May 3, 2015

Some insights gleaned from the 2015 Ridvan message of the Universal House of Justice

Disintegrating process taking place worldwide
  • “Over the last year, it has become clearer still that, in different nations in different ways, the social consensus around ideals that have traditionally united and bound together a people is increasingly worn and spent.”
  • “… self-serving, intolerant, and toxic ideologies that feed upon discontent and resentment.”
  • “With a conflicted world appearing every day less sure of itself, the proponents of these destructive doctrines grow bold and brazen.”
  • "They hasten forward to Hell Fire, and mistake it for light."
  • “Well-meaning leaders of nations and people of goodwill are left struggling to repair the fractures evident in society and powerless to prevent their spread.”
  • “the distrust that pits neighbor against neighbour and severs family ties”
  • “the antagonism of so much of what passes for social discourse”
  • “the casualness with which appeals to ignoble human motivations are used to win power and pile up riches”
  • “the moral force which sustains society has become gravely depleted.”

Integrating process: activities taking place worldwide and those requiring “concentrated effort”
  • “a new kind of collective life is taking shape which gives practical expression to all that is heavenly in human beings.”
  • “Existing programmes are gaining in strength, many showing more clearly what it means for the Cause of God to extend further into the social landscape across a cluster and within a neighbourhood or village.”
  • “The paths that lead to sustained large-scale expansion and consolidation are being followed with firmer footsteps, valiant youth often setting the pace.”
  • “to introduce children, youth, and adults to spiritual ideas”
  • “to foster a feeling for worship through gatherings for prayer and devotion”
  • “to stimulate conversations that illuminate understanding”
  • “to start ever-growing numbers on a lifetime of study of the Creative Word and its translation into deeds”
  • “to develop, along with others, capacity for service”
  • “to accompany one another in the exercise of what has been learned”
  • “a culture of mutual support, founded on fellowship and humble service
  • “the movement of a population towards Baha'u'llah's vision for a new society”
  • “Often prompted by the demands of growth, a range of National Assemblies are building up their administrative capacity, visible in their thoughtful stewardship of the resources available to them, their efforts to become intimately familiar with the conditions of their communities, and their vigilance in ensuring that the operations of their National Offices grow ever stronger.”
  • “enabling more and more souls to be systematically brought within the pale of the community's activities”

Points to reflect on and bear in mind as we go through these two processes
  • “that your love for Him may give you the strength to consecrate your lives to His Cause.”
  • “Is not the history of our Faith filled with accounts of inauspicious beginnings but marvellous results?”
  • “How many times have the deeds of a few believers - young or old - or of a single family, or even of a lone soul, when confirmed by the power of divine assistance, succeeded in cultivating vibrant communities in seemingly inhospitable climes?”
  • “Change in a cluster, be it swift or hard won, flows neither from a formulaic approach nor from random activity; it proceeds to the rhythm of action, reflection, and consultation, and is propelled by plans that are the fruit of experience.”
  • “service to the Beloved is, in itself, a source of abiding joy to the spirit.”
  • “Take heart, too, from the example of your spiritual kin in the Cradle of the Faith, how their constructive outlook, their resilience as a community, and their steadfastness in promoting the Divine Word are bringing about change in their society at the level of thought and deed.”
  • “Now is not the moment for any soul to linger upon the bank - let all lend themselves to the onward surge.”
  • “The rich insights arising from clusters, and from centres of intense activity within them, where the dynamics of community life have embraced large numbers of people deserve special mention.”
  • “in an increasing number of settings the movement of a population towards Baha'u'llah's vision for a new society appears no longer merely as an enthralling prospect but as an emerging reality.”
  • “in those places where intensity in teaching and community-building activities has been maintained, the friends have been able to guard themselves against the forces of materialism that risk sapping their precious energies”
  • "Where a programme of growth has been established in a previously unopened cluster, we see how the initial stirrings of activity arise out of the love for Baha'u'llah held in the heart of a committed believer.
  • “Notwithstanding the orders of complexity that must eventually be accommodated as a community grows in size, all activity begins with this simple strand of love. It is the vital thread from which is woven a pattern of patient and concentrated effort, cycle after cycle”
  • “it is systematic, determined, and selfless action undertaken within the wide embrace of the Plan's framework that is the most constructive response of every concerned believer to the multiplying ills of a disordered society.”
  • “in managing the various other calls upon their time, they never lose sight of the sacred and pressing tasks before them. Such attentiveness to the needs of the Faith and to humanity's best interests is required in every community.”
  • “Ways in which the society-building power of the Faith can find release in various settings are becoming more apparent, and those defining features that must come to mark the further unfoldment of the growth process in a cluster are becoming gradually discernible.”
  • “In the twelve months that remain of the Plan, let every community advance from its present position to a stronger one.”