(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)
Religious Gatheka Number 8
If we can only know the joy of asking pardon even of our fellow man, when we realize we are in fault, however little it may be! And when we ask the Father of all to forgive our fault, joy, beauty, happiness, spring up in the heart in a way unknown until it is experienced. And then to think we can ask pardon of him Whose love is unlimited, while our errors are numberless and our ignorance limitless! Think of the joy of asking forgiveness from God! Every moment of our life, if we can see wisely, contains some fault or error, and asking pardon is just like purifying the heart and washing it white. Only think of the joy of humbling yourself before God!
There is a story told of Akbar. He was mourning for the death of his mother and for a long time his grief was so great he could not overcome it. His ministers and friends tried to comfort him, telling him how fortunate he was; how great was his influence and power. He answered, 'Yes, I know it, but one thing grieves me. I have everyone to bow before me, but there was one, when I came in the palace, before whom I could be humble. I could be as nothing before her and I cannot tell you the joy of that.'
Think then of the greater joy of humbling yourself before that Spirit, that Ideal, who is the true Father and Mother, on Whose love you can always depend; – it is a spark of His love which expresses itself in the earthly father and mother, – and in whatever manner you humble yourself before Him, it can never be enough. To humble your limited self before His Perfection, that is to deny yourself. Self denial is not renouncing things, it is denying the self, and its first lesson is humility.
And the blessing one can receive by prayer becomes a thousand-fold greater when that blessing is received by some few who are united in the same thought and are praying together.