“O MY FRIENDS! Have ye forgotten that true and radiant morn, when in those hallowed and blessed surroundings ye were all gathered in My presence beneath the shade of the tree of life, which is planted in the all-glorious paradise?”
“I pray that God in His mercy may illumine your hearts and souls with His glorious Light, then shall each one of you shine as a radiant star in the dark places of the world.”
leili towfigh/left (boston, usa): This morning I went out in the frigid navy blue to take photos at dawn. While walking to the shore of the lake, I was delighted to spy a red-tailed hawk overhead soaring with occasional heavy wingbeats. I could hear them flap. Although at first I could see no evidence of it, the sun was just peeking gold over the top of the hill behind my back. I realized this when I noticed the only thing that it lit: the hawk, shining yellow, high against the grey winter top branches and sky. I could not photograph it in time, so I thought I would photograph that image in words: golden, majestic bird, alight with the promise of the morning.
naeem ghafari/right (toronto, canada): Break free.
“Lauded be Thy name, O my God! I am so carried away by the breezes blowing from Thy presence that I have forgotten my self and all that I possess. This is but a sign of the wonders of Thy grace and bountiful favors vouchsafed unto me. I give praise to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast chosen me out of all Thy creatures, and made me to be the Day-Spring of Thy strength and the Manifestation of Thy might, and empowered me to reveal such of Thy signs and such tokens of Thy majesty and power as none, whether in Thy heaven or on Thy earth, can produce. I beseech Thee, O my Lord, by Thy most effulgent Name, to acquaint my people with the things Thou didst destine for them. Do Thou, then, preserve them within the stronghold of Thy guardianship and the tabernacle of Thine unerring protection, lest through them may appear what will divide Thy servants. Assemble them, O my Lord, on the shores of this Ocean, every drop of which proclaimeth Thee to be God, besides Whom there is none other God, the All-Glorious, the All-Wise. Uncover before them, O my Lord, the majesty of Thy Cause, lest they be led to doubt Thy sovereignty and the power of Thy might. I swear by Thy glory, O Thou Who art the Beloved of the worlds! Had they been aware of Thy power they would of a certainty have refused to utter what Thou didst not ordain for them in the heaven of Thy will. Inspire them, O my Lord, with a sense of their own powerlessness before Him Who is the Manifestation of Thy Self, and teach them to recognize the poverty of their own nature in the face of the manifold tokens of Thy self-sufficiency and riches, that they may gather together round Thy Cause, and cling to the hem of Thy mercy, and cleave to the cord of the good-pleasure of Thy will. Thou art the Lord of the worlds, and of all those who show mercy, art the Most Merciful.”
“It behoves each one of you to manifest the attributes of God, and to exemplify by your deeds and words the signs of His righteousness, His power and glory. The very members of your body must bear witness to the loftiness of your purpose, the integrity of your life, the reality of your faith, and the exalted character of your devotion.”
mauricio dumet/left (atlanta, ga, usa): This year the Fast has been so difficult for me! Catching up with this fast paced -always on the run- lifestyle with extremely busy day to day activities and projects that can’t be put on hold, I find myself not being able to slow down nor get in the correct mind set. I can actually feel it has taken away from my focus on this special time and instead of using my usual lunchtime to go for a walk or take a break and reflect, I find myself trying to catch up on work or maybe fitting a short nap to recover from pulling all-nighters too often. When I do find the time, I dream about Haifa, reflect on what has happened this past year and I feel lucky and I am grateful for my family and try to open my heart to what’s to come.
leili egea/right (haifa, israel): As the end of this special period approaches, I feel a mixture of uncertainty and anticipation for the year ahead. Perhaps the rest of the year will not be so intense, so focused and so inspiring; but thanks to the Fast it will be a little better, a little easier to move toward the standard that we have been called to reach.
“O wayfarer in the path of God! Take thou thy portion of the ocean of His grace, and deprive not thyself of the things that lie hidden in its depths. Be thou of them that have partaken of its treasures. A dewdrop out of this ocean would, if shed upon all that are in the heavens and on the earth, suffice to enrich them with the bounty of God, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. With the hands of renunciation draw forth from its life-giving waters, and sprinkle therewith all created things, that they may be cleansed from all man-made limitations and may approach the mighty seat of God, this hallowed and resplendent Spot.”
amy: today was better, work was a bit quieter, i even managed to sneak in a nap at home this afternoon.
i have really cut down the number of pictures i take every day—and try to be satisfied with picking one from the few i took. today’s evening shot was taken on the subway, headed to queens, through a scratched up glass. i was prompted and prodded by my traveling companions to take out my camera and shoot. i am so glad they insisted because even if the shot is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, i still like it.
leila: i noticed yesterday that the palette of my photos over the fast has been most lamentably lacking in blues and reds. this morning i deliberately sought to rectify that.
in the evening, after a french film with a friend, we drove back home through downtown. sydney is such a beautiful city, and of this town hall i have memories from several years ago of attending an East Timorese benefit, where i heard Kirsty Sword Gusmão speak about the resilience and beauty of her adoptive country.