Great is the multitude who will rise up to
yet shall your heavenly Father confer upon you such spiritual illumination that ye shall become even as the rays of the sun which, as they chase away the sombre clouds, break forth to flood the surface of the earth with light.
It is incumbent upon you, whensoever these tests may overtake you,
Instead of repaying like with like, ye should requite opposition with
but rather regard them as the wanton acts of children.
For ultimately the radiance of the Kingdom
The small shall be made great, and the powerless shall be given strength; they that are of tender age shall become the children of the Kingdom, and those that have gone astray shall be guided to their heavenly home."
(`Abdu'l-Bahá, from a Tablet- translated from the Persian)
‘Abdu’l-Bahá made it clear that those who steadfastly strive to promote the oneness of humanity will endure hardship and injustice, and He taught that to be wronged and oppressed in the path of God is a divine gift, for it is a characteristic of the Manifestations of God. “And since the Ancient Beauty was exposed by day and night on the field of martyrdom,” He counseled, “let us in our turn labor hard, and hear and ponder the counsels of God; let us fling away our lives, and renounce our brief and numbered days. Let us turn our eyes away from empty fantasies of this world’s divergent forms, and serve instead this preeminent purpose, this grand design.”
27 March 2014 Letter from The Universal House of Justice
For let every earnest upholder of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh realize that the storms which this struggling Faith of God must needs encounter, as the process of the disintegration of society advances, shall be fiercer than any which it has already experienced. Let him be aware that so soon as the full measure of the stupendous claim of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh comes to be recognized by those time-honored and powerful strongholds of orthodoxy, whose deliberate aim is to maintain their stranglehold over the thoughts and consciences of men, this infant Faith will have to contend with enemies more powerful and more insidious than the cruellest torture-mongers and the most fanatical clerics who have afflicted it in the past. What foes may not in the course of the convulsions that shall seize a dying civilization be brought into existence, who will reinforce the indignities which have already been heaped upon it!
Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 17
---“Ever since the birth of our nation, white America has had a schizophrenic personality on the question of race. She has been torn between selves—a self in which she proudly professed the great principles of democracy and a self in which she sadly practiced the antithesis of democracy. This tragic duality has produced a strange indecisiveness and ambivalence toward the Negro, causing America to take a step backward simultaneously with every step forward on the question of racial justice, to be at once attracted to the Negro and repelled by him, to love and to hate him. There has never been a solid, unified and determined thrust to make justice a reality for Afro-Americans…. What is the source of this perennial indecision and vacillation? It lies in the ‘congenital deformity’ of racism that has crippled the nation from its inception.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? 1967; Reprinted, Boston: Beacon Press, 2010
Once upon a time, there was a man who was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared. The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might.
Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture placing thoughts into the man's mind such as: "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn't budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it." Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure.
These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. "Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough." And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.
"Lord," he said, "I have laboured long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock a half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?" To this the Lord responded compassionately, "My child, when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push.
And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewed and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition, you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. I, my child, will now move the rock."
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On Monday's, we share our Ah-ha moments and the actions we are inspired to do or have already started doing.
The beloved of God must, like the roses of the rose-garden, send fragrant messages from one to another, receive strength from one another, and cooperate together, by the strength of the Kingdom. There is no greater means than communion and communication. Communication is half a meeting.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 417
QUOTES FOR REFLECTION ON MONDAY
1. It is well to know that riches are good, but that knowledge will not make a man rich; he must work, he must put his knowledge into practice. We hope the people realize and know that unity is good, and we also hope that they will not be content to stand still in that knowledge. Do not only say that Unity, Love and Brotherhood are good; you must work for their realization. (Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 60)
2. A representative from a well known society made reference to its meetings for the purpose of a search into the reality of truth, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá said "I know of your work. I think a great deal of it. I know your desire is to serve mankind, and to draw together Humanity under the banner of Oneness; but its members must beware less it become only a discussion. Look about you. How many committees have been formed, and living for a little while, have died! Committees and Societies can not create or give life.
