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May waits for Thomas...
One of the most beautiful stories we have is the one of May Maxwell (the mother of
Ruhiyyih Khanum) and Thomas Breakwell. This was in the very early days, when Abdu'l-Baha
was still a prisoner in Acca and May Maxwell was a young girl probably (judging
by the dates available to me) 1905. The story was told to me by my father and by May
Maxwell herself, but in this account, I am paraphrasing May Maxwell's own words to
be found in the Star of the West.
She herself is not certain of the exact date though she will never forget the details.
It happened in the Spring when May's mother and brother were planning to leave Paris
for Brittany and of course they wished May to accompany them. But Abdu'l- Baha had
requested that she remain in Paris so, upon her mother's insistence, she wrote to
Abdu'l-Baha for His permission to leave. This was refused. He wished her to remain
in Paris. So, finally May's mother and brother left without her and she went to stay
with a friend.
It was not long after this that a Mrs. Milner, who had just arrived from America,
brought a young man whom she had met on shipboard to meet May. In May's own words:
"I shall never forget opening the door and seeing him standing there. It was like
looking at a veiled light. I saw at once his pure heart, his burning spirit, his thirsty soul, and over all was cast the veil which is over every soul until it is rent asunder by the power of God in this day."
Mrs. Milner introduced him as a young man interested in spiritual things, who was at the moment a Theosophist. They stayed only a short time, but as he was leaving,
he said that Mrs. Milner had mentioned some teaching that May was interested in and
might he call again to hear about it? He returned the next morning and May, realizing his
great capacity, gave him the full Message - which he accepted completely and instantly.
Three days later he wrote to Abdu'l-Baha saying with great simplicity, "My Lord!
I believe; forgive me. Thy servant, Thomas Breakwell."
"That evening", writes May, "I went to the Rue du Bac to get my mail and found a cablegram which had just arrived saying, 'You may leave Paris.' and signed Abbas."
May continues, "I could write you pages about the beloved Thomas Breakwell; of the
fire of love burning in his heart when he returned from Acca; of the penetrating
spiritual power in our midst; of the light of servitude and sacrifice which burned
so brilliantly in his soul... I only want to add that his kindness and love to my mother...
produced a great effect on her... before she understood the glory of this Cause."
And, in the same issue of Star of the West, is Abdu'l- Baha's tablet to Breakwell
"Do not lament over the departure of my dearly-beloved Breakwell. For verily, he has
ascended to the Luminous Rose-Garden of the ABHA Kingdom, near the mercy of his Lord, the Almighty, and is crying out with the loudest voice, 0 thee my people know how my Lord hath forgiven me, and made me one of those who have attained the meeting of God!"
"0 Breakwell! my beloved! Where is thy beautiful countenance and where is thy eloquent
tongue? Where is thy radiant brow and where thy brilliant face?"
"0 Breakwell! my beloved! Where is thy enkindlement with the Fire of the love of God,
and where is thy attraction to the Fragrances of God? Where is thy utterance for
the glorification of God, and where is thy rising in the service of God?"
"0 my dear! 0 Breakwell! Verily thou hast abandoned this transitory world, and soared
upward to the Kingdom, hast attained to the Grace of the Invisible Realm, and sacrificed
thyself to the Threshold of the Lord of Might!"
"O my adored one! 0 Breakwell! Verily thou hast left behind this physical lamp, this
human glass, these earthly elements and this worldly enjoyment."
"0 my adored one! 0 Breakwell Then thou hast ignited a light in the Glass of the Supreme
Concourse, hast entered into the Paradise of ABHA; art protected under the shade
of the Blessed Tree, and hast attained to the meeting (of the True One) in the abode
"0 my dearly-beloved! 0 Breakwell.' Thou hast been a divine bird, and forsaking thy
earthly nests thou hast soared toward the Holy Rose-Gardens of the Divine Kingdom
and obtained a Luminous Station there! "
"0 my dearly-beloved! 0 Breakwell! Verily thy Lord has chosen thee for His love, guided
thee to the Court of His Holiness; caused thee to enter into the Rizwan of His Association
and granted thee to behold His Beauty!"
"0 my beloved! 0 Breakwell! Verily thou hast attained to the Eternal Life, never-ending
bounty, beautific bliss and immeasurable Providence!"
"0 my beloved! 0 Breakwell! Thou hast become a star in the Most Exalted Horizon, a
lamp among the angels of heaven, a living spirit in the Supreme World and art established
on the throne of immortality!"
"0 my adored one! 0 my Breakwell! I supplicate God to increase thy nearness and communication, to make thee enjoy thy prosperity and union (with Him), to add to thy light and beauty and to bestow upon thee Glory and Majesty."
"0 my adored one! 0 my Breakwell! I mention thy name continually, l never forget thee,
I pray for thee day and night, and I see thee clearly and manifestly 0 my adored one! 0 Breakwell! ."
(signed) Abdu'l-Baha Abbas
Copied from Star of the West Vol. V No. 19 pgs. 296 - 8
(note: I was not able to find the date of the passing of Thomas Breakwell from this
world of limitation to the next world. of God but I was told his health was far
from robust and his years of illuminated service were not many. )
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