February 16, 2013

no deed greater than helping the poor

"No deed of man is greater before God than helping the poor."

 (Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 36)

i have been listening to Tom Price's talks about recreating our lives in the image of Abdu'l-Baha.  one of the ways in which we can do this is through service to humanity, i.e., being full of servitude to the human race.  he explains that there are a few groups of people who Abdu'l-Baha loved the most, all of whom were considered very important people in His eyes.  one of these groups of people are the poor.

Abdu'l-Baha showed unconditional, constant and all-embracing love to the poor.  He saw in their souls a nearness to God, as their hearts were attached to the love of God rather than themselves and the worldly things of life.   listening to Tom Price's talks and how he draws upon the Revelation of Baha'u'llah in such a profound yet simple manner attracts my heart closer to the true spirit in which to live my life in servitude, especially to the poor with whom i find my heart naturally attracted.

if each of us could discover the Beauty of God in every soul, especially the poor who are most cherished in the sight of God, the world would begin to make a shift away from self-centeredness toward selfless servitude to our fellow man.  each of us, who have something to share -- whether it be our time, our knowledge, our resources, our heartfelt ear to listen, or our philanthropy -- would contribute to narrowing the gap between the extremes of wealth and poverty.  each of us can be like a drop that creates a river of life to the advancement of a spiritual civilization in which every single person is cared and loved as a member of one's family.

the following Selections from the Baha'i Writings offer the remedy by which each of us can begin to eliminate the extremes of wealth and poverty.  these words are my daily reflection and impetus for how i arise to serve the beloved people of God around me each day:

 "Each one of you must have great consideration for the poor and render them assistance. Organize in an effort to help them and prevent increase of poverty. The greatest means for prevention is that whereby the laws of the community will be so framed and enacted that it will not be possible for a few to be millionaires and many destitute. One of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings is the adjustment of means of livelihood in human society. Under this adjustment there can be no extremes in human conditions as regards wealth and sustenance."

"Flee not from the face of the poor that lieth in the dust, nay rather befriend him and suffer him to recount the tale of the woes with which God's inscrutable Decree hath caused him to be afflicted. By the righteousness of God! Whilst ye consort with him, the Concourse on high will be looking upon you, will be interceding for you, will be extolling your names and glorifying your action."

"Blessed are the learned that pride not themselves on their attainments; and well is it with the righteous that mock not the sinful, but rather conceal their misdeeds, so that their own shortcomings may remain veiled to men's eyes."

"What could be better before God than thinking of the poor? For the poor are beloved by our heavenly Father. When His Holiness Christ came upon the earth those who believed in him and followed him were the poor and lowly, showing the poor were near to God."

"..sharing is a personally chosen righteous act: that is, the rich should extend assistance to the poor, they should expend their substance for the poor, but of their own free will, and not because the poor have gained this end by force. For the harvest of force is turmoil and the ruin of the social order. On the other hand voluntary sharing, the freely-chosen expending of one's substance, leadeth to society's comfort and peace. It lighteth up the world; it bestoweth honor upon humankind."

"The rich must give of their abundance, they must soften their hearts and cultivate a compassionate intelligence, taking thought for those sad ones who are suffering from lack of the very necessities of life.  There must be special laws made, dealing with these extremes of riches and of want.  The members of the government should consider the laws of God when they are framing plans for the ruling of the people.  The general rights of mankind must be guarded and preserved."

to these ends i am striving, in my heart, and the more i am in tune with the needs of others, as well as striving to help them, i find that my heart finds greater joy and contentment.  the more i am self-absorbed, the less happy i become.  the secret of discovering happiness for oneself is by forgetting oneself and enabling one's mind to be full of how to help alleviate the suffering of others.. 

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