Preparing for a sacred journey with kids

 

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I’m holding the invitation letter, opening the envelope with shaking hands and my heart is beating faster than ever. Finally, my long cherished dream will come true – in half a year I will go on a Baha’i pilgrimage with my children! They will be blessed to witness, to feel, to inhale and to grasp the very essence of our Faith! They will see the history becoming alive, more real than the reality itself! They will be in the presence of God! In the Center of the Covenant! They will be the guests of Baha’u’llah! They will follow in the footsteps of the Messengers of God, of the heroes and martyrs of the Faith. They will be able to pray in the Holy Shrines! What a privilege! What a bounty! What a responsibility!

I’m absolutely convinced that no matter of what religion you are, visiting Holy Places together with your loved ones and especially with your children brings countless blessings to your family, strengthens its unity and creates an eternal spiritual bond which will last in all the worlds.

 

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I was sure that my sons’ pure hearts would receive in abundance Divine bounties and blessings of this journey. But I knew that they would fully benefit from this unique experience if I helped them prepare their souls and minds for this spiritual voyage. I wanted them to have proper attitude to the holiness and sacredness of the Shrines we were going to visit! I wanted them to see not only the outer beauty of the Baha’i gardens, but also to comprehend its concealed meaning. I wanted them to feel the incomparable reverence, veneration, humility and endless love one can feel only in the presence of the Creator.

So, we started preparing

  • I began with showing them the albums with the pictures of the Holy places, explaining the meaning of the 19 terraces, the Shrines, the administrative buildings and places we were going to visit
  • We read all the children books we could find in Russian about the early history of the faith: “Golden crowns”, “Children’s Stories from the Dawn-Breakers”, “The Nabil’s narrative”, “Children’s stories about Baha’u’llah”, Stories about Abdu’l-Baha
  • We didn’t simply read the stories of the martyrs and heroes of the Faith, but we discussed them and shared our feelings
  • During our usual evening devotionals we would read and meditate on the writings about the sacred meaning of pilgrimage and visiting Holy places
  • We were learning new prayers by heart, chanting them, so that they could keep them in minds while praying in the Shrines

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By the time of our pilgrimage they knew a lot and they were eager to see everything with their own eyes. They were counting days till we start our trip. Our spiritual journey took place in April 2011. Dalil and Anis were 9 and 6 years old – big enough to grasp the sacred meaning of this journey and to carry precious memories throughout their lives. There were four of us – my mother, my sons and me. I was so happy we all could make it and my mom, not being a Baha’i, would share with us this soul stirring, heartwarming, life changing experience.

All the nine days of our pilgrimage we were dwelling not in this earthly world, but in the realm beyond our comprehension. When I entered the Shrine holding tiny hands of my boys I felt so grateful, so blessed, so purified and humbled. Nothing can compare with the moment when you are kneeling in absorbed meditation and prayer in the Holy Shrine of Baha’u’llah, with your children by your side, praying with you, asking God to give you enough strength and wisdom to be a good mother for them, pleading for His forgiveness as you have been wrong, unjust and impatient with them too often, feeling in a mysterious way that your prayers have been heard and mercy granted, crying with purifying tears, then opening your eyes and seeing that your mother also cries looking at you and understanding with her motherly heart exactly what you feel …

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To say that we all benefited from this journey is to say nothing. Dalil and Anis still remember the smallest details of this trip. We have been blessed being part of a wonderful Russian group of pilgrims and amazingly kind and knowledgeable guide. We met there our kindred spirits, who became our friends. We still keep in touch.

Every prayer we have pronounced, every step we have made, every pure thought we have had, every single breath in this sanctified place brought us closer to each other and closer to our Creator. I’m sure that what my boys have witnessed there and felt left a lifetime imprint in their souls, strengthened their Faith, and filled in abundance the reservoirs of their souls with Divine love and grace! And my mother for the first time in 15 years since I became Baha’i has wholeheartedly and sincerely accepted, realized and respected my choice!

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“Holy places are undoubtedly centers of the outpouring of divine grace, because on entering the illumined sites, associated with martyrs and holy souls, and by observing reverence, both physical and spiritual, ones heart is moved with great tenderness.” Abdu’l-Baha

What is a Baha’i Pilgrimage

Bah?’?s Holy places are situated in Israel, mostly in the cities of Haifa and Akko. Alll the Baha’is in good standing may apply to undertake a pilgrimage, which spans nine days and consists of guided visits to the Holy Shrines, various other sites in the Holy Land associated with the Central Figures of the Faith, and the Terraces and gardens on Mount Carmel.To receive this bounty of visiting the Holy Places at the Bah?’? World Centre is an inestimable privilege, infinitely precious to every Bah?’? pilgrim.

If you would like to find out more about the Baha’i pilgrimage, please do not hesitate to access this link: Baha’i pilgrimage

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8 Responses

  1. halen says:

    Dear Irina I enjoyed reading this beautiful and unique experience. Thanks for sharing and taking us to this well prepared pilgramage again. Bringing back wonderful memories.

    • GoodAdmin says:

      Dear Haleh, thank you so much for being such active reader of my blog. I really appreciate it. It was indeed the most meaningful, fruitful and elevated journey I had ever had with my children.

  2. Elika Mahony says:

    What a lovely blog – so full of love, spirit and joy! I especially found the section on how you prepared your children to be very insightful. What a wonderful Mama you are! :)

  3. maya says:

    Dear friend thank you for sharing ,!!

  4. Danyon says:

    Always a good job right here. Keep rolling on through

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