Posts by Lili Shang:
A delightful story … Mademoiselle Letitia … A delightful story is told of a Mademoiselle Letitia, who had come from a poor family in Haifa to live in the Master’s home in ‘Akka to teach French to the children. She was happy there, though she was a Catholic and the nuns in the convent watched over her. One day, when a French pilgrim came for a visit, her services as translator were needed, as no one else knew French. Mademoiselle became embarrassed and later confessed to the nuns. For a number of days thereafter she looked very stern. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, noticing this, called her to Him and reassured her: ‘Letitia, tell the good nuns that they need to have no fear. I asked you to interpret for me because there was no one else to speak French, not because I desired to teach you. We have so many Bahá’ís, who come here, begging with all their hearts and all their love for instruction, that only to them do we give our precious teaching. ‘You would have to beg and beg and beg before I would give it to you, and even then I might not do so; for it is not so cheap as to be bestowed where it is not wanted. ‘Stay in the home if you like, or go if you are not happy here. We are glad to have you if you care to stay, but free your heart of all fear that we will try to make a Bahá’í of you.’ ~ Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, page 57
Celebrations – Holy Day
Birth of the Bab Program
Story of the Báb, chapter 15, “Stories from “The Dawn-Breakers” by Zoe Meyer
Quotations from “Selections from the Writings of the Báb”.
1. Prayer & Reading
O my God, O my Lord, O my Master! I beg of Thee to forgive me for seeking any pleasure save Thy love, or any comfort except Thy nearness, or any delight besides Thy good-pleasure, or any existence other than communion with Thee. (The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 216)
2. Prayer & Reading
O people of the Bayan! Those who embrace the Truth must turn unto Me, as ordained in the Book
and divine guidance will be vouchsafed to whosoever attaineth My presence.
3. Story of the Báb, Reader 1
Although the Báb was the Promised One Whom God had sent to tell people about the New Day, He came to the earth as a little baby, just as all of us must come. No one knew that He was the Promised One until He was twenty-five years old.
4. Story of the Báb, Reader 2
The Báb’s father died when He was very young and He went to live with His uncle. There were no schools such as you go to now, and no books to study except the Qur’án. His uncle put Him in the care of a man who taught from the Qur’án. From the first He learned so fast that His teacher could not understand it.
5. Prayer & Reading
“May the glances of Him Whom God shall make manifest illumine this letter at the primary school.”
6. Story of the Báb, Reader 1
One day the teacher asked the Báb to recite the first lines of the Qur’án, but the Boy said that He could not recite them unless He knew what they meant. Wishing to see what He would do, the teacher pretended not to know what they meant.
7. Prayer & Reading
“Verily God hath inspired Thee with divine verses and wisdom while still a child.”
8. Story of the Báb, Reader 2
He told about them in such a wise way and in such clear words that His teacher was astonished. He knew then that the Báb did not need a teacher.
9. Prayer & Reading
“I know what these words signify,” the Báb as a Boy said.
“By your leave I will explain them.”
10. Story of the Báb, Reader 1
The next day he took the Boy to His uncle’s office. “I have brought Him back to you,” he said. ”He cannot be treated as a little child, for in Him is a mysterious power.”
11. Story of the Báb, Reader 2
The Boy’s uncle, however, did not wish Him to stop studying. He looked sternly at the Báb. The uncle told the Báb, “You must do as the other children – sit quietly and listen carefully to every word spoken by your teacher.”
12. Story of the Báb, Reader 1
The Báb promised to do this and returned to the school. But He could not be like the other children. His soul knew all things without being taught. Finally His uncle took Him out of school and let Him help him in his business.
13. Prayer & Reading
“Say: Verily I am the ‘Gate of God’ and I give you to drink by the leave of God, the sovereign Truth, of the crystal-pure waters of His Revelation which are gushing out from the incorruptible Fountain
situate upon the Holy Mount. And those who earnestly strive after the One True God, let them then strive to attain this Gate.”
14. Story of the Báb, Reader 2
Some years after this the Báb was married, and a little boy was born to them. The boy was named Ahmad, and the Báb and His wife loved the boy dearly. But one day, while Ahmad was still very little, he was taken sick and died. Of course the boy’s Father and mother missed him a very great deal, but in spite of this the Báb did not feel sad. He knew that God had a place for His small son. And The Báb prayed that some day, He, too, might die in such a way that it would show His love for God. And God answered His prayer. In another story you will hear how the Báb died.
15. Story of the Báb, Reader 1
In Persia, the country where the Báb lived, the summers are very, very hot. This did not keep Him from praying many hours a day from the house top. Their houses were built with flat roofs, where people could sit in the evening when it was cool. But the Báb would not wait for evening.
