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Gratitude

A great part of the world is plunged in sleep, but you have been awakened. Many are blind, but you see!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 170)


All that has been created is for man who is at the apex of creation and who must be thankful for the divine bestowals, so that through his gratitude he may learn to understand life as a divine benefit.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 134-135)


As to the calamities and afflictions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: These are not calamities, but bounties; they are not afflictions, but gifts; not hardships, but tranquillity; not trouble, but mercy—and we thank God for this great favor.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 128)


As to you—O ye who are attracted to the fragrances of God! — kneel down and thank God for choosing you to enter His wonderful Kingdom.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 135)


Buddha had disciples and he wished to send them out into the world to teach, so he asked them questions to see if they were prepared as he would have them be. “When you go to the East and to the West,” said the Buddha, “and the people shut their doors to you and refuse to speak to you, what will you do?”—The disciples answered and said: “We shall be very thankful that they do us no harm.”—“Then if they do you harm and mock, what will you do?”—“We shall be very thankful that they do not give us worse treatment.”—“If they throw you into prison?”—“We shall still be grateful that they do not kill us.”—“What if they were to kill you?” the Master asked for the last time. “Still,” answered the disciples, “we will be thankful, for they cause us to be martyrs. What more glorious fate is there than this, to die for the glory of God?” And the Buddha said: “Well done!”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 63-64)


But there is something else: detachment. We can appreciate without attaching ourselves to the things of this world … While enjoying the things of this world we must remember that one day we shall have to do without them.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 135-136)


Consider how all the people are asleep, and ye are awake. They are dead, and ye are alive through the breaths of the Holy Spirit. They are blind while ye are endowed with perceptive sight. They are deprived of the love of God, but in your hearts it exists and is glowing. Consider these bestowals and favors.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 236)


Consider how grateful anyone becomes when healed from sickness, when treated kindly by another or when a service is rendered by another, even though it may be of the least consequence. If we forget such favors, it is an evidence of ingratitude. Then it will be said a loving-kindness has been done, but we are thankless, not appreciating this love and favor. Physically and spiritually we are submerged in the sea of God’s favor. He has provided our foods, drink and other requirements; His favors encompass us from all directions. The sustenances provided for man are blessings. Sight, hearing and all his faculties are wonderful gifts. These blessings are innumerable; no matter how many are mentioned, they are still endless. Spiritual blessings are likewise endless - spirit, consciousness, thought, memory, perception, ideation and other endowments.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 236)


Do you realize how much you should thank God for His blessings? If you should thank Him a thousand times with each breath, it would not be sufficient because God has created and trained you. He has protected you from every affliction and prepared every gift and bestowal. Consider what a kind Father He is. He bestows His gift before you ask. We were not in the world of existence, but as soon as we were born, we found everything prepared for our needs and comfort without question on our part. He has given us a kind father and compassionate mother, provided for us two springs of salubrious milk, pure atmosphere, refreshing water, gentle breezes and the sun shining above our heads. In brief, He has supplied all the necessities of life although we did not ask for any of these great gifts. With pure mercy and bounty He has prepared this great table. It is a mercy which precedes asking. There is another kind of mercy, which is realized after questioning and supplication. He has bestowed both upon us—without asking and with supplication. He has created us in this radiant century, a century longed for and expected by all the sanctified souls in past periods. It is a blessed century; it is a blessed day. The philosophers of history have agreed that this century is equal to one hundred past centuries. This is true from every standpoint. This is the century of science, inventions, discoveries and universal laws. This is the century of the revelation of the mysteries of God. This is the century of the effulgence of the rays of the Sun of Truth. Therefore, you must render thanks and glorification to God that you were born in this age. Furthermore, you have listened to the call of Bahá’u’lláh. Your nostrils are perfumed with the breezes of the paradise of Abhá. You have caught glimpses of the light from the horizon of the Orient. You were asleep; you are awakened. Your ears are attentive; your hearts are informed. You have acquired the love of God. You have attained to the knowledge of God. This is the most great bestowal of God. This is the breath of the Holy Spirit, and this consists of faith and assurance. This eternal life is the second birth; this is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. God has destined this station for you all. He has prepared this for you. You must appreciate the value of this bounty and engage your time in mentioning and thanking the True One. You must live in the utmost happiness. If any trouble or vicissitude comes into your lives, if your heart is depressed on account of health, livelihood or vocation, let not these things affect you. They should not cause unhappiness, for Bahá’u’lláh has brought you divine happiness. He has prepared heavenly food for you; He has destined eternal bounty for you; He has bestowed everlasting glory upon you. Therefore, these glad tidings should cause you to soar in the atmosphere of joy forever and ever. Render continual thanks unto God so that the confirmations of God may encircle you all.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 187-188)


