The Fast is a time for us to re-calibrate, so to speak, to refocus our vision, to balance our lives in accordance with the Divine laws and guidance, to detach ourselves from this world of dust, and to prepare for the eternal life. However, these vital actions should all be daily habits and not just confined to the Fasting period. Perhaps, we should reflect on what is at stake after the end of this earthly sojourn, so to reinforce the critical value of this time.
So much of our energy is drained seeking earthly things, that many do not have the time or attraction to pray, meditate, and to offer selfless service to others.
His Holiness Christ warned about putting off our spiritual duties in Matthew 6:34,
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (King James Bible)
We know, as spiritual beings, that we have a limited amount of time here in this physical state, which is less than the twinkling of an eye when compared to eternity, and, that we have serious spiritual work to do. Depending on our fruits, at our end, we will either experience, “a joy and gladness that is impossible to describe” or a “fear and trembling that nothing can exceed! Hasn’t Baha’u’llah cautioned us to begin with the end in mind and to bring ourselves to account each day, nay, every moment of our lives?
“Set before thine eyes God’s unerring Balance and, as one standing in His Presence, weigh in that Balance thine actions every day, every moment of thy life.
Bring thyself to account ere thou art summoned to a reckoning, on the Day when no man shall have strength to stand for fear of God, the Day when the hearts of the heedless ones shall be made to tremble.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 235)
We are encouraged and guided to prepare for the afterlife, like we would for any trip we are excited about, especially one that brings us ever closer to God. A life that is lived right will see death “as a messenger of joy,” something to look forward to and to not fear. That is why it is critically important to “seek the Kingdom first” and to get our spiritual packing done because we know not the hour or day that we will be “summoned to a reckoning.”
“It is clear and evident that all men shall, after their physical death, estimate the worth of their deeds, and realize all that their hands have wrought. I swear by the Day Star that shineth above the horizon of Divine power!
They that are the followers of the one true God shall, the moment they depart out of this life, experience such joy and gladness as would be impossible to describe, while they that live in error shall be seized with such fear and trembling, and shall be filled with such consternation, as nothing can exceed. Well is it with him that hath quaffed the choice and incorruptible wine of faith through the gracious favor and the manifold bounties of Him Who is the Lord of all Faiths….
The souls of the infidels, however, shall — and to this I bear witness — when breathing their last be made aware of the good things that have escaped them, and shall bemoan their plight, and shall humble themselves before God. They shall continue doing so after the separation of their souls from their bodies.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 170)
So, get excited and be grateful! The Fast is a special time of cleansing and forgiveness when, “Thou (God) hast:
—–> UNLOCKED doors of thy bounty
—–> OPENED wide the portals of Thy tender mercy
—–> ENDOWED every hour with a special virtue
—–> ENABLED to have fellowship with Thee
—–> RAINED down that which beseemeth Thy grace and befitted thy bounty
—–>CAUSED this hour to excel every other hour”
We should praise God every hour, even every minute for this Fast when His special bounties and mercies are raining down upon us and offering us a fresh start. Ponder the fact that JUSTICE is giving you what you deserve, while MERCY is clemency, forgiveness, and compassion. Praise be to God that He is opening wide the portals of His tender mercy.
Clearly, there will be reckoning of our lives and while we may forget, “guardian angels” are taking note as warned in the Holy Qur’an,
“16. It was We who created man and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.
17. Behold, two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings)
learn (and not them), one sitting on the right and one on the left
18. Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready (to note it).
19. And the stupor of death will bring truth (before his eyes): “This was the thing which thou wast trying to escape!”
20. And the Trumpet shall be blown: that will be the Day whereof warning (had been given).
21. And there will come forth every soul: with each will be an (angel) to drive, and an (angel) to bear witness.
22. (It will be said:) “Thou wast heedless of this; now have We removed thy veil, and sharp is thy sight this Day!” 23. And his companion will say: “Here is (his record) ready with me!”
No one escapes a reckoning or final accounting. The Fast is a special time to get our “spiritual packing” done so that we are prepared for the next life. Perhaps it would benefit us to begin with the end in mind to place this earthly sojourn into perspective.
“Attach not thyself to anything unless in it thou seest the reality of God – this is the first step into the court of eternity. The earth life lasts but a short time, even its benefits are transitory; that which is temporary does not deserve our heart’s attachment. (Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 134)
“The essence of true safety is to observe silence, to look at the end of things and to renounce the world. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 156)
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