Citadel of Faith

Letters to the American Bahá'í Community

Effective Prosecution of Sacred Tasks

The steadily deepening crisis which mankind is traversing, on the morrow of the severest ordeal it has yet suffered, and the attendant tribulations and commotions which a travailing age must necessarily experience, as a prelude to the birth of the new World Order, destined to rise upon the ruins of a tottering civilization, must, as they intensify, increasingly influence the course, and, in some cases, retard the progress, of the collective enterprises successively launched in the opening years of the second Bahá'í century, and in almost every continent of the globe, by the world-wide community of the organized followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. In the land of its birth long-standing political rivalries, combined with a steady decline in the authority and influence exercised by the central government, are contributing to the reemergence of reactionary forces, represented by an as yet influential and fanatical priesthood, to a recrudescence of the persecution, and a multiplication of the disabilities, to which a still unemancipated Faith has been so cruelly subjected for more than a century. In the heart of the continent of Europe, still fiercer political rivalries, as well as the clash of conflicting ideologies, have prevented the unification, indefinitely retarded the national revival, multiplied the vicissitudes and rendered more desperate the plight, of a nation comprising within its frontiers the largest community of the adherents of the Faith on that continent--a community destined, as prophesied by `Abdu'l-Bahá, to play a major role in the spiritual awakening and the ultimate conversion of the European peoples and races to His Father's Faith. In the subcontinent of India recent political developments of a momentous character have plunged its divers castes, races and denominations into grave turmoil, brought in their wake riots, bloodshed, misery and confusion, fanned into flame religious animosities, and well-nigh disrupted its economic life. In the Nile Valley the outbreak of a widespread and virulent epidemic, following closely upon the political unrest and the severe economic crisis already afflicting its inhabitants, threatens to disorganize the life of the nation and to bring in its wake afflictions of an even more serious character. In the Holy Land itself, the heart and nerve-center of the far-flung and firmly knit community of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh, and the repository of its holiest shrines, already gravely disturbed by the chronic instability of its political life, the religious dissensions of its inhabitants, and the ten-year-long strain and danger to which its people have been subjected and exposed, fresh perils are looming on its horizon, menacing it, on the one hand with the ravages of an epidemic that has already taken so heavy a toll of the lives of the people beyond its southern frontier, and threatening it, on the other, with a civil war of extreme severity and unpredictable in its consequences. Subject to the same fundamental causes which have deranged the equilibrium of present-day society and corroded its life are to be regarded the privations, the restrictions and crisis which, to a lesser degree, are oppressing the peoples of Central and Southeastern Europe, of the British Isles and of certain republics of Central and South America.

In all these territories, whether in the Eastern or Western Hemisphere, the nascent institutions of a struggling Faith, though subjected in varying degrees to the stress and strain associated with the decline and dissolution of time-honored institutions, with fratricidal strife, economic upheavals, financial crises, outbreaks of epidemics and political revolutions, have thus far, through the interpositions of a merciful Providence, been graciously enabled to follow their charted course, undeflected by the cross-currents and the tempestuous winds which must of necessity increasingly agitate human society ere the hour of its ultimate redemption approaches.

In contrast to these sorely tried countries on the European, the Asiatic and the African continents, unlike her sister republics in either Central or South America, the great republic of the West--the homeland of that mother community which, fostered through the tender care of an ever-solicitous Master, has already proved itself capable of rearing in its turn such splendid progeny among the divers communities of Latin America, which bids fair to multiply its daughter communities in a continent of mightier potentialities--such a republic has been, to a peculiar degree and over a long and uninterrupted period, relatively free from the chronic disorders, the political disturbances, the economic convulsions, the communal riots, the epidemics, the religious persecutions, the privations and loss of life which, during successive generations, have in one way or another afflicted so many peoples in almost every part of the globe.

Singled out by the Almighty for such a unique measure of favor, suffered to evolve, untrammelled and unperturbed, within the shell of its God-given Administrative Order, distinguished from its sister communities through the revelation of a Plan emanating directly from the mind and pen of its Founder, enriched already by so many trophies, each an eloquent testimony to its missionary zeal and valor in distant fields and amidst divers peoples, the Community of the Most Great Name in the North American continent must, sensible of the abounding grace vouchsafed to it by Bahá'u'lláh, resolve, as it has never resolved before, to carry out, however much it may be buffeted by future circumstances and the unforeseen ordeals which a heedless and chaotic world may still further experience, the mission confidently entrusted to its hands by an all-wise and loving Master.


