Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ridván 1988 - The Universal House of Justice

Ridvan Message 1988

Ridvan 1988

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly-loved Friends,

At this resplendent, festive season, we greet you all in a spirit of
renewed hope.

A silver lining to the dark picture which has overshadowed most of this
century now brightens the horizon.  It is discernible in the new tendencies
impelling the social processes at work throughout the world, in the evidences
of an accelerated trend towards peace.  In the Faith of God, it is the growing
strength of the Order of Bahá'u'lláh as its banner rises to more stately
heights.  It is strength that attracts.  The  media are giving increasing
attention to the Bahá'í world community; authors are acknowledging its
existence in a growing number of articles, books and reference works, one
of the most highly respected of which recently listed the Faith as the most
widely spread religion after Christianity. A remarkable display of interest
in this community by governments, civil authorities, prominent personalities
and humanitarian organizations is increasingly apparent.  Not only are the
community's laws and principles, organization and way of life being
investigated, but its advice and active help are also being sought for the
alleviation of social problems and the carrying out of humanitarian

A thrilling consequence of these favourably conjoined developments is the
emergence of a new paradigm of opportunity for further growth and consolidation
of our world-vide community.  New prospects for teaching the Cause  at all
levels of society have unfolded.  These are confirmed in the early results
flowing from the new teaching initiatives being fostered in a number of
places as more and more national communities witness the beginnings of that
entry by troops promised by the beloved Master and which Shoghi Effendi said
would lead on to mass conversion.  The immediate possibilities presented
by this providential situation compel us to expect that an expansion of the
Community of the Most Great Name, such as has not yet been experienced, is,
indeed, at hand.

The spark which ignited the mounting interest in the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh
was the heroic fortitude and patience of the beloved friends in Iran, which
moved the Bahá'í world community to conduct a persistent, carefully
orchestrated programme of appeal to the conscience of the world. 
This vast undertaking, involving the entire community acting unitedly
through its  Administrative Order, was accompanied by equally vigorous
and visible activities of that community in other spheres which
have been detailed separately.  Nonetheless, we are impelled to
mention that an important outcome of this extensive exertion is
our recognition of a nev stage in the external affairs of the Cause,
characterized by a marked maturation of National Spiritual Assemblies
in their growing relations with governmental and non-governmental
organizations and with the public in general.

This recognition prompted a meeting in Germany last November of national
Bahá'í external affairs representatives from Europe and North America, together
with senior representatives of the Offices of the Bahá'í International
Community, intent on effecting greater coordination of their work.  This was a
preliminary step towards the gathering of more and more National Spiritual
Assemblies into a harmoniously  functioning, international network capable of
executing global undertakings in this rapidly expanding field.  Related to
these developments vas the significant achievement of international recognition
accorded the Faith through its formal acceptance last October into membership
of the Network on Conservation and Religion of the renowned World Wide Fund for

At one of the darkest periods in the prolonged oppression of the dearly-
loved, resolutely steadfast friends in Iran, Shoghi Effendi vas
moved to comfort them in a letter of astounding insight.  'It is
the shedding of the sacred blood of the martyrs in Persia he wrote,
which, in this shining era, this resplendent, this gem-studded
Bahá'í age, shall change the face of the earth into high heaven
and, as revealed in the Tablets, raise up the tabernacle of the
oneness of mankind in the very heart of the world, reveal to men's
eyes the reality of  the unity of the human race, establish the Most
Great Peace, make of this lower realm a mirror for the Abha Paradise,
and establish beyond any doubt before all the peoples of the world
the truth of the verse:  '...the day when the Earth shall be changed
into another Earth.'"  Reflections like these, in adducing such
wondrous future consequences from the horrific suffering to which
our Iranian friends are subjected, illuminate the opportunity and
the challenge facing us all at this crucial moment in the fortunes
of the Cause. 

The great projects already launched must be pursued to their completion.
The terraces below and above the Shrine of the Bab and the Arc on Mount Carmel
must be completed, fulfilling the glorious vision of the efflorescence of God's
holy mountain; the second World Congress must be held in the City of the
Covenant to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the inauguration of  that
Covenant; the steadily advancing work on the translation and annotation of the
Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy Book, must be brought to publication; the interest
shown by the friends in the Law of Huququ'llah must be cultivated; the pioneers
and travelling teachers must go forth; the expenses of the Cause must be met;
all objectives of the Six Year Plan must be achieved.

But the paramount purpose of all Bahá'í activity is teaching.  All that
has been done or will be done revolve around this central activity, the "head
corner-stone of the foundation itself", to which all progress in the Cause is
due.  The present challenge calls for teaching on a scale and of a quality, a
variety, and intensity outstripping all current efforts.  The time is now, lest
opportunity be lost in the swiftly changing moods of a frenetic world.  Led it
not be imagined that expedience is the essential motive arousing this sense  of
urgency.  There is an overarching reason:  it is the pitiful plight of masses
of humanity, suffering and in turmoil, hungering after righteousness, but
bereft of discernment to see God with their own eyes, or hear His Melody with
their own ears".  They must be fed.  Vision must be restored where hope is
lost, confidence built where doubt and confusion are rife.  In these and other
respects, "The Promise of World Peace" is designed to open the way.  Its
delivery to national governmental leaders having been virtually completed, its
contents must now be conveyed, by all possible means, to peoples
everywhere from all walks of life.  This is a necessary part of
the teaching work in our time and must be pursued with unabated vigour.
  Teaching is the food of the spirit; it brings life to unawakened souls and
raises the new heaven and the new earth; it uplifts the banner of a unified
world; it  ensures the victory of the Covenant and brings those who give their
lives to it the supernal happiness of attainment to the good pleasure of their

Every individual believer--man, woman, youth and child--is summoned to
this field of action; for it is on the initiative, the resolute will of the
individual to teach and to serve, that the success of the entire community
depends.  Well-grounded in the mighty Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, sustained by
daily prayers and reading of the Holy Word, strengthened by a continual striving
to obtain a deeper understanding of the divine Teachings, illumined by a
constant endeavour to relate these Teachings to current issues, nourished by
observance of the laws and principles of His wondrous World Order, every
individual can attain increasing measures of success in teaching. In sum, the
ultimate triumph of the Cause is assured by that "one thing and only one thing"
so poignantly emphasized by Shoghi Effendi, namely, "the extent to which our
own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects
the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh".

Beloved Friends -- you who are addressed by the Best Beloved, the Blessed
Beauty, as "the solace of the eye of creation , as "the soft-flowing
waters upon which must depend the very life of all men" -- we urge
you, with all earnestness from the utter depths of our conviction
as to the ripeness of the time, to lay aside your every minor concern
and direct your energies to teaching His Cause -- to proclaiming,
expanding and consolidating it.  You can approach your task in full
confidence that this clear field of progress outstretched before
you derives from the operation of that  God-born Force" which "vibrates
within the innermost being of all created things" and which, "acting
even as a  two-edged sword, is, under our very eyes, sundering, on
the one hand, the age-old ties which for centuries have held together
the fabric of civilized society, and is unloosing, on the other,
the bonds that still fetter the infant and as yet unemancipated Faith
of Bahá'u'lláh"

Have no fear or doubts  The power of the Covenant will assist you and
invigorate you and remove every obstacle from your path  "He, verily,
will aid everyone that aideth Him, and will remember everyone that
remembereth Him". 

You have our abiding assurance of ardent and constant prayers for you all.

[signed -- The Universal House of Justice]

Source: http://www.bahai-library.org/file.php?file=uhj_six-year_plan_1986

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