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Old 11-27-2011, 01:05 PM   #1
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Perhaps it is flawed people who make the best Baha'is....

I think the greatest confirmation of my life which has had it major flaws as some of you will know if you have been reading my posts over time is that by faith I have seemingly overcome some of those problems and can then apparently help and encourage others, because as a broken vessel that has been repaired, sometime I think so well that the cracks are not even visible, I know what it is to be broken and not know what to do with the pieces.

I seen essays by Baha'is that say it may be if we do not overcome the difficulties of our lives and give into our desires that there will not be a foundation upon which to rely when we are faced with the tests that come with living. Those tests come to everyone, the death of grandparents, parents, siblings, peers, a divorce for you or others you know, someone with an addiction, losing a job, a burned down home, a car wreck, loss of a child, abuse, etc. etc. etc. Those are extremely difficult life tasks and no one is exempt from them.

Another once broken Baha'i told me that the Light comes through the cracks and that we may be more attracted to the Faith than others. I do know that I have learned what others have said such as William James who said that things may be accomplished by faith that cannot succeed by mere volition or moral choice. I can not explain other than by faith in this Faith that I can post to you and perhaps express myself.

I cannot help but think that at some of our most flawed times when we think we are so far from this Faith that we won't be back, that may be the time when we are learning the most. I have always heard it said that when one slips on the path, then there was something still to be learned. That learning is always about the relationship between me and God.

In 12 step programs God is referred to as a higher power, but more importantly the reference is to "God as we come to understand Him." That means it is a process, not a destination. All we can do is invite people to this journey that they must make themselves, because we cannot do it for them. I do think none of us is so different that we cannot love each other if we know and love ourselves first.

A thing that heartens me is that I know of a figure in the Faith who apparently had a very flawed existence, but what I know of the work he produced is that it is beautiful and inspiring, yet he was so very flawed. How can I who have produced no work such as his, dare to believe that God does not accept me with my flaws. What I know now, is it is usually I who demand to be flawless to be accepted by God, and it is actually I who has rejected Him. I believe this is a transaction that I fall into when I refuse to grow, accept, or love. It is I who reject Him. Then as I can I turn back and feel that love and pick my foot up and make the next step with hope, prayer, and faith.
 
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Old 11-27-2011, 01:56 PM   #2
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This reminds me very much of the old adage (saying):

"A wounded deer leaps the highest"

Indeed this concept is thoroughly biblical. Its at the root of the traditional understanding of Mary Magdalene being the woman who annointed the feet of Christ in Luke (attested to as well in that Baha'i pilgrim note). It was her love that redeemed her. Nevertheless, Christ taught that "the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little". It seems to be that the more sinful, or at least "flawed", a person was prior to their "conversion experience" or new birth (which can occur repeatedly throughout life, as we rise and fall and rise again - it is not always a static, one-off experience) the more pure and holy they become later in life. Their religiosity is earthy, not "otherworldy", and they can sympathise with and relate too other other people who are struggling like they did. What's more they tend to be more appreciative of divine mercy and more willing to depend on the grace of God rather than on their own perceived self-righteousness or holiness as with the corrupt Saducee priests and some of the Pharisees. Just think of St Augustine and St Francis of Assisi - both extremely sinful/flawed individuals who later rose to such incredible and lofty spiritual heights.

Mary Magdalene had been possessed by "seven demons". My Orthodox Study Bible has a note attached to this part of the Bible wherein Mary's demons are mentioned, it states:

"...In the scriptures the number seven often symbolizes totality and completeness, indicating that Mary called Magdalene had been thoroughly given over to darkness before her healing..."

We cannot know for certain what kind of "demons" Mary had. Some believe this to mean complete moral depravity; others consider it to be in reference to complex and extreme depression/emotional problems, whilst others believe it suggests she either had severe mental problems or perhaps a form of epilepsy.

All we know for certain is that when Mary first encountered Jesus, she was in a pretty awful state of affairs and was most likely shunned or at the least mocked and derided by other members of her community.

The Mandaen Book of John the Baptizer has Mary say this:

"...Blessed be the Man who freed me from my fetters and planted my feet here. A support is he in the world for me and a helper in the afterlife..."

These words are a testimony to the healing power of faith.

Elsewhere in the Mandaen scriptures we read of again the healing of Mary Magdalene by Jesus (this time from the perspective of Christ):


"I took a bodily form and appeared. I spoke with my voice and preached, and became a Healer for Mary [Magdalene]: a Healer for Mary [Magdalene] I became, and healed her from head to foot. I was called Healer of the Truth, who heals and takes no fee" -Jesus Christ (Anush Uthra), Ginza Riba, Holy Book of Mandaeism


The Orthodox Church in America website says of St Mary Magdalene:

"...The Holy Myrrh-Bearer Equal of the Apostles Mary Magdalene...The Gospel tells us nothing of Mary's younger years, but Tradition informs us that Mary of Magdala was young and pretty, and led a sinful life. It says in the Gospels that the Lord expelled seven devils from Mary (Luke. 8:2). From the moment of her healing Mary led a new life, and became a true disciple of the Savior..."

In fact even after her 'conversion' experience and the attempt to re-structure and transform her life in service of the cause of Jesus, Mary was still an object of ridicule and mockery. She was the one who stuck by Jesus until the end, watching as he was crucified and tortured, while the male disciple had fled in fear for their own lives and even Peter had denied knowing Christ. And then she'd come to annoint his body with oil, again thinking nothing of her own safety, and after she discovered that the body could not be found, she made three desperate attempts to try and recover the body of her beloved Lord. And then she had her profound, spiritual experience of Christ's presence and yet when she ran to tell the other Apostles, they ridiculed her and refused to believe her testimony, since a woman's testimony meant nothing in the first century. The Bible tells us that they consider her story to be an "idle tae", and about 100 years later the ant-Christian Roman satirist Celsus branded Magdalene a "hysterical female" who was given to "womanish fantasies".

And yet look to what unbelievable spiritual heights she attained!

Thus was Abdu'l-Baha moved to say, with inspired utterance:

"...Consider how infinite is the bounty of God that a woman such as Mary Magdalene should be selected by God to become the channel of confirmation to the disciples and a light of nearness in His Kingdom. Consequently, trust ye in the bounty and grace of God, and rest assured in the bestowals of His eternal outpouring...Consider how many empresses have come and gone since the time of Christ. Each was the ruler of a country but now all trace and name of them is lost, while Mary Magdalene...still shineth from the horizon of everlasting glory...[Indeed] Many queens have reigned who are remembered by their dates in history, and nothing more is known of them. But Mary the Magdalene is greater than them all. It was she whose love strengthened the disciples when their faith was failing. What she did for the world cannot be measured. See what a divine power was enkindled in her by the power of God!..Her face is shining and beaming forth on the horizon of the universe forevermore! And she surpassed even men in defending the fortress of the Cause of God against the attack of the hosts of suspicions. This is indeed a glorious condition! This is indeed a great matter! This is indeed a manifest light!"

- Abdu'l-Baha



I present to you, my favourite story from the Gospels:

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him--that she is a sinner." Jesus spoke up and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Teacher," he replied, "Speak." "A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answered, "I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt." And Jesus said to him, "You have judged rightly." Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." Then he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Luke 7:36-50

Last edited by Yeshua; 11-27-2011 at 02:43 PM.
 
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