Celebrating The Tablets of the Divine Plan: A Personal Reflection

In celebration of the centenary of the Tablets of the Divine Plan the Universal House of Justice released two joyous and love laden messages: one to the Baha’is of the World, and one to the Baha’is of the United States and Canada, the original recipients of Abdu’l-Baha’s Tablets of the Divine Plan.

These sweet letters are very fortifying and invigorating; they bolster my resolve to add my own personal herculean effort to teach the Cause in the coming Five Year Plan. One way in which these messages inspire me is by linking our current endeavours with the Tablets of the Divine Plan. This centenary is not a typical acknowledgement of something that occurred 100 years ago — it is a celebration of how much we have accomplished with them as a guide and inspiration, and an act of thanksgiving and praise for how much they will continue to impact and inform our work. In its letter to the Baha’is of the world, “acting under the mandate of Abdu’l-Baha”, the House of Justice opens with these words:

Today at dawn, on your behalf, the members of the Universal House of Justice gathered with the members of the International Teaching Centre in the Master’s room at the house in Bahji to commemorate that pivotal moment when the first of the Tablets of the Divine Plan was revealed by the pen of Abdu’l-Baha. Prayers from those wondrous Tablets were offered in thanksgiving for the glorious achievements of the past. Divine assistance was sought in support of the labours required in the forthcoming stage of the Plan’s unfoldment. And heavenly bounties were implored to ensure still greater victories in meeting the challenges of future stages, one after another, reaching as far as the fringes of the Golden Age.

The lineage of our current work to these sacred documents is described in the letter addressed to the Baha’is of the United States and Canada when the House of Justice says:

After a century of resolute action, you should, more than ever before, be able to discern the straight path traced by heavenly inspiration across the many stages of the Divine Plan since its systematic execution began in 1937, and thus grasp the full implications of the latest stage about to open. The tasks confronting you are not identical with those of an earlier age. With the international spread of the Faith largely concluded, demands on you are now most pressing on the homefront. The process of entry by troops that emerged so tenuously in the Ten Year Crusade, and was fostered in the decades that followed, is now being extended through a sound process of community building in center after center in all those countries and territories that Abdu’l-Baha marked out so long ago. Your sister communities, so many of which you helped to establish, are now mature, and you stand with them ready to take on the sterner challenges that lie ahead. The movement of your clusters to the farthest frontiers of learning will usher in the time anticipated by Shoghi Effendi at the start of your collective exertions, when the communities you build will directly combat and eventually eradicate the forces of corruption, of moral laxity, and of ingrained prejudice eating away at the vitals of society.

The House of Justice continues to say that now is the time of jubilation! These messages are overflowing with love, joy and gratitude for every believer and for their every contribution to spread the teachings of Baha’u’llah – no matter how minute or heroic their deeds. The letter to the Baha’is of the world highlights and gives thanks for the work of our spiritual ancestors, those who set out when the Tablets of the Divine Plan were first unveiled, and the work being done at this very moment. These words will uplift my soul for years to come:

You sacrificed rest and comfort and left your homes to journey to unfamiliar lands or homefront outposts. You set aside your own interests for the common good. Whatever your means, you sacrificially contributed your share of resources. You taught the Faith to multitudes, to groups in various settings, and to individuals in your homes. You quickened souls and helped them on their own paths of service, disseminated widely the Baha’i writings and participated in deep study of the teachings, strove for excellence in all fields, engaged diverse peoples of all strata in conversations pertaining to the search for solutions to humanity’s ills, and initiated efforts for economic and social development. Though misunderstandings and problems sometimes arose, you forgave one another and marched together in serried lines. You raised the framework of the Administrative Order and clung steadfastly to the Covenant, protecting the Faith from every blow directed against it. In your ardour for the Beloved, you endured prejudice and estrangement, privation and loneliness, persecution and imprisonment. You welcomed and nurtured generations of children and youth upon whom the vitality of the Faith and future of humanity depend, and as tested veterans, you heeded the Master’s admonition to serve until your last breath. You have written the story of the unfoldment of the Divine Plan on the scroll of its first century. Before you, beloved friends, lies stretched out the blank scroll of the future on which you and your spiritual descendants will inscribe fresh and lasting deeds of renunciation and heroism for the betterment of the world.

The letters can be read online on the official website of the Universal House of Justice. The Tablets of the Divine Plan can also be read in full online in the Baha’i Reference Library.


About the Author

Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a mother, a wife and a bookworm but professionally she is a museologist and a library technician. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

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Discussion 2 Comments

  1. Dear Sonjel,
    Thank you this reflection on the power and potency of these Messages and their embodiment of destiny. One that has been, and one that will be. I too was touched by the final paragraph from the Message to the Bahá’ís of the World, “acting under the mandate of Abdul-Baha”, where they called our spiritual ancestors to heart and mind was something I too will think about for years to come. Wishing you well for the destiny that awaits.
    Kind regards,
    Pharan

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