“The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find that the greatest men have suffered most.”
“O Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock. Thou has decreed that all shall belong to the same household. In Thy Holy Presence they are all Thy servants, and all mankind are sheltered beneath Thy Tabernacle; all have gathered together at Thy Table of Bounty, all are illumined through the light of Thy Providence.”
saia tu’itahi/left (auckland, new zealand): It is the third year in a row I am Fasting alone on behalf of my little family. Some mornings are filled with the joyous laughter and chattering of my two young children while others, like today, are a rare moment of silence and tranquility. Growing up, Fasting has always been associated with the physical struggles of hunger and tiredness, but at the beginning of this Fast I was reminded by the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the quote above of the necessity of hardship in order for growth to occur. As a time of cleansing and renewal, it should be hard, right? Ironically the last week and bit haven’t been as hard as I remember it to be, which feels somewhat bittersweet.
bre vader/right (boston, ma, usa): Something that brings me so much joy during the fast is caring for the people in my life and putting extra thought and attention into the food and time we share together during these nineteen days. I feel sincerely grateful for my table so often being full of friends and family who are part of this Faith and who are reaping the spiritual benefits of this time. It’s so remarkable that over the course of only two generations, my parents went from fasting alone, to breaking the fast with their children and grandchildren. I imagine my own children in the future, praying and breaking the fast with their grandparents, parents, cousins, aunties and uncles, even their own children–and I look forward to the ever-growing table. … speaking of family, my sofa has played host to many end-of-fasting-day naps … my gorgeous sister graced it with her presence just before sunset this evening. Love you, Jaleh