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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September 20, 1912

Minneapolis -- Omaha; another departure; exhortations and words of love; helping the poor

Mahmud writes: "Today we departed from Minneapolis. In the morning friends and seekers surrounded `Abdu'l-Bahá like moths. He spoke to them in these words:
You must have deep love for one another. Go to see each other and be consoling friends to all. If a friend lives a little distance from the town, go to see him. Do not content yourselves with words only but act according to the commandments of God. Hold weekly meetings and give feasts. Put forth your efforts to acquire spiritual perfections and to spread the knowledge of God. These are the attributes of the Bahá'ís. Otherwise, what use is there in being a Bahá'í in word alone.
At 8:00 a.m., after packing the parcels to be sent to the East, the Master left the hotel for the train station. The assembled friends were sad and dejected owing to His departure from their midst. He consoled them until the train left the station, saying:
I shall never forget you. You are always in my mind. Convey to all the friends my kind regards. I love all. I exhort you to be kind to the poor and love them. Help them, for the poor are broken-hearted. If you sacrifice yourself for the rich, they think you do it because you are obliged to. But if you love the poor, they feel joy and are sincerely grateful. To help the poor is essential. May you be under the protection of God.
When the train reached St Paul station, Dr Woolson came to say goodbye and received the Master's blessing. He was showered with bounty.
On the way `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke about teaching the Cause of God in America and remarked:
In this country it is essential to have teachers who are attracted, wholly severed and learned like some of the self-sacrificing Persian teachers. The Cause of God must become firmly established in these regions. The teachers must move continually, one after another, from one place to another to raise the divine call. Then will the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom envelop these nations and wonders will be achieved. This desire of mine has not yet come about. It depends on the confirmations of the all-glorious Kingdom and on the sanctified breaths of the friends. The one true God is my witness! If a person draws only one pure breath in a state of severance, it will be effective for a thousand years.
Later He related many stores about the days in Baghdád. In the afternoon He spoke about Mr [Edward Granville] Browne and said:
I wrote to him, saying, `You are the first European teacher and author to have attained His Blessed Presence. Do not lose this distinction.' He did not understand me and his loss will be known when the lights of guidance shine in England with supreme brilliancy.
Two hours after midnight the train reached Omaha. As the Master was extremely tired, as soon as He arrived at the hotel He retired immediately, without eating."
Along with encouraging home visits, 'Abdu'l-Bahá speaks so clearly about our task of being severed and in motion. He has such a yearning for us! 
Saturday morning, at 8 am on a weekend, we got a call from a poor woman looking for financial help. She was calling the Baha'i "church" to see if her state of homelessness and poverty could be addressed by us. I couldn't help but think what a different world it is now--it seems we are so far from having a workable social outreach. We said we couldn't help her. But what would 'Abdu'l-Bahá have done? Or one of the early believers?  Probably arrange to meet the woman and help her and teach her the Cause. . . 
Sometimes balancing His advice with the current reality is darn hard!  

1 comment:

  1. Dear Ann, Of course, the Master would have helped her. And so should each of us as individuals help someone in need. We don't do it to teach the Faith, we do it for the Master.