For I say unto you that He has chosen you to be His messengers of love throughout the world, to be His bearers of spiritual gifts to man, to be the means of spreading unity and concord on the earth. Thank God with all your hearts that such a privilege has been given unto you. For a life devoted to praise is not too long in which to thank God for such a favour.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 68)


From amongst all mankind hath He chosen you, and your eyes have been opened to the light of guidance and your ears attuned to the music of the Company above; and blessed by abounding grace, your hearts and souls have been born into new life. Thank ye and praise ye God that the hand of infinite bestowals hath set upon your heads this gem-studded crown, this crown whose lustrous jewels will forever flash and sparkle down all the reaches of time.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 35)


Give thanks unto God, inasmuch as He hath strengthened thee with the knowledge of Himself and caused thee to enter into His protection on a Day whereon the unbelievers encompassed the people of God and His saints and drove them forth from their houses with evident tyranny.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 94)


I give Thee thanks inasmuch as Thou hast called me into being in Thy days, and infused into me Thy love and Thy knowledge.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 177)


I give praise to Thee, O my God, that the fragrance of Thy loving-kindness hath enraptured me, and the gentle winds of Thy mercy have inclined me in the direction of Thy bountiful favors.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 238)


I give thanks to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast suffered me to remember Thee. What else but remembrance of Thee can give delight to my soul or gladness to my heart? Communion with Thee enableth me to dispense with the remembrance of all Thy creatures, and my love for Thee empowereth me to endure the harm which my oppressors inflict upon me.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 193)


I marvel at the wonders of Thy Revelation, and at the tokens of Thy glory. I recognize, O Thou Who art my heart’s Desire, that were fire to be touched by water it would instantly be extinguished, whereas the Fire which Thou didst kindle can never go out, though all the seas of the earth be poured upon it. Should water at any time touch it, the hands of Thy power would, as decreed in Thy Tablets, transmute that water into a fuel that would feed its flame.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 150)


I render Thee thanks that Thou hast made known unto me such servants as have utterly abolished, by the power of Thy might and of Thy sovereignty, the idols of their corrupt desires, and were not kept back by the things which are possessed by Thy creatures from turning in the direction of Thy grace. These have so vehemently rent the veils asunder that the dwellers of the cities of self have wept, and fear and trembling seized the people of envy and wickedness who, adorning their heads and their bodies with the emblems of knowledge, have proudly rejected Thee and turned away from Thy beauty.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 77)


If we hold enmity with life, we are ingrates, for our material and spiritual existence is the outward evidences of the divine mercy.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 134-135)


In short, thou shouldst thank God a hundred-thousand times for having been confirmed and strengthened in obtaining such a great gift [servitude]! Know thou the value thereof and consider that its price is highly appraised.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 510)


In these times thanksgiving for the bounty of the Merciful One consists in the illumination of the heart and the feeling of the soul. This is the reality of thanksgiving. But, although offering thanks through speech or writings is approvable, yet, in comparison with that, it is but unreal, for the foundation is spiritual feelings and merciful sentiments.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 360)


In this day, to thank God for His bounties consisteth in possessing a radiant heart, and a soul open to the promptings of the spirit. This is the essence of thanksgiving. As for offering thanks by speaking out or writing, although this is indeed acceptable, yet when compared with that other thanksgiving, it is only a semblance and unreal; for the essential thing is these intimations of the spirit, these emanations from the deep recess of the heart.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 179)


It behooveth man, upon reaching the age of nineteen, to render thanksgiving for the day of his conception as an embryo. For had the embryo not existed, how could he have reached his present state?
(The Báb: Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 89)


It is indeed strange that instead of offering thanks for this bounty, which truly derives from the grace of Almighty God, by arising as one in gratitude and enthusiasm and praying that these noble purposes will daily multiply, some, on the contrary, whose reason has been corrupted by personal motives and the clarity of whose perception has been clouded by self-interest and conceit; whose energies are devoted to the service of their passions, whose sense of pride is perverted to the love of leadership, have raised the standard of opposition and waxed loud in their complaints.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 11-12)


Learn well this Tablet, O Ahmad. Chant it during thy days and withhold not thyself therefrom. For verily, God hath ordained for the one who chants it, the reward of a hundred martyrs and a service in both worlds. These favors have We bestowed upon thee as a bounty on Our part and a mercy from Our presence, that thou mayest be of those who are grateful.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 211)


O Thou Provider! Thou hast breathed over the friends in the West the sweet fragrance of the Holy Spirit, and with the light of divine guidance Thou hast lit up the western sky. Thou hast made those who were once remote to draw near unto Thyself; Thou hast turned strangers into loving friends; Thou hast awakened those who slept; Thou hast made the heedless mindful.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 74)


O my God! my God! Thanks be to Thee for guiding me unto Thy Kingdom, for opening before my face the door of Thy guidance, enlightening my eyes with beholding Thy signs, and filling my heart with the feelings of Thy love.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 110)


