January 28, 2015

Qualities that the Universal House of Justice beseeches and implores Baha’u’llah to bestow upon the Baha’is worldwide

…we turn our hearts in frequent prayer to Baha’u’llah and beseech Him to strengthen His followers through His unfailing grace. In such moments, we implore Him to illumine their souls with the light of knowledge and faith. Let them not   underestimate the power inherent in the system they are putting in place for the propagation of His Faith, nor mistake the true purpose of the global enterprise on which they have embarked. Let them not deviate from the path of learning on which they are set, nor be distracted by the ephemeral pursuits of a bewildered society. Let them not fail to appreciate the value of the culture now taken root in the community that promotes the systematic study of the Creative Word in small groups in order to build capacity for service. Let them never forget the imperative to tend to the needs of the children of the world and offer them lessons that develop their spiritual faculties and lay the foundations of a noble and upright character. Let them come to realize the full significance of their efforts to help young people form a strong moral identity in their early adolescent years and empower them to contribute to the well-being of their communities. And let them rejoice at having learned through consistent, systematic action how to establish a rhythm of growth that pays due attention to the essential elements of expansion, consolidation, reflection and planning. May they one and all be endowed with constancy and fidelity and be granted the courage to make whatever sacrifices are needed to ensure the resounding success of the Plan. By the rectitude of their conduct, the sincerity of their love for their fellow human beings, and the ardour of their desire to serve the peoples of the world, may they vindicate the truth proclaimed by Baha’u’llah that humanity is one. May they be diligent in their efforts to establish ties of friendship that show no regard for prevalent social barriers and ceaselessly endeavour to bind hearts together in the love of God. That they may recognize the profound implications of their mission is our fervent hope. That they may not falter in accomplishing their ambitious goals, no matter how severe the crises engulfing the world around them, is our most heartfelt prayer at the Sacred Threshold. 
(The Universal House of Justice, from a message dated 20 October 2008 to the Baha’is of the World)

January 25, 2015

The “true spirit of the teachings on the subject of sex”

We have your letter...asking about a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on the subject of embracing. We have seen no such Tablet, but we have seen reference to a pilgrim's note and the comment of the beloved Guardian on it.

The pilgrim's note reports the Master as saying: 'Women and men must not embrace each other when not married, or not about to be married. They must not kiss each other... If they wish to greet each other, or comfort each other, they may take each other by the hand.' In a letter to an individual written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi it is said: 'The Master's words to... which you quoted, can certainly be taken as the true spirit of the teachings on the subject of sex. We must strive to achieve this exalted standard.' (October 19, 1947) 
(The Universal House of Justice, from a letter dated February 10, 1974 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States,; Bahá'í National Review, June, 1979; partially cited in compilation: Lights of Guidance)

January 23, 2015

Spiritual healing is “a most valuable adjunct” to material healing

With regard to your question concerning spiritual healing: Such a healing constitutes, indeed, one of the most effective methods of relieving a person from either his mental or physical pains and sufferings. 'Abdu'l-Bahá has in His "Paris Talks" emphasized its importance by stating that it should be used as an essential means for effecting a complete physical cure. Spiritual healing, however, is not and cannot be a substitute for material healing, but it is a most valuable adjunct to it. Both are, indeed, essential and complementary. 
(From a letter dated 16 February 1935 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Health, Healing and Nutrition)

January 21, 2015

Applicability of the Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas – clarification by the Universal House of Justice

The Universal House of Justice
Baha’i World Center

Department of the Secretariat

9 May 1993

To all National Spiritual Assemblies 

Dear Baha'i Friends, 

Applicability of the Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas 

In the introduction to the English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas it is stated that its publication does not increase the number of laws which are binding on Baha'is. As an assistance to those friends who may not have a clear understanding of the matter, the Universal House of Justice has instructed us to send you the attached copy of a letter which it wrote to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iceland, on 9 June 1974, to identify those laws which were not then universally applicable. The law of Huququ'llah was applied universally at Ridvan 1992. In due course, the Universal House of Justice will announce further applications of the laws when the friends have had the opportunity of familiarizing themselves with the Most Holy Book and when it is propitious to do so. National Spiritual Assemblies are asked to share this letter and its enclosure with the friends under their jurisdiction. 

