A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Twelfth Day of Ridván. Bahá’í Holy Day on 5 Jamál of the Bahá’í calendar, joyously celebrating the day in 1863 when Bahá’u’lláh and His family left the Garden of Ridván (Paradise) outside Baghdad to start His journey to Constantinople. After the Ottoman Empire exiled him from the city, He had stayed in the garden for 12 days to: declare publicly His mission as a great Messenger from God, the Promised One in all religions; mark the beginning of the Bahá’í Faith; and meet many visitors. He was: to Israel the incarnation of the Everlasting Father, the Lord of Hosts come down with ten thousands of saints; to Christendom Christ returned in the glory of the Father; to Shi’a Muslims the return of the Imam Husayn; to Sunni Islam the descent of the Spirit of God; to Zoroastrians the promised Shah-Bahram; to Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna; and to Buddhists the 5th Buddha. Happy Ridván. Image: facebook.com.

Great and Holy Saturday (Great Sabbath). In the Orthodox Church, as Jesus today rested from his labours on the Cross at the end of the 40 days of Great Lent, the day has from Christian antiquity combined elements of deep sorrow and exultant joy. The Matins of Lamentation is usually celebrated on the Friday evening and resembles the Byzantine Rite funeral service interspersed with laudations (ainoi) of the dead Christ. Worshippers stand with lighted candles and the Evlogitaria hymns of the Resurrection, normally reserved for Sundays, are chanted. This morning, the Divine Liturgy of St Basil embodying the last moments of Christ’s life is celebrated, combined with Vespers. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the priest blesses, but does not consecrate, wine and bread that are distributed to the faithful, although like Great and Holy Friday this is a day of strict fasting. The last liturgical service in the Lenten Triodion is the Midnight Office that forms the 1st part of the Paschal Vigil. After the concluding prayers and dismissal just before midnight, all the lights and candles in the church are extinguished and all wait in silence and darkness for the stroke of midnight, following which the Pentecostarion replaces the Lenten Triodion, commencing with the proclamation of the Resurrection of Christ. At midnight, the priest lights the first candle and the people take turns lighting each other’s candles to celebrate Christ’s resurrection with the traditional hymn Christos Anesti (Χριστός ἀνέστη, Christ is Risen). Image: pinterest.com.

Our Lady, Queen of the May. The flower-bedecked month of May is dedicated to the most beautiful flower of all, Mary the Mother of God. Though Queen of Heaven, when this earth was privileged to have her as a dweller she was the most humane of human beings, although blessed far beyond our capacity to understand. As Queen of the Universe, she does not enjoy the loyalty of all and she sorrows to see so many deny her Son. Catholic devotion to Mary is founded on all the virtues that human nature should and would possess but seldom does. Mary is worthy of the admiration that men can give her, hers being a heart adorned as no other heart with tenderness for the sinner Her Divine Son died to save, meekness to confound the proud, kindness toward human frailty and love for all, as God has loved them first. Sin and Satan were never a part of Mary’s life and would that we could say the same. Not for a moment was there ever any difference between her will and that of the Most High, nor anything in Mary that could in any way displease her Lord. Image: catholictradition.org.

Prayer During this new month dedicated to Our Lady, Queen of the May, let us all admire the sinlessness of God’s Mother, who is indeed our own Heavenly Mother. We pray that with God’s grace and Mary’s assistance and intercession we may achieve that purity of soul that is pleasing to her and to her Son. Amen