The mystery of sacrifice

One of the friends said:

Long ago I picked up a supposed quote from the Bab, “The mystery of sacrifice is there is no sacrifice.” Now I can’t find a source. Does anybody know if it is authentic or has another documented origin?

I am afraid this another of those kitab-e hearsay sources. It enters Bahai lore in 1916, in the words of one of the delegates to the National Convention, Mrs Elizabeth Greenleaf (1863-1941). An account of the proceedings says:

Mrs. Greenleaf: As I have listened, my thoughts have crystallized themselves into three sentences. The first is, “Lift up thy heart with delight that thou mayest be fitted to meet me and to mirror forth my beauty” (the voice of God speaking in the Hidden Words. The second is what Abdul Baha said to Isabel Fraser: Attainment is not through renunciation but through radiant acquiescence. The third is the word “’sacrifice.”‘ We use the great word and have heard much about the “mystery of sacrifice.” Now what is the mystery of sacrifice? The mystery of sacrifice is that there is no sacrifice.

Reported in Star of the West, Vol. 7, p. 66, published in July 13 1916, reporting on the closing session of the Convention in Chicago, April 29-May 2 1916.

This bit of wisdom may not be from Bahai scripture, but it is no less true for that. The paradox of sacrifice is already expressed in the Gospel of Luke: ”whoever would save his life will lose it; and whosever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” (Luke 9:24)

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