Frances Madden

Ireland


'For me, it all began in an ambulance!'

For me, it all began in an ambulance! I was working with a woman who was a Bahá'í, and one day she collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital via ambulance. She asked me to accompany her, and during the drive she decided to tell me about the Bahá'í Faith. I'm not sure why she picked that moment, but I found myself interested in what she said.

My relationship with Bahá'u'lláh took some time to develop, because this was a strange word, a strange name from a strange culture. I didn't grow up with it. For me, Bahá'u'lláh is not the replacement of Jesus but the continuation of Jesus. That love that I had for Jesus I have transferred to Bahá'u'lláh as the Supreme Manifestation of God for this day.

The principle of Progressive Revelation was one principle of Bahá'u'lláh that really attracted me. Justice, too, attracted me, because I met with a lot of injustice as a child and a young person. That is one of the most important principles to me, as is the equality of the races -- but that's tied up with justice, too. To me, many of the principles come back to justice: the equality of men and women -- it's only justice that it should be that way -- and the education of both girl children and boy children. One of my favorite passages in the Bahá'í writings is "The best beloved of all things in My sight is justice."

I try to put the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh into practice in my daily life. How? By stumbling, falling, picking myself up, kicking myself occasionally and saying, "Oh dear, you shouldn't have done that. Let's try to do this better in the future." And by reading the Bahá'í writings. I read the writings a little every morning and try to see how this will fit into what I am doing for the rest of the day. The Seven Valleys is a very exciting book, because of the spiritual journeys it describes and where you are in them. You can see when you go back to read it several times that you're at different stages, and it's not a continuous progression. You go one, two, three, whoops! And you can see that you are not in the same stage or the same valley all the time. This is something I'll be working on for the rest of my life, no doubt about that, because no sooner do you think you're getting somewhere than there's something else you've got to work on!

Coming from Ireland, I can say that there is a spirituality that exists and has always existed in the Irish people. They adopted Christianity with great fervor, adapted it slightly in their own way, and carried it all over the world. Today, I think there is a very disillusioned group of young people in Ireland who are disillusioned with the Catholic church. Many of them still have a faith; they still believe in God --wish to believe in God -- but they feel the Church has no relevance anymore for them and they want something spiritual in their lives. The Bahá'í Faith can of course offer this, and it can also offer them a moving on from Jesus, because they are very attached to the person of Jesus, the Son of God When they see Bahá'u'lláh as the Messenger of God that leads on from Jesus, when they realize they're not in any way rejecting Jesus, they can add the two together -- the fervor for Jesus to the love for Bahá'u'lláh -- and they can set the world on fire, I think.

I think that the Bahá'í Faith is the only solution to the problems of the world. I have seen the way that the teachings, the administration of the Bahá'í Faith change people's hearts. I come from a country where there are many problems. There has now been a breakdown in the ceasefire which looked so hopeful for so long and inspired many people, and you can see very clearly from it that all the solutions proposed by the politicians, by the people, by church leaders, by well-meaning people, they just don't work. People's hearts are not changed. If people could just come to know Bahá'u'lláh, love the Bahá'í Faith, and even practice one of the teachings -- the one which is my favorite -- that would erase so many problems. It is the only answer.

 

General Information
The Bahá’í Faith
The international website of the Bahá’ís of the world.
The Life of Bahá’u’lláh
A photographic narrative about the life of the founder of the Bahá’í Faith.
Bahá’u’lláh
Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and a history of His life, His teachings, His station.
The Universal House of Justice
General information about the Universal House of Justice, selected statements and letters which have been written by it or prepared under its supervision.
Attaining the Dynamics of Growth
A global sampling of Bahá’í community life – devotional meetings, children and youth classes, study of sacred scripture, service projects, and fellowship.
Reference
Bahá'í Reference Library
The Bahá'í sacred writings available online.
Bahá'í Statement Library
Statements issued by the United Nations office of the Bahá'í International Community.
Bahá'í Media Bank
Photographs available for downloading.
News
Bahá'í World News Service
News from around the globe.
One Country
The quarterly newsletter of the Bahá'í International Community, with in-depth features, book reviews and commentary.