A very dear friend asked me if I might make a compilation on a passion of theirs, personal teaching. As I plunged into the work, I became consumed with this concept of personal teaching. What it means, exactly to share the teachings of the Faith with another soul, the import of promulgating the Cause, the methods that are efficient and wise for doing so, the audience, the timing. The Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and the Tablets and talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, particularly Tablets of the Divine Plan and the talks in Promulgation of Universal Peace started to unveil hundreds of different ways ‘Abdu’l-Bahá referred to the teaching work — almost never, incidentally, using “teaching” as the only active verb.
I saw the complexity of the theme and I decided to start keeping a list of these synonyms which make up the last (bonus) section of the work. I find them very meditative because you can pick any term and hold it up to the light like a gem and think of its implications, and if you search you can find it highlighted in its context.
As I was searching I started seeing frequent excerpts from Memorials of the Faithful. These were always precise, pointed references to the acts of teachings of these early Bahá’ís, many of them martyrs, some of them Apostles of Bahá’u’lláh in addition to being Hands of the Cause. I realized I needed to include them but in a section on teaching stories, so that made up Section V.
It became obvious to me I couldn’t call it a compilation on personal teaching if I wanted to be truthful. I decided to call it a “Florilegium” [Latin: lit. “gathering of flowers,” a compilation of excerpts].