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Newsletter – on the Hidden Words

 In this issue – The Hidden Words

9 Songs to Help You Memorize The Hidden Words

Baha’i Hidden Words in Images

Baha’i Song Project – Hidden Words

Baha’i Video – Hidden Words

Discovering the Hidden Words

Persian Hidden Words, Number 71

The Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah — a talk by Hand of the Cause Abu’l-Qasim Faizi

Transcript of a talk by Hand of the Cause of God A. Q. Faizí

The Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah (Persian and Arabic)

Apps

The Hidden Words: Baha’i Reading Plan for iPhone and iPad

The Hidden Words for Android

Download Android App Baha’i: The Hidden Words for Samsung

Featured Stories:

3 Stories About How ‘Abdu’l-Baha Showed Mercy

1. He had left orders that none were to be turned away, but one who had twice vainly sought his presence, and was, through some oversight, prevented from seeing him, wrote a heartbreaking letter showing that he thought himself rebuffed. It was translated by the Persian interpreter. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at once put on his coat, and, turning towards the door, said, with an expression of unspeakable sadness, “A friend of mine has been martyred, and I am very grieved. I go out alone.” and he swept down the steps. One could then see how well the title of “Master” became him.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 109)

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The demands on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s time were constant. The English Bahá’ís tried to organize the flow of those seeking interviews and instituted a system of official appointments. One day, a woman appeared at the door and asked if she could see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. When asked if she had an appointment, she admitted that she had not and was promptly told, “I am sorry but He is occupied now with most important people, and cannot be disturbed.” Sadly, the woman slowly turned away, but before she could reach the bottom of the steps, a messenger from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá rushed out and breathlessly said, “He wishes to see you, come back!” From the house came the powerful voice of the Master: “A heart has been hurt, hasten, hasten, bring her to Me.”  (Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p.36)

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Two days earlier, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had granted a final interview to Harriet Cline and Henrietta Wagner, who were to leave for California, the following day. They waited for their interview with many others until someone announced, “there will be no more interviews this morning.” The two women were crushed and sat there in shock at the thought of going home without seeing the Master one last time. But then came the Master’s melodious voice calling, “Mrs. Klein then Mrs. Wagner.” When Mrs. Klein entered ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence, He put an arm around her and said, “You are my daughter, you are my daughter. I have prayed for you many, many times.” Her tears poured out uncontrollably until she looked up into ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s eyes. His smile and happiness suddenly filled her and, she said, “a sense of great inner calmness took possession of my soul.”  (Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 118)

Featured Prayers:

Prayers for God’s Mercy

Thou seest Thy handmaiden, O my God, standing before the habitation of Thy mercy, and calling upon Thee by Thy name which Thou hast chosen above all other names and set up over all that are in heaven and on earth. Send down upon her the breaths of Thy mercy, that she may be carried away wholly from herself, and be drawn entirely towards the seat which, resplendent with the glory of Thy face, sheddeth afar the radiance of Thy sovereignty, and is established as Thy throne. Potent art Thou to do what Thou willest. No God is there beside Thee, the All-Glorious, the Most Bountiful.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 148)

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I beseech Thee, by Thy mercy that hath surpassed all created things, and Thy grace that hath embraced the entire creation, to accept from Thy servants what they are capable of showing forth in Thy path. Aid them, then, by Thy strengthening grace, to exalt Thy word and to blazon Thy praise. Powerful art Thou to do what pleaseth Thee. Thou, truly, art the All-Glorious, the All-Wise.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 149-150)

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I beg of Thee to assist them! Do refresh these faded souls with the drops of the cloud of Thy gifts, and do illumine these lowly beings through the effulgences of the sun of Thy Singleness! I pray Thee to cast these thirsty fishes into the sea of Thy mercy; guide their lost caravan unto the asylum of Thy unity; direct these bewildered souls unto the fountain of Thy guidance, and cause these wanderers to abide in the shelter of Thy might. Suffer the thirst ones to drink from the Sweet Water of Thy gifts, and quicken the dead by eternal life. Endow the blind with light, the deaf with hearing, the dumb with speech, the lukewarm with energy, the heedless with mindfulness, the sleepers with wakefulness, and the proud with humility. Verily, Thou art the Powerful, Thou art the Forgiver! Thou art the Loving! Verily, Thou art the Generous, the Most High!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 369-370)

 Featured Video:

This month’s featured video shows two of Bahá’u’ll’áh’s Hidden Words beautifully sung in Acappella style.

O SON OF SPIRIT! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.  (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words 1)

O SON OF BEING!  Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation.  (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words 59)

 

For those who are struggling with self-worth, Nabil Moghaddam talks about how we can use this hidden word to help:

O SON OF SPIRIT!

My claim on thee is great, it cannot be forgotten. My grace to thee is plenteous, it cannot be veiled. My love has made in thee its home, it cannot be concealed. My light is manifest to thee, it cannot be obscured.  (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words 20)

Featured Book:

The Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah

The Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah consists of about 153 short paragraphs in two parts – Persian and Arabic. It’s a collection of lyrical, gem-like verses of scripture that convey timeless spiritual wisdom clothed in the garment of brevity. The Hidden Words is one of the most important and cherished scriptural works of the Baha’i Faith. The verses are a perfect guidebook to walking a spiritual path and drawing closer to God. They address themes such as turning to God, humility, detachment and love, to name but a few. These verses are among Baha’u’llah’s earliest and best known works.  They have been translated into more than seventy languages and read by millions worldwide.  You’ll want to get your copy, if you don’t own it already!

Featured Coach:

Shannon Beck

Shannon Beck is a certified professional life coach who provides you the opportunity to transform your weakness into strengths, your fears into action and your pain into your greatest triumph. She specializes in helping older men (45 and up) work on communication, stress, relationships, professional and personal development; and finding more meaning and joy in those later years.  She also works with young women (18-35) on personal/career development, finding their own voice, strength and balance as they come into their own.

With the help of Endless Ocean Coaching, you’ll receive the personalized guidance you need to release your inner radiance. Whether you’re looking for general life direction or want to advance your career, Shannon can give you the tools that will enable you to achieve your goals.

Through Shannon’s energizing coaching sessions, you’ll quickly realize that your life contains an ocean of possibilities. Reaching that ocean may only be a matter of recognizing the obstacles in your way, so she’s here to empower you to keep moving forward. When you choose to enroll in her services, you’re not only making the choice to grow, you’re learning how to change your reality.

Looking for better communication, less stress, more productivity, better work and personal relationships, gained emotional intelligence and an overall better quality of life?  Give Shannon a try!

