Open to all. You can register for the 3-part Fasting Preparation sessions at https://tinyurl.com/FastPrep2022
Series Title: Fasting Is More Than Just Not Eating
This Fast, I will be not only looking through the lens of the pupil of the eye, but also focusing on how to use the Fast to become one of those “enkindled souls” who will be useful to the Cause of God in this stage of humanity’s development when it is now being forced “to come to terms with this stark spiritual and moral reality: [that] there is but one, interconnected human family and it shares one precious homeland.[i]”
“For this material fast is an outer token of the spiritual fast; it is a symbol of self-restraint, the withholding of oneself from all appetites of the self, taking on the characteristics of the spirit, being carried away by the breathings of heaven and catching fire from the love of God.”[x]
"There are various stages and stations for the Fast and innumerable effects and benefits are concealed therein. Well is it with those who have attained unto them.” So, this Fast we will focus on guidance that will help us to become enkindled souls, lit by the power of the love of God and the Holy Spirit. Time only permits three sessions, here’s what we will cover:
1. (February 12, 2022)
The power and station of prayer will be the focus of our first session.
We are guided by the words: “Fasting and obligatory prayer constitute the two pillars that sustain the revealed Law of God. Bahá'u'lláh in one of His Tablets affirms that He has revealed the laws of obligatory prayer and fasting so that through them the believers may draw nigh unto God.”[xi]
And, of course we will discuss why, how, and what it means to Fast, the expectations of the Fast, rules, promises and benefits. For example, we know that “Prayer and fasting is the cause of awakening and mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests.”[xii]
And, “Nothing, after prayer, will cause the development of the spirit, save fasting.”[xiii]
2. (February 19, 2022)
Meditation will be the focus of our second session. “Through this faculty man enters into the very Kingdom of God.” “This faculty of meditation frees man from the animal nature, discerns the reality of things, puts man in touch with God. This faculty brings forth from the invisible plane the sciences and arts. Through the meditative faculty inventions are made possible, colossal undertakings are carried out; through it governments can run smoothly.”[xiv]
3. (February 26, 2022)
Spiritual recuperation will be the focus of our third session.
“Fasting is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.”
As you can see prayer, meditation, and making the adjustments in our inner lives are lifelong pursuits no matter what the age, also don’t let the common excuses of sickness, medications, and age prevent you from getting the inspiration diffused during this special 19-Day Fast. And, yes, I know that it is not permissible to Fast when sick, hence the title ‘Fasting Is More Than Just Not Eating’. Remember, “Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires[xv],” and those challenge us throughout our lives.”
Many are called, but few are chosen. Let this Fast, whether it is your first or your last, be your best Fast. Join us if you are inspired to study with a few souls who would like to get prepared in advance of the Fast and explore how we can become more “enkindled” so that their efforts can make the world better.
[i] THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE, January 2022 [ii] Universal House of Justice, July 22, 2020 [iii] (Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v2, p. 446) [iv] Bahá’u’lláh, The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting [v] https://tricycle.org/magazine/we-are-what-we-think/ [vi] (Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 143) [vii] (Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 143) [viii] December 30, 2021, Universal House of Justice [ix] Bahá’u’lláh, The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting [x] (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 69) [xi] (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 176) [xii] (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 368) [xiii] (SOW - Star of the West, Star of the West - 3) [xiv] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 175 [xv] (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 176)
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