Citadel of Faith

Letters to the American Bahá'í Community

Scale Nobler Heights of Heroism

The deepening crisis ominously threatening further to derange the equilibrium of a politically convulsed, economically disrupted, socially subverted, morally decadent and spiritually moribund society is testing the tenacity, taxing the resources and challenging the spirit throughout three continents of the chosen trustees and valiant executors of `Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan. This present hour, however critical, fraught with uncertainty, cannot and must not retard the unfoldment of the manifold tasks so brilliantly inaugurated, so diligently prosecuted, so dazzling in their prospects.

The record of the Bahá'í community since inception of the Formative Age conclusively demonstrates that accomplishment of signal acts accompanied, or followed upon, periods of acute distress in European and American contemporary history. The machinery of the Administrative Order was established, and preliminary stage of construction of the House of Worship was undertaken, by a grief-stricken community in the anxious years following the sudden removal of its loving, watchful Founder. The superstructure of the Temple was erected amid the strain and stress of an economic depression of an unprecedented severity gripping the North American continent. The first Seven Year Plan, opening stage in the execution of the historic mission entrusted to the American Bahá'í Community, was launched in the face of a gathering storm culminating in the direst conflict yet experienced by mankind. The Tablets of the Divine Plan were revealed amidst the turmoil of the first World War involving great danger to the life of their Author. The remains of `Abdu'l-Bahá's mother and brother were transferred to site of monuments constituting focus of institutions of future World Administrative Center and erected on the morrow of the outbreak of hostilities while the Holy Land was increasingly exposed to the perils precipitated by the second conflict. The daughter communities of Latin America were called into being and exterior ornamentation of the Temple was consummated while the American mother community was in the throes of the last, most harassing stage of the devastating struggle. The world-wide Centenary celebrations crowning these enterprises were undertaken in such perilous circumstances and carried out despite the formidable obstacles engendered through prolongation of hostilities. National administrative headquarters were established in Tihrán, Cairo, Baghdád, Delhi and Sydney, national and international endowments were enriched and assemblies incorporated in countries confronted by growing threat of invasion and encirclement.

The Second Seven Year Plan inaugurating the transatlantic mission embracing Scandinavia, the Low Countries, Switzerland, the Iberian and Italian Peninsulas, was launched on the morrow of the catastrophic upheaval despite the exhaustion, confusion, distress and restrictions afflicting a war-shattered continent. The first fruits of this newly launched Plan were garnered through convocation of first European Teaching Conference and erection of the ninth pillar of the Universal House of Justice in the Dominion of Canada despite premonitory rumblings of a third ordeal threatening to engulf the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. The central structure of the Báb's Sepulcher was built while the precious life of its builder was hanging perilously in the balance. Plans were drawn, contracts placed and foundations laid for its arcade while the holy places were ravaged by flames of the civil strife burning fiercely in the Holy Land.

Precious years are inexorably slipping by. The world outlook is steadily darkening. The American Community's most arduous feats still lie ahead. Disasters overtaking Europe and America, more afflictive than any tribulations yet suffered in either continent, may yet attend still more majestic revelations in the unfoldment of concluding stage of the Second Seven Year Plan destined to witness successively the raising of the tenth and eleventh pillars of the Universal House of Justice, and the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Mother Temple of the West.

The champion builders of Bahá'u'lláh's rising World Order must scale nobler heights of heroism as humanity plunges into greater depths of despair, degradation, dissension and distress. Let them forge ahead into the future serenely confident that the hour of their mightiest exertions and the supreme opportunity for their greatest exploits must coincide with the apocalyptic upheaval marking the lowest ebb in mankind's fast-declining fortunes.

[November 3, 1948]

Citadel of Faith
Letters to the American Bahá'í Community
pages 56-58

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