A Personal Discovery: How Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice Guide Us in Unfolding ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Divine Plan
The Advent of Divine Justice: Guidance for Winning Five Year Plan Goals 2018
Faculty: Sherna Deamer, Betty J. Fisher
Mona Akhavan, a Iranian Bahá’í living in Melbourne, Australia, a mother of three, and a new grandmother, took advantage of the Wilmette Institute’s free course for a first-time learner and selected The Advent of Divine Justice to study. A registered nurse who works with thirteen- to eighteen-year-olds in a child and adolescent inpatient unit, Mona loves her work but is frustrated by having to teach teens indirectly. Drawing on her ingenuity, she has laminated several Bahá’í quotations and put them in her “good-morning group folder” from which they are often selected to be posted on the wall as the daily quotation. In The Advent of Divine Justice course, perhaps Mona’s biggest challenge was that English is her second language. As many will attest, Shoghi Effendi’s writings can be a challenge even for those whose first language is English. Mona’s story is one of perseverance, which rewarded her with a greater understanding of both the writings of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice. Here, in her own words, is how her story unfolded.—THE EDITORS
My Rewards. Through this course I came to a realization about the significance of both Shoghi Effendi’s and the Universal house of Justice’s writings and messages and of the implementation of the new world order. My vision about reading and reflecting on the writings has been changed. I found out that the reason for not being able to connect as much, in the act of service, was because I wasn’t connected to Shoghi Effendi’s writings and the Universal House of Justice’s messages. I was aware of avoiding reading the House of Justice messages, as I thought they are not important compared with other Bahá’í writings.
My Challenge. I was very frustrated and challenged at the beginning of this course because I found that the profound Shoghi Effendi writings are difficult to understand, but eventually I got through, and, when I became more familiar with his writing, I started to enjoy it so much. All the videos, talks, supplementary reading, and questions helped me in my learning process. When I went through the Universal House of Justice messages, I was able to find the link between Shoghi Effendi’s writing and those of the Universal House of Justice. It was very interesting to see that Shoghi Effendi in The Advent of Divine Justice was unfolding ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Divine Plan and implementing the new world order, whereas the Universal House of Justice in many of its messages was unfolding The Advent of Divine Justice and using it like a reference guide. The Universal House of Justice referred to Shoghi Effendi’s Advent of Divine Justice in its messages for implementing their plans.
My New Understandings. Now I am aware of and love to read and study the Universal House of Justice messages and strive to implement them in my daily life. Now the spirit of joy for service enables me to pass the message of Bahá’u’lláh with almost joy to other friends, family, and the wider community.
My New Plan for My Life and My New Service. I have a purpose and am able to plan for myself in the act of service. I know that the Cause needs to be in the center, and I have to plan my life around it. I understand the meaning of consecration. I listened to Mr. NakhJavani’s talk regarding consecration a few times, and I shared it with my kids and am now encouraging my kids and my family to be more involved and forget about themselves and cross the fear and barriers in their lives.
My husband is doing Ruhi Book 10 with me. My son is more aligned, and every time we are together, our daily family conversations involve the Bahá’í writings. My daughter started Ruhi Book 1 with five people from our wider community. I am planning to start dawn prayer in my house once a week, and I feel it is easier to open conversations with the wider community about the Bahá’í Faith.
Changes in My Attitude toward Work. My view of working has also been changed. I now see work as a service opportunity. Once we align ourselves with Bahá’u’lláh’s writing and let His writings penetrate our hearts, once we see the world with Bahá’u’lláh’s vision, then any step that we take will be for Him. I pray every day that He will help and guide me to find the potential souls in my path to teach and provide service. I am also trying to cut my work hours to enable me to be more involved in serving the wider community and my neighborhood.
A New Door Has Opened. This course was my first course and a new door to open my vision. I am enjoying reading, learning, and studying the Bahá’í writings. I cannot describe my joy and happiness in this journey. I will continue to read from The Advent of Divine Justice and other of Shoghi Effendi’s writing again and again, as each time when I read and reflect upon them, I find the hidden pearls deep down from the ocean of his writings.
Mona Akhavan is now taking the Wilmette Institute course Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation: A Systematic Survey. Watch out Melbourne!