What does it mean? I have pondered these days and have wondered what does it really mean? Baha’u’llah tells us “The Ayyam-i-Ha are devoted to spiritual preparation for the fast, hospitality, feasting, charity and gift giving.”
What has been my focus as an individual and what has our focus been as a community? As I am unable to Fast because of health reasons and age I am preparing to memorize two prayers during this period. One prayer will be on rendering service to My Beloved and the other is on forgiveness.
Gift-giving is one thing I can do on a small scale as I do not have the means or the interest in participating in the mass consumerism which is so prevalent in our Western World.
I have been looking at the word “Charity” with interest. Does it mean to give a gift or donation to a charity, pat myself on the back and say “my what a good Baha’i I am” or is there more substance to what is to be done.
I found in ‘Ocean’ interesting information about “Charity” etc from the Compilation, NSA, USA – Developing Distinctive Baha’i Communities.
To Charity “marriages, Ayyam-i-Ha, wedding anniversaries, Bahá'í declarations, pioneering moves, firesides given, hospitality, services rendered, Naw-Ruz and the 12 days of Ridvan are among the occasions on which such gifts might be offered.”
/// Many churches distribute food baskets to the needy during their holiday season. The Bahá'ís can help with such projects and can observe Ayyam-i-Ha or various Bahá'í Holy Days in a similar manner.
/// An Assembly with a Bahá'í Center or other space available can maintain an ongoing food pantry. Food is available through community food drives, the Federal Commodities program, and local merchants.
/// If space and cooking facilities are available, the Assembly can serve hot meals on a regular basis to the needy or a meal in observance of a Bahá'í Holy Day.
I find these most intriguing comments and are food for thought for our community to really look at what we could do as a community. Instead of us having a big “Pot-Luck” for our fellow believers why can’t we have the “Pot-Luck” at one of the shelters where we as a community work to “serve” those in much greater need.
As we move forward in developing our own distinctive Baha’i Community we must address the elimination of poverty.
I will be sharing from time to time my own ideas and those from the Baha’i International Community (BIC) about poverty issues.
Am I an expert on poverty? You bet I am! My children and I have been homeless a couple of times and I have been homeless on my own. Am I living below the poverty line? You bet I am! Do I have all the answers? Nope! But I have an insatiable interest in what the Baha’i Faith and the various Baha’i organizations have to say about poverty elimination and how I, as an individual, can help to alleviate this blight from our midst.
I look forward to contributing more on this subject.