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02 January 2011

As 2011 rolls in

Happy 2011! 

MY THOUGHTS center on two messages that the Universal House of Justice (the supreme governing body of the global Bahá'í community) has released in the past week to the Bahá'ís of the world.  The letters provide lucid guidance on achieving spiritual goals, and they come so richly to me at a time when I crave deeper relevance in my daily way of life.

The first letter, released on 28 December 2010, teaches us once again that “(P)rogress is achieved through the dialectic of crisis and victory, and setbacks are inevitable” and that such temporary setbacks “can be adjusted over time, if dealt with patiently.”  At the same time, it strikes home a sharp reminder for everyone to exert even greater effort to ensure that self-interest does not becloud judgment, as we go our ways in a material world that increasingly ‘rewards dishonesty, that encourages corruption, and that treats truth as a negotiable commodity.”

The second letter, released yesterday, reminds us where to get that extra dose of medicine in our lives.  It quotes the words of Bahá'u'lláh, Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith: “I am the Sun of Wisdom and the Ocean of Knowledge. I cheer the faint and revive the dead. I am the guiding Light that illumineth the way. I am the royal Falcon on the arm of the Almighty. I unfold the drooping wings of every broken bird and start it on its flight.”

The Universal House of Justice
1 January 2011
To the Baha’is of the World
Dearly loved Friends,
For the past five days, the Continental Counsellors have been gathered in conference in the Holy Land, engaged in earnest deliberation at once insightful and clear visioned, well grounded and confident, on the progress of the Divine Plan. The joy and wonder of this gathering, now entering its closing moments, has come from the vivid retelling of your numerous exploits, deeds which secured the astonishing attainment of the goal of the Five Year Plan one year early. It is hard to express in words how much love for you has been shown in these few, fleeting days. We praise God that He has raised up a community so accomplished and render thanks to Him for releasing your marvellous potentialities. You it is who, whether in collective endeavours or individual efforts, are presenting the verities of the Faith and assisting souls to recognize the Blessed Beauty. You it is who, in your tens of thousands, are serving as tutors of study circles wherever receptivity is kindled. You it is who, without thought of self, are providing spiritual education to the child and kindly fellowship to the junior youth. You it is who, through visits to homes and invitations to yours, are forging ties of spiritual kinship that foster a sense of community. You it is who, when called to serve on the institutions and agencies of the Cause, are accompanying others and rejoicing in their achievements. And it is all of us, whatever our share in this undertaking, who labour and long, strive and supplicate for the transformation of humanity, envisioned by Baha’u’llah, to be hastened.
A new five-year horizon now beckons, rich with portent. The features of the Plan that will begin this Ridván are set out in a letter we addressed to the Counsellors Conference at its opening session and which was transmitted to National Spiritual Assemblies the same day. We hope that you will be able to give it thoughtful study, alongside the message we addressed to you at Ridván 2010, at gatherings of all kinds – whether at the national, regional, or cluster level, in local communities, in neighbourhoods and villages, or in the home. We are certain that, through the consultations about the Plan in which you participate, your understanding will deepen and. conscious of the spiritual forces that support you, you will resolve to make this global enterprise a personal concern and become as occupied with the well-being of the human family as you are with that of your dearest kin. It brings us great joy that so many souls throughout the Baha’i community are ready to thus distinguish themselves. But what gratifies us beyond this is the certain knowledge that victories will be won in the next five years by youth and adults, men and women, who may at present be wholly unaware of Baha’u’llah’s coming, much less acquainted with the “society~building power” of His Faith. For you possess a potent instrument for spiritually empowering the masses of humanity to take charge of their own destiny, an instrument tempered in the crucible of experience. You know well, and have heard clearly, the call of Baha’u’llah: “I am the Sun of Wisdom and the Ocean of Knowledge. I cheer the faint and revive the dead. I am the guiding Light that illumineth the way. I am the royal Falcon on the arm of the Almighty. I unfold the drooping wings of every broken bird and start it on its flight.”
Our abiding prayers are with each of you.
The Universal House of Justice
I hope these messages influence the way you lead your lives as 2011 rolls in.

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