING:

Say, God is my witness! The Promised One Himself hath come down from heaven, seated upon the crimson cloud with the hosts of revelation on His right, and the angels of inspiration on His left, and the Decree hath been fulfilled at the behest of God, the Omnipotent, the Almighty. Thereupon the footsteps of everyone have slipped except such as God hath protected through His tender mercy and numbered with those who have recognized  183  Him through His Own Self and detached themselves from all that pertaineth to the world.

Hearken thou unto the Words of thy Lord and purify thy heart from every illusion so that the effulgent light of the remembrance of thy Lord may shed its radiance upon it, and it may attain the station of certitude.

— His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 181

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

As to you, O ye loved ones of God! Loose your tongues and offer Him thanks; praise ye and glorify the Beauty of the Adored One, for ye have drunk from this purest of chalices, and ye are cheered and set aglow with this wine. Ye have detected the sweet scents of holiness, ye have smelled the musk of faithfulness from Joseph’s raiment. Ye have fed on the honey-dew of loyalty from the hands of Him Who is the one alone Beloved, ye have feasted on immortal dishes at the bounteous banquet table of the Lord. This plenty is a special favour bestowed by a loving God, these are blessings and rare gifts deriving from His grace. In the Gospel He saith: “For many are called, but few are chosen.”* That is, to many is it offered, but rare is the soul who is singled out to receive the great bestowal of guidance. “Such is the bounty of God: to whom He will He giveth it, and of immense bounty is God.”**

*Matthew 22:14

** Qur’án 57:21

Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 9

15 March ― 15 ‘Alá’   Leave a comment

15 March ― 15 ‘Alá’

The Holy Period of the Fast

Day 15

MORNING:

Verily I say: The fear of God hath ever been a sure defence and a safe stronghold for all the peoples of the world. It is the chief cause of the protection of mankind, and the supreme instrument for its preservation. Indeed, there existeth in man a faculty which deterreth him from, and guardeth him against, whatever is unworthy and unseemly, and which is known as his sense of shame. This, however, is confined to but a few; all have not possessed and do not possess it.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 63

 

EVENING:

O son of man! If thine eyes be turned towards mercy, forsake the things that profit thee and cleave unto that which will profit mankind. And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself. Humility exalteth man to the heaven of glory and power, whilst pride abaseth him to the depths of wretchedness and degradation.

O people of God! Great is the Day and mighty the Call! In one of Our Tablets We have revealed these exalted words: ‘Were the world of the spirit to be wholly converted into the sense of hearing, it could then claim to be worthy to hearken unto the Voice that calleth from the Supreme Horizon; for otherwise, these ears that are defiled with lying tales have never been, nor are they now, fit to hear it.’ Well is it with them that hearken; and woe betide the wayward.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 63

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

Those who suffer most, attain to the greatest perfection.

Those who declare a wish to suffer much for Christ’s sake must prove their sincerity; those who proclaim their longing to make great sacrifices can only prove their truth by their deeds. Job proved the fidelity of his love for God by being faithful through his great adversity, as well as during the prosperity of his life. The apostles of Christ who steadfastly bore all their trials and sufferings — did they not prove their faithfulness? Was not their endurance the best proof?

These griefs are now ended.

Caiaphas lived a comfortable and happy life while Peter’s life was full of sorrow and trial; which of these two is the more enviable? Assuredly we should choose the present state of Peter, for he possesses immortal life whilst Caiaphas has won eternal shame. The trials of Peter tested his fidelity. Tests are benefits from God, for which we should thank Him. Grief and sorrow do not come to us by chance, they are sent to us by the Divine Mercy for our own perfecting.

While a man is happy he may forget his God; but when grief comes and sorrows overwhelm him, then will he remember his Father who is in Heaven, and who is able to deliver him from his humiliations.

Men who suffer not, attain no perfection. The plant most pruned by the gardeners is that one which, when the summer comes, will have the most beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit.

The labourer cuts up the earth with his plough, and from that earth comes the rich and plentiful harvest. The more a man is chastened, the greater is the harvest of spiritual virtues shown forth by him. A soldier is no good General until he has been in the front of the fiercest battle and has received the deepest wounds.

The prayer of the prophets of God has always been, and still is: Oh God, I long to lay down my life in the path to Thee! I desire to shed my blood for Thee, and to make the supreme sacrifice.

