Letters from Jessie Revell
Letter One: from Jessie E. Revell
July 9, 1952
Many, many times we think of you working so steadfastly to promote the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and our love goes out to each and every one of you, and at the Holy Shrines our prayers ascend for you. In the spirit of love and service we are always together.
Recently there have been many problems here but these problems always lead us to victory and our beloved Guardian tells us that the Faith raises up enemies as it expands and grows, it triumphs over them, then a new set of problems arises and eventually it triumphs again. There is no end to the evolution of the righteous and there is no end to the activity of the evil one. After sixty years of opposition since the passing of Bahá'u'lláh, the enemies can do nothing and this reveals the Power of the Cause. Crisis always leads to victory and never causes a split. Everything that happens in the Bahá'í World has repercussions here and now the Cause is entering a World stage in its activities.
Our beloved Guardian tells us that with regard to the Intercontinental conferences to be held during the Bahá'í Holy Year, nothing similar has been attempted since the History of the Faith. It is a World Crusade, utilizing the agencies of a World Administrative Order which is Worldwide in character, to carry out the provisions of `Abdu'l-Bahá's World Plan, in the service of a World Faith – a Global Crusade in which all National Spiritual Assemblies will take part. The chief task of these Conferences will be the opening up new territories under their jurisdiction, consolidating the work, on an international scale.
One day at dinner Shoghi Effendi called for a world map and he himself drew circles around the territories under the jurisdiction of the eleven now existing National Spiritual Assemblies, then he drew circles around eleven more territories where new National Spiritual Assemblies are to be made within the next ten years, and he called this THE THEELS [the wheels] OF BAHA'U'LLAH'S CHARIOT. This World Crusade will last ten years and will culminate in THE MOST GREAT JUBILEE and will include every sovereign state, every chief dependency, every island of the globe. How very fortunate are we all, to have a part in this great crusade! America is the chief executor of `Abdu'l-Bahá's World Plan. In ten years the Bahá'ís of the world will double what has been accomplished since 1844 working through the institutions.
Our beloved Guardian said that the rise of this Most Great Order given by Bahá'u'lláh has thrown confusion into the world. The Bab announced this World Order, Bahá'u'lláh revealed its Laws, `Abdu'l-Bahá is its Architect and has given us the Blue-prints – the erection of it was told by the Bab. Bahá'u'lláh revealed laws for it construction, `Abdu'l-Bahá gave the Plans.
Bahá'ís are working to build up a Divine Civilization to go hand in hand with material civilization, not materialistic civilization. One day Shoghi Effendi said that materialistic civilization implies the negation of Divine Civilization. Material Civilization is not harmful but it is insufficient, it has to be linked with Divine Civilization. He said that the Master (`Abdu'l-Bahá) was always attacking materialistic civilization. Matter is not a bad thing but materialistic matter is bad, nationhood is a good thing, but nationalism is a bad thing and politics is the nerve center of materialistic civilization.
Shoghi Effendi said that when he thinks of the Dome of the Shrine of the Bab, he thinks of two things; the International House of Justice and the Institution of the Guardianship and the Hands of the Cause. He says the shrine has a triple crown; one on the parapet of the first unit (the arcade). This crown is of white marble panels with green and red decoration, green being the symbol of the lineage of the Bab, red a symbol of His Martyrdom, and this is adorned with the Greatest Name, one facing Akka and one on each of the four corners. A verse from the Holy Writings will be inscribed on each panel. The second crown is on top and a balastrade around it. The third crown will be the Dome on the drum, and this will be entirely golden.
`Abdu'l-Bahá said that there would be nine terraces to the German Colony and nine to the top of the mountain. Shoghi Effendi told us that `Abdu'l-Bahá visualized ships carrying the kings of the earth, laying anchor at the port of Haifa, disembarking, proceeding bareheaded and barefooted, carrying garlands of flowers and flower baskets with precious stones, approaching the Threshold, laying down their crowns, prostrating themselves and sacrificing their crowns as offerings.
The drum of the Dome is now rising and the Shrine looks very, very beautiful. What a privilege it is to contribute to such an edifice, the like of which can be found nowhere in the whole world. When this precious Shrine is completed, this privilege will be gone. We cannot fully realize the great bounty that is ours to help.
There are many other things I would like to share but will save them for another time. This will just let you know that we think of you all very often and hope someday you will have the opportunity to come and visit the Bahá'í Holy Places.
Our beloved Guardian has made such beautiful gardens around Bahji – words would fail to describe their beauty.
With deepest love and best wishes for your teaching work everywhere. We are enjoying all the pilgrims, and wish you, too, could make us a visit.
P.S. We know you remember our beloved Guardian and the Hands of the Cause in your prayers and we hope you will also remember the rest of us who have been called here to serve. (Special None) With love to all.
(signed) Jessie Revell
Letter two: from Ms. Jessie Revell
October 8, 1954
Dearly loved friends,
Soon, no doubt, you will be reading the glorious message of the Guardian about the progress of the Faith in Africa and how very happy this has made him. Africa is an example of how we can make our Guardian happy. The Cause is alive in Africa and it is an example to all. He has said the true lovers of the Cause must love the negroes; first, because they have suffered much, and the test is the reaction of the negroes, small things touch their hearts. It is the spirit that counts – something between God and the individual.
Shoghi Effendi has said the that story of Noah is reenacted now with Godlessness and materialism. Bahá'ís must be different from others not only in big things but in small things. This is the thing that attracts more than anything else – to finds this demonstrated in the actions of the believers. Coupled with God's plan and with our efforts, Bahá'ís must distinguish themselves, because Bahá'ís have no ulterior motives. Sincerity and devotion will eliminate suspicion, distrust and sensitivity. We have a Plan and God has a plan and they are not in conflict. If we love God truly, we will love his children who are more downtrodden. The sacrifice the Guardian speaks of is that we will serve the Faith at any cost.
Once he told us that if he has the right tools, then he can work – he said he cannot create, God creates, that in some mysterious way instruments are developed and he instinctively reacts as soon as he finds some tools that he can use. An artisan cannot create the tools but give him the tools and he will do the work. So much depends on personal effort. The spirit of self-sacrifice must permeate the masses, not just the few. Bahá'ís must read the Writings and Prayers, axquaint [sic] themselves with the teachings then struggle with one's instincts, prejudices, environment. Take the text of the Writings into their own room, thoroughly study them, find out what is required, examine himself before God, digest the text then act. He said "I cannot create the spirit – I am the person who will direct those who arise." He said in some mysterious way the Cause triumphs. In referring to Bahá'u'lláh's words, he said that the Bahá'ís must disencumber themselves, be light as spirit, pure as air, unrestrained as the wind and blazing like fire.
The world Order of Bahá'u'lláh will embrace the whole of mankind – Bahá'u'lláh was sent by God in this age to bring about unity. His message is Divine in origin, God inspired, embracing the whole of mankind. Bahá'ís must have a high standard of conduct coupled with God's power which has come direct from God for this age. Ultimately the purpose of the Bahá'í Faith is a world civilization – the kingdom of God on earth. We must learn how to attract people, then confirm them so that they will arise and teach and serve.
It is wonderful how the army of Bahá'u'lláh is marching forward to conquer the hearts. We pray for you all at the Holy Shrines.
With warmest Bahá'í love to you and to all from all of us here.