On the meaning of thanksgiving ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said: “Thankfulness is of various kinds. There is a verbal thanksgiving which is confined to a mere utterance of gratitude. This is of no importance because perchance the tongue may give thanks while the heart is unaware of it. Many who offer thanks to God are of this type; their spirits and hearts unconscious of thanksgiving. This is mere usage, just as when we meet, receive a gift and say thank you, speaking the words without significance. ... When man in response to the favors of God manifests susceptibilities of conscience, the heart is happy, the spirit is exhilarated. These spiritual susceptibilities are ideal thanksgiving. There is a cordial thanksgiving, too, which expresses itself in the deeds and actions of man when his heart is filled with gratitude. For example, God has conferred upon man the gift of guidance, and in thankfulness for this great gift certain deeds must emanate from him. To express his gratitude for the favors of God man must show forth praiseworthy actions. In response to these bestowals he must render good deeds, be self-sacrificing, loving the servants of God, forfeiting even life for them, showing kindness to all the creatures… Whatsoever he wishes to do must be in harmony with the good pleasure of God. He must observe and see what is the will of God and act accordingly. There can be no doubt that such commendable deeds are thankfulness for the favors of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 236)


Praise God that He guided thee to the Path of His Kingdom, blessed thee with the word of holiness, and illumined thy heart with a light shining in the lofty Kingdom.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 128-129)


Praise be to God! you are living upon the great continent of the West enjoying the perfect liberty, security and peace of this just government. There is no cause for sorrow or unhappiness anywhere; every means of happiness and enjoyment is about you, for in this human world there is no greater blessing than liberty. You do not know. I who for forty years have been a prisoner, do know. I do know the value and blessing of liberty. For you have been and are now living in freedom and you have no fear of anybody. Is there a greater blessing than this? Freedom! Liberty! Security! These are the great bestowals of God. Therefore praise God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 62)


Praise be to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast aided me to remember Thee and to praise Thee, and hast made known unto me Him Who is the Day-Spring of Thy signs, and hast caused me to bow down before Thy Lordship, and humble myself before Thy Godhead, and to acknowledge that which hath been uttered by the Tongue of Thy grandeur.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 321)


Praise be to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast revealed Thy favors and Thy bounties; and glory be to Thee, O my Beloved, that Thou hast manifested the Day-Star of Thy loving-kindness and Thy tender mercies.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 329)


Praise be unto Thee, O our God, that Thou hast sent down unto us that which draweth us nigh unto Thee, and supplieth us with every good thing sent down by Thee in Thy Books and Thy Scriptures.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 323)


Rejoice and be glad that this day has dawned, try to realize its power, for it is indeed wonderful!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 68)


Thank God for choosing thee, saving thee and granting thee of these great blessings and glorious attainments. Verily, thy Lord shall confirm thee in that which shall surprise the minds, through the glowing of its love and the manifestations of the signs of its favors.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 110)


Thank God for that He hath awakened thee from thy sleep, found thee after thy being lost and quickened thee after thy death.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 120)


Thank thou God for that by reason of which the breath of God hath awakened thee and the spirit of God hath quickened thee and raised thee from among the dead with a joyful spirit of life.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 120)


Thank thou God for thou hast worn a crown studded with gems of the knowledge of God and partaken of the fountain of the Water of Life … Thou wast in darkness and thou hast attained the world of lights.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 118)


Thank ye God, for He hath guided you unto His Kingdom and hath chosen you from among the called ones of nations! Your Lord hath indeed crowned you with the diadem of eternal glory (which will continue) throughout cycles and ages! Truly I say unto you, verily, the angels of heaven repeatedly bless you, for ye have advanced toward God and turned unto His Great Kingdom. Ye shall surely see in this effulgence a flash which will pervade all regions. At that time, all nations and communities will arise to praise and glorify you, and they will bless themselves with your commemoration in gatherings, temples of worship and in exalted assemblies. Is there any gift greater than this?
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 271)


Thanks and praise be unto God for that He granted thee a good descendant and dilated thy breast by this great bounty. It is incumbent on thee to offer many thanks to the Merciful Lord for this great favor in the world of humanity. Verily I implore unto God to make him a sign of His Kingdom, illuminated, spiritual and godlike among the children.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 122-123)


The best way to thank God is to love one another.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 468)


The grace of God hath chosen thee and distinguished thee for His love, that thou mayest thank Him a thousand times in every moment. Because of this bounty, you must choose to serve the maid-servants of the Merciful.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 507-508)


The hands of bounty have borne round the cup of everlasting life. Approach, and quaff your fill. Drink with healthy relish, O ye that are the very incarnations of longing, ye who are the embodiments of vehement desire!
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 31)


