Monday, August 3, 2015

Annuit Coeptis

The purpose of the seminar was not to give a history lesson; rather to find a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Parent, God.  During one of the session, our presenter, Ron Pappalardo, directed our attention toward some unknown events of the history of America and how the founders of our country have been depending on the input of Divine Providence.   In formulating the constitution of the United States and some other resolutions, the founders made sure that they gave honor and praise to God with emphasis on the great spirit rather than any particular religion; with focus on principles of nature and separation of powers. 

That’s why in 1782, Charles Thomson as the secretary of the Continental Congress, suggested the motto Annuit Coeptis which he took from writings of Virgil, the Roman writer.

At one point Ron asked us to take out a one dollar bill.  We all learned something about the Latin words printed on the bill and gained a deeper respect for our founding Fathers.

~ Motto Above the Eye of Providence on the Great Seal, Charles Thomson (1729-1824)  Patriot leader during the American Revolution

Here is the best translation of these ancient words:
“He has favored (blessed) our endeavors (activities).”

That was only one titbits we learned about this weekend in the seminar conducted by Ron Pappalardo.  He teaches about connections with the spiritual world and how we can all access a closer relationship with the Divine.  His approach requires humility and diligence seeking out our Heavenly Parent.

Here is a link to one other presentation Ron gave:

I was very moved by Ron’s incredible enthusiasm and passion to communicate with God and find answers to some of the deepest human secrets.


Monday, July 6, 2015

I am the Beloved

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
~1 John 4:7-8 

According to the dictionary the meaning of “beloved” is being cherished, treasured and dearly-loved.  It takes a relationship to be the ‘beloved.’

From the moment we are born on this earth we have the need to be loved.  It is hard-wired into our human existence to be loved.  Babies who are not experiencing being cared for beyond their physical needs such as being cuddled and touched often grow into uncaring and selfish adults.  As humans we find ourselves challenged to find the balance between our physical (external) and spiritual (internal) needs.  We are very much aware of our five physical senses but only claim the “6th sense” as a tool for intuition.  We know now that there are equally spiritual senses corresponding to the five physical senses.  More and more people have ESP (extra sensory perception) experiences.  And that is nothing to laugh about because even science has recognized the “other” invisible world as real and measureable.

In a book called “Doorway to the Soul” Ron Scolastico discusses the deep hunger for love, connection, and spiritual experience we may feel at a certain time in our life. Some people may get restless, frustrated, or even depressed because they cannot find fulfillment in their physical activities only.

“Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others.”
~Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

All other creatures just have to grow, taking in the sun, water, food, etc. and they fulfill their given purpose.

As humans we have one added (often overlooked) aim and that can only be achieved when we use our free will.  To become fully aware of this faculty of our mind we have to discover our true identity.  We were created in the image of God, our heavenly parent.  To learn that we are children of the all-powerful, all-knowing, and eternal Creator of this infinite universe is a lot to digest.  For many of us we cannot fathom that we have infinite beauty, goodness, and love hidden inside of us.  It may be a tremendous challenge to take off the many filters of our own perspective, taught beliefs, and adapted opinions.  It takes a lot of effort and good intentions to find the deeper realities.  Could changing our attitude about our true identity be the missing link to internal peace?
“It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.”
~ Confucius
It takes humility to discover that blessedness and being the “beloved.”  One place to start is to be grateful for life itself, for what we have, where we live and whom we come in contact with.  Becoming aware of God’s presence takes practice; the rewards are infinite.  Practicing consideration and kindness to others takes the focus away from ourselves.  Paying attention to those connections we discover infinite power, power to change and to grow ourselves spiritually.  With the right intention comes even greater fulfillment.


Monday, May 11, 2015

What is Mercy?

“Mercy is the ability to see through and beyond that which appears, to that which is eternal and never changes.”
~ Michele Longo O’Donnell

According to the dictionary mercy is a form of compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.

