“Heed not your weaknesses and frailty; fix your gaze upon the invincible power of the Lord, your God, the Almighty. Has He not, in past days, caused Abraham, in spite of His seeming helplessness, to triumph over the forces of Nimrod? Has He not enabled Moses, whose staff was His only companion, to vanquish Pharaoh and his hosts? Has He not established the ascendancy of Jesus, poor and lowly as He was in the eyes of men, over the combined forces of the Jewish people? Has He not subjected the barbarous and militant tribes of Arabia to the holy and transforming discipline of Muhammad, His Prophet? Arise in His name, put your trust wholly in Him, and be assured of ultimate victory.”
(Addressed to the Letters of the Living, quoted in The Dawn-Breakers, p. 94)
“Within the Bahá’í community, the encouragement of diversity of opinion has important implications in the realms of both belief and action. The Universal House of Justice has pointed out that ‘…individual interpretation is considered the fruit of man’s rational power and conducive to a better understanding of the teachings, provided that no disputes or arguments arise among [Bahá’ís] and the individual himself understands and makes it clear that his views are merely his own.’ This respect for differences in view is by no means limited to the views of Bahá’ís. In the words of Bahá’u’lláh: ‘Warn …the beloved of the one true God not to view with too critical an eye the sayings and writings of men. Let them rather approach such sayings and writings in a spirit of open-mindedness and loving sympathy.'”
~ Consultation and the Protection of Diversity, Baha’i .org; image courtesy of “True Self Baha’i” series 7: World Peace
“…it behooves us, while expectantly watching from a distance the moving spectacle of the struggling Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, to seek abiding solace and strength from the reflection that whatever befalls this Cause, however grievous and humiliating the visitations that from time to time may seem to afflict the organic life or interfere with the functions of the administrative machinery of the Bahá’í Faith, such calamities cannot but each eventually prove to be a blessing in disguise designed, by a Wisdom inscrutable to us all, to establish and consolidate the sovereignty of Bahá’u’lláh on this earth.”
(In a letter written by Shoghi Effendi, 1 January 1929 to the Bahá’ís of the West, published in “Bahá’í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932”, p. 164)
As to those souls who are preaching the Word of God, it behooveth them to shake the dust of every land which they have passed by off their shoes and to be with God and without need of the rich — although their bed is the soil, their light is the stars of the sky and their food is the herbs of the desert — because theirs is the wealth of the Kingdom, the honor of the realm of might and the bounty of the divine world; and they are not in want of this world and its cares. Their throne is the mat of humility, their honor is in suffering every lowliness in the path of the Loving Lord and their wealth is being empty-handed from the pomps of the world and its vanities and their provision is trusting in God and being severed from all that is on the earth and its wealth.
Today, the most important affair is firmness in the Covenant, because firmness in the Covenant wards off differences. ….Bahá’u’lláh covenanted, not that I (’Abdu’l-Bahá) am the Promised One, but that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is the Expounder of the Book and the Centre of His Covenant, and that the Promised One of Bahá’u’lláh will appear after one thousand or thousands of years. This is the Covenant which Bahá’u’lláh made. If a person shall deviate, he is not acceptable at the Threshold of Bahá’u’lláh. In case of differences, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá must be consulted. They must revolve around his good pleasure. After ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, whenever the Universal House of Justice is organized it will ward off differences.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, cited in “Star of the West”, vol. 4, No. 14 (November 1913), p. 237-38
“It is clear from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, as well as from those of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the interpretations of the Guardian, that the proper functioning of human society requires the preservation of ranks and classes within its membership.The friends should recognize this without envy or jealousy, and those who occupy ranks should never exploit their position or regard themselves as being superior to others. About this Bahá’u’lláh has written:
‘And amongst the realms of unity is the unity of rank and station. It redoundeth to the exaltation of the Cause, glorifying it among all peoples. Ever since the seeking of preference and distinction came into play, the world hath been laid waste. It hath become desolate. Those who have quaffed from the ocean of divine utterance and fixed their gaze upon the Realm of Glory should regard themselves as being on the same level as the others and in the same station. Where this matter to be definitely established and conclusively demonstrated through the power and might of God, the world would become as the Abhá Paradise.
‘Indeed, man is noble inasmuch as each one is a repository of the sign of God. Nevertheless, to regard oneself as superior in knowledge, learning, or virtue, or to exalt oneself or seek preference, is a grievous transgression. Great is the blessedness of those who are adorned with the ornament of this unity and have been graciously confirmed by God.'”
~”Ranks and Functions in the Bahá’í Cause” by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice 1978-03-27
“Pay thou no heed to the humiliation to which the loved ones of God have in this Day been subjected. This humiliation is the pride and glory of all temporal honor and worldly elevation. What greater honor can be imagined than the honor conferred by the Tongue of the Ancient of Days when He calleth to remembrance His loved ones in His Most Great Prison? The day is approaching when the intervening clouds will have been completely dissipated, when the light of the words, “All honor belongeth unto God and unto them that love Him,” will have appeared, as manifest as the sun, above the horizon of the Will of the Almighty.”
~ Gleanings From the Writings of Baha’u’llah, Pages 305-306: 306