Paris Talks, pp: 50-51

13 March ― 13 ‘Alá’   Leave a comment

13 March ― 13 ‘Alá’

The Holy Period of the Fast

 

Day 13

MORNING:

Say: Blessed the slumberer who is awakened by My Breeze. Blessed the lifeless one who is quickened through My reviving breaths. Blessed the eye that is solaced by gazing at My beauty. Blessed the wayfarer who directeth his steps towards the Tabernacle of My glory and majesty. Blessed the distressed one who seeketh refuge beneath the shadow of My canopy. Blessed the sore athirst who hasteneth to the soft-flowing waters of My loving-kindness. Blessed the insatiate soul who casteth away his selfish desires for love of Me and taketh his place at the banquet table which I have sent down from the heaven of divine bounty for My chosen ones. Blessed the abased one who layeth fast hold on the cord of My glory; and the needy one who entereth beneath the shadow of the Tabernacle of My wealth. Blessed the ignorant one who seeketh the fountain of My knowledge; and the heedless one who cleaveth to the cord of My remembrance. Blessed the soul that hath been raised to life through My quickening breath and hath gained admittance into My heavenly Kingdom. Blessed the man whom the sweet savours of reunion with Me have stirred and caused to draw nigh unto the Dayspring of My Revelation. Blessed the ear that hath heard and the tongue that hath borne witness and the eye that hath seen and recognized the Lord Himself, in His great glory and majesty, invested with grandeur and dominion. Blessed are they that have attained His presence.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Baha’u’llah, pp: 16-17

EVENING:

Blessed the man who hath sought enlightenment from the Day-Star of My Word. Blessed he who hath attired his head with the diadem of My love. Blessed is he who hath heard of My grief and hath arisen to aid Me among My people. Blessed is he who hath laid down his life in My path and hath borne manifold hardships for the sake of My Name. Blessed the man who, assured of My Word, hath arisen from among the dead to celebrate My praise. Blessed is he that hath been enraptured by My wondrous melodies and hath rent the veils asunder through the potency of My might. Blessed is he who hath remained faithful to My Covenant, and whom the things of the world have not kept back from attaining My Court of holiness. Blessed is the man who hath detached himself from all else but Me, hath soared in the atmosphere of My love, hath gained admittance into My Kingdom, gazed upon My realms of glory, quaffed the living waters of My bounty, hath drunk his fill from the heavenly river of My loving providence, acquainted himself with My Cause, apprehended that which I concealed within the treasury of My Words, and hath shone forth from the horizon of divine knowledge engaged in My praise and glorification. Verily, he is of Me. Upon him rest My mercy, My loving-kindness, My bounty and My glory.  

 

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Baha’u’llah, pp: 16-17

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

Obligatory prayer causeth the heart to become attentive to the Divine kingdom. One is alone with God, converseth with Him, and acquireth bounties. Likewise, if one performeth the Obligatory Prayer with his heart in a state of utmost purity, he will obtain the confirmations of the Holy Spirit, and this will entirely obliterate love of self. I hope that thou wilt persevere in the recitation of the Obligatory Prayer, and thus will come to witness the power of entreaty and supplication….

…Thou hast written concerning obligatory prayer. Such prayer is binding and mandatory for everyone. Most certainly guide all to its observance, because it is like unto a ladder for the souls, a lamp unto the hearts of the righteous, and the water of life from the garden of paradise. It is a clear duty prescribed by the All-Merciful, in the observance of which it is in no wise permissible to be dilatory or neglectful.

Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting,

FROM THE WRITINGS OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ,  #XI and XII

12 March ― 12 ‘Alá’   Leave a comment

12 March ― 12 ‘Alá’

The Holy Period of the Fast

Day 12

From René Decartes [31 Mar 1596 – 11 Feb 1650]

“An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?”


MORNING:

All praise be to the one true God Who hath assisted His loved ones to observe the Fast and hath aided them to fulfill that which hath been decreed in the Book. In truth, ceaseless praise and gratitude are due unto Him for having graciously confirmed His loved ones to perform that which is the cause of the exaltation of His Word. If a man possessed ten thousand lives and offered them all to establish the truth of God’s laws and commandments, he would still be beholden unto Him, since whatsoever proceedeth from His irresistible decree serveth solely to benefit His friends and loved ones.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting,

FROM THE WRITINGS OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH,  #XVIII

EVENING:

There are various stages and stations for the Fast and innumerable effects and benefits are concealed therein. Well is it with those who have attained unto them.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting,

FROM THE WRITINGS OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH,  #XIX

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

It behoveth thee to sever thyself from all desires save thy Lord, the Supreme, expecting no help or aid from anyone in the universe, not even from thy father or children. Resign thyself to God! Content thyself with but little of this world’s goods! Verily, economy is a great treasure. If one of thy relations oppress thee, complain not against him before the magistrate; rather manifest magnificent patience during every calamity and hardship. Verily thy Master is the Lord of Faithfulness! Forgive and overlook the shortcomings which have appeared in that one, for the sake of love and affection. Know that nothing will benefit thee in this life save supplication and invocation unto God, service in His vineyard, and, with a heart full of love, be in constant servitude unto Him.

If thy daily living become difficult, soon thy Lord will bestow upon thee that which shall satisfy thee. Be patient in the time of affliction and trial, endure every difficulty and hardship with a dilated heart, attracted spirit and eloquent tongue in remembrance of the Merciful. Verily this is the life of satisfaction, the spiritual existence, heavenly repose, divine benediction and the celestial table! Soon thy Lord will extenuate thy straitened circumstances even in this world.

Bahá’í World Faith, pp: 374-375