16. Story of the Báb, Reader 2
Every Friday at dawn The Báb would go up to the roof and pray until the sun rose. At noon, when the sun was hottest, He would go up to pray again, and He would be so deep in His prayer that He did not seem to feel the burning rays. Here He would stay until late afternoon, thinking and praying, with a heart full of love and joy.
17. Story of the Báb, Reader 1
Some thought that He was praying to the sun, but of course this was not true. To Him the sun was a sign of God. The sun sends its light and heat to the earth to make the trees and flowers and everything grow. In the same way God sends His love to us to help us grow more loving in spirit or more like Him. We could not live without His love any more than the flowers and birds could live without the sun.
18. Prayer & Reading
“I am the Primal Point From which have been generated all created things. I am the Countenance of God Whose splendor can never be obscured, the Light of God Whose radiance can never fade.”
19. Story of the Báb, Reader 2
The Báb was very gentle and kind to all He met. He never wanted anything for Himself, but always gave the best of everything to others. It made people perfectly happy just to be near Him, and it was the greatest joy in the world to hear Him speak. And of course He was very honest and careful of the things belonging to others.
20. Story of the Báb, Reader 1
God beareth Me witness, I was not a man of learning, for I was trained as a merchant. In the year sixty God graciously infused my soul with the conclusive evidences and weighty knowledge which characterize Him Who is the Testimony of God – may peace be upon Him – until finally in that year I proclaimed God’s hidden Cause and unveiled its well-guarded Pillar, in such wise that no one could refute it.
21. Story of the Báb, Reader 2
One day while He was in business a man gave Him something to sell for Him. The man told Him just what the price was to be. When the Bib sent him the money for the article, there was more than the man had asked. So the man wrote to Him to find out about it.
22. Prayer & Reading
The Báb wrote back: ”What I have sent you is entirely your due. There was a time when the trust you had delivered to Me had attained this value. Failing to sell it at that price, I now feel it My duty to offer you the whole of that sum. “
23. Story of the Báb, Reader 1
You see, when He did sell the article, it did not bring so much money as it would have a bit earlier. The Báb felt that was His fault because He did not sell it in time. So He sent the man the extra money, beside that which He received for the article. Perhaps not everyone would do that.
24. Prayer & Reading
“The substance wherewith God hath created Me is not the clay out of which others have been formed.
He hath conferred upon Me that which the worldly-wise can never comprehend nor the faithful discover.”
25. Story of the Báb, Reader 2
It is no wonder that everyone loved Him. Even when He was a little boy, they must have loved Him because He never could bear to be unkind to anyone.
26. Prayer & Reading
Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants and all abide by His bidding! (The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 217)
27. Prayer & Reading
I am one of the sustaining pillars of the Primal Word of God. Whosoever hath recognized Me,
hath known all that is true and right, and hath attained all that is good and seemly; and whosoever hath failed to recognize Me, hath turned away from all that is true and right and hath succumbed to everything evil and unseemly.
28. Prayer & Reading
I swear by the righteousness of Thy Lord, the Lord of all created things, the Lord of all the worlds!
Were a man to rear in this world as many edifices as possible and worship God through every virtuous deed which God’s knowledge embraceth, and attain the presence of the Lord, and were he, even to a measure less than that which is accountable before God, to bear in his heart a trace of malice towards Me, all his deeds would be reduced to naught and he would be deprived of the glances of God’s favour, become the object of His wrath and assuredly perish.
29. Prayer & Reading
For God hath ordained that all the good things which lie in the treasury of His knowledge shall be attained through obedience unto Me, and every fire recorded in His Book, through disobedience unto Me.
30. Prayer & Reading
All the keys of heaven God hath chosen to place on My right hand, and all the keys of hell on My left.
31. Prayer & Reading
Verily, the One True God beareth Me witness that in this Day I am the true mystic Fane of God.
[Fane: A temple; a place consecrated to religion; a church.]
32. Prayer & Reading
I hold within My grasp whatsoever any man might wish of the good of this world and of the next.
Were I to remove the veil, all would recognize Me as their Best Beloved, and no one would deny Me.
33. Prayer & Reading
In the estimation of them that have fixed their eyes upon the merciful Lord, the riches of the world
and its trappings are worth as much as the eye of a dead body, nay even less.
