look alive, it’s tonight… make your way over and join us! let’s show Counsellor Scott how ready we are to “storm the gates of heaven” and throw our lot in to the work of the Five Year Plan!
We may well emulate Bahá’í youth whose recent surge forward into the van of proclamation and teaching is one of the most encouraging and significant trends in the Faith, and who storm the gates of heaven for support in their enterprises by long-sustained, precedent and continuing prayer. We are all able to call upon Bahá’u’lláh for His Divine, all-powerful aid, and He will surely help us. For He is the Hearer of prayers, the Answerer.
(Ridván Message, 1972 / 129 B.E.,
from the Universal House of Justice)
Addendum: The meeting was powerful, inspiring and challenging… the call to arise and serve was given – and one of the most simple and practical ways we can arise is to go through the sequence of Ruhi courses, and make sure we get the practice done! Visiting people in their homes, studying prayers with them, and offering our service in the core activities (study circles, devotional meetings, children’s classes, and junior youth groups) – that’s where it’s at… One thing that really stuck out for me: we grow spiritually the more we try to change the society around us… we can’t grow spiritually by just talking or sitting at home. If we want to really fulfill our life’s purpose and become better people we have to go out into the world, serve, teach, try our best to reflect the names and attributes of God, and little by little change the way things happen around us.
Want to get involved in a study circle and take those first few steps? Get in touch with Martin, Sahba or Ayafor and they will gladly help hook one up.
if you’re looking for a way to get ready for the Ottawa Baha’i Community’s new cycle of growth and maximize the effectiveness of your teaching efforts during the intensive teaching phase, get plugged in to this week’s Ruhi refresher courses, Tuesday to Friday at 7:30 PM!
Tuesday: Buzz by the Browns’, by Bayshore
Wednesday: Hook up with the Hashemis, in Kanata
Thursday: Be there at the Benoit-James’s, in Vanier
Come on out to any of the evenings above, regardless of how many or which Ruhi books you’ve taken (even none!). We’ll be revisiting Book 2 where we learned how to nurture individuals along the spiritual path through home visits, and in Book 6 where we became familiar with the different approaches and methods of teaching, such as Anna’s presentation of the Faith to her friend Emilia.
And if this post doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to you—drop me a line!
happy naw-rúz, all. every year at around this time, I generally take the time to muse a bit about the path that my life has taken. I like to think that a new chapter of my life began on Naw-rúz day, 2002, when I left Ottawa to begin two years of service in the Centre-du-Québec area. I’ve been thinking a lot about that service lately. Last Friday, I was invited to attend a gathering for tutors of the courses of the Ruhi Institute. The Institute Board of Ontario (or Canada, maybe?) had asked all study circle tutors and participants to go through the practice component of the first unit of Ruhi Book One—studying prayers with people around them. We gathered to share about how this practice was going, what progress we (and the participants) had made, and so on. We touched on many related topics—home visits, reaching out to people around us and doing real, one-on-one teaching. It was pretty good—inspiring and practical. I like how the Bahá’í community is becoming more and more focused and practical. The more we focus on carrying out the Five-year Plan and its goals, the better.
Anyway, I thought about my first few months in Québec, when I had just arrived from Ottawa with my rusty French and my prayer book. It was so easy to reach out to people! I was pioneering, so I knew I didn’t quite fit in and that was all right—in fact, I played off of that in order to teach. Quickeners of Mankind was constant bedside reading. It was exciting to see the divine confirmations being showered from all sides, sustained by love for Bahá’u’lláh and the Bahá’í Faith. There were lots of adventures and amazing experiences. Then, as time went on, tests came. Financial tests, emotional tests, mental tests, physical tests, spiritual tests… you name it. I had prayed for tests, and got them by the bucketful. I started to feel depressed, weighed down by the difficulties I was going through. The slower I moved, the fewer were the confirmations, and the less I seemed to be able to “quicken” those around me, until I got so depressed that it all just stopped, and the only thing left to do was to cry out for help.
It’s a few years later, and things are better. Much better, actually. There are still downs, like the one I had earlier this winter. But they’re not crippling; they don’t shut me down to the point where I can’t bounce back and start to live life again. It’s clear that some sort of recovery has taken place, allowing me to see the effects of transformation in my life… So I guess what I’ve been thinking lately is: how much longer before I really get my groove back? I mean, that uplifting, exhilirating pioneer type of vibe that comes from putting all of your trust in God, from taking one step and letting Him carry you the next ten. And you know, that’s not a question anyone else can answer for me, nor can anyone decide. It’s up to me to keep doing the work that will take me that many steps closer to Bahá’u’lláh, and enable me to serve the Cause to the utmost of my capacity.
So I guess I’ve answered my own question. When will I be able to reach out to the people around me in friendliness and fellowship, and share with them the most precious gift I have to give*? Whenever I want. As some people have pointed out to me, I already do, but don’t always realize it.
O My servants! My holy, My divinely ordained Revelation may be likened unto an ocean in whose depths are concealed innumerable pearls of great price, of surpassing luster. It is the duty of every seeker to bestir himself and strive to attain the shores of this ocean, so that he may, in proportion to the eagerness of his search and the efforts he hath exerted, partake of such benefits as have been pre-ordained in God’s irrevocable and hidden Tablets. […] This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you. Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! Swift as the twinkling of an eye ye can, if ye but wish it, reach and partake of this imperishable favor, this God-given grace, this incorruptible gift, this most potent and unspeakably glorious bounty.
