Posted by Rob on August 09, 2101 at 15:09:58:
In Reply to: Looking for Lesser Peace document posted by Nick on August 09, 2101 at 01:24:29:
Here's the letter:
19 April 2001
Dear Baha'i Friend,
The principal issue raised in your letter is that of the timing for the occurrence of the Lesser Peace, in light of your impression that the Baha'i Writings anticipate its coming before the conclusion of the twentieth century; i.e., the end of December 2000.
Enclosed for your information is a copy of a memorandum prepared by the Research Department, at the request of the House of Justice, on the subject of the attainment of the unity of nations and the Lesser Peace. Assembled in this document are a number of pertinent passages from authoritative texts of the Faith.
In reviewing this material it becomes apparent that there is nothing in the authoritative Baha'i Writings to indicate that the Lesser Peace would be established before the end of the twentieth century. However, there are clear statements affirming that the unity of nations would be, in the words of 'Abdu'l-Baha, "securely established" during the twentieth century.
These statements, and others appearing in the enclosed document, should be viewed from the perspective that the evolution of the World Order of Baha'u'llah is an organic process proceeding in accordance with the Divine Will and animated by a spiritual reality. In response to a question, 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote: "The kingdom of peace, salvation, uprightness, and reconciliation is founded in the invisible world, and it will by degrees become manifest and apparent through the power of the Word of God!" As a result of consecrated human endeavour over decades, and indeed centuries, this spiritual reality is gradually expressed in physical form.
An orientation to process is apparent throughout the writings of 'Abdu'l- Baha and Shoghi Effendi concerning the attainment of world peace. For example, the Guardian reported the Master as having acclaimed actions taken at the conclusion of the First World War to have signalized "the dawn of the Most Great Peace". This stands in contrast to preoccupation with the short term in the wider society today which focuses exclusively on events rather than on evolutionary processes.
You should also take note of the distinction between the unity of nations and the Lesser Peace. Shoghi Effendi, in response to questions from believers, clarified that "unity in the political realm", to which 'Abdu'l-Baha referred in his enunciation of the seven candles of unity, "is a unity which politically independent and sovereign states achieve among themselves". As expressed in the passages cited in the enclosed memorandum, the Lesser Peace will initially be a political unity arrived at by decision of the various governments of the world. The unity of nations can be taken as that unity which arises from a recognition among the peoples of the various nations, that they are members of one common human family.
19 April 2001
The twentieth century has been distinguished by the emergence of the unity of nations, to which both Shoghi Effendi and the House of Justice have referred in the enclosed document. This movement, the evidence of which accumulates with each passing day, stands in sharp contrast to the nationalistic tenor of the nineteenth century, and is an evidence of the spirit of a new age moving in the hearts of humankind. Viewed from this perspective, there can be no doubt that the promise of 'Abdu'l-Baha has been fulfilled, and the unity of nations securely established in the century now concluded. The further expansion and strengthening of this consciousness of world solidarity in the years to come will have their effect in the political realm, and will influence the evolution towards world government.
It should not be imagined that the processes now moving in the world will be free from challenge or difficulty. There may well be set-backs, and conflicts may erupt periodically, as humanity proceeds towards the emergence and consolidation of the Lesser Peace, giving rise in due course to the establishment of the Most Great Peace.
With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat
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