Friday, February 13, 2009

NOTES from Counselor Birkland's talk

The following inspiring and valuable notes from Mr. Birkland's talk in FRANKFURT were originally posted on Sabby's blog.

So here's a tidbit of Mr. Birkland's speech (To make it readable better, I won't insert "he said" again and again; instead, please note that everything is *paraphrased* from his words and not my personal comment! Of course, as it is my paraphrasing and even written out of memory only, as I was able to note only a few key words, there's *no* guarantee for this and I apologize for any optional misunderstanding!):

In every Faith, there is the concept of ransom. It is connected to "Crisis and Victory".

In the Baha'i-Faith, the greatest ransom was offered by Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch. In Akka, when he fell from the roof and lay deathbound, Baha'u'llah offered him healing. Mirza Mihdi asked his exalted father to allow him to die, offering his life as a ransom for the Faith. Especially, he asked for this sacrifice to be the ransom in exchange for the prison (rather carcel) doors to open for Baha'u'llah, his family and the friends. Baha'u'llah accepted this ransom, Mirza Mihdi passed away and within few months the prison doors opened!

So this is an exalted example for all of us. Baha'u'llah told us that
*to every success belongs sacrifice* ! Crisis and victory. Pay the price, and you win.

Now - what does this mean for the Five-Year-Plan? The Plan is carried out by Baha'is - who are human. There will be hurts. Someone will not acknowledge your efforts properly, someone will do something unwise, someone will ignore your input, someone will attack you, someone will backbite or let you down or just be a pain in the neck. So what? Remember Shoghi Effendi saying "forgive and forget"! And, to help you and the Faith at the same time - you can offer your hurt as a ransom for the success of the Plan! Clear your heart from revengeful attitudes, focus on purity, and with the right motivation, if you truly do it out of love of God, turn to Baha'u'llah and ask Him to accept your hurt as a ransom. Thus the Plan can progress even faster!

Or - if you haven't been hurt, but are in any kind of emotional or physical pain - you can offer this pain just as well! Think of the wonderful examples in Baha'i-history, of the heroes who were ill, disabled, had lost family or whatever, and who sacrificed their pains for the Victory of the Faith! For example, Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins with her severe diseases ...

... talking of Amelia Collins - even if you don't have any hurt or pain to offer as a ransom, you surely can offer something. When there was the call for donations for the construction of the Mother Temple of the West, the House of Worship in Wilmette, there was this lady who literally had nothing. Nothing but a huge stone ... You probably know the story. For those who don't, just briefly: Amelia Collins was in charge of collecting funds for the project. This poor lady came to her and offered the stone. Maybe someone else would have sent her away. Amelia Collins understood the sincerity in this offer immediately and accepted it and even more - as the stone was huge and heavy, she brought a child's pram to put it in and, together with the lady, bring it to the construction site. There, the pram crashed and the stone remained lieing there. When 'Abdu'l-Baha came, he saw it - and destined it to be *the cornerstone of the Mother Temple of the West* !

So - *every single humble person* owes at least something which is valuable or precious enough to be offered - as a ransom for the progress of the Divine Plan!

Counselor Stephen Birkland addressing the Conference

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