With that, I’m off to bed. May this new year bring each one of you peace, certitude, hope, and confirmation. Even if I don’t always respond to each and every email these days, rest assured that the little notes and e-cards that pour in with greetings and naw-rúz wishes are very much appreciated.
things have been alright lately. I haven’t been as diligent with my prayers and daily readings as I’d like. maybe I can take care of that before going to bed. speaking of daily readings, check out the Baha’i Quotes Syndication Service — it’s an individual initiative that allows you to have Baha’i quotes pop up in an RSS reader. And for the RSS-disabled among us, it’s a nice blog full of Baha’i quotes illustrated with wonderful photos.
Last night, I acted as a tutor for a study circle covering Book 6 of the Ruhi curriculum. Sahba (our area institute coordinator) called the night before asking me to act as a substitute, and — surprise! — it turned out my evening was open. It was a small group, but it was still a blast. We studied several sections of the first unit, entitled “The Spiritual Nature of Teaching”. It was just the best thing ever to be plunged back into that book again. The whole book is about teaching the Bahá’í Faith — sharing the message of Bahá’u’lláh with the world of humanity. I could go on and on about it, but I’ll leave that for later on. Suffice to say that it was a happy surprise to be given the chance to be there, facilitating the study circle and learning from the other participants. Combined with the Book 3 circle I subbed for last week, I’d say I’m comfortably rediscovering the role of ‘study circle tutor’, and what a bounty it can be. Hopefully I can once again find a nice and special place for it in my life.
hey. I’m here in Victoriaville at Marcelle and Maurice Turgeon’s place (you know, the people I stayed with for a month in April 2002. I’m sleeping over since we have an intensive Ruhi book 3 weekend here in Victoriaville. two study circles are studying Ruhi book 3 tomorrow (one is faster-paced than the other). Today (saturday) the slower-paced one met and we studied together the whole day. It was a riot. We were all pretending to be kids and we were acting up so bad. …actually I think we might have gone a little too far. We were pretty tired afterwards, but it was funny.
I had a great talk with Maurice just now; he’s a really spiritual guy, in the fullest sense of the word. He has the wonderful capacity to let his intuition be his guide. We talked about a bunch of things, like old road trips to the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, teaching the Faith, dreams, and so on. Jessika was there too. We were just talking and talking — or was it listening and listening? Maurice has a lot to tell. Some of the things we talked about gave me a new insight into myself. I told him about some dreams I had had recently (including this one) and he gave some amazing interpretations of them spot on. Heheh. It’s kind of surprising to look backwards and realize how much hard work I’ve put in to hide from the truth about my life — about pain I didn’t want to deal with, feelings I wanted to run from, etc. But right now, for this moment, I think God really is in charge and I want Him to stay there because He helps me deal with that pain and face those feelings. His light shines on me like the sun and shows plainly everything about me — things I didn’t want to see, as well as some things that are pleasant surprises. Now that the initial shock is past, I’m glad to see them. Of course, I probably haven’t finished either. I’m certainly not through trying to be more honest with myself and others. “Speaking with your heart”, as Maurice put it.
Um anyway these past few days have been very intense, and very personal, and sorry but I’m not going into more detail cos you’re not me and this is not the place for such open heart surgery 😉 if you want to know then, well, it wouldn’t hurt to buy me a coffee lol.
you’re now reading the blog of one of the new members of the administrative council of the Carrefour Jeunesse-Emploi Drummond. Pretty cool, huh? they had a meeting of the general assembly (or however that’s supposed to be used in a sentence) tonight, and I suddenly realized that they’re all a bunch of very strange people. well, perhaps I should say that they have pretty refreshing senses of humor. it’s the first general assembly meeting I’ve been to where we were given little paper umbrellas, had to duck every five minutes, and got to practice our golfing skills. I think I’ll leave my description at that for now and let you all wonder about the rest.
We had another edition of the infamous Ruhi 2 study circle in Victoriaville last night, which, as usual, was plenty of laughs, deep thought, and throwing around a stuffed pelican. Last night we went through the infamous “positive-negative” exercise, where we all joined in a free-for-all of alternately complaining and being optimistic. Man it just blows my mind how these study circles can be fun and yet we LEARN SO MUCH. I don’t know what we’re doing to have it turn out so good but it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. It’s infamous!
I got to see Geneviève and Craig’s new house. They now live in the Arthabaska sector of Victoriaville — the southern one, closest to the mountain. Man is their place beautiful. They have an amazing view. They’re right up there nestled in the hills. Craig kept telling me how he would wake up in the morning and feel like he was in a holiday home. And the house itself is, well, wow. It’s really ideal. big, open, spacious, welcoming, everything a Bahá’í home should be.
Over the weekend I participated in a Ruhi Book 7 study circle in Montreal. That was another pure joy. Actually it was the first time amongst all the study circles that I’ve done that we were stirring up so much trouble and acting so goofy. But still we got all our work done! man I love these people. Oh, and Mom, Dad and Catherine came down from Ottawa to meet me while I was there, and Mom brought me this really gorgeous table with a design in it that she etched herself. I’ll take photos and put them up here.
I love study circles. They’re not like anything I’ve ever experienced before. It’s a circle of people who forge bonds between them, study the sacred Writings of the Bahá’í Faith, and share their understanding of them freely, openly, without any sort of pressure or censure. People just open up, and we just deepen our understanding and learn the most amazing things from this sharing. Where else in this world can we have an experience like this?
If you’d like to take part in a study circle in your area, send me a comment using the link on the sidebar of this page.
And in one last note: More pictures are up from the Montreal Bahá’í Youth Conference! There’s a set from Payam and a set from Martin. Go check ’em out!