In her book “The God That We’ve Created” Michele Longo says that mercy is not compassion; compassion is compassion; mercy is not forgiveness; forgiveness is forgiveness.  She builds her insight on the words of James:

“For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”
~ James 2:13

She says that mercy is from a higher atmosphere of thought.  Mercy excels over judgement.  It is more desired than judgement.  Mercy is the judgement of God.  God sees all his creation, especially his children, with mercy.  When mercy touches our hearts … we are changed forever.  We see ourselves as new creatures, we can change our lives and can even be healed.

Because God sees us as we truly are: our core true, innocent nature, we are governed by his love and truth.  Traditional teachings tell us that God judges us according to our sins.  That would make us fear God because judgement is governed by fear.  Michele suggests that we are governed by mercy with love and truth.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Lift Your Face toward the Sun

During this past Sunday Service pastor Mike used the phrase: “Lift your face toward the sun rather than looking down to the ground.”  This is not to get a nice sun tan or to appear arrogant.  He used it to encourage us to have a positive attitude and to be optimistic.  He also referred to Matthew 5:44-45:

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Jesus here talked about how God being unbiased, sends the sun and the rain on all of us equally.  We don’t have to qualify with our behavior.  I found some other quotes which support this understanding.  Why not get the sun when it is so abundantly available?

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”
~ Helen Keller

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
~ Psalm 84:11

“Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.”
~ Maori Proverb

 May the road rise to meet you.
 May the wind be always at your back.
 May the sun shine warm upon your face.
 And rains fall soft upon your fields.
 And until we meet again,
 May God hold you in the hollow of His hand… .

Turn your face to the sun.
There is goodness in the world that even the river of tears cannot erase.
~ Maithri Goonetilleke 

May experience many moments this week where you can turn your face to the sun both literally and symbolically.  May you always be aware of the choices we have: look up or look down.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Lion and the Mouse Fable

A lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws.  A timid little mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her fright and haste to get away, ran across the lion's nose.  Woken from his nap, the lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny creature to kill her.

"Spare me!" begged the poor mouse. "Please let me go and someday I will surely repay you."

The lion was so amused at the idea of the little mouse being able to help the King of Beasts that he lifted up his paw and let her go.

Some weeks later, the lion was caught in a net.  The hunters, who desired to carry the lion alive to their King, tied him to a tree while they went in search of a wagon to carry him.

Just then the little mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the lion's sad plight, went up to him and soon gnawed away the ropes of the net, freeing the lion.

"You have helped me and now I have returned the favor.  Was I not right - even a mouse can help a lion!" said the little mouse.

The Moral of the story: No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

This story has been told in many variations.  It is part of a collection called the Aesop Fables.  The morals of the story are timeless and can be enjoyed by children as well as adults.  Because the characters are represented by animals, we cannot be offended by the message. 
As the great English writer G. K. Chesterton pointed out:
“They have no choice, they cannot be anything but themselves.”

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cast Down Your Bucket Where You Are

The only thing I knew about Booker T. Washington was that he found many ways of using peanuts.  In the process of my research I learned that he wasn’t a farmer after all rather than a teacher and educator who became a leader of the newly emancipated African-Americans after being liberated from slavery.  George Washington Carver who was a student of his school in Tuskegee, Alabama was the one who experimented with growing better yields of peanuts, sweet potatoes and pecans. 

I was very much moved when I read Booker Washington’s biography Up From Slavery.  I was mostly impressed by his humble and grateful attitude regarding his upbringing.  He never blamed anybody for his circumstances or was resentful for his life.  Even after being freed his family was very poor and had little to eat.  Even young children had to work from morning till night in the salt mine, coal mine or the mill.  But because of his determination to make something of himself he found a way to learn, adopt and even go to school.  His desire to learn was so strong that he eventually was accepted at the Hampton School in Virginia.  He was so motivated to learn that he started out with night classes at Hampton’s.  He spend the whole day working for a white family doing basic homemaking chores.  Because he wanted to do a good job, he excelled in all his doings which not only gave him the confidence of his employer but also helped him eventually to work at the school in the same way, while going to classes.  He became an exemplary student and showed many of the new pupils how to learn physical skills while also absorbing the book knowledge. 

