January 31, 2013

We should “consciously strive to be more loving, more united, more dedicated and prayerful than ever before in order to overcome the atmosphere of present-day society…”

We all know how often the Master and the beloved Guardian called upon the friends to consciously strive to be more loving, more united, more dedicated and prayerful than ever before in order to overcome the atmosphere of present-day society which is unloving, disunited, careless of right and wrong and heedless of God. "... when we see the increasing darkness in the world today," the Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf, "we can fully realize that unless the Message of Bahá'u'lláh reaches into the hearts of men and transforms them, there can be no peace and no spiritual progress in the future." (The Universal House of Justice, from a message to the Baha’is of the world dated 16 November 1969; 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)

January 28, 2013

Each Baha’i is “a bearer of the Divine Message”

Every Bahá'í, however humble or inarticulate, must become intent on fulfilling his role as a bearer of the Divine Message. Indeed, how can a true believer remain silent while around us men cry out in anguish for truth, love and unity to descend upon this world? (The Universal House of Justice, from a message to the Baha’is of the world dated 16 November 1969; 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)

January 26, 2013

Sutherland Maxwell's design submission for Chicago Baha'i Temple competion, 1919

Design submitted by Mr. Sutherland Maxwell, architect, Montreal Canada, for the competition for the Baha'i Temple, held in New York, 1919. (The Baha'i World 1938-1940)

January 24, 2013

Prayer for protection for the bearer, revealed by Baha’u’llah -- Originally written as "Du’á-yi Hifz"[1]

In His Name, the Exalted, the All-Highest, the Most Sublime!

Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! O Thou Who art my God, and my Master, and my Lord, and my Support, and my Hope, and my Refuge, and my Light. I ask of Thee, by Thine Hidden and Treasured Name, that none knoweth save Thine own Self, to protect the bearer of this Tablet from every calamity and pestilence, and from every wicked man and woman; from the evil of the evil-doers, and from the scheming of the unbelievers. Preserve him, moreover, O my God, from every pain and vexation, O Thou Who holdest in Thy hand the empire of all things. Thou, truly, art powerful over all things. Thou doest as Thou willest, and ordainest as Thou pleasest.

O Thou King of Kings! O Thou kind Lord! O Thou Source of ancient bounty, of grace, of generosity and bestowal! O Thou Healer of sicknesses! O Thou Sufficer of needs! O Thou Light of Light! O Thou Light above all Lights! O Thou Revealer of every Manifestation! O Thou the Compassionate! O Thou the Merciful! Do Thou have mercy upon the bearer of this Tablet, through Thy most great mercy and Thine abundant grace, O Thou the Gracious, Thou the Bounteous. Guard him, moreover, through Thy protection, from whatsoever his heart and mind may find repugnant. Of those endued with power, Thou, verily, art the most powerful. The Glory of God rest upon thee, O thou rising sun! Do thou testify unto that which God hath testified of His own Self, that there is none other God besides Him, the Almighty, the Best-Beloved.(Baha’u’llah)

[1] This prayer was included with the following letter from the Universal House of Justice:

January 22, 2013

Characteristics of learning in action

The mode of operation adopted in the area of social and economic development, in common with other areas of Bahá’í activity, is one of learning in action. When efforts are carried out in a learning mode — characterized by constant action, reflection, consultation, and study —visions and strategies are re-examined time and again. As tasks are accomplished, obstacles removed, resources multiplied, and lessons learned, modifications are made in goals and methods. The learning process, which is given direction through appropriate institutional arrangements, unfolds in a way that resembles the growth and differentiation of a living organism. Haphazard change is avoided, and continuity of action maintained. (From a paper prepared by the Office of Social and Economic Development at the Bahá’í World Centre, 26 November 2012, approved by the Universal House of Justice for distribution)

January 20, 2013

Enhancing our understanding about Baha’i attitude towards divorce – a few passages from the Writings …

  • General condition of the society
This great law [of parental consent] He has laid down to strengthen the social fabric, to knit closer the ties of the home, to place a certain gratitude and respect in the hearts of children for those who have given them life and sent their souls out on the eternal journey towards their Creator. We Bahá'ís must realize that in present-day society the exact opposite process is taking place: young people care less and less for their parents' wishes, divorce is considered a natural right, and obtained on the flimsiest and most unwarrantable and shabby pretexts. People separated from each other, especially if one of them has had full custody of the children, are only too willing to belittle the importance of the partner in marriage also responsible as a parent for bringing those children into this world. The Bahá'ís must, through rigid adherence to the Bahá'í laws and teachings, combat these corrosive forces which are so rapidly destroying home life and the beauty of family relationships, and tearing down the moral structure of society. (From a letter dated25 October 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States; compilation ‘Consent of Parents to Marriage’, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)

  • “…it is discouraged, deprecated and against the good pleasure of God.”
Regarding divorce, the Guardian stated that it is discouraged, deprecated and against the good pleasure of God. (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly, dated 7 July 1938; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Preserving Baha’i Marriages)

January 15, 2013

Certain prophecies from the Bible fulfilled by the Advent of the Báb – summarized by Shoghi Effendi

* The "Return of John the Baptist" expected by the Christians ..

* The "Return of Elijah" anticipated by the Jews, Whose Revelation was to show forth "the signs and tokens of all the Prophets", Who was to "manifest the perfection of Moses, the radiance of Jesus and the patience of Job"..

* The "Second Woe," spoken of in the Apocalypse of St. John the Divine ...

* The "cleansing of the Sanctuary," prophesied by Daniel and confirmed by Jesus Christ in His reference to "the abomination of desolation," had been accomplished.

* The "forty and two months," during which the "Holy City," as predicted by St. John the Divine, would be trodden under foot, had elapsed.

* The first of the "two Witnesses" into Whom, "after three days and a half the Spirit of Life from God" would enter, had arisen and had "ascended up to heaven in a cloud."

* The "time of the end" had been ushered in …

* The "Man Child," mentioned in the Book of Revelation, destined to "rule all nations with a rod of iron," had released, through His coming, the creative energies which, reinforced by the effusions of a swiftly succeeding and infinitely mightier Revelation, were to instill into the entire human race the capacity to achieve its organic unification, attain maturity and thereby reach the final stage in its age-long evolution. (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By)

January 12, 2013

How to engage in a profession and be detached from worldly affairs

In the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh it is obligatory for the individual to engage in a trade or profession. For instance, I know mat weaving and you know another trade. The service we perform is equivalent to worship if we perform it with truth and trustworthiness; it is a cause of human advancement. If the heart is not bound and attached to the world, if it is unaffected by the vicissitudes of life, unhampered by worldly wealth from serving humanity and not dejected because of poverty, then this is a human perfection. Otherwise, to profess generosity if one is poor, or justice when one is powerless to extend it, is easy enough, but this will not establish one's spiritual education and awareness. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, New York, June 11, 1912; Mahmud’s Diary)

January 8, 2013

Hands of the Cause of God Ruhiyyih Khanum and Bill Sears

Hand of the Cause Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum (center) with Hand of the Cause Bill Sears and Marguerite Sears