 

To hear her talk about her coaching practice

To visit her home page

To read her blog

To follow her on Facebook

To find her on Linkedin

 

Featured Business:

 

Dr. O’Mead Rahmanian

This month I’d like to feature the work of Dr. O’Mead Rahmanian, a chiropractor in Alaska, a reader of this newsletter; and a member of the NSA of Alaska.  When he read that 5 months after breaking my ankle, I was still in a lot of pain, couldn’t walk or drive and was at my whit’s end, he gave me a call, quickly diagnosed the problem, and immediately gave me LOTS of easily do-able exercises and nutritional supplements to break down the scar tissue.  Best of all, he gave me the “attitude adjustment” I needed to overcome my challenges.  Because it was grounded in the Writings, it was easy to swallow!  In less than a week, I was able to walk without pain! His follow up calls really kept me motivated, propelled my recovery forward and enabled me to increase the range of motion so I could walk again!

Omid is well-known for his ability to locate the source of pain in his patients, which has won him county-wide recognition from his peers, as well as from traditional and holistic health practitioners alike.  I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that prior to pioneering to Alaska, he was voted Doctor of Choice for North County San Diego and was featured on Channel 6 Health Living in San Diego.

Omid sincerely wants to help people live a pain-free and healthy lifestyle; a life without limits.  With you, he designs a personalized wellness plan that combines nutritional, rehabilitation and ergonomic suggestions along with non-invasive and highly-effective chiropractic services.  He also throws in a smattering of absolutely timely and well-presented quotes from the Writings that I appreciated very much.  It was like having my very own Baha’i-Inspired Life Coach!

To learn more about his practice

 

To watch a patient give a testimonial

 

To visit his webpage

To find him on Facebook 

To follow him on Twitter

Thanks to all who write in!  Your encouragement really keeps me going!  

By the way, I accept donations!  If you like the materials in these newsletters and on my website, please consider making a donation. Your help and feedback is GREATLY appreciated, to defray the costs of making these available to you!!!  There’s a PayPal “Donate” Button at the bottom of every page on my website. Thank you!!!

See you next month!  Hope it’s a month filled with mercy! 

Till The Last Breath – Mr. Furutan’s Last Act of Service

By Irina Musuc
With permission

I believe that life is a series of instances, occasions, encounters that shape our personalities and form our path. And some encounters leave such profound mark in the soul, that it can change the whole perception of one’s existence.
I had such an encounter on 26th of November 2003 on the Day of the Covenant. It happened during a 9 day Baha’i Pilgrimage in Haifa and it became the most memorable and distinctive moment of my pilgrimage, a spiritual lesson and a lodestar, which enlightened the rest of my life.

That day our group went to Akka. There we saw the Greatest Prison, where Baha’u’llah and members of His family were kept, the house , in which Baha’u’llah revealed the Most Holy Book Kitab-i-Aqdas and many other Baha’i Holy Places. I was overwhelmed and full of impressions. But that wasn’t all for that day, as in the evening at the Pilgrims Reception Center we were supposed to meet with an outstanding person, the Hand of the Cause of God – Mr. Ali-Akbar Furutan.

The meeting was supposed to start at 6 p.m. It wasn’t our first meeting with him. First time I saw him on the first day of pilgrimage – 24th of November. He gave a marvelous speech and promised us to come every other day. He said that before he used to come every day to meet with pilgrims, as Shoghi Effendi mentioned, that pilgrims were the guests of Baha’u’llah. But now doctors recommended him to come once in two days because of the age. No wonder! Mr Furutan was 98 years old.

I have to say that I heard about this unique person long before my pilgrimage. Once I heard one Baha’i sharing a conversation Mr. Furutan had with a group of pilgrims. When one of them asked him what he was afraid of most of all in life, he asnwered that he was afraid of dying comfortably in his bed and not being steadfast in the Cause of God till the last minute of His life. It was an amazing thing to hear, knowing how much Mr. Furutan has suffered and how faithfully he was serving the Baha’i Faith throughout his entire life.

Now you can imagine our disappointment, when we were told, that Mr. Furutan wouldn’t come. Then I remembered that when he first came to meet with pilgrims, he looked very weak and frail. It seemed that life giving energy was slowly leaving that fragile body. Of course, the first thing I thought was that he was not able to come because of the state of health.

Many pilgrims decided to go to their hotels, but some of us, quite few indeed, decided to stay, hoping that the meeting would still take place. How happy we were when ten minutes to six we were told that Mr. Furutan would come. As soon as this unique person entered the room, it became evident what efforts it took him to come here. He looked very pale and even transparent. It seemed that he no longer belonged to this earthly realm. However, notwithstanding the weakness, he went up the stage by himself andbuckled the microphone to his suit.

Mr. Furutan’s speech was dedicated to the Duty of teaching the Faith. First he read the quotation of Baha’u’llah from the “Gleanings”:

“Say: Teach ye the Cause of God, O people of Baha, for God hath prescribed unto every one the duty of proclaiming His Message, and regardeth it as the most meritorious of all deeds. Such a deed is acceptable only when he that teacheth the Cause is already a firm believer in God, the Supreme Protector, the Gracious, the Almighty. He hath, moreover, ordained that His Cause be taught through the power of men’s utterance, and not through resort to violence. Thus hath His ordinance been sent down from the Kingdom of Him Who is the Most Exalted, the All-Wise.”

Then the Hand of the Cause shared with us his understanding of the word duty. As an example, he told us a story. “It happened in Russia, when Nikolai the II was the tsar. One day Nikolai the II was walking in the courtyard of his palace. He noticed the guard, who looked very ill, his face was red and swollen. He approached him and asked from what illness he suffered. The guard answered that he had malaria. Then the tsar told him that he needed special care and that he could go home. But the guard replied that he was not able to leave his post without the senior officer’s permission and that it was his duty to guard the palace till the last breath. Then Nikolai the II took his rifle and told him, that in such case, he would replace him at his post till the senior officer came and he would inform him that he personally let the guard go and that he fulfilled his duty. “This is what duty means” – Mr.Furutan said. “The reason I came here today is because it was my duty to come. And if it is a duty – you have to fulfill it.”

Many people know that Mr. Furutan lived and studied in Russia and that he lovedspeaking Russian whenever he had chance. Fortunately, all the Russian-speaking pilgrimswere present at the gathering. And when he was telling the story, he often translated some words into Russian, and especially, the words “duty” and “responsibility”. When the Hand of the Cause finished his speech, he immediately approached the Russian-speaking pilgrims and asked in Russian: “Friends, did you understand what I said? Did you understand what is duty?”

These words were almost the last words in his life, as in few minutes he passed away. He died before our eyes, peacefully and with dignity, on the pilgrims’ hands, whom he appreciated so much. His life and his passing became for me an example of true servitude, steadfastness in the Covenant, and faithfulness to the Cause of God. By his own life he showed us what duty was and how we had to fulfill it till the last breath!