3. If we are true Bahá'ís speech is not needed. Our actions will help on the world, will spread civilization, will help the progress of science, and cause the arts to develop. Without action nothing in the material world can be accomplished, neither can words unaided advance a man in the spiritual Kingdom. It is not through lip-service only that the elect of God have attained to holiness, but by patient lives of active service they have brought light into the world.
4. Therefore strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers. Turn towards God, and seek always to do that which is right and noble. Enrich the poor, raise the fallen, comfort the sorrowful, bring healing to the sick, reassure the fearful, rescue the oppressed, bring hope to the hopeless, shelter the destitute! (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 80)
5. "People get together and talk, but it is God's Word alone that is powerful in its results. Consider for a moment: you would not trade together if you had no income from it and derived no benefit! Look at the followers of Christ. Their power was due to their ardour and their deeds. Every effort must have its result, else it is not a true effort. You must become the means of lighting the world of humanity. This is the infallible proof and sign. Every progress depends on two things, knowledge and practice. First acquire knowledge, and, when conviction is reached, put it into practice. (Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 107)
6. May our actions so characterize us that it may be said of each one of us, "There is a friend of God." (Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 55)
7. It is incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding to strive to translate that which hath been written into reality and action.... That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race. The Great Being saith: Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. In another passage He hath proclaimed: It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 249)
8. The essence of faith is fewness of words and abundance of deeds; he whose words exceed his deeds, know verily his death is better than his life.(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 156)'
9. I have been asked a question: "How can we know when our actions meet with the approval of God?" Sometimes passion incites us to action; the laws of nature attract us, we obey our senses; the other incentive is the comprehension of the direction of God. We must find out if our actions are divinely inspired and if they do not conform, then it is our sensations which speak. Let us ever weigh our deeds in the scales of the divine teaching.
10. When we speak let our speech be an outward evidence of the inner light, for we must speak the truth, otherwise we shall not act wisely. I hope that you will all become eloquent. The greatest gifts of man are reason and eloquence of expression. The perfect man is both intelligent and eloquent. He has knowledge and knows how to express it. Unless man express himself in this day he will remain like a closed casket and one cannot know whether it contain jewels or glass. I desire that all of you may speak on the material and divine sciences with clear and convincing words. (Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 102)
11. The attainment of any object is conditioned upon knowledge, volition and action. Unless these three conditions are forthcoming there is no execution or accomplishment. (Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 100)
12. What profit is there in agreeing that universal friendship is good, and talking of the solidarity of the human race as a grand ideal? Unless these thoughts are translated into the world of action, they are useless. The wrong in the world continues to exist just because people talk only of their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice. If actions took the place of words, the world's misery would very soon be changed into comfort.
A man who does great good, and talks not of it, is on the way to perfection. The man who has accomplished a small good and magnifies it in his speech is worth very little. If I love you, I need not continually speak of my love -- you will know without any words. On the other hand if I love you not, that also will you know -- and you would not believe me, were I to tell you in a thousand words, that I loved you. People make much profession of goodness, multiplying fine words because they wish to be thought greater and better than their fellows, seeking fame in the eyes of the world. Those who do most good use fewest words concerning their actions. (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 22)
13. This is a brilliant century. Eyes are now open to the beauty of the oneness of humanity, of love and of brotherhood. The darkness of suppression will disappear and the light of unity will shine. We cannot bring love and unity to pass merely by talking of it. Knowledge is not enough. Wealth, science, education are good, we know: but we must also work and study to bring to maturity the fruit of knowledge.
