January 31, 2011

The Master delineates the pathway to becoming “clothed in the attributes of the angels of heaven” while we are still on this plane of existence

As for you, O ye lovers of God, make firm your steps in His Cause, with such resolve that ye shall not be shaken though the direst of calamities assail the world.
• By nothing, under no conditions, be ye perturbed.
• Be ye anchored fast as the high mountains,
• be stars that dawn over the horizon of life,
• be bright lamps in the gatherings of unity,
• be souls humble and lowly in the presence of the friends,
• be innocent in heart.
• Be ye symbols of guidance and lights of godliness,
• severed from the world,
• clinging to the handhold that is sure and strong,
• spreading abroad the spirit of life,
• riding the Ark of salvation.
• Be ye daysprings of generosity,
• dawning-points of the mysteries of existence,
• sites where inspiration alighteth,
• rising-places of splendours,
• souls that are sustained by the Holy Spirit,
• enamoured of the Lord,
• detached from all save Him,
• holy above the characteristics of humankind,
• clothed in the attributes of the angels of heaven, that ye may win for yourselves the highest bestowal of all, in this new time, this wondrous age. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 242)

January 27, 2011

Points to keep in mind when thinking to participate in certain humanitarian activities

• “Until such time as the nations of the world understand and follow the admonitions of Bahá'u'lláh to whole-heartedly work together in looking after the best interests of all humankind, and unite in the search for ways and means to meet the many environmental problems besetting our planet, the House of Justice feels that little progress will be made towards their solution...” (From a letter dated 18 October 1981 written on hehalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Conservation of the Earth’s Resources)

• “As the hearts of men are changed, and they begin to work in unity in the light of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings, they can begin to implement many practical improvements to the condition of the world. This is already beginning in the efforts at social and economic development in those areas where large Bahá'í communities have been founded …

Of course, you can also assist those with whom you come into contact who have an interest in improving the environment, but the fundamental solution is the one that Bahá'u'lláh has brought. (From a letter dated 14 June 1984 written on hehalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Conservation of the Earth’s Resources)

January 26, 2011

Abdu’l-Baha describes an amazing journey in one’s spiritual transformation: the “school of spiritual progress” and the “branches of knowledge [that] will be developed” in “the university of heaven”

Thou hast described thyself as a student in the school of spiritual progress. Fortunate art thou! If these schools of progress lead to the university of heaven, then branches of knowledge will be developed whereby humanity will look upon the tablet of existence as a scroll endlessly unfolding; and all created things will be seen upon that scroll as letters and words. Then will the different planes of meaning be learned, and then within every atom of the universe will be witnessed the signs of the oneness of God. Then will man hear the cry of the Lord of the Kingdom, and behold the confirmations of the Holy Spirit coming to succour him. Then will he feel such bliss, such ecstasy, that the wide world with its vastness will no longer contain him, and he will set out for the Kingdom of God, and hurry along to the realm of the spirit. For once a bird hath grown its wings, it remaineth on the ground no more, but soareth upward into high heaven -- except for those birds that are tied by the leg, or those whose wings are broken, or mired down. (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 57)

January 25, 2011

Virtues to strive for concerning one’s own spiritual growth and development while interacting with other human beings

It is incumbent upon you to have union and harmony and love and uprightness, and to be characterized with the morals of your Lord, the Clement; to walk in the highway of equity and beneficence. Be ye manifestations of the mercy of God, dawning-places of the light of His great bounty, and arise with all steadfastness, truthfulness, trustworthiness, compassion, modesty, love and accord with the people of the world, no matter of what community they may be; inasmuch as it behooveth the light to shine even upon the rocks in the field, and the soul is qualified for quickening individuals, even though they be of the ugliest and most disagreeable form, and a pure tree is adapted to bestow a blessed fruit even upon those who throw stones at it. (‘Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of ‘Abdu'l-Baha v2, p. 271)

January 24, 2011

Did you know that in one of the Tablets of Divine Plan ‘Abdu’l-Baha addressed the believers in the United States and Canada as “Apostles of Baha’u’llah”?

Tablet to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada

Revealed on April 19, 1916, in 'Abdu'l-Bahá's room at the house in Bahji; on April 20, in the pilgrims' quarters of the house in Bahji; on April 22, in the garden adjacent to the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, and addressed to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada.

He is God!

O ye Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh!

May my life be sacrificed for you!

The Blessed Person of the Promised One is interpreted in the Holy Book as the Lord of Hosts -- the heavenly armies. By heavenly armies those souls are intended who are entirely freed from the human world, transformed into celestial spirits and have become divine angels. Such souls are the rays of the Sun of Reality who will illumine all the continents. Each one is holding in his hand a trumpet, blowing the breath of life over all the regions. They are delivered from human qualities and the defects of the world of nature, are characterized with the characteristics of God, and are attracted with the fragrances of the Merciful. Like unto the apostles of Christ, who were filled with Him, these souls also have become filled with His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh; that is, the love of Bahá'u'lláh has so mastered every organ, part and limb of their bodies, as to leave no effect from the promptings of the human world.

These souls are the armies of God and the conquerors of the East and the West. Should one of them turn his face toward some direction and summon the people to the Kingdom of God, all the ideal forces and lordly confirmations will rush to his support and reinforcement. He will behold all the doors open and all the strong fortifications and impregnable castles razed to the ground. Singly and alone he will attack the armies of the world, defeat the right and left wings of the hosts of all the countries, break through the lines of the legions of all the nations and carry his attack to the very center of the powers of the earth. This is the meaning of the Hosts of God.

