Course: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: His Life and Ministry (2020)
Faculty: William Collins, Necati Alkan
I found the Wilmette Institute’s weekly sessions to be invaluable in advancing my learning, and I now have a much deeper understanding of how simply ‘Abdu’l-Bahá lived his life and why. He never did anything without remembering Baha’u’llah’s life and His sufferings and was guided by them. I also learned from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s example how he demonstrated a love for humanity that was endless, and feel that I can better show forth a glimmering of that all-embracing love for all who cross my path.
I was encouraged by my niece, Callie Metler Smith, to take this course with her and she embraced the Cause during this period (and a concurrent Ruhi Book 1 study circle on Zoom)! Her appreciation and insights during the course about ‘Abdu’l-Baha, his life, and his ministry – expressed at times by her often in terms of wonder, awe, and delight – greatly enhanced my learning and understanding.
At an individual level, I have added several more prayers by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to our nightly family devotional. I also meditated on these prayers throughout the day and started keeping a daily journal where I write down my thoughts about how I can acquire the spiritual qualities exemplified by the Master in these prayers. I also write down quotes from the writings or prayers that I wish to refer to more often. Finally, I reflect how events of the day affect my spiritual attitude, steadfastness, and growth. In the community, and as an ongoing tutor of study circles, I have begun to incorporate stories from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life and ministry into the already significant material contained in the Ruhí course.
Global events related to the pandemic have given me the opportunity to ponder the important issues that make life more meaningful today, and what type of changes should be made for the betterment of humanity – like eradicating racism. We must take advantage of these opportunities and move into the arena of social action, carrying the love and wisdom of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with us.
Having taken the time to study more, to think and to meditate about my service to the Cause, I have more insight too on how to respond to opportunities to teach the Faith. I am excited about a recent invitation to join the National Social Media Initiative in my local area – and to elevate conversations utilizing the example of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s love and wisdom.