September 30, 2015

Prayer Christ said while on the cross

O My beloved Lord, how long wilt Thou abandon Me to them? Lift Me up unto Thee, shelter Me close to Thee, make Me a dwelling by Thy throne of glory. Verily art Thou the Answerer of prayers, and Thou art the Clement, the Merciful. O My Lord! Verily this world with all its vastness can no longer contain Me, and I love this cross, out of love for Thy beauty, and yearning for Thy realm on high, and because of this fire, fanned by the gusts of Thy holiness, aflame within My heart. Help me, O Lord, to ascend unto Thee, sustain Me that I may reach unto Thy sacred Threshold, O My loving Lord! Verily Thou art the Merciful, the Possessor of great bounty! Verily Thou art the Generous! Verily Thou art the Compassionate! Verily Thou art the All-Knowing! There is none other God save Thee, the Mighty, the Powerful!' 
- Jesus Christ  (Quoted by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in 'Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu'l-Baha')

September 28, 2015

The “object of life to a Baha'i is to promote the oneness of mankind”

The object of life to a Baha'i is to promote the oneness of mankind; Our aim is to produce a world civilization which in turn will react on the character of the individual.
- Shoghi Effendi (Remarks by Shoghi Effendi, recorded by Ruhiyyih Khanum, ‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Ruhiyyih Khanum:
I remember in the  course of a conversation Shoghi Effendi had with a former teacher  of his at the American University in Beirut, how beautifully he  answered this man's question as to what was the purpose of life to a Bahá'í. The Guardian answered that the object of life to a Bahá'í was to promote the oneness of mankind. He then went on to point out that Bahá'u'lláh had appeared at a time when His Message could and should be directed to the whole world and not merely to individuals; that salvation today was through world salvation, world change, world reform of society and that the world civilization resulting from this would in turn reflect upon the individuals composing it and lead to their redemption and reformation.

Over and over Shoghi Effendi made it clear in his writings and talks that the two processes must go on together -- reform of society, reform of personal character. There was never any doubt that individual regeneration, as he wrote to a non-Bahá'í in 1926, was the "sure and enduring foundation on which a reconstructed society" would develop and prosper. But how could one create a pattern for future  society, even a tiny embryo of the future World Commonwealth of Bahá'u'lláh, if all around its fringes it was still interwoven with the fabric of that society which was dying out, must die out, to make way for the new? 
- Ruhiyyih Khanum  (‘The Guardian of the Baha'i Faith’)  

September 26, 2015

January 2001: The new International Teaching Centre, Haifa, Israel

Members of the Universal House of Justice, The International Teaching Centre, the Continental Boards of Counsellors, and the Auxiliary Boards, assembled in front of the new International Teaching Centre Building, January 2001 (The Baha'i World 2000-2001)

September 23, 2015

How to create a “culture” in which “teaching is the dominating passion of the lives of the believers”

When training and encouragement are effective, a culture of growth is nourished in which the believers see their duty to teach as a natural consequence of having accepted Baha'u'llah. They "raise high the sacred torch of faith," as was 'Abdu'l-Baha's wish, "labour ceaselessly, by day and by night," and "consecrate every fleeting moment of their lives to the diffusion of the divine fragrance and the exaltation of God's holy Word." So enkindled do their hearts become with the fire of the love of God that whoever approaches them feels its warmth. They strive to be channels of the spirit, pure of heart, selfless and humble, possessing certitude and the courage that stems from reliance on God. In such a culture, teaching is the dominating passion of the lives of the believers. Fear of failure finds no place. Mutual support, commitment to learning, and appreciation of diversity of action are the prevailing norms. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated January 9, 2001, addressed to the Continental Boards of Counsellors)

September 22, 2015

What qualities must one gain through tests to be considered a “chosen one” or “first fruit”?

