July 7, 2018

Excerpts from a letter by the Greatest Holy Leaf to the American Baha’is in 1924

Let us then, affectionate brothers and sisters, ponder for a while upon the underlying reason that had made God’s divine Messengers prefer a life of torture to one of ease, and those blessed martyrs, so many of them cut off in the springtime and promise of their youth, choose death with faces radiant with joy. What did the Bab sacrifice His promising youth for except out of a burning desire to have mankind live in unity and peace; and what was the spirit that animated those bold and heroic martyrs but love and adoration to a Cause they wished to triumph? What made Baha’u’llah, born and brought up in opulence, fling away all earthly possessions and choose upon Himself unspeakable hardships and deprivation, save for an earnest appeal to the world at large to turn their hatred for one another into genuine love and to make a world seething with blood a peaceful home for God’s children; and why did ‘Abdu’l-Baha who could have chosen a life of ease and comfort, prefer to lead a crusade against the strongholds of human hearts and make a direct appeal to individuals as well as groups that unless we love one another with all our might and with all our heart we are absolutely doomed. He carried a crusade not with a sword of steel but with a sword of love and affection. And if we dare call ourselves Baha’is it simply means that we have to follow in their wake. It means that we must always have the public weal in mind and not give up ourselves wholly to our inclinations and desires, and it means that we must picture before us the perseverance and self-sacrifice of those early volunteers and make a whole-hearted effort to be like unto one of them; and it shall be only in this way that we can safeguard this great Cause of God.

This in brief, is what our beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, is patiently and eagerly expecting from every single one of us. This, he says, should mark us from all other men and this should differentiate us from those to whom religion is something to believe in and not to inspire to action. ...