Who was `Abdu'l-Bahá, and why did He come to the West?

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20, 1912 Seeing the Face of God in Every Face

New York, but anticipating the trip to Dublin, NH: Seeing the Face of His Heavenly Father in Every Face . . . 

According to the notes in Mahmud's Diary, there is no entry for today--but two for tomorrow. As the Master is getting ready to go to Dublin, New Hampshire (on the 23rd), I will quote what Howard Colby Ives said about His visit to Dublin, in anticipation of that journey:

Howard Colby Ives: "Dublin is a beautiful mountain summer resort where gathers each year a colony of wealthy intellectuals from Washington, D. C. and from various large centers. Abdu'l-Bahá's stay in that place for a period of three weeks offers another evidence of His unique power of adaptation to every environment; His dominant humility in every group, which, while seeming to follow He really led, and His manifest all-embracing knowledge.
     Picture, if you can, this Oriental, fresh from more than fifty years of exile and prison life, suddenly placed in an environment representing the proudest culture of the Western world. Nothing in His life, one would reasonably presume, had offered a preparation for such a contact.
     Not to His youth had been given years of academic and scholastic training. Not to His young manhood had been supplied those subtle associations during His formative years. Not upon His advancing age had been bestowed the comforts and leisure which invite the mind's expanse.
     Quite the contrary, as I have endeavored to portray, His life had been a constant submission to every form of hardship and deprivation, when considered from a material standpoint alone. Dungeons and chains had been His lot. Torture not seldom; confinement in the stocks, or any indignity which heartless jailers might design, His portion. The Bible and the Koran His only books.
     How, then, can it be explained that in this environment He not only mingled with these highest products of wealth and culture with no slightest embarrassment to them or to Him, but He literally outshone them in their chosen field.
     No matter what subject was brought up He was perfectly at home in its discussion, yet always with an undercurrent of modesty and loving consideration for the opinions of others. I have before spoken of His unfailing courtesy. It was really more than what that term usually connotes to the Western mind. The same Persian word is used for both reverence and courtesy. He "saw the Face of His Heavenly Father in every face" and reverenced the soul behind it. How could one be discourteous if such an attitude was held towards everyone!"    Portals to Freedom (115)

Ives' book is full of marvelous descriptions of the Master--and of his own journey of heart and mind. One thing that Abdu'l-Baha repeatedly said to him was, "This is a Day for very great things."  For Ives, these words "rang out like a trumpet call" (57).  We would do well to remember this "simple" message!

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