Fellow-labourers in the Divine Vineyard!
Upon my return, after a forced and prolonged absence, to the Holy Land, it is my first and most ardent wish to renew and strengthen those ties of brotherly love and fellowship that bind our hearts together in our common servitude to His Sacred Threshold.
The two years that have elapsed since the passing of our beloved Master have been for the Cause, as well as for mankind, years of deep anxiety and strain. The momentous changes that are taking place in the history of both have proved so swift and far-reaching as to arouse in certain hearts a strange misgiving as to their stability and future.
On one hand the remarkable revelations of the Beloved’s Will and Testament so amazing in all its aspects, so emphatic in its injunctions, have challenged and perplexed the keenest minds, whilst the ever-increasing confusion of the world, threatened as never before with disruptive forces, fierce rivalries, fresh commotions and grave disorder, have well-nigh overwhelmed the heart and damped the zeal of even the most enthusiastic believers in the destiny of mankind.
And yet, how often we seem to forget the clear and repeated warnings of our beloved Master, who in particular during the concluding years of his mission on earth, laid stress on the severe mental tests that would inevitably sweep over his loved ones of the West … tests that would purge, purify and prepare them for their noble mission in life.
And as to the world’s evil plight, we need but recall the writings and sayings of Bahá’u’lláh, who, more than fifty years ago, declared in terms prophetic the prime cause of the ills and sufferings of mankind, and set forth their true and divine remedy. “Should the lamp of Religion be hidden”, He declared, “chaos and confusion will ensue.” How admirably fitting and applicable are these words to the present state of mankind!
Ours then is the duty and privilege to labour, by day, by night, amidst the storm and stress of these troublous days, that we may quicken the zeal of our fellow-man, rekindle their hopes, stimulate their interests, open their eyes to the true Faith of God and enlist their active support in the carrying out of our common task for the peace and regeneration of the world.
Let us take heart and be thankful to our beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as we remember his manifold blessings and unfailing care and protection, ever since the hour of his departure from our midst. The flames of sedition, so maliciously kindled in the past by those who have dared to flout his will, are gone out for ever, and the fondest hopes of these evil plotters are now abandoned, doomed never to revive. He has indeed redeemed his promise!
It seemed not a long time ago that their agitation, so violently renewed immediately after the passing of our Beloved, would for a time confuse the Divine Message of Bahá’u’lláh, obscure His Covenant, retard the progress of His Cause, and shatter its unity; and yet how well we see them all today, not through our efforts, but by their own folly, and above all, by the intervention of the hidden hand of God, reduced to the vilest and most humiliating position.
And now, with the Cause purified and inwardly victorious, Its principles vindicated, Its enemies silenced and sunk in unspeakable misery, may we not, henceforth, direct all our efforts to collective action and constructive achievement; and in utter disregard of the flickerings of their fast-fading light, arise to carry out those urgent measures that will secure the outward and complete triumph of the Cause?
I for my part, as I look back to the unfortunate circumstances of ill-health and physical exhaustion that have attended the opening years of my career of service to the Cause, feel hardly gratified, and would be truly despondent but for the sustaining memory and inspiring example of the diligent and ceaseless efforts which my fellow-workers the world over have displayed during these two trying years in the service of the Cause.
I cherish the hope that, from now on the Beloved may bestow upon me all the strength and vigour that will enable me to pursue over a long and unbroken period of strenuous labour the supreme task of achieving, in collaboration with the friends in every land, the speedy triumph of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. This is the prayer I earnestly request all my fellow brethren and sisters in the Faith to offer on my behalf.
Let us pray to God that in these days of world encircling gloom, when the dark forces of nature, of hate, rebellion, anarchy and reaction are threatening the very stability of human society, when the most precious fruits of civilization are undergoing severe and unparalleled tests, we may all realize, more profoundly than ever, that though but a mere handful amidst the seething masses of the world, are in this day the chosen instruments of God’s Grace, that our Mission is most urgent and vital to the fate of humanity and, fortified by these sentiments, arise to achieve God’s holy purpose for mankind.
Your brother in His service Shoghi for my beloved brethren and sisters in Australia and New Zealand — Shoghi.
Haifa, Palestine, December 2, 1923.
May 15th, 1934