Dec 18, 2017

“Essential virtues” that the American Baha’is are called upon to “increasingly exemplify”

…men and women who, as time goes by, will increasingly exemplify those essential virtues, of self-renunciation, of moral rectitude, of chastity, of undiscriminating fellowship, of holy discipline, and of spiritual insight that will fit them for the preponderating share they will have in calling into being that World Order and that World Civilization of which their country, no less than the entire human race, stands in desperate need." 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 25 December 1938, published as ‘The Advent of Divine Justice’)

Dec 17, 2017

The Continent of America

…the continent of America is, in the eyes of the one true God, the land wherein the splendors of His light shall be revealed, where the mysteries of His Faith shall be unveiled, where the righteous will abide and the free assemble. Therefore, every section thereof is blessed… 
- ‘Abdu'l-Baha  (‘Tablets of the Divine Plan’)

Dec 16, 2017

“Just as there are laws governing our physical lives… there are laws governing our spiritual lives.”

Just as there are laws governing our physical lives, requiring that we must supply our bodies with certain foods, maintain them within a certain range of temperatures, and so forth, if we wish to avoid physical disabilities, so also there are laws governing our spiritual lives. These laws are revealed to mankind in each age by the Manifestation of God, and obedience to them is of vital importance if each human being, and mankind in general, is to develop properly and harmoniously. Moreover, these various aspects are interdependent. If an individual violates the spiritual laws for his own development he will cause injury not only to himself but to the society in which he lives. Similarly, the condition of society has a direct effect on the individuals who must live within it. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer; excerpts to all National Spiritual Assemblies, February, 1973: Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1968-1973’; Compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

Dec 15, 2017

Huqúqu'lláh – The Right of God

This Law [Huqúqu'lláh] of the Aqdas stipulates that nineteen per cent of one's capital is payable as Huqúqu'lláh when such capital has reached an amount of at least "nineteen mithqáls in gold".... In determining the amount a believer should pay, he should first deduct any debts and expenses he may have, and pay nineteen per cent of the remainder of his capital if it is equal to at least nineteen mithqáls of gold. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 21 January 1973; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Huququ’llah)

Dec 14, 2017

The soul “has its own individuality”

…the soul, even as the body, has its own individuality. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, November 3, 1911, Paris; ‘Paris Talks’)

Dec 13, 2017

Human spirit finds “eternal life” in the breath of the Holy Spirit

This spirit is one of the divine bounties, a manifestation of the Sun of Truth; but if the human spirit receives the breath of the Holy Spirit, then it is a pure spirit. The breath of the Holy Spirit is the divine teaching; in it the spirit finds eternal life. It is the heavenly light and illumines the human world by the divine qualities. Hence we must endeavour to act according to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk at Alliance Spiritualiste of Paris, 9 November 1911; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 17, January 19, 1912)

Dec 12, 2017

Baha’u’llah’s stupendous Revelation

He Whom Bahá’u’lláh has acclaimed in the Kitáb-i-Íqán as that promised Qá’im Who has manifested no less than twenty-five out of the twenty-seven letters which all the Prophets were destined to reveal—so great a Revealer has Himself testified to the préeminence of that superior Revelation that was soon to supersede His own. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated February 8, 1934; ‘The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah’)

Dec 11, 2017

The “time of testing”

As lawlessness spreads in the world, as governments rise and fall, as rival groups and feuding peoples struggle, each for its own advantage, the plight of the oppressed and the deprived wrings the heart of every true Bahá'í, tempting him to cry out in protest or to arise in wrath at the perpetrators of injustice. For this is a time of testing which calls to mind Bahá'u'lláh's words, "O concourse of the heedless! I swear by God! The promised day is come, the day when tormenting trials will have surged above your heads, and beneath your feet, saying: 'Taste ye what your hands have wrought!'" 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Naw-Ruz, 1979, ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963 to 1986’)

Dec 10, 2017

Forgiveness

...There is a tendency to mix up the functions of the Administration and try to apply it in individual relationships, which is abortive, because the Assembly is a nascent House of Justice and is supposed to administer, according to the Teachings, the affairs of the community. But individuals toward each other are governed by love, unity, forgiveness and a sin-covering eye. Once the friends grasp this they will get along much better, but they keep playing Spiritual Assembly to each other and expect the Assembly to behave like an individual.... 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effenfi to an individual believer; compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance: A Baha'i Reference File’)

Dec 9, 2017

Love & Compassion

It is better to guide one soul than to possess all that is on earth, for as long as that guided soul is under the shadow of the Tree of Divine Unity, he and the one who hath guided him will both be recipients of God's tender mercy, whereas possession of earthly things will cease at the time of death. The path to guidance is one of love and compassion, not of force and coercion. This hath been God's method in the past, and shall continue to be in the future! He causeth him whom He pleaseth to enter the shadow of His Mercy. Verily, He is the Supreme Protector, the All-Generous.  
- The Báb  ('Selections from the Writings of the Báb')