In this day everyone must be tested, as the time of the ''chosen ones" to prove their worth is indeed very short. The day of attainment is drawing to a close for them. The "first fruits" must be ripened in spirit, mellowed in love, and consumed by their self-sacrifice and severance. None other are acceptable as first fruits, and all who fail to attain to the standard through the tests, are relegated to the "many who are called." 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (Words of ‘Abdu'l-Baha in answer to questions asked by Dr. Edward C. Getsinger during a few brief meetings at Haifa, January 26 to February 5, 1915, and recorded by Dr. Getsinger at the time; Star of the West, vol. 6, no. 6, June 24, 1915)

September 20, 2015

'Abdu'l-Baha explains what to do when: “one is in the right in a case in dispute, and his minority prevents him from establishing this rightful matter”

Blessed are they who are the means of making unity among the friends, and pity on those who in the right or wrong are the cause of discord. For instance: When one is in the right in a case in dispute, and his minority prevents him from establishing this rightful matter, instead of agitating the subject, if he will humbly submit to sacrifice his position for the sake of unity and peace, God will accept that sacrifice and ere long the rightful matter will be established without any farther dispute, by the Divine assistance; whereas without such sacrifice and submissiveness great harm might ensue. 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (Words of Abdu'l-Baha in answer to questions asked by Dr. Edward C. Getsinger during a few brief meetings at Haifa, January 26 to February 5, 1915, and recorded by Dr. Getsinger at the time; Star of the West, vol. 6, no. 6, June 24, 1915)

September 18, 2015

The mystical reality of the Manifestation of God

Magnified be Thy name, O Lord my God! I know not what the water is with which Thou hast created me, or what the fire Thou hast kindled within me, or the clay wherewith Thou hast kneaded me. The restlessness of every sea hath been stilled, but not the restlessness of this Ocean which moveth at the bidding of the winds of Thy will. The flame of every fire hath been extinguished except the Flame which the hands of Thine omnipotence have kindled, and whose radiance Thou hast, by the power of Thy name, shed abroad before all that are in Thy heaven and all that are on Thy earth. As the tribulations deepen, it waxeth hotter and hotter.

Behold, then, O my God, how Thy Light hath been compassed with the onrushing winds of Thy decree, how the tempests that blow and beat upon it from every side have added to its brightness and increased its splendor. For all this let Thee be praised. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah’)

September 15, 2015

Human “mind… has no place, although it is connected with the brain.”

Where then can one find in man this mind that resides in him and whose existence is beyond doubt? Were you to examine the human body with the eye, the ear, or the other senses, you would fail to find it, even though it clearly exists. The mind, therefore, has no place, although it is connected with the brain. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Table talks in Akka, authenticated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha; ‘Some Answered Questions’ – 2014 revised translation by the Baha’i World Center)

September 12, 2015

Conduct of the believers in meetings

The believers of God must assemble and associate with each other in the utmost love, joy and fragrance. They must conduct themselves (in the meetings) with the greatest dignity and consideration, chant divine verses, peruse instructive articles, read the Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha, encourage and inspire each other with love for the whole human race, invoke God with perfect joy and fragrance, read the verses of glorification and praises of the Self-Subsistent Lord and deliver eloquent speeches. 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (From a Tablet; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 6, June 24, 1911)

September 8, 2015

The Universal House of Justice explains the "continual aim" of these Baha'i institutions - the summer schools, training institutes, Nineteen Day Feasts and the National Conventions

The continual aim of the institutions of the Bahá’í community—whether it be through the operation of summer schools and training institutes, through the development of the Nineteen Day Feasts and National Conventions, or through day-to-day interaction among the friends—is to empower the individual believers so that they will learn how to live their lives with increasing knowledge, wisdom, unity and fruitfulness in conformity with the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. 
- 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)

September 3, 2015

A “significant enhancement in patterns of behavior” is needed at “the local level” – The Universal House of Justice explains

...the flourishing of the community, especially at the local level, demands a significant enhancement in patterns of behaviour: those patterns by which the collective expression of the virtues of the individual members and the functioning of the Spiritual Assembly are manifest in the unity and fellowship of the community and the dynamism of its activity and growth. This calls for the integration of the component elements—adults, youth and children—in spiritual, social, educational and administrative activities; and their engagement in local plans of teaching and development. It implies a collective will and sense of purpose to perpetuate the Spiritual Assembly through annual elections. It involves the practice of collective worship of God. Hence, it is essential to the spiritual life of the community that the friends hold regular devotional meetings in local Bahá'í centres, where available, or elsewhere, including the homes of believers. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1996 message; compilation: ‘Selected Guidance Concerning Devotional Gatherings’, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, 2001)