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
~ Booker T. Washington (1856-1905), Up From Slavery: An Autobiography

In time, his supervisor, General Samuel C. Armstrong chose Booker to open a new school in Tuskegee, Alabama, to further the education of the children of the freed slaves in the south.  In all his doing Prof. Washington encouraged the students to apply their physical skills.  In fact, the whole curriculum of the school was designed so that the students worked half a day and the other half was for studying and recreation.  Dr. Washington saw the Tuskegee school as his life’s work.  He invested himself completely and won the support not only of his own people but also the influential white folks.  He traveled all over the country presenting his work with the students at Tuskegee which resulted in the financial support of many of the former slave holders as well the generosity of Northern businesses.  During that time he became a well-spoken public orator which gained him even greater funding.  His address known as the Atlanta Compromise Speech in 1895 brought him more fame and requests for presentations and appearances to benefit the cause of the black people.

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”

After some 18 years of total dedication to the education of the black population of the south, some of his supporters decided that he needed a break.  Some of his Northern benefactors got together to plan a trip to Europe.  Mr. Washington in his humility didn’t want to accept at first the expenses for the fare across the Atlantic.  None-the-less, he benefitted greatly, not only from the rest and relaxation the voyage provided for him and his wife, but also from the many new contacts he made while overseas.

“Character, not circumstance, makes the person.”

He often reflected on how far he had come ‘up from slavery’ meeting with presidents, royalties and high society.  He always went back to his own roots deeply planted in his faith in the greatest benefactor, God.  His involvement was never political: rather, he proposed education and raising the standard of living for his own people.

To say the least, I was very moved reading the accounts of Dr. Booker T. Washington’s experiences following his way with strong determination, hard work and deep faith.  His motto never changed: cast down your bucket where you are.  This is a great lesson for all of us, be grateful for what you have and where you are, but follow a greater vision with passion and persistence. 


Monday, February 9, 2015

Where is Common Sense Today?

Common sense means different things to different people.  It seems that in many ways what was right before is now wrong, and what was wrong is now right. 

According to Wiki ‘common sense’ is the basic ability to perceive, understand and judge things by most people.  We all know that in our diversified society that very rarely brings us to a mutual result.  So, what is really our collective denominator?  I believe that the only way that we can find a shared ‘sense’ is that we take God’s point of view. 

“In my opinion, if we have not achieved peace, it is because people forget its most fundamental aspect. Before we talk about peace among nations, we must settle our peace with God.”
~ Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012), Korean Spiritual Leader
Without getting into a religious discussion, we can all agree that we were born as men and women.  We all have a mind which allows us to think, feel and make decisions and a body through which we fulfill that which the mind directs us to do.

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was an American psychologist who put together a hierarchy of needs which describes the human needs in priority and ultimately culminates in self-actualization.  He suggested to focus on the positive qualities in people rather than treating them as ‘bag of symptoms.’

"The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.
 We have it in our power to begin the world over again."
 ~ Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

When I was looking for more common sense connections I came across a site which refers to a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine (1737-1809) called: Common Sense.  The content of this document became the inspiration for the people of the 13 colonies to declare independence in 1776. 

Most people have maybe never heard of this document.  It spread like wildfire through the colonies and became the argument for freedom from the British rule.  Thomas Paine published the work at first anonymously because he wanted it to be focused on the content and the ideas rather than make a name for himself.  He wrote the article in a style which was understood by the common people.

Today is Thomas Paine’s birthday according to some accounts.  February 9th is recorded in the ‘new style’ birth records.

"A body of men, holding themselves accountable to nobody, ought not to be trusted by anybody."
~ Thomas Paine

That brings me back to my suggesting to use a common denominator in the picture.  Unless we find our shared roots mankind can never find the solutions we are so desperately looking for.  Let us be accountable to the one God who created us all and who is waiting eagerly for us to have ‘common sense.’