Knowledge is the first step; resolve, the second step; action, its fulfillment, is the third step. To construct a building one must first of all make a plan, then one must have the power (money), then one can build. A society of Unity is formed, that is good -- but meetings and discussions are not enough. In Egypt these meetings take place but there is only talk and no result. These meetings here in London are good, the knowledge and the intention are good, but how can there be a result without action? Today the force for Unity is the Holy Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh. He manifested this spirit of Unity. Bahá'u'lláh brings East and West together. Go back, search history, you will not find a precedent for this.(Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 54)
14. "To work," mentioned in this holy verse, does not mean, in this greatest age, to perform it with swords, spears, shafts and arrows, but rather with sincere intentions, good designs, useful advices, divine moralities, beautiful actions, spiritual qualities, educating the public, guiding the souls of mankind, diffusing spiritual fragrances, explaining divine illustrations, showing convincing proofs and doing charitable deeds. When the holy souls, through the angelic power, will arise to show forth these celestial characteristics, establishing a band of harmony, each of these souls shall be regarded as one thousand persons and the waves of this greatest ocean shall be considered as the army of the hosts of the Supreme Concourse. (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 401)
15. Mental Tests to be Suffered by Believers in the West"And yet, how often we seem to forget the clear and repeated warning of our beloved Master, who in particular during the concluding years of His Mission on earth, laid stress on the severe mental tests that would inevitably sweep over His loved ones of the West... tests that would purge, purify and prepare them for their noble mission in life.
"Ours then is the duty and privilege to labour, by day, by night, amidst the storm and stress of these troublous days, that we may quicken the zeal of our fellow-man, rekindle their hopes, stimulate their interests, open their eyes to the true Faith of God and enlist their active support in the carrying out of our common task for the peace and regeneration of the world."(From a letter written by Shoghi Effendi to the believers in Australia and New Zealand, 1923-1957, pp. 1-2)(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 135)
16. "... An individual must center his whole heart and mind on service to the Cause, in accordance with the high standards set by Bahá'u'lláh. When this is done, the hosts of the Supreme Concourse will come to the assistance of the individual, and every difficulty and trial will gradually be overcome."
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 118)
17. "...There is nothing that brings success in the Faith like service. Service is the magnet which draws the Divine Confirmations. Thus, when a person is active, they are blessed by the Holy Spirit. When they are inactive, the Holy Spirit cannot find a repository in their being, and thus they are deprived of its healing and quickening rays."
(From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, July 12, 1952: Living the Life, p. 18 -(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 118)
18. "The problem of to what extent we should sacrifice our time for the interest of the Cause depends for its solution upon individual means and circumstances. It is a personal problem that we ought to settle individually. One person may give all his time to teaching and rely upon small personal income and another may find himself more fitted to business and give his share of service in the form of financial assistance."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, December 18, 1930) (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 118)
19. "... This irresistible urge to serve which you feel and which has prompted you to offer yourself for work in the teaching field is itself a clear indication that you are being guided by the Almighty to attain your highest and noblest goal in this life. For what a greater destiny can you hope to seek except that which Bahá'u'lláh has traced for every one of His loyal believer, namely to consecrate one's all to the service and glorification of His Faith! This assurance should indeed fortify your hopes, and enable you to banish every sense of dissatisfaction, and of unworthiness which may linger in your heart, and which may deter you from participating joyously and actively in serving the Cause. You should not look at your limitations, but derive full confidence at the thought that, however limited your resources and capacities may be, your efforts will be reinforced by Divine confirmations, provided you do your share and discharge your obligations as a believer, fully and conscientiously. Your perseverance will, even as a magnet, draw upon you the favours and blessings of Bahá'u'lláh. Do feel happy and confident, therefore, and fortified by such an assurance, arise to contribute all that is in your power towards the furtherance and promulgation of our beloved Cause."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January 30, 1939) (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 118)
O my God! O my God! We are servants who have sincerely turned our faces unto Thy grand face, severed ourselves from all else save Thee in this great day and are assembled together in this glorious meeting, of one accord and desire, and unanimous in thought to promulgate Thy Word amid Thy creatures." (Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v1, p. 2)
On Monday's, we share our Ah-ha moments and the actions we are inspired or have already started doing.
A sample sharing includes one or more of the following:
1. Share your name.
2. Where are you from?
3. How are you doing in your community?
4. How long have you been participating in Foundational Hall University?
5. What have you learned in this space?
6. What actions have you been inspired to undertake as a result of this space?
7. Do you have any Ah-ha moments from the past week?
8. How often do you attend?
9. Is there something related to the most vital and challenging that you would like to share?
10. What does this space mean to you?