How Wondrous the Vision – Tablets of the Divine Plan, 1916-2016

Compiled February, 2016 by Marlene Macke

O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of “Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá” in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it! Please God, ye may achieve it.1

[In 2016] the Bahá’í world will mark one hundred years since the first of the Tablets of the Divine Plan flowed from the pen of the Master. In these fourteen Tablets, revealed during one of humanity’s darkest hours, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laid out a charter2 for the teaching work that defined its theatre of action as the entire planet. Held in abeyance until 1937, when the first in a succession of Plans launched at the instigation of the Guardian was assigned to the Bahá’ís of North American, the Divine Plan has continued to unfold over the decades since as the collective capacity of Bahá’u’lláh’s followers has grown, enabling them to take on ever-greater challenges. How wondrous the vision of the Plan’s Author! Placing before the friends the prospect of a day when the light of His Father’s Revelation would illuminate every corner of the world, He set out not only strategies for achieving this feat but guiding principles and unchanging spiritual requisites. Every effort made by the friends to systematically propagate the divine teachings traces its origins to the forces set in motion in the Divine Plan.3

“Abdul Baha wrote these letters under dangerous conditions at the height of World War I from what was then Ottoman Palestine to the small Baha’i community in North America (the much larger community in Persia was suffering heavy persecution, as it still does now in Iran.) At that time, the American community was only about two decades old, and its members were being asked to travel to some of the most remote corners of the earth. Abdul Baha asked a visiting student who happened to have a geography textbook if he could keep the textbook, and this was used to list out the sometimes obscure places that the North American Baha’is were called on to visit.”4

TDP 1

 

Chart 1

When, to Whom and Where Were the Tablets Revealed?

1 March 26, 1916 Northeastern States5 In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s room at the house in Bahjí
2 March 27 Southern States6 In the garden adjacent to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh
3 March 29 Central States7 Outside the house in Bahjí
4 April 1 Western States8 In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s room at the house in Bahjí
5 April 5 Canada9 In the garden outside the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh
6 April 8 United States & Canada In the garden adjacent to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh
7 April 11 United States & Canada In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s room at the house in Bahjí
8 April 19 United States & Canada In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s room at the house in Bahjí
9 February 2, 1917 Northeastern States In Ismá’íl ‘Aqá’s room at the house of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Haifa
10 February 3 Southern States In Ismá’íl ‘Aqá’s room
11 February 8 Central States In Bahá’u’lláh’s room at the house of ‘Abbúd in ‘Akká
12 February 15 Western States In Bahá’u’lláh’s room at the house of ‘Abbúd
13 February 21 Canada In Bahá’u’lláh’s room at the house of ‘Abbúd
14 March 8 United States & Canada In the summer-house (Ismá’íl ‘Aqá’s room) at ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s house in Haifa

 

Chart 2

The Countries, States, Territories, Islands, Cities to be Opened, and the Peoples Named

1 Mar 26, 1916 Northeastern States Cities in the Northeastern States
2 Mar 27 Southern States The Southern States
3 Mar 29 Central States Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas specifically named
4 Apr 1 Western States New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Nevada specifically named
5 Apr 5 Canada Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Mackenzie, Keewatin, Ungava, Franklin Islands and Greenland all specifically named, as well as the Eskimo peoples
6 Apr 8 United States & Canada Alaska, Mexico, the 6 Central American Republics of Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama. Belize (or British Honduras). The Indian peoples. The islands of the West Indies: Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Lesser Antilles, Bahama Islands, even the small Watling Island, the two black republics, Haiti and Santo Domingo in the Greater Antilles. Bermuda.

 

The republics of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, British Guiana, Dutch Guiana, French Guiana, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela. Islands: Falkland Islands, the Galapagos, Juan Fernandez, Tobago and Trinidad. The city of Bahia in Brazil.

7 Apr 11 United States & Canada 3 great Island groups of the Pacific Ocean – Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia: New Guinea, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Philippine Islands, Solomon Islands, Fiji, New Hebrides, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Bismarc Archipelago, Ceram, Celebes, Friendly Islands, Samoa Islands, Society Islands, Caroline Islands, Low Archipelago, Marquesas, Hawaiian Islands, Gilbert Islands, Moluccas, Marshall Islands, Timor, and the other islands

Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Japan, Asiatic Russia, Korea, French Indo-China, Siam, Straits Settlements, India, Ceylon, Afghanistan

 

Continent of Africa, Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Madeira Islands, Reunion Island, St. Helena, Zanzibar, Mauritius

 

British Isles, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Portugal, Roumania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, San Marino, Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, Malta, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Hebrides and Orkney Islands

 

The Tablets of the Divine Plan Arrival in North America

 

TDP 2

 

  • the first five Tablets arrived in North America in the summer of 1916, written on postcards, and were published in the Star of the West, September 8, 1916
  • communications between the Holy Land and the West were suspended then, due to World War I
  • after the war, the rest of the Tablets were sent to America
  • all 14 Tablets were unveiled during the “Convention of the Covenant”, Hotel McAlpine in New York City, April 26-30, 1919
  • some 120 territories and islands were named in the Tablets, with Bahá’ís living in 35 countries circa 1919 (Balyuzi, 424)

The Strategy, or How the Tablets were Implemented

  • some individuals arose immediately, Clara & Henry Hyde Dunn, Martha Root, Agnes Alexander, Marion Jack all travelled internationally
  • institutionally, there were very few local or national Spiritual Assemblies in 1919; Shoghi Effendi spent many years patiently building the Administrative Order
  • 1937-1944 – the Guardian presented the First Seven Year Plan to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada, the primary goal of which was to establish a local Spiritual Assembly in every state and province, thereby inaugurating the first systematic implementation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan
  • 1946-1953 – the Second Seven Year Plan, also given to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada, a primary goal of which was to spiritually revitalize Europe, then suffering for the second time in the 20th Century from the ravages of war (Note: seven other regional/national Spiritual Assemblies were also given Plans by the Guardian in this period)
  • 1953-1963 – the Guardian unveiled the Ten Year Crusade, giving every Bahá’í the mandate to fulfil the Tablets of the Divine Plan. Bahá’ís who settled virgin countries and territories were designated “Knights of Bahá’u’lláh”.

