November 27, 2013

Enoch Olinga with Elsie Austin, Knight of Baha’u’llah for Morocco

Enoch Olinga, later to be appointed a Hand of the Cause of God (second left), and Elsie Austin (right) with other Baha'is at the African Intercontinental Baha'i Conference, Kampala, Uganda, 1953. (Baha’i World News Service)

November 26, 2013

Baha’u’llah’s "Most Great Tablet" - the "Crimson Book"

To direct and canalize these forces let loose by this Heaven-sent process, and to insure their harmonious and continuous operation after His ascension, an instrument divinely ordained, invested with indisputable authority, organically linked with the Author of the Revelation Himself, was clearly indispensable. That instrument Bahá'u'lláh had expressly provided through the institution of the Covenant, an institution which he had firmly established prior to His ascension. This same Covenant He had anticipated in His Kitáb-i-Aqdas, had alluded to it as He bade His last farewell to the members of His family, who had been summoned to His bed-side, in the days immediately preceding His ascension, and had incorporated it in a special document which He designated as "the Book of My Covenant," and which He entrusted, during His last illness, to His eldest son 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Written entirely in His own hand ... this unique and epoch- making Document, designated by Bahá'u'lláh as His "Most Great Tablet," and alluded to by Him as the "Crimson Book" in His "Epistle to the Son of the Wolf," can find no parallel in the Scriptures of any previous Dispensation, not excluding that of the Báb Himself. For nowhere in the books pertaining to any of the world's religious systems, not even among the writings of the Author of the Báb' Revelation, do we find any single document establishing a Covenant endowed with an authority comparable to the Covenant which Bahá'u'lláh had Himself instituted. (Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, The Covenant)

November 22, 2013

A rule to guide one’s life – a believer sought advice from ‘Abdu’l-Baha

O thou dear handmaid of God! Thy letter hath been received and its contents noted. Thou didst ask for a rule whereby to guide thy life.

Believe thou in God, and keep thine eyes fixed upon the exalted Kingdom; be thou enamoured of the Abhá Beauty; stand thou firm in the Covenant; yearn thou to ascend into the Heaven of the Universal Light. Be thou severed from this world, and reborn through the sweet scents of holiness that blow from the realm of the All-Highest. Be thou a summoner to love, and be thou kind to all the human race. Love thou the children of men and share in their sorrows. Be thou of those who foster peace. Offer thy friendship, be worthy of trust. Be thou a balm to every sore, be thou a medicine for every ill. Bind thou the souls together. Recite thou the verses of guidance. Be engaged in the worship of thy Lord, and rise up to lead the people aright. Loose thy tongue and teach, and let thy face be bright with the fire of God’s love. Rest thou not for a moment, seek thou to draw no easeful breath. Thus mayest thou become a sign and symbol of God’s love, and a banner of His grace. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

November 19, 2013

1989: Hand of the Cause of God Collis Featherstone and his wife, Madge, with some friends in Thailand

The Hand of the Cause of God Collis Featherstone and his wife, Madge, are pictured with some of the friends at a refugee camp in Thailand during their tour of Southeast Asia in 1989. Mr. Featherstone was taken ill while visiting Nepal in September and passed away on September 29 in Kathmandu. (Baha'i News, September/October 1990)

November 18, 2013

When the “seed of the spirit” starts to “grow in the human soul”

When a person becomes a Baha'i, actually what takes place is that the seed of the spirit starts to grow in the human soul. This seed must be watered by the outpourings of the Holy Spirit. These gifts of the spirit are received through prayer, meditation, study of the Holy Utterances and service to the Cause of God. The fact of the matter is that service in the Cause is like the plough which ploughs the physical soil when seeds are sown. It is necessary that the soil be ploughed up, so that it can be enriched, and thus cause a stronger growth of the seed. In exactly the same way the evolution of the spirit takes place through ploughing up the soil of the heart so that it is a constant reflection of the Holy Spirit. In this way the human spirit grows and develops by leaps and bounds.

Naturally there will be periods of distress and difficulty, and even severe tests; but if that person turns firmly toward the divine Manifestation, studies carefully His spiritual teachings and receives the blessings of the Holy Spirit, he will find that in reality these tests and difficulties have been the gifts of God to enable him to grow and develop." (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, October 6, 1954; compilation: Living the Life; compilation: Lights of Guidance)

November 13, 2013

The “double task of simultaneously building an ideal society and perfecting the behavior of individuals”

At the very core of the aims of the Faith are the establishment of justice and unity in the world, the removal of prejudice and enmity from among all people, the awakening of compassion and understanding in the hearts of all men and women, and the raising of all souls to a new level of spirituality and behavior through the vitalizing influence of divine Revelation. The course set forth by Bahá'u'lláh for the attainment of these aims is the double task of simultaneously building an ideal society and perfecting the behavior of individuals. For this dual and reciprocal transformation He has not only revealed laws, principles and truths attuned to the needs of this age, but has established the very nucleus and pattern of those institutions which are to evolve into the structure of the divinely purposed world society. (From a letter dated July 2, 1996 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

November 10, 2013

The secret to knowing one’s self

The more we search for ourselves, the less likely we are to find ourselves; and the more we search for God, and to serve our fellow-men, the more profoundly will we become acquainted with ourselves, and the more inwardly assured. This is one of the great spiritual laws of life. (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 18, 1954; Lights of Guidance)

November 7, 2013

Worldwide Plans issued by the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice are “phases in the implementation of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, set out in fourteen of His Tablets to North America”

... we should never forget that the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Crusade, the current Nine Year Plan, other plans to follow throughout successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, are all phases in the implementation of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, set out in fourteen of His Tablets to North America. (The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 1971 message to the Baha’i World; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’) (To read the entire message please visit Messages to the Baha’i World Community– by the Universal House of Justice)

November 5, 2013

The release of the “spiritual powers” of Afro-Americans and Amerindians

Particularly do the Master and the Guardian point to the Afro-Americans and the Amerindians, two great ethnic groups whose spiritual powers will be released through their response to the Creative Word. (The Universal House of Justice, excerpt from a message dated May 1971, to the Friends of God gathered in the Caribbean Conference; Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986) (To read the entire message please visit Messages to the Baha’i World Community – by the Universal House of Justice)