Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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“The path that is my duty now”

“I must pray more and more for courage, as I certainly have neither the courage or strength to follow the path that is certainly my duty now.

With the fears and rages, that possess many confused people, if I say things that seem to threaten their interests or conflict with obsessions, then I will surely get it.

I need patience to listen, to learn, to try to understand, and courage to take all the consequences and be really faithful.

This alone is a full-time job.

I dread it, but it must be done, and I don’t quite know how.

To save my soul, by trying to be one of those who spoke and worked for peace, not for madness and destruction.”

~ Thomas Merton, November 12, 1961

Image courtesy Judy Wright

“Man has two aspects: the physical, which is subject to nature, and the merciful or divine, which is connected with God. If the physical or natural disposition in him should overcome the heavenly and merciful, he is, then, the most degraded of animal beings; and if the divine and spiritual should triumph over the human and natural, he is, verily, an angel.

The Prophets come into the world to guide and educate humanity so that the animal nature of man may disappear and the divinity of his powers become awakened. The divine aspect or spiritual nature consists of the breaths of the Holy Spirit.

The second birth of which Jesus has spoken refers to the appearance of this heavenly nature in man. It is expressed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and he who is baptized by the Holy Spirit is a veritable manifestation of divine mercy to mankind. Then he becomes just and kind to all humanity; he entertains prejudice and ill will toward none; he shuns no nation or people.”

~ ʻAbdu’l-Bahá, Talk in Washington, D.C., April 21, 1912

 

“The foundations of the divine religions are one. If we investigate these foundations, we discover much ground for agreement, but if we consider the imitations of forms and ancestral beliefs, we find points of disagreement and division; for these imitations differ, while the sources and foundations are one and the same. That is to say, the fundamentals are conducive to unity, but imitations are the cause of disunion and dismemberment.

Whosoever is lacking in love for humanity or manifests hatred and bigotry toward any part of it violates the foundation and source of his own belief and is holding to forms and imitations.

Jesus Christ declares that the sun rises upon the evil and the good, and the rain descends upon the just and the unjust—upon all humanity alike. Christ was a divine mercy which shone upon all mankind, the medium for the descent of the bounty of God, and the bounty of God is transcendent, unrestricted, universal.”  ~ ʻAbdu’l-Bahá, Ibid.


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One healing spirit animates us all

Abdu'l-Baha repares to leave US-a-1

An intermediary is needed to bring two extremes into relation with each other.

Riches and poverty, plenty and need:

Without some kind of intermediary power, there could be no relation between such pairs of opposites.”

When he shared these words with his listeners in Paris in 1911, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá noted that as citizens of one world, we are “in extreme need” of such an intermediary, a power by which we are able to receive help from the Divine Reality, the Source of all life.

He likened that Reality to the sun, and the Holy Spirit to the rays of the sun. The sun doesn’t descend to the earth, nor the earth ascend to the sun. It is the rays of the sun that bring illumination and life to earth.Wertsunrise10502067_804750136215524_7278893372276770941_n

In the following year, addressing an American audience, he shared more about the vital, life-giving role of the Holy Spirit when he described the means by which true unity will be established within the human race:

“The source of perfect unity and love in the world of existence is the bond and oneness of reality.

When the divine and fundamental reality enters human hearts and lives, it conserves and protects all states and conditions of mankind, establishing that intrinsic oneness of the world of humanity which can only come into being through the efficacy of the Holy Spirit.

For the Holy Spirit is like unto the life in the human body, which blends all differences of parts and members in unity and agreement.”

IMG_1258He then urged his listeners to reflect on how diverse the various parts of the human body are. He described how, in a whole and healthy body, there is a oneness of animating spirit that “establishes such a unity in the bodily organism that if any part is subjected to injury or becomes diseased, all the other parts and functions sympathetically respond and suffer, owing to the perfect oneness that exists.”

Just as the human spirit is the animating element that unites and coordinates the parts of a human body, the Holy Spirit is the controlling cause of the unity and coordination of the body of humankind, he said.

“The bond or oneness of humanity cannot be effectively established save through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the world of humanity is a composite body, and the Holy Spirit is the animating principle of its life.” We had a bunch of different sunflowers pop up in the garden before we planted anything - so I moved them to the edges of the garden and we got a bunch of different ones!  (Some from our garden last year and some I think from the compost we bo

The evidence of the ever-increasing dis-ease in that body of humankind is all around us.

 ~ In the course of our lives each day, what might each of us do to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit to establish unity, and healing?

 ~ What can we each contribute to love and service, and the building of the good?

 ~ What qualities and choices empower us to do that?