“The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day.… Such shall be its plight, that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly.” The shattering blows dealt to the old, divisive system of the planet and the constantly accelerating decline in civilized life since that dire warning was uttered by Bahá’u’lláh a hundred years ago, have brought mankind to its present appalling condition. Consideration of how the Bahá’ís of Europe, confronted by this situation, can meet their responsibilities, spiritually and actively, is the main purpose of this Conference.
The holding of this Conference in Dublin calls to mind the historic and heroic services of Ireland in spreading the divine religion throughout pagan Europe. Europe’s response was to develop, through many vicissitudes, the most widespread and effective civilization known. That civilization, together with all other systems in the world, is now being rolled up, and Europe’s plight in proportion to her former preeminence, is desperate indeed. By the same token her opportunity is correspondingly great. The challenges to her resilience, to her deep-seated spiritual vitality, nourished over the centuries by the Teachings of Christ—now, alas, neglected and even contemned—can and must call forth a more magnificent response than was ever made by the divided and contending peoples of olden times. Yours is the task to arouse that response. The power of Bahá’u’lláh is with you and this Day, as attested by the Báb, is “immensely exalted … above the days of the Apostles of old.”
In this great Day Europe is blessed as never before in its history, for the Manifestation of God, the Lord of Hosts, spent five years of His exiles within its borders, sending forth from His “remote prison” the first of those challenging, world-shaking addresses to the kings and rulers, six of whom were European potentates. There is no authenticated record of a Manifestation of God ever before setting foot in Europe.
You are engaged on a Seven Year Plan and have made devoted and sacrificial efforts to attain its objectives. But its ultimate purpose, as that of all other plans, namely the attracting of the masses of mankind to the all-embracing shelter of the Cause of God, still evades us. Particularly in Europe. We have not, as yet, found the secret of setting aglow the hearts of great numbers of Europeans with the divine fire. This must now be your constant preoccupation, the subject of your deliberations at this Conference, the purpose of your lives, to which you will attain “only if you arise to trample beneath your feet every earthly desire.” We call upon every Bahá’í in Europe to ponder this vital matter in his inmost soul, to consider what each may do to attract greater power to his efforts, to radiate more brilliantly and irresistibly the joyous, regenerating power of the Cause, so that the Bahá’í community in every country of Europe may stand out as a beacon light repelling the dark shadows of godlessness and moral degradation now threatening to obliterate the last remnants of a dying order. We call upon the Continental Board of Counselors to consult following this Conference with every National Spiritual Assembly in Europe, and together, launch such a campaign of spiritualization of the Bahá’í community, allied with intensified personal teaching, as has never been witnessed in your continent. The goals of the Seven Year Plan can all be accomplished as the result of such a program and the European Bahá’í community may achieve through it the spiritual force and character to demonstrate to a stricken and declining civilization the peace and joy and order of the long-awaited, Christ-promised Kingdom of God on earth.
May the loving spirit and saintly life of the Greatest Holy Leaf, the fiftieth anniversary of whose ascension is commemorated in this Conference, imbue your thoughts and aspirations and resolves with that dedicated, self-sacrificing, utter devotion to Bahá’u’lláh and His Cause which she so greatly exemplified.