November 30, 2014

The “heart and nerve center” of each community

Each Local Spiritual Assembly should become the heart and nerve center of its community. The Assemblies should be so educated and equipped with guidance from you that they become pillars of strength for the believers, and sources of knowledge and guidance. The Local Assemblies should neither be like private agents prying into the lives of the believers and seeking out their personal problems, nor should they condone glaring disregard of the Holy Laws. Whenever it becomes known that one of the believers is flagrantly disobeying the Teachings of the Faith, whether spiritual, ethical, moral or administrative, the Assemblies should not allow such a situation to become a source of backbiting among the friends or deteriorate into either the loss of the dignity of the Teachings in the eyes of the Bahá’ís and non-Bahá’ís, or the eventual inactivity of the believers, as you have observed. The Assemblies, with the encouragement and under the continuous guidance of your National Assembly, should, in the name of protecting the interests of the Faith, themselves initiate action for the solution of the problem, and handle it with love, wisdom and firmness.
(Letter from the Universal House of Justice, dated November 12, 1965, to a National Spiritual Assembly; Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies by US NSA, 2014)

November 27, 2014

House of the Báb - views of the courtyard

Entrance from an adjoining dwelling which gives access to the courtyard of the House of the Báb in Shiraz. 
Courtyard of the House of the Báb in Shiraz, showing the orange tree and reflecting pool and, on the left, a well.
View of the garden in the courtyard of the House of the Báb in Shiraz. On the right, towards the center, is seen the entrance from an adjoining dwelling.(The Baha'i World 1976-1979)

November 26, 2014

Two necessary things for our growing understanding of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh

Do not forget that Shoghi Effendi said two things were necessary for a growing understanding of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: the passage of time and the guidance of the Universal House of Justice. 
(The Universal House of Justice, from a message dated 27 May 1966 to an individual believer; Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963 to 1986)

November 22, 2014

To see things through the eyes of Baha’u’llah

Verily I say! No one hath apprehended the root of this Cause. It is incumbent upon everyone, in this day, to perceive with the eye of God, and to hearken with His ear. Whoso beholdeth Me with an eye besides Mine own will never be able to know Me. 
(Baha’u’llah, quoted by Shoghi Effendi in ‘The Advent of Divine Justice’)

November 19, 2014

"spiritual baptism"

When it is wished to celebrate the naming of a child, a special gathering may be held at which prayers and verses from the Holy Writings should be read out, and all should fervently entreat, in lowliness and devotion before the Divine Threshold, that the new-born infant may attain to righteousness, and beseech that it may be granted heavenly confirmation, steadfastness and constancy. The chosen name should then be conferred on the child, and afterwards sweetmeats and refreshments may be served--this is spiritual baptism. 
(‘Abdu’l-Baha, from a Tablet translated from the Persian, included in a compilation prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice on ‘The Naming of Babies’)

November 16, 2014

Adelaide Sharp – the first woman to be elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran

Born in Texas in 1896, Adelaide Sharp spent her childhood in Mexico, moved in company of her mother to California to pursue her studies, and after graduation from college took up teaching work in the Italian quarter of San Francisco. Her father, Horace M. Sharp who died during Adelaide's infancy, was a Christian but Adelaide, when still young, received the Message of Baha'u'llah from her mother, Clara Sharp - a devoted Baha'i - and accepted it.

In 1929, when the distinguished Baha'i, Dr. Susan I. Moody, who was then seventy-seven years of age, undertook to emigrate to Persia a second time at the Guardian's request, she received his permission and hearty approval to take Adelaide along with her to serve at the Tarbiyat School in the capital. The two pioneers covered the first stretch of their journey by ship to the Holy Land where the glory of pilgrimage to the Holy Shrines for twelve precious days was heightened by the guidance and spiritual strength received from the beloved Guardian, a bounty that would be their mainstay during the long and difficult years ahead.

November 8, 2014

The Teachings we proclaim should become part of our consciousness -- the importance of

It is not sufficient to number the souls that embrace the Cause to know the progress that it is making. The more important consequences of your activities are the spirit that is diffused into the life of the community, and the extent to which the teachings we proclaim become part of the consciousness and belief of the people that hear them. For it is only when the spirit has thoroughly permeated the world that the people will begin to enter the Faith in large numbers. 
(From a letter dated 18 February 1932, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. III, Promoting Entry by Troops)

November 4, 2014

Topics that spiritual assembly members should consult on – ‘Abdu’l-Baha identifies

Discussions must all be confined to spiritual matters that pertain to the training of souls, the instruction of children, the relief of the poor, the help of the feeble throughout all classes in the world, kindness to all peoples, the diffusion of the fragrances of God and the exaltation of His Holy Word. 
(‘Abdu’l-Baha, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, from a letter dated March 5, 1922; ‘Baha’i Administration’)

November 1, 2014

The Citadel of 'Akka

Erected during the Turkish region at the end of the 18th century on Crusader foundation, this citadel acted as the central prison of Palestine during the British mandate after World War I.