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Bible Is A Coded Message

You may have wondered why there are so many different interpretation to the Holy Scriptures.  In 1974, Rev. SunMyung Moon gave a message which helped me to understand some of the coded messages in the Bible:

What is the Bible, more precisely? The Bible has been a book of mystery. However, the Bible contains God's message to you and me.

The Bible does not use plain language, but is written in symbols and parables. Do you know why God has presented the Bible in symbols and parables? Why did He not speak the truth clearly?

God has had to deal with the world of evil. Throughout the ages, God has hand-picked His workers, or champions, out of this evil world. Abraham was such a champion. Noah was such a champion.

And God's champions were always in the utter minority in the evil world. If God revealed His strategy too openly or plainly, the enemy would use that information against God's champions. Thus, the Bible was written as a coded message, so that only God's agents or champions could decipher it.

Let me make an analogy. To protect her security, America sends out many agents overseas to collect vital information concerning potential enemies. When the home headquarters is communicating with these agents overseas, particularly in enemy territory, would they communicate openly and plainly? No. No one would be that naive. They would communicate in coded messages — secret messages — so that the enemy could not decipher them.

Throughout history, righteous people have faced nothing but suffering on this earth, simply because they were in enemy territory, and Satan did not want to have God's agents prosper. Whenever Satan's forces discovered God's representatives, they tried to destroy them.

We must realize that God has had to give His instructions in coded messages. Thus the Bible is written in symbols and parables. In a sense, the Bible is intended to be mysterious. Then how can we know the true meaning of those symbols and parables?

It is simple, in a way. If you are an agent dispatched by your headquarters, and you want to decipher a coded message, then you must either have a code book, or communicate directly with your home headquarters.

By the same token, the meaning of the symbols and parables in the Bible can only be clear when we communicate with our "home headquarters" — God. This is truly the only sure way we can know the ultimate meaning of the Bible.

Two thousand years ago our Lord Jesus Christ brought the blueprint for the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. However, he could not speak plainly about his plan even to his own disciples. Jesus spoke in figures and parables. Why?

Jesus knew the adverse circumstances in which he had to work. There was political pressure from the Roman Empire. There was the ruling monarchy, who opposed any change. And there was a strong religious system and tradition. These could all be directed against the building of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus came to kindle the fire of revolution in people, which would in due course change the structure and the life of the entire nation. But he could not speak plainly of any of this even to his own disciples. Instead, he had to speak in figures and parables, saying,

'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.'
~ Luke 14:35

If you attempt to interpret the Bible literally, word for word, letter for letter, without understanding the nature of the coded message of the Bible, you are liable to make a big mistake.

Therefore, in this day, at this hour, what the Christian world needs is a revelation from God. God must reveal to us His plan; He must tell us His timetable, and give us instructions as to what to do at this time. God indeed promised that by saying, in Amos,

'Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.'
~ Amos 3:7

Tonight I am standing here at Madison Square Garden not according to my own will, but in obedience to the divine will of God. God has called me as His instrument, to reveal His message for His present day dispensation, so that there may be a people prepared for the day of the Lord.

Tonight I am going to concentrate on the divine revelation concerning the coming of the Lord of the Second Advent — the vital issue of the Second Advent — the most important question of our time. And in order to understand this more clearly, we must first know the circumstances of the coming of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago.

Excerpted from The New Future of Christianity, September 18, 1974--Rev. Sun Myung Moon--New York, New York

Even the Jewish people believe that the Scriptures cannot be completely understood until the Messiah comes.  When he comes, he will not only interpret each of the passages for us, but will interpret every word and especially the meaning of the spaces between the letters.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
~ Matthew 5:17-18:

We are living now in a special time of human history.  May we have the right spirit to understand the messages in the Bible and even be willing to look for deeper meanings through our living relationship with God.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Honor another Peace-Maker: Martin Luther King

In an earlier blog I wrote about peace makers. 