With loving Baha'i greetings, 

For Department of the Secretariat     

January 18, 2015

The Baha'i Administrative Order: “the nucleus” and “the very pattern of the New World Order"

Throughout the entire planet the devoted followers of Baha'u'llah are labouring to develop further the Baha'i Administrative Order described by the Guardian "not only as the nucleus but the very pattern of the New World Order", thus setting the foundation for a world civilization destined to yield its dazzling splendour in the centuries to come. They do so notwithstanding the conditions of turmoil and disorder alluded to by Baha'u'llah in affirming that "the world's equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order. Mankind's ordered life hath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System-the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed."  
(The Universal House of Justice, from a message dated 25 March 2007 to the Baha’is of the World)

January 16, 2015

The equality of men and women is “a universal spiritual truth”

…the equality of men and women is not a Western construct but a universal spiritual truth — a statement about human nature — that was promulgated by Bahá’u’lláh nearly one hundred and fifty years ago in His native Iran. That women should enjoy equal rights with men is a requirement of justice. It is a principle consonant with the highest standard of purity and sanctity, whose application strengthens family life and is essential to the regeneration and progress of any nation. Indeed, peace in the world and the advancement of civilization depend on its realization. 
(The Universal House of Justice, from a message dated 20 June 2008 addressed to the Baha’is in Iran)

January 9, 2015

Reasons for the uniqueness of the World Order of Baha'u'llah – “without precedent in human history”

The World Order of Baha'u'llah is the divinely ordained system for which nations and peoples so desperately search. Hailed by the Báb in the Persian Bayan, its foundational features prescribed by Baha'u'llah Himself, this Order is without precedent in human history for its standard of justice and its commitment to the practical realization of the oneness of mankind, as well as for its capacity to promote change and the advancement of world civilization. It provides the means by which the Divine Will illumines the path of human progress and guides the eventual establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.  
(The Universal House of Justice, from a message dated 25 March 2007 to the Baha’is of the World)

January 7, 2015

Comparison of the stage of growth reached by the Cause of God at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus and the ascension of Baha’u’llah

At the time His Holiness Jesus Christ was crucified, there were eleven disciples and even they were doubting -- Peter heading them -- until Mary the Magdalene, that lioness of God, strengthened them and was the cause of confirming them. Then consider how great were the results!

And now, His Holiness Baha’u’llah, when He ascended, had half a million souls who were self-sacrificing and all were perfectly firm and staunch! Consider what a marvelous potency this will exercise. 
(‘Abdu’l-Baha, from a talk, San Francisco, October 5, 1912; Star of the West, vol. 10, no. 13, November 4, 1919) (To read the entire talk please visit: Talks of ‘Abdu’l-Baha)

January 3, 2015

The Oneness of Humanity - theme of the Second World Congress

Some Baha'is attending the Second World Congress which was held in New York City between November 23 to 26, 1992 to celebrate the centenary of the inauguration of Baha'u'llah's Covenant. An estimated 27,000 Baha'is assembled from all parts of the world and a great variety of ethnic backgrounds, vividly illustrating the theme of the Congress - the oneness of humanity. 

January 1, 2015

The 5-pointed star “…is the symbol of our Faith.”

The 9-pointed star is not a part of the teachings of our Faith, but only used as an emblem representing "9".... Strictly speaking the 5-pointed star is the symbol of our Faith… 
(From a letter dated 28 October 1949, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; Baha’i News, no. 228, February 1950; compilation: 'Lights of Guidance'; also included in a memorandum by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, dated 24 January 1999)