Guiding Principles

  • The apostles of Jesus travelled outward from the Holy Land to the known world to bring the Glad Tidings. As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote,

“Consider! The station and the confirmation of the apostles in the time of Christ was not known, and no one looked on them with the feeling of importance—nay, rather, they persecuted and ridiculed them. Later on it became evident what crowns studded with the brilliant jewels of guidance were placed on the heads of the apostles, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of John.” 10

Core Elements

  • “…we must not consider our ability and capacity, nay, rather, we must fix our gaze upon the favours and bounties of God…” (Tablet 1, paragraph 3, or 1-3)
  • “… you must either go yourselves or send a number of blessed souls … so that they may guide the people to the Kingdom of Heaven.” (2-3)
  • “Appreciate ye the value of this time and be ye engaged in the sowing of the seeds …” (2-5)
  • “Send to those parts teachers who are severed from all else save God, sanctified and pure.” (3-3)
  • “… it is better for those who intend to go to Mexico to teach, to be familiar with the Spanish language.” (6-6) “The teachers traveling in different directions must know the language of the country in which they will enter.” (8-19)
  • “Attach great importance to the indigenous population of America.” (6-8)
  • “Books and pamphlets must be either translated or composed in the languages of these countries and islands, to be circulated in every part and in all directions.” (7-12)
  • “Thus far ye have been untiring in your labours. Let your exertions henceforth increase a thousandfold. Summon the people in these countries, capitals, islands, assemblies and churches to enter the Abhá Kingdom. The scope of your exertions must needs be extended.” (7-16)
  • “Be not concerned with the smallness of your numbers, neither be oppressed by the multitude of an unbelieving world.” (13-5)

Preparing Oneself

  • Intention – “Exalt your effort and magnify your aims.” (6-12)
  • Detachment – “Now is the time for you to divest yourselves of the garment of attachment to this world that perisheth, to be wholly severed from the physical world, become heavenly angels, and travel to these countries.” (6-13)
  • Purposefulness – “With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with tongues commemorating the mention of God, with eyes turned to the Kingdom of God, they must deliver the glad tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people.” (7-5)
  • Selflessness – “Consequently, one must close his eyes wholly to these thoughts11, long for eternal life, the sublimity of the world of humanity, the celestial developments, the Holy Spirit, the promotion of the Word of God, the guidance of the inhabitants of the globe, the promulgation of universal peace and the proclamation of the oneness of the world of humanity! This is the work!” (7-18)
  • Prayer – “Whoso sets out on a teaching journey to any place, let him recite this prayer day and night during his travels in foreign lands…” (7-22)
  • Sacrifice – “We must not sit inactive for one moment; we must sever ourselves from composure, rest, tranquillity, goods, property, life and attachment to material things. We must sacrifice everything to His Highness, the Possess of existence …” (10-7)
  • Firmness – “… become ye sanctified above and purified from this world and the inhabitants thereof; suffer your intentions to work for the good of all; cut your attachment to the earth and like unto the essence of the spirit become ye light and delicate. Then with a firm resolution, a pure heart, a rejoiced spirit, and an eloquent tongue, engage your time in the promulgation of the divine principles…” (10-10)
  • Steadfastness – “The teachers of the Cause must be heavenly, lordly and radiant. They must be embodied spirit, personified intellect, and arise in service with the utmost firmness, steadfastness and self-sacrifice. In their journeys they must not be attached to food and clothing. They must concentrate their thoughts on the outpourings of the Kingdom of God and beg for the confirmations of the Holy Spirit.” (12-10)

Promise of Divine Confirmations

  • There is no doubt that the assistance and the bestowal of God shall descend upon you.” (2-1)
  • “…the believers of God must become self-sacrificing and like unto the candles of guidance become ignited… Should they show forth such a magnanimity, it is assured that they will obtain universal divine confirmations, the heavenly cohorts will reinforce them uninterruptedly, and a most great victory will be obtained.” (5-2)
  • “The moment this divine Message is carried forward by the American believers from the shores of America and is propagated through the continents of Europe, of Asia, of Africa and of Australasia, and as far as the islands of the Pacific, this community will find itself securely established upon the throne of an everlasting dominion.” (7-5)
  • Know ye of a certainty that whatever gathering ye enter, the waves of the Holy Spirit are surging over it, and the heavenly grace of the Blessed Beauty encompasseth that gathering. (7-5)
  • Therefore, know ye of a certainty that whosoever arises in this day to diffuse the divine fragrances, the cohorts of the Kingdom of God shall confirm him and the bestowals and the favours of the Blessed Perfection shall encircle him.” (7-7)
  • Consider ye, what happiness, what joy is this! I declare by the Lord of Hosts that had this respected daughter12 founded an empire, that empire would not have been so great! For this sovereignty is eternal sovereignty and this glory is everlasting glory.” (7-9)
  • “Should one of them turn his face toward some direction and summon the people to the Kingdom of God, all the ideal forces and lordly confirmations will rush to his support and reinforcement.” (8-3)
  • “Behold the portals which Bahá’u’lláh hath opened before you! Consider how exalted and lofty is the station you are destined to attain; how unique the favours with which you have been endowed….” (8-6)
  • “… rest ye assured in the confirmation of the Merciful and the assistance of the Most High…” (10-10)
  • “… your mission is unspeakably glorious. Should success crown your enterprise, America will assuredly evolve into a centre from which waves of spiritual power will emanate, and the throne of the Kingdom of God will, in the plentitude of its majesty and glory, be firmly established.” (11-11)
  • “This is the most great work! Should you become confirmed therein, this world will become another world, the surface of the earth will become the delectable paradise, and eternal Institutions be founded.” (14-11)

Unchanging Spiritual Requisites

  • “To attain to this supreme station is, however, dependent on the realization of certain conditions:13
  • “… firmness in the Covenant of God …” (8-8)
  • “… Fellowship and love amongst the believers. The divine friends must be attracted to and enamoured of each other and ever be ready and willing to sacrifice their own lives for each other…. O ye friends! Fellowship, fellowship! Love, love! Unity, unity!” (8-9, 10)
  • “… Teachers must continually travel to all parts of the continent, nay, rather, to all parts of the world, but they must travel like ‘Abdu’l-Bahá … sanctified and free from every attachment and in the utmost severance….” (8-11)
  • “The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and iin the love of God a shining torch.” (8-13)

Supplications Found in the Tablets of the Divine Plan

Tablet 6 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada

O Thou Incomparable God! O Thou Lord of the Kingdom! These souls are Thy heavenly army. Assist them and, with the cohorts of the Supreme Concourse, make them victorious, so that each one of them may become like unto a regiment and conquer these countries through the love of God and the illumination of divine teachings.

O God! Be Thou their supporter and their helper, and in the wilderness, the mountain, the valley, the forests, the prairies and the seas, be Thou their confidant—so that they may cry out through the power of the Kingdom and the breath of the Holy Spirit.

Verily, Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty and the Omnipotent, and Thou art the Wise, the Hearing and the Seeing.