34. Prayer & Reading
It is better to guide one soul than to possess all that is on earth, for as long as that guided soul is under the shadow of the Tree of Divine Unity, he and the one who hath guided him will both be recipients of God’s tender mercy, whereas possession of earthly things will cease at the time of death. The path to guidance is one of love and compassion, not of force and coercion. This hath been God’s method in the past, and shall continue to be in the future! He causeth him whom He pleaseth to enter the shadow of His Mercy. Verily, He is the Supreme Protector, the All-Generous. (The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 75)
35. Prayer & Reading
There is no paradise more wondrous for any soul than to be exposed to God’s Manifestation in His Day, to hear His verses and believe in them, to attain His presence, which is naught but the presence of God, to sail upon the sea of the heavenly kingdom of His good-pleasure, and to partake of the choice fruits of the paradise of His divine Oneness. (The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 75)
36. Prayer & Reading
GLORIFIED art Thou, O Lord my God! Thou art in truth the King of kings. Thou dost confer sovereignty upon whomsoever Thou willest and dost seize it from whomsoever Thou willest. Thou dost exalt whomsoever Thou willest and dost abase whomsoever Thou willest. Thou dost render victorious whomsoever Thou willest and dost bring humiliation upon whomsoever Thou willest. Thou dost bestow wealth upon whomsoever Thou willest and dost reduce to poverty whomsoever Thou willest. Thou dost cause whomsoever Thou willest to prevail over whomsoever Thou willest. Within Thy grasp Thou dost hold the empire of all created things and through the potency of Thy sovereign behest Thou dost call into being whomsoever Thou willest. Verily Thou art the Omniscient, the Omnipotent, the Lord of power. (The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 213)
37. Prayer & Reading
WORSHIP thou God in such wise that if thy worship lead thee to the fire, no alteration in thine adoration would be produced, and so likewise if thy recompense should be paradise. Thus and thus alone should be the worship which befitteth the one True God. Shouldst thou worship Him because of fear, this would be unseemly in the sanctified Court of His presence, and could not be regarded as an act by thee dedicated to the Oneness of His Being. Or if thy gaze should be on paradise, and thou shouldst worship Him while cherishing such a hope, thou wouldst make God’s creation a partner with Him, notwithstanding the fact that paradise is desired by me (The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 75)
Lucky Wishing Stars are the easiest first step to mastering origami.
Lesson: “Lucky Wishing Stars”
“…make of me a shining lamp and a brilliant star…”
from a Baha’i Prayer for children
- Open with prayers
- Talk about working together for the better good. That we needed to have certain qualities of soul such as truthfulness and trustworthiness.
- Discuss behaviors that we should avoid and behaviors that make us better people.
- You can tell or read the story The Legend of Hoshi and the Lucky Stars.
- Follow-up Activity: You can buy precut origami star paper in several sizes with directions at most stationary and craft stores. The larger paper is easier. Practice making a few so you come to class prepared.
- Show your origami stars; let them choose the color and design they prefer from the prepared paper strips; fold; tuck; snip if necessary, then pinch…Voila! You have a 3-D Lucky Star. Too-cute!
- The first time will take longer, but in short order everyone will be making these cute little stars in minutes…then on to more difficult origami projects.
- Snack – how about some lucky star cookies!
- Closing prayer
This lesson and activity took 1 class period, about an hour. We grouped all ages together, younger ones coloring pre-cut paper stars from construction paper then slotted together to form a 3-D freestanding star. We needed heavier paper…but it still worked. Older kids learned to fold origami paper strips and pinch to make lucky origami stars. At first, we were frustrated, then got a hang of it. Just remember, the more stars the better your luck. We worked as a team and make quite a few.
“Truthfulness and trustworthiness involve much more than not telling lies; they embody the overarching capacity to discern, value, and uphold truth itself. Without these spiritual qualities, neither individual nor social progress is possible…is constant effort to develop truthfulness, trustworthiness, and justice, ensuring that they are ever-present in thought and action.”
In Maxie’s Monster and the Jar of Stars*, by Lili Shang, Maxie learns that it is no fun when other don’t trust you. Lying, cheating, stealing are ways to lose friends and respect. Read the story and find out how the origami stars reinforce good behavior. Then, make the Luck Origami Stars with the kids in your classes.
* soon to be promoted on www.innerprizegroup.com
|Joy gives us wingsAuntie Lili’s Books & Things
I love this game!
- Before class write a few key phrases on slips of paper from the lessons, songs and prayers they know; like:
- make me a brilliant star;
- we are drops;
- these children are the plants of Thine orchard;
- the light of unity can illumine the whole earth;
- tread ye the path of justice;
- good neighbors come in all colors;
- Blessed is the spot;
- O God guide me;
- it’s me, it’s me, it’s me, who builds community…
- Put them in a container.
- One kid from each group takes a turn picking one.
- Open with prayers
- Explain how charades works:
- cannot talk,
- must act out the words.
- Group the kids into 3 teams of mixed ages (older ones with younger ones) that’s for a fairer game.
- Allow one team at a time to pick one charade slip and act out the words. Let the older kids help the younger kids and clap a lot and laugh and have fun! Keep score on a whiteboard or large drawing pad!
- After playing for about 10-20-30 minutes, vote for the team that did the
- best acting; then vote for the team that did
- the funniest acting; then vote for the team that
- guessed the most right answers…
- Give each group a reward that can be shared, like: small bag of: cookies, chocolates, stickers, seashells, etc. Be creative!