Take One Action and More Follow: Actions from the “Health Care and Social Action” Course Have Snowballed

Health Care and Social Action 2018
Faculty: Babak Etemad, Stephen Karnik, John Safapour

In the Wilmette Institute’s June eNewsletter, we published an article in which Rolando Maddela, a Bahá’í who took the course on Health Care and Social Action, described how he planned to use what he had learned. He concluded with the provocative statement “Of course it will not end, as there will be more opportunities to share in other venues.” With the ink on our June issue scarcely dry, Rolando emailed again to share news of what he had accomplished.—THE EDITORS

by Rolando Maddela

Hello my friends. Here is my short report of what transpired. I prepared a devotions on Health and Happiness (see below) and used it for devotions in West Jordan and Salt Lake City, both in Utah, and also in a Nineteen Day Feast. At first, the devotional program looks short and simple, but I was surprised at the interesting reactions of the friends. Here are some examples:

  • “I have been a Bahá’í for most of my life (forty years old), and I have never read these lovely quotes before!”
  • “I am glad that the devotions today was focused on health and happiness. In the past, I wanted to share a similar topic, but they think I am biased because I am a doctor”.
  • “This focus on health and happiness is something that everyone can relate to. I learned a lot today, like jealousy is bad for health.”
  • “Can we have more of this and learn more of the quotes?”
  • “I will copy the material and share it with my friends.”
  • “We will invite you again after these four hosts are done in the next four weeks.”
  • “Let us do a fireside on this topic.”
  • “I love the questions and answers after the devotions” and further discussion on some of the quotations.

At the end, I shared information about the Wilmette Institute and suggested that they should investigate other courses that interest them.

Because of the positive responses, I am encouraged to:

  • Make another set of devotions.
  • Make a PowerPoint presentation for a fireside, integrating other quotations on social action and the Five Year Plan from the Universal House of Justice.

As the title of this article says, “Take one action and more follow.” Below is the devotional that Rolando prepared:

Devotions on Health and Happiness

Opening Prayer:
Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.—Bahá’u’lláh, (Bahá’í Prayers 96)

1.  Know thou that the soul of man is exalted above, and is independent of all infirmities of body or mind. That a sick person showeth signs of weakness is due to the hindrances that interpose themselves between his soul and his body, for the soul itself remaineth unaffected by any bodily ailments. Consider the light of the lamp. Though an external object may interfere with its radiance, the light itself continueth to shine with undiminished power. In like manner, every malady afflicting the body of man is an impediment that preventeth the soul from manifesting its inherent might and power. When it leaveth the body, however, it will evince such ascendancy, and reveal such influence as no force on earth can equal. Every pure, every refined and sanctified soul will be endowed with tremendous power, and shall rejoice with exceeding gladness.—Bahá’u’lláh (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 80: 153–54)

2.  “Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty.” Happy is the lover that hath inhaled the divine fragrance of his Best-Beloved from these words, laden with the perfume of a grace which no tongue can describe.—Bahá’u’lláh (The Kitáb-i-Aqdas ¶4: 22–23)

3.  Verily the most necessary thing is contentment under all circumstances; by this one is preserved from morbid conditions and from lassitude. Yield not to grief and sorrow: they cause the greatest misery. Jealousy consumeth the body and anger doth burn the liver: avoid these two as you would a lion.—Bahá’u’lláh (quoted in Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era 108)

4.  Whatever competent physicians or surgeons prescribe for a patient should be accepted and complied with, provided that they are adorned with the ornament of justice. If they were to be endued with divine understanding, that would certainly be preferable and more desirable.—Bahá’u’lláh, from a tablet translated from the Persian, in “Selections from Bahá’í Writings on Some Aspects of Health, Healing, Nutrition and Related Matters,” in The Compilation of Compilations I:1015: 459.

5.  When thou wishest to treat nervous pains turn thy whole being to the realm on high with thine heart detached from aught else besides Him and thy soul enraptured by the love of God. Then seek confirmation of the Holy Spirit from the Abhá Kingdom, while touching the affected part with utmost love, tenderness and attraction to God. When all these things are combined, be assured that healing will take place.—‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a tablet translated from the Arabic, in “Selections from Bahá’í Writings on Some Aspects of Health, Healing, Nutrition and Related Matters,” in The Compilation of Compilations I:1027: 462.

6.  When giving medical treatment turn to the Blessed Beauty, then follow the dictates of thy heart. Remedy the sick by means of heavenly joy and spiritual exultation, cure the sorely afflicted by imparting to them blissful glad tidings and heal the wounded through His resplendent bestowals. When at the bedside of a patient, cheer and gladden his heart and enrapture his spirit through celestial power. Indeed, such a heavenly breath quickeneth every moldering bone and reviveth the spirit of every sick and ailing one.—‘Abdu’l-Baha (Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 131.1: 151)

7.  There are two ways of healing sickness, material means and spiritual means. The first is by the treatment of physicians; the second consisteth in prayers offered by the spiritual ones to God and in turning to Him. Both means should be used and practiced.
____Illnesses which occur by reason of physical causes should be treated by doctors with medical remedies; those which are due to spiritual causes disappear through spiritual means. Thus an illness caused by affliction, fear, nervous impressions, will be healed more effectively by spiritual rather than by physical treatment. Hence, both kinds of treatment should be followed; they are not contradictory. Therefore thou shouldst also accept physical remedies inasmuch as these too have come from the mercy and favor of God, Who hath revealed and made manifest medical science so that His servants may profit from this kind of treatment also. Thou shouldst give equal attention to spiritual treatments, for they produce marvelous effects.
____Now, if thou wishest to know the true remedy which will heal man from all sickness and will give him the health of the divine kingdom, know that it is the precepts and teachings of God. Focus thine attention upon them.—‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 133. 1–3: 159–60)

8.  The healing that is by the power of the Holy Spirit needs no special concentration or contact. It is through the wish or desire and the prayer of the holy person. The one who is sick may be in the East and the healer in the West, and they may not have been acquainted with each other, but as soon as that holy person turns his heart to God and begins to pray, the sick one is healed. This is a gift belonging to the Holy Manifestations and those who are in the highest station.—‘Abdu’l-Bahá (quoted in Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era 109)

9.  If the heart turns away from the blessings God offers how can it hope for happiness? If it does not put its hope and trust in God’s Mercy, where can it find rest? Oh, trust in God! for His Bounty is everlasting, and in His Blessings, for they are superb. Oh! put your faith in the Almighty, for He faileth not and His goodness endureth for ever! His Sun giveth Light continually, and the Clouds of His Mercy are full of the Waters of Compassion with which He waters the hearts of all who trust in Him. His refreshing Breeze ever carries healing in its wings to the parched souls of men! Is it wise to turn away from such a loving Father, Who showers His blessings upon us, and to choose rather to be slaves of matter?—‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Paris Talks 34.8: 108–09)

Closing Prayer:
In the Name of God, the Forgiver! Although this evil state in which I am, O my God, maketh me deserving of Thy wrath and punishment, Thy good-pleasure and Thy bounties demand Thy forgiveness to encompass Thy servants and Thy good favour to reach them. I ask Thee by Thy Name which Thou hast made the King of all names to protect me by Thy power and Thine Omnipotence from all calamity and all that is repugnant to Thee and all that is contrary to Thy Will. Thou art Supreme over all things.—Bahá’u’lláh (quoted in Hasan Balyuzi, Bahá’u’lláh: King of Glory 287)

Bahá’í Devotions, prepared by Rolando Maddela: Salt Lake City and West Jordan, Utah

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