Tablet 7 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada

Whoever sets out on a teaching journey to any place, let him recite this prayer day and night during his travels in foreign lands:

O God, my God! Thou seest me enraptured and attracted toward Thy glorious kingdom, enkindled with the fire of Thy love amongst mankind, a herald of Thy kingdom in these vast and spacious lands, severed from aught else save Thee, relying on Thee, abandoning rest and comfort, remote from my native home, a wanderer in these regions, a stranger fallen upon the ground, humble before Thine exalted threshold, submissive toward the heaven of Thine omnipotent glory, supplicating Thee in the dead of night and at the break of dawn, entreating and invoking Thee at morn and at eventide to graciously aid me to serve Thy Cause, to spread abroad Thy teachings and to exalt Thy Word throughout the East and the West.

O Lord! Strengthen my back, enable me to serve Thee with the utmost endeavor, and leave me not to myself, lonely and helpless in these regions.

O Lord! Grant me communion with Thee in my loneliness, and be my companion in these foreign lands.

Verily, Thou art the Confirmer of whomsoever Thou willest in that which Thou desirest, and, verily, Thou art the All-Powerful, the Omnipotent.

Tablet 8 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada

O God, my God! Thou seest how black darkness is enshrouding all regions, how all countries are burning with the flame of dissension, and the fire of war and carnage is blazing through out the East and the West. Blood is flowing, corpses bestrew the ground, and severed heads are fallen on the dust of the battlefield.

O Lord! Have pity on these ignorant ones and look upon them with the eye of forgiveness and pardon. Extinguish this fire, so that these dense clouds which obscure the horizon may be scattered, the Sun of Reality shine forth with the rays of conciliation, this intense gloom be dispelled and the resplendent light of peace shed its radiance upon all countries.

O Lord! Draw up the people from the abyss of the ocean of hatred and enmity, and deliver them from this impenetrable darkness. Unite their hearts, and brighten their eyes with the light of peace and reconciliation. Deliver them from the depths of war and bloodshed, and free them from the darkness of error. Remove the veil from their eyes, and enlighten their hearts with the light of guidance. Treat them with Thy tender mercy and compassion, and deal not with them according to Thy justice and wrath which cause the limbs of the mighty to quake.

O Lord! Wars have persisted. Distress and anxiety have waxed great and every flourishing region is laid waste.

O Lord! Hearts are heavy, and souls are in anguish. Have mercy on these poor souls and do not leave them to the excesses of their own desires.

O Lord! Make manifest in Thy lands humble and submissive souls, their faces illumined with the rays of guidance, severed from the world, extolling Thy Name, uttering Thy praise, and diffusing the fragrance of Thy holiness amongst mankind.

O Lord! Strengthen their backs, gird up their loins, and enrapture their hearts with the most mighty signs of Thy love.

O Lord! Verily, they are weak, and Thou art the Powerful and the Mighty; they are impotent, and Thou art the Helper and the Merciful.

O Lord! The ocean of rebellion is surging, and these tempests will not be stilled save through Thy boundless grace which hath embraced all regions.

O Lord! Verily, the people are in the abyss of passion, and naught can save them but Thine infinite bounties.

O Lord! Dispel the darkness of these corrupt desires, and illumine the hearts with the lamp of Thy love through which all countries will erelong be enlightened. Confirm, moreover, Thy loved ones, those who, leaving their homelands, their families and their children, have, for the love of Thy Beauty, traveled to foreign countries to diffuse Thy fragrances and promulgate Thy teachings. Be Thou their companion in their loneliness, their helper in a strange land, the remover of their sorrows, their comforter in calamity. Be Thou a refreshing draught for their thirst, a healing medicine for their ills and a balm for the burning ardor of their hearts.

Verily, Thou art the Most Generous, the Lord of grace abounding, and, verily, Thou art the Compassionate and the Merciful.

Tablet 9 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the Northeastern States

The following supplication is to be read by the teachers and friends daily:

O Thou kind Lord! Praise be unto Thee that Thou hast shown us the highway of guidance, opened the doors of the kingdom and manifested Thyself through the Sun of Reality. To the blind Thou hast given sight; to the deaf Thou hast granted hearing; Thou hast resuscitated the dead; Thou hast enriched the poor; Thou hast shown the way to those who have gone astray; Thou hast led those with parched lips to the fountain of guidance; Thou hast suffered the thirsty fish to reach the ocean of reality; and Thou hast invited the wandering birds to the rose garden of grace.

O Thou Almighty! We are Thy servants and Thy poor ones; we are remote and yearn for Thy presence, are athirst for the water of Thy fountain, are ill, longing for Thy healing. We are walking in Thy path and have no aim or hope save the diffusion of Thy fragrance, so that all souls may raise the cry: O God, “Guide us to the straight path.”2 May their eyes be opened to behold the light, and may they be freed from the darkness of ignorance. May they gather around the lamp of Thy guidance. May every portionless one receive a share. May the deprived become the confidants of Thy mysteries.

O Almighty! Look upon us with the glance of mercifulness. Grant us heavenly confirmation. Bestow upon us the breath of the Holy Spirit, so that we may be assisted in Thy service and, like unto brilliant stars, shine in these regions with the light of Thy guidance.

Verily, Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty, the Wise and the Seeing.

Tablet 10 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the Southern States

Every soul who travels through the cities, villages and hamlets of these states and is engaged in the diffusion of the fragrances of God, should peruse this commune every morning:

O My God! O my God! Thou seest me in my lowliness and weakness, occupied with the greatest undertaking, determined to raise Thy word among the masses and to spread Thy teachings among Thy peoples. How can I succeed unless Thou assist me with the breath of the Holy Spirit, help me to triumph by the hosts of Thy glorious kingdom, and shower upon me Thy confirmations, which alone can change a gnat into an eagle, a drop of water into rivers and seas, and an atom into lights and suns? O my Lord! Assist me with Thy triumphant and effective might, so that my tongue may utter Thy praises and attributes among all people and my soul overflow with the wine of Thy love and knowledge.

Thou art the Omnipotent and the Doer of whatsoever Thou willest.

Tablet 11 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the Central States

Let the spreaders of the fragrances of God recite this prayer every morning:

O Lord, my God! Praise and thanksgiving be unto Thee for Thou hast guided me to the highway of the kingdom, suffered me to walk in this straight and far-stretching path, illumined my eye by beholding the splendors of Thy light, inclined my ear to the melodies of the birds of holiness from the kingdom of mysteries and attracted my heart with Thy love among the righteous.

O Lord! Confirm me with the Holy Spirit, so that I may call in Thy Name amongst the nations, and give the glad tidings of the manifestation of Thy kingdom amongst mankind.

O Lord! I am weak, strengthen me with Thy power and potency. My tongue falters, suffer me to utter Thy commemoration and praise. I am lowly, honor me through admitting me into Thy kingdom. I am remote, cause me to approach the threshold of Thy mercifulness. O Lord! Make me a brilliant lamp, a shining star and a blessed tree, adorned with fruit, its branches overshadowing all these regions. Verily, Thou art the Mighty, the Powerful and Unconstrained.

