“Say: This is the Paradise on whose foliage the wine of utterance hath imprinted the testimony: “He that was hidden from the eyes of men is revealed, girded with sovereignty and power!” This is the Paradise, the rustling of whose leaves proclaims: “O ye that inhabit the heavens and the earth! There hath appeared what hath never previously appeared. He Who, from everlasting, had concealed His Face from the sight of creation is now come.” From the whispering breeze that wafteth amidst its branches there cometh the cry: “He Who is the sovereign Lord of all is made manifest. The Kingdom is God’s,” while from its streaming waters can be heard the murmur: “All eyes are gladdened, for He Whom none hath beheld, Whose secret no one hath discovered, hath lifted the veil of glory, and uncovered the countenance of Beauty.”
“Those hearts, however, that are aware of His Presence, are close to Him, and are to be regarded as having drawn nigh unto His throne.”
sarah johnson/left (guam, usa): Should cherry juice make one this sleepy?
synnøve deng/right (nanjing, china): “There is nothing sweeter in the world of existence than prayer.”
Prayer has truly sweetened my Fast this year, and has left me with a serene, inner calm in the midst of my Chinese language studies. I also appreciate the flowers blooming, and spring hinting at its arrival.
“O Divine Providence! All existence is begotten by Thy bounty; deprive it not of the waters of Thy generosity, neither do Thou withhold it from the ocean of Thy mercy. I beseech Thee to aid and assist me at all times and under all conditions, and seek from the heaven of Thy grace Thine ancient favor.”
“I want you to be happy … to laugh, smile and rejoice in order that others may be made happy by you.”
philip blyth/left (queens, ny, usa): I am having a hard time focusing my Fast this year. Medically not being allowed to fast feels like a punishment, and I need to try that much harder to get into the spirit… Since I will most likely never fast again, what are some ways I could start to personalize my experience?
bobby aazami/right (sydney, nsw, australia): When I first started fasting, I found the whole thing really difficult. Usually, by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, my energy level would drop and I found it incredibly hard to concentrate on my work. But now in the afternoons, I find that if I have just one cookie with a cup of tea … that usually keeps me going until sunset.
“How long shall we drift on the wings of passion and vain desire; how long shall we spend our days like barbarians in the depths of ignorance and abomination? God has given us eyes, that we may look about us at the world, and lay hold of whatsoever will further civilization and the arts of living. He has given us ears, that we may hear and profit by the wisdom of scholars and philosophers and arise to promote and practice it. Senses and faculties have been bestowed upon us, to be devoted to the service of the general good; so that we, distinguished above all other forms of life for perceptiveness and reason, should labor at all times and along all lines, whether the occasion be great or small, ordinary or extraordinary, until all mankind are safely gathered into the impregnable stronghold of knowledge.”
amy: I cannot adjust to having a weekend in the middle of everyone else’s week. I find myself fidgety, feeling that I must be productive since it’s monday and it is not acceptable to spend all day reading a book, or walking around the neighborhood. I must at the very least do the dishes. and make dinner. and take pictures of my cat, while she sits there resenting my lens.
leila: just as i’m learning the responsibility of creating my own life, without comparison with others, so too do i realize how i love my family. it is absolutely unique, like no one else; and no one else is like my family. simply for this, it is precious.