December 31, 2012

How to engage in a profession and be detached from worldly affairs

In the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh it is obligatory for the individual to engage in a trade or profession. For instance, I know mat weaving and you know another trade. The service we perform is equivalent to worship if we perform it with truth and trustworthiness; it is a cause of human advancement. If the heart is not bound and attached to the world, if it is unaffected by the vicissitudes of life, unhampered by worldly wealth from serving humanity and not dejected because of poverty, then this is a human perfection. Otherwise, to profess generosity if one is poor, or justice when one is powerless to extend it, is easy enough, but this will not establish one's spiritual education and awareness. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, New York, June 11, 1912; Mahmud’s Diary)

December 26, 2012

Comparison of an enkindled soul to a piece of iron in the midst of fire

We can all serve in the Cause of God no matter what our occupation is. No occupation can prevent the soul coming to God. Peter was a fisherman, yet he accomplished most wonderful things; but the heart must be turned always toward God, no matter what the work is; this is the important thing; and then the power of God will work in us. We are like a piece of iron in the midst of the fire which becomes heated to such a degree that it partakes of the nature of the fire and gives out the same effect to all it touches – so is the soul that is always turned toward God, and filled with the spirit. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha quoted by May Maxwell in ‘An Early Pilgrimage’)

December 15, 2012

“The greatest attainment in the world of humanity is nearness to God.”

26 May 1912
Mount Morris Baptist Church
New York

As I entered the church this evening, I heard the hymn “Nearer my God, to Thee.” The greatest attainment in the world of humanity is nearness to God. Every lasting glory, honor, grace and beauty which comes to man comes through nearness to God. All the Prophets and apostles longed and prayed for nearness to the Creator. How many nights they passed in sleepless yearning for this station; how many days they devoted to supplication for this attainment, seeking ever to draw nigh unto Him!

But nearness to God is not an easy accomplishment. During the time Jesus Christ was upon the earth mankind sought nearness to God, but in that day no one attained it save a very few—His disciples. Those blessed souls were confirmed with divine nearness through the love of God. Divine nearness is dependent upon attainment to the knowledge of God, upon severance from all else save God. It is contingent upon self-sacrifice and to be found only through forfeiting wealth and worldly possessions. It is made possible through the baptism of water and fire revealed in the Gospels. Water symbolizes the water of life, which is knowledge, and fire is the fire of the love of God; therefore, man must be baptized with the water of life, the Holy Spirit and the fire of the love of the Kingdom. Until he attains these three degrees, nearness to God is not possible.