Dec 8, 2017

Music

We have found nothing in the texts forbidding the use of The Greatest Name, the Names of the Manifestations of God or the names of the Central Figures of our Faith in the lyrics of music. However, we feel that when they are used they should be used with reverence and respect, both in the manner in which they are incorporated in the lyrics and in the manner of presentation. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, March 14, 1968; Compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

Dec 7, 2017

Patience

…establishing the Kingdom of God in this turbulent world is no easy task. It requires unshakeable faith, complete reliance on God, high endeavour, an indomitable spirit, constant striving, and infinite patience and long-suffering. You are aware of God’s method and look upon your efforts as seeds sown by the divine Husbandman in His field. Cultivating and gathering the crop require hard work, time, patience, and sacrifice, but through the bounties of God, an abundant harvest is assured. You remain confident that just as the seed, which through the outpourings of the rain and the exertions of the gardener gradually grows into a mighty and fruitful tree, so too your selfless efforts and the labours of other Bahá’ís around the globe …will, at the appointed time, through the blessings of the Abhá Beauty, yield wondrous fruits; hearts will be enlightened, this darksome earth illumined, and the oneness of humanity ultimately realized. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message to the Baha’is in Iran, May 10th, 2013)

Dec 6, 2017

World Religion Day

Your letter of September 30, with the suggestion that "there should be one day in the year in which all of the religions should agree" is a happy thought, and one which persons of good will throughout the world might well hail. However, this is not the underlying concept of World Religion Day, which is a celebration of the need for and the coming of a world religion for mankind, the Bahá'í Faith itself. Although there have been many ways of expressing the meaning of this celebration in Bahá'í communities in the United States, the Day was not meant primarily to provide a platform for all religions and their emergent ecumenical ideas. In practice, there is no harm in the Bahá'í communities' inviting the persons of other religions to share their platforms on this Day, providing the universality of the Bahá'í Faith as the fulfillment of the hopes of mankind for a universal religion are clearly brought forth. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated October 22, 1968 to a Local Spiritual Assembly)

Dec 5, 2017

Translating the Writings into Simple English

Obviously teaching literature and books about the Faith can be written in Simple English. However, we feel that when the Sacred Writings are published the standard English translation should be used, but there would be no objection to printing alongside it the translation into Simple English which should be described as a paraphrase of the Holy Word. Thus, for the people of ... who have difficulty in comprehending standard English, the simple English version would be in the nature of an explanation of the Writings which they could understand. In the case of teaching literature in which quotations from the Writings appear, these could either be paraphrased or a simple English version could be used with the standard version printed as a footnote. This method also provide a means whereby the people of ... could improve their knowledge and understanding of the English language. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 20 September 1973 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly; compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

Dec 4, 2017

To “purge the world from the defilement of evil passions”

Ye are forbidden to commit adultery, sodomy and lechery. Avoid them, o concourse of the faithful. By the righteousness of God! Ye have been called into being to purge the world from the defilement of evil passions. This is what the Lord of all mankind hath enjoined upon you, could ye but perceive it. He who relateth himself to the All-Merciful and committeth satanic deeds, verily he is not of Me. Unto this beareth witness every atom, pebble, tree and fruit, and beyond them this ever-proclaiming, truthful and trustworthy Tongue. 
- Baha’u’llah  (Quoted by the Universal House of Justice in a letter dated 11 September 1995)

Dec 3, 2017

Capitalism

Profit-sharing is recommended as a solution to one form of economic problem.

There is nothing in the teachings against some kind of capitalism; its present form, though, would require adjustments to be made. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 19 November 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; Compilation: Redistribution of Wealth, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)

Dec 2, 2017

Overcoming poverty

Your comments concerning poverty emphasize the extent to which society must change its attitudes before a solution to that social problem can be found. It is not simply a matter of economics; the solution deeply involves the adoption of spiritual principles at the grassroots as well as among governments. It imposes upon the Bahá'ís a clear duty to teach the Faith with unabating vigour. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 27 April 1988 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer; Compilation: Redistribution of Wealth, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)

Dec 1, 2017

Burial according to Baha’i law

The friends should certainly be informed of the Bahá'í laws relating to burial and encouraged to do all they can to ensure after their passing they are buried according to Bahá'í law. It is not always possible to ensure this by stating it in a will and assemblies should consult upon the matter, taking legal advice if necessary, and make the best arrangements possible. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, December 31, 1972; compilations, ‘Lights of Guidance’)

Nov 30, 2017

Religion

Religion, as in the past, is still the world's sole hope, but not that form of religion which our ecclesiastical leaders strive vainly to preach. Divorced from true religion, morals lose their effectiveness and cease to guide and control man's individual and social life. But when true religion is combined with true ethics, then moral progress becomes a possibility and not a mere ideal. The need of our modern youth is for such a type of ethics founded on pure religious faith. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 17 April 1936 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, published in "Bahá'í News" 104 December 1936; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, Youth)