Already in the newly opened European field, where the first stage of its transatlantic missionary enterprise is now unfolding, the success which the vanguard of its army of pioneers has already achieved in several leading capitals of that continent is truly heart-warming and evokes intense admiration. The broad outlines of the primary institutions heralding the erection of the administrative framework of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in no less than ten sovereign states of Europe can already be discerned--a powerful and signal reinforcement of the organized and progressive efforts exerted by the British and German communities on the northwestern limits of that continent and in its very heart. In the Latin American field, where the structural basis of a rising Administrative Order has already been established, through the formation of firmly grounded assemblies in each of the republics of Central and South America, the stage is being set for the erection of those institutions which are to be regarded as the harbingers of the secondary Houses of Justice which, in each of these republics, must act as pillars, and assist in sustaining the weight, of the final unit designed to consummate the institutions of that order. On the northern portion of that same hemisphere the stage is already set for the impending emergence of an institution which, however circumscribed its basis, must ultimately, directly participate in the measures preliminary to the constitution of the Universal House of Justice.

A community now in the process of marshalling and directing, in such vast territories, in such outlying regions, amidst such a diversity of peoples, at so precarious a stage in the fortunes of mankind, forces of such incalculable potency, to serve purposes so meritorious and lofty, cannot afford to falter for a moment or retrace its steps on the path it now travels. Its commitments, so vast, so challenging, so rich in their potentialities, in the North American continent, must, whatever betide it, be carried out, in their entirety and without the slightest reservation or hesitation. The pledge to multiply the local administrative institutions, throughout the length and breadth of this continent must be honored, and the placing of the contract for the interior ornamentation of the holiest House of Worship ever to be erected to the glory of Bahá'u'lláh expedited. Above all a prodigious effort, nationwide, sustained and wholly unprecedented in the annals of a richly endowed and spiritually blessed community, aiming at the immediate increase of the financial resources required for the effective prosecution of its manifold and pressing tasks, is required.


The triple campaign, conducted in two hemispheres, comprising within the scope of its operation the entire territory of the North American republic, the Dominion of Canada, twenty republics of Latin America, and no less than ten sovereign states of the European continent, is indeed of critical importance. Every phase of this threefold crusade, undertaken at the dawn of the second Bahá'í century by the executors of `Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and the custodians of His Plan, must be accorded its due measure of consideration and its needs simultaneously and vigorously fulfilled. The allurements of the glorious adventure in the Latin American field, the glittering prizes already won and the new ones within reach, must, at no time, obscure the issues, or retard the task confronting the prosecutors of the Plan in their homeland, or allow the interests of its assemblies, for the most part new and struggling, to be either neglected or forgotten. Nor must the glamor of the still more recent and glorious adventure embarked upon across the Atlantic, within a turbulent, politically convulsed, economically disrupted and spiritually depleted continent, dim, in however small a measure, the radiance, or detract from the urgency, of the magnificent enterprises, whose first fruits in Latin America are only beginning to mature, in direct consequence of the initial operation of the Plan bequeathed by `Abdu'l-Bahá to the American believers.

To the vital requirements of this Plan, at so critical a juncture, both in the fortunes of mankind in general, and of the Plan itself, to which detailed reference has been made in a previous communication, I need not again refer. All I desire to emphasize is my fervent plea, addressed to both the administrators who, as the elected representatives of the community must devise the plans, coordinate the activities, and direct the agencies of a continually expanding community, and to those whose privilege it is to labor, at home and abroad, to insure the effective prosecution of these sacred tasks, to realize the propitiousness of the present hour, recognize its urgency, meet its challenge and appreciate its unique potentialities. As the international situation worsens, as the fortunes of mankind sink to a still lower ebb, the momentum of the Plan must be further accelerated, and the concerted exertions of the community responsible for its execution rise to still higher levels of consecration and heroism. As the fabric of present-day society heaves and cracks under the strain and stress of portentous events and calamities, as the fissures, accentuating the cleavage separating nation from nation, class from class, race from race, and creed from creed, multiply, the prosecutors of the Plan must evince a still greater cohesion in their spiritual lives and administrative activities, and demonstrate a higher standard of concerted effort, of mutual assistance, and of harmonious development in their collective enterprises.

Then, and only then, will the reaction to the stupendous forces, released through the operation of a divinely conceived, divinely impelled Plan, be made apparent, and the fairest fruit of the weightiest spiritual enterprise launched in recorded history under the aegis of the Center of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh be garnered.

[October 25, 1947]

Citadel of Faith
Letters to the American Bahá'í Community
pages 39-43

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