The internecine struggle, now engulfing the generality of mankind, is increasingly assuming, in its range and ferocity, the proportions of the titanic upheaval foreshadowed as far back as seventy years ago by Bahá'u'lláh. It can be viewed in no other light except as a direct interposition by Him Who is the Ordainer of the Universe, the Judge of all men and the Deliverer of the nations. It is the rod of both the anger of God and of His correction. The fierceness of its devastating power chastens the children of men for their refusal to acclaim the century-old Message of their promised, their Heaven-sent Redeemer. The fury of its flames, on the other hand, purges away the dross, and welds the limbs of humanity into one single organism, indivisible, purified, God-conscious and divinely directed.
Its immediate cause can be traced to the forces engendered by the last war of which it may be truly regarded as the direct continuation. Its first sparks were kindled on the eastern shores of the Asiatic continent, enveloping two sister races of the world in a conflagration which no force seems able to either quench or circumscribe. This cataclysmic process was accelerated by the outbreak of a fierce conflict in the heart of Europe, fanning into flame age-long animosities and unchaining a series of calamities as swift as they were appalling. As the turmoil gathered momentum, it swept remorselessly into its vortex the most powerful nations of the European continent--the chief protagonists of that highly-vaunted yet lamentably defective civilization. The mounting tide of its havoc and devastation soon overspread the northernmost regions of that afflicted continent, subsequently ravaged the shores of the Mediterranean, and invaded the African continent as far as Ethiopia and the surrounding territories. The Balkan countries, as predicted by `Abdu'l-Bahá, were soon to sustain the impact of this tragic ordeal, communicating in their turn the commotions to which they had been subjected to both the Near and Middle East, wherein are enshrined the heart of the Faith itself, its Cradle, its chief center of Pilgrimage, and its most sacred and historic sites.
Its menace is overleaping the limits of the Old World and is plunging into consternation the Great Republic of the West, as well as the peoples of Central and South America. The New World as well as the Old is experiencing the terrific impact of this disruptive force. Even the peoples of the Antipodes are trembling before the approaching tempest that threatens to burst on their heads.
The races of the world, Nordic, Slavonic, Mongolian, Arab and African, are alike subjected to its consuming violence. The world's religious systems are no less affected by the universal paralysis which is creeping over the minds and souls of men. The persecution of world Jewry, the rapid deterioration of Christian institutions, the intestine division and disorders of Islam, are but manifestations of the fear and trembling that has seized humanity in its hour of unprecedented turmoil and peril. On the high seas, in the air, on land, in the forefront of battle, in the palaces of kings and the cottages of peasants, in the most hallowed sanctuaries, whether secular or religious, the evidences of God's retributive act and mysterious discipline are manifest. Its heavy toll is steadily mounting--a holocaust sparing neither prince nor peasant, neither man nor woman, neither young nor old.
The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh--that priceless gem of Divine Revelation enshrining the Spirit of God and incarnating His Purpose for mankind in this age--can neither aspire nor expect to escape unhurt amid the hurricane of human disasters that blows around it. By most men unnoticed, scorned and ridiculed by some, feared and challenged by others, this world redemptive Faith, for whose precious sake the world is undergoing such agonies, finds its virgin strength assailed, and its infant institutions hemmed in, by the dark forces which a godless civilization has unloosed over the face of the planet. In the Old World, whether in Europe, Asia or Africa, it is being buffeted about, ostracized, arraigned and repressed. In certain countries its community life is being extinguished, in others a ban is severely imposed on its propagation, in still others its members are denied all intercourse with its World Center. Dangers, grave and unsuspected, confront its cradle and surround its very heart.
Not so, however, with the countries of the Western Hemisphere. The call of Bahá'u'lláh summons, at this challenging hour, the peoples of the New World, and its leaders to redress the balance of the old. "O Rulers of America," He thus addresses the Chief Magistrates of that continent, "and the Presidents of the Republics therein.... Adorn the temple of your dominion with the ornament of Justice and of the fear of God, and its head with the crown of the remembrance of your Lord, the Maker of the heavens." The Great Republic of the West, an object of special solicitude throughout the ministry of the Center of the Covenant, whose soil has been hallowed by His footsteps, and the foundation of whose edifice--the Mother Temple of the West--has been consecrated by His hand, has been singled out through the operation of His Will, and been invested by His Pen with an unique, an inescapable, a weighty and most sacred responsibility. The Mission entrusted to the community of the North American believers in the darkest days of the last war, is, after a period of incubation of well nigh twenty years, and through the instrumentality of the administrative agencies erected after `Abdu'l-Bahá's passing, efflorescing under our very eyes. Already, since the inception of the Seven Year Plan, this community can well claim to have attained, through its deeds, a stature that dwarfs its sister communities, and can glory in a parentage that embraces every Republic of Latin America. The first Mashriqu'l Adhkar of the West, its beauteous and noble handiwork, is virtually completed. A nucleus for a future flourishing local community is already formed in every state and province in North America. The administrative structure, following the pattern of its prototype in the U.S.A. is, through the agency of that same Plan, raising its triumphant head in the Central and South American Republics. The Plan itself, propelled by the agencies released by those immortal Tablets which constitute its charter, bids fair, in the fifth year of its operation, to exceed the highest expectations of those who have so courageously launched it. Its consummation, coinciding with the termination of the first century of the Bahá'í Era, will mark the opening of yet another phase in a series of crusades which must carry, in the course of the succeeding century, the privileged recipients of those epoch-making Tablets beyond the Western Hemisphere to the uttermost ends of the earth, to implant the banner, and lay an unassailable basis for the administrative structure of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.
The quality and magnitude of the work already achieved by these
stalwart champions of God's New World Order are inexpressibly exhilarating
and infinitely meritorious. The immensity of the task still to be performed
staggers our fancy and inflames our imagination. The potentialities with
which these tasks are endowed elude our shrewdest calculations. The promise
they enshrine is too dazzling to contemplate. What else can we do but
bow our heads in thanksgiving and reverence, steel our hearts in preparation
for the strenuous days ahead, and intensify a hundredfold our resolution
to carry on the task to which our hands are set at present.
May 25, 1941