Therefore, in thanksgiving for them ye must act in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Ye must read the Tablets—the Hidden Words, Ishraqat, Glad Tidings—all the holy utterances, and act according to them. This is real thanksgiving, to live in accord with these utterances. This is true thankfulness and the divine bestowal. This is thanksgiving and glorification of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 236)


Therefore we must be happy and pass our time in praises, appreciating all things.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 134-135)


Therefore, we must thank God that He has created for us both material blessings and spiritual bestowals. He has given us material gifts and spiritual graces, outer sight to view the lights of the sun and inner vision by which we may perceive the glory of God. He has designed the outer ear to enjoy the melodies of sound and the inner hearing wherewith we may hear the voice of our Creator.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 90-91)


Were I—and to this Thy glory beareth me witness—to render thanksgiving unto Thee, through the whole continuance of Thy kingdom and the duration of the heaven of Thine omnipotence, I would still have failed to repay Thy manifold bestowals.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 122)


I yield Thee such thanks as can assist the hearts of Thine ardent lovers to soar into the atmosphere of nearness to Thee, and of longing for Thee, and kindle the Light of Lights within the land of Iraq.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 331)


I yield Thee such thanks as can blot out from the hearts of men all suggestions of limitations, and inscribe the signs of Thy unity.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 332)


I yield Thee such thanks as can direct the steps of the wayward towards the splendors of the morning light of Thy guidance, and enable those who yearn towards Thee to attain the seat of the revelation of the effulgence of Thy beauty.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 329)


I yield Thee such thanks as can cause Thee to forgive all sins and trespasses, and to fulfill the needs of the peoples of all religions, and to waft the fragrances of pardon over the entire creation.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 331)


I yield Thee such thanks as can cause the Nightingale of Glory to pour forth its melody in the highest heaven: “Ali (the Bab), in truth, is Thy servant, Whom Thou hast singled out from among Thy Messengers and Thy chosen Ones, and made Him to be the Manifestation of Thyself in all that pertaineth unto Thee, and that concerneth the revelation of Thine attributes and the evidences of Thy names.”
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 330)


I yield Thee such thanks as can cause the sick to draw nigh unto the waters of Thy healing, and can help those who are far from Thee to approach the living fountain of Thy presence.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 329)


I yield Thee such thanks as can cause the signs of Thine exalted singleness to be sent down out of the heaven of Thy holy unity.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 331)


I yield Thee such thanks as can detach them that are nigh unto Thee from all created things, and draw them to the throne of Thy names and Thine attributes.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 331)


I yield Thee such thanks as can divest the bodies of Thy servants of the garments of mortality and abasement, and attire them in the robes of Thine eternity and Thy glory, and lead the poor unto the shores of Thy holiness and all sufficient riches.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 329-330)


I yield Thee such thanks as can enable all who are in heaven and on earth to dispense with all created things, through the treasuries of Thine all-sufficing riches, and can aid all created things to reach unto the summit of Thine almighty favors.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 331)


I yield Thee such thanks as can enable the Heavenly Dove to warble forth, upon the branches of the Lote-Tree of Immortality, her song: “Verily, Thou art God. No God is there besides Thee. From eternity Thou hast been exalted above the praise of aught else but Thee, and been high above the description of any one except Thyself.”
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 330)


I yield Thee such thanks as can enable them that recognize Thy unity to scale the heights of Thy love, and cause such as are devoted to Thee to ascend unto the Paradise of Thy presence.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 331-332)


I yield Thee such thanks as can establish the Manifestations of Thy sovereignty upon the throne of Thy governance, and set up the Exponents of Thy glory upon the seat of Thy Divinity.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 330-331)


I yield Thee such thanks as can fill the heavens and the earth with the signs of Thy transcendent Essence, and assist all created things to enter the Tabernacle of Thy nearness and Thy presence.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 330)


I yield Thee such thanks as can make every created thing to be a book that shall speak of Thee, and a scroll that shall unfold Thy praise.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 330)


I yield Thee such thanks as can make the corrupt tree to bring forth good fruit through the holy breaths of Thy favors, and revive the bodies of all beings with the gentle winds of Thy transcendent grace.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 331)


I yield Thee such thanks as can satisfy the wants of all such as seek Thee, and realize the aims of them that have recognized Thee.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 332)


I yield Thee such thanks as can stir up all things to extol Thee, and to glorify Thine Essence, and can unloose the tongues of all beings to magnify the sovereignty of Thy beauty.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 330)


I yield Thee such thanks as can teach all things the realities of Thy knowledge and the essence of Thy wisdom, and will not withhold the wretched creatures from the doors of Thy mercy and Thy bountiful favor.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 331)


I yield Thee such thanks as that with which Thou didst from eternity glorify Thine own Self, and didst exalt it above all peers, rivals, and comparisons, O Thou in Whose hands are the heavens of grace and of bounty, and the kingdoms of glory and of majesty!
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 332)