Tablet 12 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the Western States

The following commune is to be read by them every day:

O God! O God! This is a broken-winged bird and his flight is very slow—assist him so that he may fly toward the apex of prosperity and salvation, wing his way with the utmost joy and happiness throughout the illimitable space, raise his melody in Thy Supreme Name in all the regions, exhilarate the ears with this call, and brighten the eyes by beholding the signs of guidance.

O Lord! I am single, alone and lowly. For me there is no support save Thee, no helper except Thee and no sustainer beside Thee. Confirm me in Thy service, assist me with the cohorts of Thine angels, make me victorious in the promotion of Thy Word and suffer me to speak out Thy wisdom amongst Thy creatures. Verily, Thou art the helper of the weak and the defender of the little ones, and verily Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty and the Unconstrained.

Tablet 13 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of Canada

Praise be to Thee, O my God! These are Thy servants who are attracted by the fragrances of Thy mercifulness, are enkindled by the fire burning in the tree of Thy singleness, and whose eyes are brightened by beholding the splendors of the light shining in the Sinai of Thy oneness.

O Lord! Loose their tongues to make mention of Thee amongst Thy people, suffer them to speak forth Thy praise through Thy grace and loving-kindness, assist them with the cohorts of Thine angels, strengthen their loins in Thy service, and make them the signs of Thy guidance amongst Thy creatures.

Verily, Thou art the All-Powerful, the Most Exalted, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Merciful.

–o0o–

The spreaders of the fragrances of God should recite this prayer every morning:

O God, my God! Thou beholdest this weak one begging for celestial strength, this poor one craving Thy heavenly treasures, this thirsty one longing for the fountain of eternal life, this afflicted one yearning for Thy promised healing through Thy boundless mercy which Thou hast destined for Thy chosen servants in Thy kingdom on high.

O Lord! I have no helper save Thee, no shelter besides Thee, and no sustainer except Thee. Assist me with Thine angels to diffuse Thy holy fragrances and to spread abroad Thy teachings amongst the choicest of Thy people.

O my Lord! Suffer me to be detached from aught else save Thee, to hold fast to the hem of Thy bounty, to be wholly devoted to Thy Faith, to remain fast and firm in Thy love and to observe what Thou hast prescribed in Thy Book.

Verily, Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty, the Omnipotent.

Tablet 14 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada

Let whosoever travels to different parts to teach, peruse over mountain, desert, land and sea this supplication:

O God! O God! Thou seest my weakness, lowliness and humility before Thy creatures; nevertheless, I have trusted in Thee and have arisen in the promotion of Thy teachings among Thy strong servants, relying on Thy power and might.

O Lord! I am a broken-winged bird and desire to soar in Thy limitless space. How is it possible for me to do this save through Thy providence and grace, Thy confirmation and assistance.

O Lord! Have pity on my weakness, and strengthen me with Thy power. O Lord! Have pity on my impotence, and assist me with Thy might and majesty.

O Lord! Should the breath of the Holy Spirit confirm the weakest of creatures, he would attain all to which he aspireth and would possess anything he desireth. Indeed, Thou hast assisted Thy servants in the past and, though they were the weakest of Thy creatures, the lowliest of Thy servants and the most insignificant of those who lived upon the earth, through Thy sanction and potency they took precedence over the most glorious of Thy people and the most noble of mankind. Whereas formerly they were as moths, they became as royal falcons, and whereas before they were as brooks, they became as seas, through Thy bestowal and Thy mercy. They became, through Thy most great favor, stars shining on the horizon of guidance, birds singing in the rose gardens of immortality, lions roaring in the forests of knowledge and wisdom, and whales swimming in the oceans of life.

Verily, Thou art the Clement, the Powerful, the Mighty, and the Most Merciful of the merciful.

Notes

1 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, Tablet #7, to the Bahá’ís of United States and Canada, revealed on April 11, 1916

2 The three Charter documents in the Bahá’í Faith are (1) the Tablet of Carmel that contains significant allusions to the establishment of the Word Centre, (2) the Tablets of the Divine Plan that call for systematic expansion of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh throughout the world,  and (3) the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that outlines the Administrative Order.

3 The Universal House of Justice to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, 29 December 2016, paragraph 51

4 How a Textbook and Postcards Helped Establish the Second Most Widespread Religion, by Shastri Purushotma, 15 March 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shastri-purushotma/how-postcards-and-a-geogr_b_9229922.html

5 9 States of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York

6 16 States of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas

7 12 States of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Missourit, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas

8 11 States of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington

9 Addressed to the Bahá’í of Canada: Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Mackenzie, Keewatin, Ungava, Franklin Islands and Greenland

10 Tablets of the Divine Plan, # 7, paragraph 3

11 “…material rest, tranquillity, luxury and attachment to this corporeal world…” (7-17)

12 Agnes Alexander, teaching in Hawaii

13 Tablets of the Divine Plan, #8, paragraph 7

Letter to ‘Abdu’l-Baha – From an Individual

 

Inspired by the 100th anniversary of the release of the Tablets of the Divine Plan and the Dec. 29, 2015 letter from the House of Justice,  many clusters and Baha’i Institutions are gathering together to write letters to ‘Abdu’l-Baha, setting forth their goals for the next 5 years, and fervently asking for His assistance.

This idea captured my imagination, and I thought I would write my own letter.  I had such a great time writing it, that I thought I’d share it, hoping that it will inspire you, wherever you are, to write your own letter.

 

Dearly loved ‘Abdu’l-Baha,

This is a broken winged bird, in so many ways, desiring to soar in Thy limitless space, fervently desiring to find an area of service which best suits my talents, skills, training and material resources.

You know how badly I wanted our cluster to be one of the ones which established a programme of growth, during this plan, and it breaks my heart that our cluster has not had the collective effort required to sustain the 2 initiatives we tried.

Please let me accept that without a shared spirit of collaboration among the Plan’s three protagonists–the individual, the community, and the institutions, we didn’t have the prerequisites required for these undertakings.

Help me remember that I can’t do it alone – that everyone has a share in the work of the Faith.  Without a core group of willing participants, I am incapable of mobilizing individuals by myself.  Please raise them up for me, and let me recognize them when they arrive.

Help me to remember that in previous plans, I sacrificed rest and comfort and left my home to journey to unfamiliar lands and homefront outposts. I set aside my own interests for the common good. With limited means, I sacrificially contributed my share of resources. I taught the Faith to multitudes, to groups in various settings, and to individuals in my home. I quickened souls and helped them on their own paths of service, disseminated widely the Baha’i writings and participated in deep study of the teachings.  I strove for excellence in all fields, engaged diverse peoples of all strata in conversations pertaining to the search for solutions to humanity’s ills, and initiated efforts for economic and social development.

