Wednesday, March 03, 2010
My Fast has been pretty strange so far. In fact I have had the two worst days that I've had in a very long time. Is this simply coincidence or are there spiritual forces at work?
'Verily, I say, fasting is the supreme remedy and the most great healing for the disease of self and passion.' (Compilations, The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting)
I started off Day 1 with a hearty breakfast of oatmeal with raisins and nuts, yogurt, and varied fruits. I washed it down with delicious apple juice. I prayed my favorite Fast prayer and the day felt good. I was then hammered for the next 24 hours with one test after the next. I even managed to oversleep this morning after having been up into the wee small hours so did not get to have breakfast and had to soldier on without food or drink until sunset today. In the midst of my travails, I remembered to be grateful for them:
"My God, my Adored One, my King, my desire! What tongue can voice my thanks to Thee? I was heedless, Thou didst awaken me. I had turned back from Thee, Thou didst graciously aid me to turn towards Thee. I was as one dead, Thou didst quicken me with the water of life. I was withered, Thou didst revive me with the heavenly stream of Thine utterance which hath flowed forth from the Pen of the All-Merciful.
O Divine Providence! All existence is begotten by Thy bounty; deprive it not of the waters of Thy generosity, neither do Thou withhold it from the ocean of Thy mercy. I beseech Thee to aid and assist me at all times and under all conditions, and seek from the heaven of Thy grace Thine ancient favor. Thou art, in truth, the Lord of bounty, and the Sovereign of the kingdom of eternity."
I have no doubt that I was running on prayer today. What else could have gotten me through. But, I guess tests are meant to be reminders right?
"While a man is happy he may forget his God; but when grief comes and sorrows overwhelm him, then will he remember his Father who is in Heaven, and who is able to deliver him from his humiliations.
Men who suffer not, attain no perfection. The plant most pruned by the gardeners is that one which, when the summer comes, will have the most beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit.
The labourer cuts up the earth with his plough, and from that earth comes the rich and plentiful harvest. The more a man is chastened, the greater is the harvest of spiritual virtues shown forth by him. A soldier is no good General until he has been in the front of the fiercest battle and has received the deepest wounds."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 50)
At the end of a hellish day, I was blessed to break the Fast with my wife with a lovely pasta dish with spinach and chicken. I managed to knock out an assignment for a class I'm taking and now I'm blogging as promised. God is the Most Glorious.
Wonder what tomorrow will bring.