March 28, 2015

“The family unit” is “the nucleus of human society” and “a space within which praiseworthy morals and essential capacities must be developed.”

The followers of Bahá’u’lláh throughout the world, of every gender, race and ethnicity, are working alongside their friends and colleagues to build a society rooted in justice and characterized by unity—a society in which individuals see their outward differences as a reflection of the beauty and perfection of the multi-hued rose garden of humanity and in which, drawing inspiration from the Divine teachings and applying their God-given talents, they labour confidently to further the progress of an ever-advancing civilization. Bahá’ís consider it a priceless bounty to participate in this momentous enterprise and recognize that its success depends, in no small measure, on the acquisition of high moral standards. The family unit, the nucleus of human society, constitutes a space within which praiseworthy morals and essential capacities must be developed, for the habits and patterns of conduct nurtured in the home are carried into the workplace, into the social and political life of the country, and finally into the arena of international relations. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (from a message dated 24 November 2009 addressed to the believers in the Cradle of the Faith)

March 26, 2015

A “feature of Bahá’í administration unparalleled in the religions of the past” -- “The existence of institutions of such exalted rank, comprising individuals… who yet have no legislative, administrative or judicial authority, and are entirely devoid of priestly functions or the right to make authoritative interpretations…”

…in addition to the Spiritual Assemblies, the Bahá’í Administrative Order also contains the institutions of the Continental Boards of Counselors and their Auxiliary Boards. Their endeavors, with the individuals, the community and the institutions, are intended to help maintain the true spirit of the Faith, to counsel the governing institutions and to assist them to attain the high ideals set before them by Bahá’u’lláh and the Master. As the House of Justice wrote in a letter dated 24 April 1972: “The existence of institutions of such exalted rank, comprising individuals who play such a vital role, who yet have no legislative, administrative or judicial authority, and are entirely devoid of priestly functions or the right to make authoritative interpretations, is a feature of Bahá’í administration unparalleled in the religions of the past.” The House of Justice went on to comment that, only as the Bahá’í community grows, and the believers are increasingly able to contemplate its administrative structure uninfluenced by concepts from past ages, will the vital interdependence of these two arms of the administration be properly understood and the value of their interaction be fully recognized. 
- The Universal House of Justice (From a letter dated 18 July 2000 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

March 24, 2015

Apostles of Baha’u’llah = “heavenly armies” -- “souls… who are entirely freed from the human world, transformed into celestial spirits and have become divine angels.”

The Blessed Person of the Promised One is interpreted in the Holy Book as the Lord of Hosts—the heavenly armies. By heavenly armies those souls are intended who are entirely freed from the human world, transformed into celestial spirits and have become divine angels. Such souls are the rays of the Sun of Reality who will illumine all the continents. Each one is holding in his hand a trumpet, blowing the breath of life over all the regions. They are delivered from human qualities and the defects of the world of nature, are characterized with the characteristics of God, and are attracted with the fragrances of the Merciful. Like unto the apostles of Christ, who were filled with Him, these souls also have become filled with His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh; that is, the love of Bahá’u’lláh has so mastered every organ, part and limb of their bodies, as to leave no effect from the promptings of the human world.

March 19, 2015

March 14, 2015

Shaykh Salmán – "From the dawn of history until the present day, there has never been a messenger so worthy of trust; there has never been a courier to compare with Salmán" (‘Abdu’l-Baha)

From the year 69 until the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh in 1309 A.H., [1853-1892] Salmán would arrive once a year, bringing letters, leaving with the Tablets, faithfully delivering each one to him for whom it was intended. Every single year throughout that long period, he came on foot from Persia to ‘Iráq, or to Adrianople, or to the Most Great Prison at Akká; came with the greatest eagerness and love, and then went back again.

He had remarkable powers of endurance. He traveled on foot, as a rule eating nothing but onions and bread; and in all that time, he moved about in such a way that he was never once held up and never once lost a letter or a Tablet. Every letter was safely delivered; every Tablet reached its intended recipient….