I understand that in the coming plan, the requirements are both urgent and sacred, and I know that when sacrificially and persistently addressed, we may hasten “the advent of that Golden Age which must witness the proclamation of the Most Great Peace and the unfoldment of that world civilization which is the offspring and primary purpose of that Peace.”  I became a Bahá’í because I wanted to be part of that process.  Please keep me steadfast and unwavering in my determination, till I draw my last breath.

I am a determined to fully participate in the current Plan and am eager to advance further along the path that experience has marked out.  I long to see a significant advance in the process of entry by troops and I’m not afraid of the immense exertion necessary to bring to fruition the seeds that have been so lovingly and assiduously sown and watered in the five Plans that preceded it.

In My Role As An Individual 

Personal Transformation 

Help me to have a heightened understanding that comes from efforts to apply the teachings in different contexts.

Instead of allowing my habit of disappointment in the world to grow, please help me have confidence that a better world is being created; help me to help myself and others become more conscious of the spiritual forces at work, and encourage conscious contact with them.  

Help me to find the right balance between “doing” (arising to serve and to accompany fellow souls), and “being” (increasing my understanding of the divine teachings and mirroring forth spiritual qualities in my life).  

In My Neighbourhood

Trusting in the flow of assistance that finds its origin in the imperatives laid out in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, help me to turn my attention to serving the residents of my town and my cluster.

I want to learn through action, how to act more systematically, making goals and plans in quarterly cycles of activity and learning to depend more and more on the potent confirmations from the divine realm.

In the expansion phase, help me invest time and focused attention on visiting homes and having firesides; and in the consolidation phase help me work more systematically at studying the relevant materials and finding creative ways to share them with others.

Help me to make my home a venue for community-building activities and make me a point for the diffusion of the light of divine guidance.  

Conversations:

Please prepare the hearts of receptive souls and guide them to me, so that I can have conversations on spiritual themes, prompted by the receptivity and experiences of all of those involved.

Please bring me into many social spaces, so a wider array of people can become familiar with the teachings and help me find ways to consider seriously the contribution they can make to the betterment of society.

In all my conversations with others, please help me to

  • initiate discussions which explore spiritual reality
  • improve my ability to express profound concepts
  • increase the number of times I am able to elevate conversations
  • become more adept at discerning when I have found a hearing ear
  • decide when to be more direct in sharing the message
  • remove the obstacles to understanding
  • help seekers to embrace the Cause

Help me find ways so that my friends and neighbours can realize how society around them can be refashioned.

Help me find ways to nurture environments where the hesitant can be reassured, the inhabitants can see the rich possibilities created by working together, and help me to encourage others to arise to serve the best interests of our society.

Let me take full advantage of opportunities afforded by my personal circumstances and engage in conversation with people I come in contact with in daily life about the spiritual and material conditions of our communities.

Devotional Gatherings:

Help me to encourage the practice of gathering for collective worship, so I can nurture in myself and others a much deeper connection with the Revelation of Baha’u’llah.  Help the ties that bind all of the participants grow more affectionate, and let the qualities of mutual support, reciprocity, and service to one another stand out as features of an emerging, vibrant culture among those involved in these devotional gatherings.

Help me to encourage others to be in the vanguard of offering their own devotional gatherings, so that our efforts can spread to hundreds of people in our town.

Help me to learn how to explain the purpose of the core activities and demonstrate through my deeds, the purity of my motives.

Online

Understanding that central to the pattern of action evolving in a cluster is my ongoing transformation, effected through the Word of God, help me continue to produce materials for my website on weighty themes which help others to cultivate the habit of study and deep reflection upon the Creative Word, and to see the practical application of the Writings to everyday life problems.

Help me to learn through action, how to act more systematically, making goals and plans in quarterly cycles of activity and learning to depend more and more on the potent confirmations from the divine realm.

In the expansion phase, help me invest time and focused attention on marketing my materials through social media; and in the consolidation phase help me work more systematically at studying the relevant materials; writing and refining newsletters, books and blog postings.

In the spirit of love and detached from outcomes, help me to offer the Baha’i Councils, Institute Boards and Auxiliary Board Members articles which could help them in their work with individuals and communities. 

In my Role as Homefront Pioneer

While I long to be part of a cluster in which there are over a thousand inhabitants taking part in a well-established pattern of activity and being part of raising communities whose habits of thought and action are rooted in Baha’u’llah’s Revelation; and even participating in social action initiatives, I am willing to stay in my cluster as a homefront pioneer, trying to find and support a pocket of heightened receptivity.

Please help me to make a long-term commitment to my cluster and give me such a yearning to become so familiar with the reality of my town that I better integrate into local life and, eschewing any trace of prejudice or paternalism, form bonds of true friendship that befit companions on a spiritual journey.  

In My Role as Community Member: 

I know that the only way to initiate a process for building capacity within our cluster is to engage in the framework for action and I will continue to build my capacity outside the cluster, in preparation for a time when others in the cluster will assume their part in contributing to the spiritual and material well-being of their communities and begin to offer acts of service.

Help me to increase my capacity to serve ably at the cluster level by having people with whom I can

  • study the guidance
  • reflect on my actions in its light
  • draw insights therefrom
  • become connected with the wider body of knowledge being generated in surrounding clusters and further afield
  • develop and share an appreciation of the sophisticated set of operations through which a cluster develops

Please give me a nucleus of friends to work and consult with, as we find small centres of population in my town, where intense activity can be sustained.  Let me find people I can work with as teams of friends, serving together, offering mutual support, and building confidence so that, in time, the society-building power inherent in the Faith can become more visible.

Help me to be one of the many who experience the transformative effect of studying the Word of God together and let my life be touched in some way by the community’s activities.

Please help me:

  • Be open to the receptivity of those who are exposed to the divine teachings
  • willing to help the friends in other clusters, by sharing the materials I’ve gathered on my website
  • continue tutoring those in isolated communities as they proceed further through the sequence of courses and supporting them as they start to engage in service
  • organize gatherings for collective worship
  • be open to opportunities to visit friends at their homes or on the phone and study a prayer together or share a theme from the Baha’i teachings.

Understanding that growth can occur quickly when the right conditions are in place, please help me be patient while I wait for the number of people sharing this commitment to rise, and our collective capacity for undertaking systematic action within the framework of the Plan increases.

 Programs of Growth:

Please forgive me for not being able to apply all that had been learned from previous Plans to the work of extending the process of growth to my cluster.

You know how badly I long to see growth accelerate in our cluster, and notwithstanding the natural ebb that’s existed for several decades, please help me take this cluster solidly to the first milestone by the end of the plan.

