Citadel of Faith

Letters to the American Bahá'í Community

A Testing Period Recalling Ordeals of the Dawn-Breakers

The first half of the opening decade of the second Bahá'í century is terminating. The great-minded, stout-hearted, high-spirited American Bahá'í Community, laden with the trophies accumulated in the course of its fifty years' magnificent stewardship of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is irresistibly embarking upon a two and a half year period unsurpassed in its fateful consequences by any previous stage traversed in the community's eventful history.

Its members, without exception, are called upon to steel themselves without delay to face an unexpected emergency, seize a God-given opportunity, meet a supreme challenge, and show forth a tenacity of purpose, a solidarity in sacrifice, an austerity in everyday life, worthy the Martyr-Prophet of their Faith as well as their heroic spiritual forebears, the hundredth anniversary of whose agonizing tribulations, including captivity, sieges, betrayals, spoliation and martyrdom, is being commemorated during this same period.

No lesser tribute can be paid the memory of the glorious Báb, the immortal Quddús, the lion-hearted Mullá Husayn, the erudite Vahid, the audacious Hujjat, the illustrious seven martyrs of Tihrán and a host of unnumbered heroes whose lifeblood flowed so copiously in the course of the opening decade of the first Bahá'í century, by the privileged champion-builders of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh during the present critical stage in the unfoldment of the Formative Age of His Dispensation, than a parallel outpouring of their substance by the builders of the most holy House of Worship laboring in the corresponding decade of the succeeding century.

The American Bahá'í Community, exalted, singled out among sister communities of East and West through revelation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, is unavoidably approaching a testing period, crucial, prolonged, potent, purifying, clearly envisaged by `Abdu'l-Bahá, different from but recalling in its severity the ordeals which afflicted the dawn-breakers in a former Age.

The anticipated trials will enable its members to plumb greater depths of consecration, soar to nobler heights of collective endeavor, and disclose in fuller measure the future glory of their destiny.

Might not the strain, the stress, of the strenuous period now being ushered in through inscrutable dispensations of Providence be productive of perspicuous benefits and blessings reminiscent of the incalculable outpourings of divine grace which followed closely in the train of the woeful trials immortalizing the initial, the bloodiest, the most dramatic period in the Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation.

[March 16, 1949]

Citadel of Faith
Letters to the American Bahá'í Community
pages 66-67

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