After the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, Salmán remained faithful to the Covenant, serving the Cause with all his powers. Then, as before, he would come to the Most Great Prison every year, delivering mail from the believers, and returning with the answers to Persia. At last, in Shíráz, he winged his way to the Kingdom of glory.
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Memorials of the Faithful’)

March 11, 2015

The body draws its sustenance from the soul

The soul of man is the sun by which his body is illumined, and from which it draweth its sustenance… 
- Baha'u'llah  (‘Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah’)

March 10, 2015

“Bahá’í scholarly activity… can be a powerful reinforcement” to “worldwide effort to advance the process of entry by troops” and “a valuable source of new enquirers”

The House of Justice is fully committed to fostering the development of Bahá’í scholarly activity in all parts of the Bahá’í world. Through their scholarly endeavours believers are able to enrich the intellectual life of the Bahá’í community, to explore new insights into the Bahá’í teachings and their relevance to the needs of society, and to attract the investigation of the Faith by thoughtful people from all backgrounds. Far from being a diversion from the worldwide effort to advance the process of entry by troops, Bahá’í scholarship can be a powerful reinforcement to that endeavour and a valuable source of new enquirers. 
(From a letter dated 24 April, 2008, written by the Department of the Secretariat of the Universal House of Justice)

March 7, 2015

1941: Annual Baha'i Amity Banquet, Chicago Women's Club

The Annual Baha'i Amity Banquet, Chicago Women's Club, April 23, 1941, Chicago Ill. (The Baha'i World 1940-1944)

March 5, 2015

The “panacea for domestic conflict” – is family consultation

Bahá'u'lláh also stressed the importance of consultation. We should not think this worthwhile method of seeking solutions is confined to the administrative institutions of the Cause. Family consultation employing full and frank discussion, and animated by awareness of the need for moderation and balance, can be the panacea for domestic conflict. 
(From a letter dated 1 August 1978 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, Women)

March 3, 2015

Among the many reasons for fasting…

The Divine wisdom in fasting is manifold. Among them is this: As during those days (i.e. the period of fasting which the followers afterward observe) the Manifestation of the Sun of Reality, through Divine inspiration, is engaged in the descent (revealing) of Verses, the instituting of Divine Law and the arrangement of teachings, through excessive occupation and intensive attraction, there remains no condition or time for eating and drinking... In order to follow the Divine Manifestation and for the purpose of admonition and the commemoration of their state, it became incumbent upon the people to fast during those days. For every sincere soul who has a beloved longs to experience that state in which his beloved is. If his beloved is in a state of sorrow, he desires sorrow; if in a state of joy, he desires joy; if in a state of rest, he desires rest; if in a state of trouble, he desires trouble. Now, since in this Millennial Day, His Holiness the Supreme (The Báb) fasted many days, and the Blessed Beauty (Bahá'u'lláh) took but little food or drink, it becomes necessary that the friends should follow that example... 
(Table talks by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, recorded by Mrs. Corinne True: Star of the West, Vol. IV, no. 18; compilation: 'Lights of Guidance')

March 2, 2015

The Station of Guardian – Shoghi Effendi explains

No Guardian of the Faith, I feel it my solemn duty to place on record, can ever claim to be the perfect exemplar of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh or the stainless mirror that reflects His light. Though overshadowed by the unfailing, the unerring protection of Bahá’u’lláh and of the Báb, and however much he may share with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the right and obligation to interpret the Bahá’í teachings, he remains essentially human and cannot, if he wishes to remain faithful to his trust, arrogate to himself, under any pretense whatsoever, the rights, the privileges and prerogatives which Bahá’u’lláh has chosen to confer upon His Son. In the light of this truth to pray to the Guardian of the Faith, to address him as lord and master, to designate him as his holiness, to seek his benediction, to celebrate his birthday, or to commemorate any event associated with his life would be tantamount to a departure from those established truths that are enshrined within our beloved Faith. The fact that the Guardian has been specifically endowed with such power as he may need to reveal the purport and disclose the implications of the utterances of Bahá’u’lláh and of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not necessarily confer upon him a station co-equal with those Whose words he is called upon to interpret. He can exercise that right and discharge this obligation and yet remain infinitely inferior to both of them in rank and different in nature. 
(Shoghi Effendi, from a letter dated February 8, 1934; ‘The World Order of Baha’u’llah’)