January 23, 2011

“The first proclamation of emancipation for the blacks was made by the whites of America”

The first proclamation of emancipation for the blacks was made by the whites of America. How they fought and sacrificed until they freed the blacks! Then it spread to other places. The blacks of Africa were in complete bondage, but your emancipation led to their freedom also -- that is, the European states emulated the Americans, and the emancipation proclamation became universal. It was for your sake that the whites of America made such an effort. Were it not for this effort, universal emancipation would not have been proclaimed. (Abdu'l-Baha, excerpt from a talk given at Howard University on 23 April 1912; The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 44-45) To read the entire talk please visit Talks of ‘Abdu’l-Baha)

January 21, 2011

The Mashriqu’l-Adhkar (the Baha’i Temple) in Chicago “marks the inception of the Kingdom of God on earth."

"A most wonderful and thrilling motion will appear in the world of existence," are 'Abdu'l-Bahá's own words, predicting the release of spiritual forces that must accompany the completion of this most hallowed House of Worship. "From that point of light," He, further glorifying that edifice, has written, "the spirit of teaching ... will permeate to all parts of the world." And again: "Out of this Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, without doubt, thousands of Mashriqu'l-Adhkars will be born." "It marks the inception of the Kingdom of God on earth." (Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 68)

January 20, 2011

The Reason for the Appearance of a Manifestation of God in a Given Place

The reason for the appearance of a Manifestation of God in a given place is not to honor a particular people or nation. Shoghi Effendi indicates a quite different reason in The Advent of Divine Justice and, more concisely, in a letter to an individual written on his behalf on 23 January 1944:

“The ever-recurring miracle in the establishment of every religion is that such poor instruments accomplish the work of God. It is to demonstrate the fact that God is the power that overcomes every obstacle, and that Revelations are divine in origin, that leads Him to always choose the worst people among whom to manifest His Messenger and the most obscure and helpless of the population -- relatively speaking -- to establish the foundations of His Faith. The Baha'i Dispensation is no exception to this rule, as you yourself have observed.”

Beyond these points is the fact that God, the Almighty Creator, does not have to justify His choice of a race or nationality from which to raise up a Manifestation. As all sacred scriptures tell us, He does as He wills and shall not be asked of His doing, and we bow in humility before Him. Besides, as you must know, conceptions of race, nation, oriental, occidental, and the like reflect earthly limitations and are not qualifications attached to the reality of the soul in the limitless realms of God. (Excerpt from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual Baha’I, dated 27, October, 1986; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1986-2001)

January 15, 2011

To “consecrate” oneself “to service in the Cause of God” – ‘Abdu’l-Baha explains its meaning

As to the terminology I used in my letter, bidding thee to consecrate thyself to service in the Cause of God, the meaning of it is this: limit thy thoughts to teaching the Faith. Act by day and night according to the teachings and counsels and admonitions of Bahá'u'lláh. This doth not preclude marriage. Thou canst take unto thyself a husband and at the same time serve the Cause of God; the one doth not preclude the other. Know thou the value of these days; let not this chance escape thee. Beg thou God to make thee a lighted candle, so that thou mayest guide a great multitude through this darksome world. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Baha’, p.100)

January 3, 2011

Baha’u’llah sacrificed His life for us –- “so that he might educate us, so that he might make us illumined, so that he might make us heavenly, so that he might change our character, change our lives, so that he might illumine our inmost self.”

The Blessed Beauty (Baha'u'llah) loved the friends so much that for their sakes he accepted a thousand difficulties and afflictions. Four times he was exiled. He was banished from one place to another. His properties were confiscated. He gave all -- his family, his relatives, his possessions. He accepted imprisonment, chains and fetters. His holy person was imprisoned in the fortress of Acca until the last moment of his life. He was made to suffer more calamities, afflictions and difficulties than could be enumerated. He had not a moment's rest. He had not an hour's comfort. He was continually under the greatest hardships and ordeals. What great persecutions he endured from his enemies! What great afflictions he bore from his own relatives! He accepted all these trials for our sakes so that he might educate us, so that he might make us illumined, so that he might make us heavenly, so that he might change our character, change our lives, so that he might illumine our inmost self. All these troubles he accepted for our sakes. He did indeed sacrifice his life for us. This love is the real love. This is the inner attachment and the genuine friendship. This is the love which sacrifices one's all, one's life. This is the reality of love. He accepted all these troubles. (Excerpt from a talk given by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the Holy Land, November 19, 1921; Star of the West, vol. 13, October 1922 ) (To read the entire talk please visit Talks of ‘Abdu’l-Baha)

January 1, 2011

To become “associates” of ‘Abdu’l-Baha “in servitude” to Baha’u’llah’s “Holy Threshold”

Verily, I hope from God that ye may become my associates in servitude to His Holy Threshold and my partners at the entrance of the Door of His Oneness; so that ye may equally serve in His great vineyard. Then thank ye your Lord, for He hath favored you with this manifest success. By God, the true One! this cannot be equaled either by the dominion of the world or by the gift of ruling over all regions with pomp, glory and power! Reflect ye upon the chosen ones of God in the earlier ages! How their worth was unknown during their days; how they were known by people as but ordinary individuals and unimportant persons! Afterwards, their arguments appeared, their lights scintillated, their stars beamed, their trees became lofty, their mysteries gleamed forth, their fruits were praised, their reservoirs became overflowing, their gardens adorned, their birds warbled and their joy became perfect in the Kingdom of their Beneficent Lord. (‘Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of ‘Abdu'l-Baha v2, p. 274)