Please let me remain open to the emergence of new programmes of growth, with assistance from clusters that neighbour our own.  Help me to organize and be an active participant in cluster-wide reflection meetings which generate a stronger feeling of responsibility among those attending.

Help me to see a sense of collective ownership become more apparent from cycle to cycle as we witness the force released by a united body of people taking charge of their spiritual development.

Let me learn to talk about the needs of the current plan in such a way that I can help people catch the vision.

I recognize that developments like these are yet a distant prospect for the members of our cluster so help me to help them see that in some places, this work of the moment results in a significant percentage of the entire population involved in community-building activities.  Help me to understand how a flourishing local population can transform the society of which it is an integral part.

By mid-way through the plan, help us to have reflection gatherings with those pursuing related lines of action so that we can regulate the pulsating heartbeat at all points of the cycle.

Let us all see a clear arc of progress over the course of the next twenty cycles, so that we can see a programme of growth become firmly established by Ridvan 2021. 

In My Role As A Member Of An Assembly: 

Although our Assembly is inactive, help me continue to make provisions for

  • gatherings for the Nineteen Day Feast
  • Holy Day commemorations
  • Baha’i elections

until such time as the Assembly is functioning again.

Help me to also:

  • encourage special programs to commemorate the two-hundred-year anniversaries of the Birth of Baha’u’llah in 2017 and the Birth of the Bab in 2019 and to attract the largest possible number of believers, their families, friends, and collaborators, as well as others from the wider society, to commemorate moments when a Being peerless in creation, a Manifestation of God, was born to the world.
  • Encourage special programs to commemorate the Centenary of the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in November 2021

In My Role As Assistant:

In my role as assistant to the Auxiliary Board, let me work closely with the board member to maintain a clear and united vision of what is needed.

Help me continue to:

  • advise the friends in our cluster
  • expand their vision of what can be accomplished without seeking to impose my own expectations on them
  • keep abreast of, and share the lessons learned in the remotest parts of the planet so that our cluster can benefit from the worldwide process of learning and see that every follower of Baha’u’llah can take part
  • have a progressively deeper understanding of the Five Year Plan and over time, ensure that insights that arise from applying the guidance are recognized, articulated, absorbed, and shared.
  • become so familiar with the relevant guidance that I can help illuminate deliberations by calling attention to pertinent considerations
  • fan into flame a passion for teaching
  • encourage gatherings for worship to be integrated into the core of community life throughout the cluster so that:
  • every soul may enter and feel welcome
  • everyone will inhale the heavenly fragrances, experience the sweetness of prayer, meditate upon the Creative Word, be transported on the wings of the spirit, and commune with the one Beloved.
  • feelings of fellowship and common cause are generated, particularly in the spiritually heightened conversations that naturally occur at such times
  • the “city of the human heart” may be opened

When others are ready to engage in a planning process; help me to help them gradually enhance their ability to devise and implement a course of action informed by familiarity with actual conditions in our community.  Help me to ensure that each element of the growth process attains the requisite characteristics and that the integrity and coherence of all the endeavours are maintained.

Help me to assist the friends everywhere (in my cluster and online) to appreciate that, for existing programmes of growth to continue to gain strength, the strategy of initiating community-building activities in neighbourhoods and villages that show promise must be widely adopted and systematically followed.

With regards to the Funds of the Faith and the Right of God, help me to continually encourage the friends to:

  • manage their financial affairs in the light of the teachings.
  • cultivate a set of attitudes towards wealth and possessions very different from those holding sway in the world

And to understand that:

  • the habit of regularly giving to the Funds of the Faith arises from and reinforce a sense of personal concern for the welfare of the community and the progress of the Cause.
  • the duty to contribute, just like the duty to teach, is a fundamental aspect of Baha’i identity which strengthens faith
  • our sacrificial and generous contributions can be regarded as expressions of the love that binds us more closely together
  • voluntary giving fosters an awareness that managing one’s financial affairs in accordance with spiritual principles is an indispensable dimension of a life lived coherently.
  • it is a matter of conscience, a way in which commitment to the betterment of the world is translated into practice.

In My Role As Tutor:

Help me connect with and work with the institute board to find creative solutions to improve the quality of my role as tutor, particularly avoiding these two undesirable outcomes:

  • taking people through the courses of the institute too hastily, so the capacity to serve is not sufficiently developed
  • prolonging the process and robbing it of the dynamism essential to its advancement

Please also help me build capacity in others by swiftly helping make arrangements to accompany them into the arena of service, understanding that

  • an adequate level of support extends far beyond encouraging words.
  • working alongside a person with some experience increases consciousness of what is possible.
  • an assurance of practical help can give a tentative venturer the courage to initiate an activity for the first time.

Help me to become part of a growing number of tutors who, cycle after cycle, offer the full sequence of institute courses between them, at times with marked intensity.

Help me to instill right from the very beginning in those who participate, a belief that they are protagonists in a noble endeavour to build the world anew.

Conclusion:

I know that the coming plan will call for the

  • application of proven strategies
  • systematic action
  • informed analysis
  • keen insight

Please let me achieve these goals.

Please let my actions always to be motivated by a desire to see capacity develop in others and to foster friendships founded on cooperation and reciprocity.

Help me to see everyone as a potential collaborator in a collective enterprise, and appreciate my own part in nurturing a spirit of common purpose in the community, even if for this plan, it has to be the world-wide community of those who come in contact with the materials on my website.

I know that to reach these objectives is truly a formidable undertaking and that a herculean effort will be required; and many sacrifices will have to be made, but God willing, please let my exertions prove worthy to crown a hundred years of toil and set the stage for exploits as yet unimagined that must adorn the second century of the Formative Age.

In all my endeavors, please let me evince a prevalent attitude of joyful service, flexibility, and detachment from personal preferences so that I can give even routine administrative activities a sacred quality.

I can’t see who I might be able to work together with during the coming plan or how it might test my capacity, but no matter what, let me preserve a unified spirit among all who work together.

And let the world’s desperate condition not plunge me into despair, but impel me to find the urgency to act systematically, and to make the herculean effort necessary to achieve all that my capacity allows me to achieve.  Let me occupy myself with teaching the Cause of God and training all that dwell on earth.

Ya Baha’u’l-Abha!

Ya Allahu’l-Mustaghath!

Teaching Photos by Bertha Petruski

This calligraphy and paste-paper on which it is written were done by Bertha Petruski. She wishes them to be used by Baha’is for any teaching or comfort they may bring. Along with Baha’i quotes there are some Biblical quotes and non-Baha’i sayings which have inspirational messages.  Bertha has been a Baha’i and calligrapher for about forty years and lives in Massachusetts, USA.