But war is made for the satisfaction of men’s ambition; for the sake of worldly gain to the few, terrible misery is brought to numberless homes, breaking the hearts of hundreds of men and women! How many widows mourn their husbands, how many stories of savage cruelty do we hear! How many little orphaned children are crying for their dead fathers, how many women are weeping for their slain sons! There is nothing so heart-breaking and terrible as an outburst of human savagery!
Do not despair! Work steadily. Sincerity and love will conquer hate. How many seemingly impossible events are coming to pass in these days! Set your faces steadily towards the Light of the World. Show love to all; “Love is the breath of the Holy Spirit in the heart of Man”. Take courage! God never forsakes His children who strive and work and pray! Let your hearts be filled with the strenuous desire that tranquility and harmony may encircle all this warring world. So will success crown your efforts, and with the universal brotherhood will come the Kingdom of God in peace and goodwill. (Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 28-30)
As the war in Ukraine deepens, threatening to pull in other countries and with the potential for World War 3, people everywhere are holding their collective breath, waiting, praying, suffering and anxious. As much as I can get caught up in the terror of watching horrendous things unfold, I am so grateful that I have the Bahá’í Writings to remind me that ultimately, good will come out of it.
I like this quote because both the problem and the solution are embedded in it. It reminds me to stay focused on the current plan and work steadily to build both community and society. When I set my face to the Light, it’s easier to pray, and the more I pray, the more I find courage and the easier it is to show love to all.
Someone in our local Bahá’í community told me that she’d met with a representative to the United Nations recently. They talked about Bahá’u’lláh’s vision of a Supreme Tribunal, with representatives from every country, so that in times of war, the rest of the nations will rise up against the aggressor. The very next day, we heard that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to the American Congress about that very thing, calling it U24. Coincidence? I think not!
Remembering that the world is definitely moving towards peace, my anxiety lessons and I am grateful!
What jumped out for you when you read this passage? Please share your thoughts below.
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Letting Go of Anger and Bitterness