Messages To America


The concerted activities of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in the North American continent assume, as they multiply and develop, a dual aspect, and may be said to fall into two distinct categories, both equally vital and complementary to each other. The one aims at the safeguarding and consolidation of the work already achieved; the other is designed to enlarge the range of its operation. The former depends chiefly for its success upon the capacity, the experience and loyalty of wise, resourceful and judicious administrators, who, impelled by the very nature of their task, will be increasingly called upon to exercise the utmost care and vigilance in protecting the interests of the Faith, in resolving its problems, in regulating its life, in enriching its resources, and in preserving the pristine purity of its precepts. The latter is essentially pioneer in nature, demanding first and foremost those qualities of renunciation, tenacity, dauntlessness and passionate fervor that can alone brave the dangers and sweep away the obstacles with which an infant Faith, struggling against vested interests and face to face with the entrenched forces of prejudice, of ignorance and fanaticism, must needs contend. In both of these spheres of Bahá'í activity the community of the American believers, it is becoming increasingly evident, is evincing those characteristics which must be regarded as the essential foundation for the success of their dual task.

As to those whose function is essentially of an administrative character it can hardly be doubted that they are steadily and indefatigably perfecting the structural machinery of their Faith, are multiplying its administrative agencies, and are legalizing the status of the newly established institutions. Slowly and patiently they are canalizing the spirit that at once directs, energizes and safeguards its operation. They are exploiting its potentialities, broadcasting its message, publicizing its literature, fostering the aspirations of its youth, devising ways and means for the training of its children, guarding the integrity of its teachings, and paving the way for the ultimate codification of its laws. Through all the resources at their disposal, they are promoting the growth and consolidation of that pioneer movement for which the entire machinery of their Administrative Order has been primarily designed and erected. They are visibly and progressively contributing to the enrichment of their unique community life, and are insuring, with magnificent courage and characteristic promptitude, the completion of their consecrated Edifice--the embodiment of their hopes and the supreme symbol of their ideals.

As to those into whose valiant and trusted hands--and no believer, however humble is to think himself debarred from joining their ranks--the standards of a forward marching Faith have been entrusted, they too with no less zest and thoroughness are pushing farther and farther its frontiers, breaking new soil, establishing fresh outposts, winning more recruits, and contributing to the greater diversification and more harmonious blending of the elements comprised in the world-wide society of its followers.

The Edifice of this New World Order, which the Báb has heralded, which the mind of Bahá'u'lláh has envisioned, and whose features `Abdu'l-Bahá, its Architect, has delineated, we, whatever our capacities, opportunities or position, are now, at so precarious a period in the world's history, summoned to found and erect. The community of the Most Great Name in the Western Hemisphere is, through the nature of its corporate life and the scope of its exertions, assuming, beyond the shadow of a doubt, a preponderating share in the laying of such a foundation and the erection of such a structure. The eyes of its sister communities are fixed upon it. Their prayers ascend on its behalf. Their hands are outstretched to lend whatever aid lies within their power. I, for my part, am determined to reinforce the impulse that impels its members forward to meet their destiny. The Founders of their Faith survey from the Kingdom on high the range of their achievements, acclaim their progress, and are ever ready to speed their eventual triumph.

Far be it from me to underrate the gigantic proportions of their task, nor do I for one moment overlook the urgency and gravity of the times in which they are laboring. Nor do I wish to minimize the hazards and trials that surround or lie ahead of them. The grandeur of their task is indeed commensurate with the mortal perils by which their generation is hemmed in. As the dusk creeps over a steadily sinking society the radiant outlines of their redemptive mission become sharper every day. The present world unrest, symptom of a world-wide malady, their world religion has already affirmed must needs culminate in that world catastrophe out of which the consciousness of world citizenship will be born, a consciousness that can alone provide an adequate basis for the organization of world unity, on which a lasting world peace must necessarily depend, the peace itself inaugurating in turn that world civilization which will mark the coming of age of the entire human race.

Fortified by such reflections, the American believers, in whichever section of the Western Hemisphere they find themselves laboring, whether at home or abroad, and however dire and distressing the processes involved in the disintegration of the structure of present-day civilization, will, I feel convinced, prove themselves, through their lives and deeds, worthy of that priceless heritage which it is their undoubted privilege to proclaim, preserve and perpetuate.
May 22, 1939

Messages To America
pages 21-23

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