August 17, 2011

Prayer for a better harvest


O God! Grant Thy favour, and bestow Thy blessing. Vouchsafe Thy grace, and give a portion of Thy bounty. Enable these men to witness during this year the fulfillment of their hopes. Send down Thy heavenly rain, and provide Thy plenteousness and abundance. Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, from a Tablet to a group of believers; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. III, Economics, Agriculture, and Related Subjects)

August 15, 2011

The benefits of “true consultation” versus the “futility” of other means through which decisions are made

In this field Bahá'í youth may demonstrate the efficiency, the vigour, the access of unity which arise from true consultation and, by contrast, demonstrate the futility of partisanship, lobbying, debate, secret diplomacy and unilateral action which characterize modern affairs. (The Universal House of Justice, 10 June, 1966; Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986) (To see the entire message please visit Messages to the Baha’i World Community – by the Universal House of Justice)

August 14, 2011

The “theme” we should “pursue in our efforts to deepen in the Cause”

Dearly loved friends, this is the theme we must pursue in our efforts to deepen in the Cause. What is Bahá'u'lláh's purpose for the human race? For what ends did He submit to the appalling cruelties and indignities heaped upon Him? What does He mean by "a new race of men"? What are the profound changes which He will bring about? The answers are to be found in the Sacred Writings of our Faith and in their interpretation by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and our beloved Guardian. Let the friends immerse themselves in this ocean, let them organize regular study classes for its constant consideration, and as reinforcement to their effort, let them remember conscientiously the requirements of daily prayer and reading of the Word of God enjoined upon all Bahá'ís by Bahá'u'lláh. (The Universal House of Justice, excerpt from a message dated Ridvan 1967, ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963 to 1986’) (To read the entire letter please visit Messages to the Baha’i World Community—by the Universal House of Justice)

August 13, 2011

The reward of writing down “with true faith” just “one letter” of Baha’u’llah’s Writings – the Báb explains

Better is it for a person to write down but one of His verses than to transcribe the whole of the Bayan and all the books which have been written in the Dispensation of the Bayan. For everything shall be set aside except His Writings, which will endure until the following Revelation. And should anyone inscribe with true faith but one letter of that Revelation, his recompense would be greater than for inscribing all the heavenly Writings of the past and all that has been written during previous Dispensations. Likewise continue thou to ascend through one Revelation after another, knowing that thy progress in the Knowledge of God shall never come to an end, even as it can have no beginning. (The Báb, Excerpts from the Persian Bayán, ‘Selections from the Writings of the Báb)

August 12, 2011

Mount Carmel as of 1926

Looking up the slope of Mount Carmel, circa 1926. The Holy Tomb of the Bab and 'Abdu'l-Baha is seen behind the large white building in center. (The Baha'i World 1926-1928)
Another view of the Sacred Shrine as seen from the main street of Haifa leading up to the terraces below the Tomb (The Baha'i World 1926-1928)

August 10, 2011

The “Supreme Tribunal” -- ‘Abdu’l-Baha explains how its members should be universally elected and the impact of its ruling


For example, the question of universal peace, about which Bahá'u'lláh says that the Supreme Tribunal must be established: although the League of Nations has been brought into existence, yet it is incapable of establishing universal peace. But the Supreme Tribunal which Bahá'u'lláh has described will fulfil this sacred task with the utmost might and power. And His plan is this: that the national assemblies of each country and nation -- that is to say parliaments -- should elect two or three persons who are the choicest of that nation, and are well informed concerning international laws and the relations between governments and aware of the essential needs of the world of humanity in this day. The number of these representatives should be in proportion to the number of inhabitants of that country. The election of these souls who are chosen by the national assembly, that is, the parliament, must be confirmed by the upper house, the congress and the cabinet and also by the president or monarch so these persons may be the elected ones of all the nation and the government. The Supreme Tribunal will be composed of these people, and all mankind will thus have a share therein, for every one of these delegates is fully representative of his nation. When the Supreme Tribunal gives a ruling on any international question, either unanimously or by majority rule, there will no longer be any pretext for the plaintiff or ground of objection for the defendant. In case any of the governments or nations, in the execution of the irrefutable decision of the Supreme Tribunal, be negligent or dilatory, the rest of the nations will rise up against it, because all the governments and nations of the world are the supporters of this Supreme Tribunal. Consider what a firm foundation this is! But by a limited and restricted League the purpose will not be realized as it ought and should. This is the truth about the situation, which has been stated.... (‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha’)

August 9, 2011

The Teachings of the Faith place the “obligation of deepening in the Cause” on every believer

The beloved Guardian wrote, "To strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Bahá'u'lláh's stupendous Revelation must, it is my unalterable conviction, remain the first obligation and the object of the constant endeavour of each one of its loyal adherents," a statement which places the obligation of deepening in the Cause firmly on every believer. (The Universal House of Justice, excerpt from a message dated Ridvan 1967, ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963 to 1986’) (To read the entire letter please visit Messages to the Baha’i World Community—by the Universal House of Justice)

August 8, 2011

The charm of music and its influence in the hearts of children

What a wonderful meeting this is! These are the children of the Kingdom. The song we have just listened to was very beautiful in melody and words. The art of music is divine and effective. It is the food of the soul and spirit. Through the power and charm of music the spirit of man is uplifted. It has wonderful sway and effect in the hearts of children, for their hearts are pure, and melodies have great influence in them. The latent talents with which the hearts of these children are endowed will find expression through the medium of music. Therefore, you must exert yourselves to make them proficient; teach them to sing with excellence and effect. It is incumbent upon each child to know something of music, for without knowledge of this art the melodies of instrument and voice cannot be rightly enjoyed. Likewise, it is necessary that the schools teach it in order that the souls and hearts of the pupils may become vivified and exhilarated and their lives be brightened with enjoyment. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912’; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, Music)

August 7, 2011

The seal of the first Baha'i Assembly of the United States and Canada, 1897

The seal of the first Baha'i Assembly of the United States and Canada, 1897 (The Baha'i World 1932-1934)

August 4, 2011

The house of 'Abdu'l-Baha in Haifa, as it appeared in His days

The house of 'Abdu'l-Baha in Haifa, as it appeared in His days (The Baha'i World 1954-1963)

August 3, 2011

“… proclamation … complements(s) and reinforce(s) the twin processes of expansion and consolidation”

World-wide proclamation, the unknown sea on which we must soon sail, will add another dimension to our work, a dimension which will, as it develops, complement and reinforce the twin processes of expansion and consolidation. This pattern of teaching, emerging so soon after the completion of the framework of the Administrative Order, may well be the means of advancing the vital work of consolidation and of rendering more effective the teaching wisdom which has been gained in a hundred years, and more particularly since the beloved Guardian called us to systematic and planned activity. Therefore, in those countries where we are free to publicize our religion, this activity must become part of our regular work, included in budgets, assigned to National and Local Committees for study and implementation and above all for co-ordination with the programmes operating to achieve the goals of the Nine Year Plan. Every effort of proclamation must be sustained by teaching, particularly locally where public announcements should be related to such efforts. This co-ordination is essential, for nothing will be more disheartening than for thousands to hear of the Faith and have nowhere to turn for further information. (The Universal House of Justice, excerpt from a message dated Ridvan 1967, ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963 to 1986’) (To read the entire letter please visit Messages to the Baha’i World Community—by the Universal House of Justice)