Since today is a national holiday, where we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, it is appropriate to write about his contribution to peace making.  Here is the link to his Nobel Peace acceptance speech: The Nobel Peace Prize 1964.
We all have heard about Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech and are touched by his determination to fight for that dream.  Dr. King’s greatest contribution to peacemaking is portraited in the recent release movie: Selma.   In Selma we witness a chronicle of Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.

As the story goes, from January to March of 1965 Dr. King along with hundreds and thousands of fellow African-Americans as well as some white folks from the northern states participated in marches between Selma and Montgomery, the capital of Alabama.  Even though the demonstrations were peaceful several protesters were injured and some even died.  Their demands?  The equal rights of American citizens to vote.  Finally, in August, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.

I like to finish my tribute to Dr. King with a quote by the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon who considered MLK “The Greatest American Citizen of the 20th Century.”

“On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, we recall Martin Luther King’s stirring ‘I Have A Dream’ speech which captivated and inspired all of us to put an end to racial injustice and bigotry. We have before us the responsibility of fulfilling that dream. Whether the coming future will bring war or peace depends largely upon our efforts today.”
~ Reverend Sun Myung Moon



Monday, January 12, 2015

You Reap as You Sow

Jesus Christ's teachings hit the very core of this fundamental truth. The more you give the more you receive. God rewards total giving with total love, and total sacrifice with total life. Giving creates room for God's love to enter. The more room and the greater the vacuum created by your giving, the faster you will be filled by the flow of God's love.

To be treated well you must first treat others well. You reap as you sow. Sow evil to reap evil; sow goodness to reap goodness. Your concern should be how to give, and how to give well. As for the return to you, you must trust in God. He will take care of it.

Let us take an illustration of a good man and a bad man. Let us say there is one man who has ten friends. Day in and day out this man is unselfishly serving his ten friends. People cannot help but love this man. He can become the very best friend to-ten people. Then his influence will spread to the relatives and friends of those first ten people. By giving and serving unselfishly this man becomes prosperous. He is a center of harmony and unity because he lives God's principle. Unselfishness brings prosperity. Here is a-good man.

But suppose, on the contrary, this man said to his friends, "You ten, bring everything to me; you are here to serve me." Before he spoke this way to his friends three times, everyone would end all connection with him. They would want to have nothing at all to do with him. So he would be left all alone. Isn't that true, even in our society? It is universally true. A self-centered doctrine, a self-centered philosophy, a self-centered way of life will fling you head over heels down the tragic road of self-destruction. But if you live your life in service to others, you will find prosperity. It may seem that such a route would lead you to ruin, but it will not. The only reason it may not always bring prosperity to you is because you do not give to the very end. In the middle you suddenly become skeptical. You change your heart or pity yourself and thus shrink from God's law of total giving. The good result never materializes. Total giving is the way of prosperity because it is the way of God.

If any individual sacrifices himself for another individual, he becomes a hero to others. If one family is sacrificial for the well-being of another family, then that family becomes a heroic family among all families. Peoples and nations who sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others become champions of nations. A man who gives his life for his parents is a pious son. A man who gives his life for his king is a loyal subject. And a man who gives his life for all mankind is a saint.

Jesus Christ proclaimed this very truth you are hearing tonight. He strove for the fulfillment of God's truth on earth. He came not to satisfy his nation's selfish purpose, but to achieve salvation for the entire world.

God intended the chosen people of Israel to serve as the prepared instrument of the Messiah for his mission of world salvation. The people of Israel did not know this. They conceived of the coming Messiah as an invincible military conqueror who would restore the political empire of King David for the glory of the Jews. How wrong they were!

God's purpose is not the salvation of any particular man, church, or nation. God's purpose is to save the whole world. Therefore, the true church would give itself as a sacrifice for the benefit of the world. Yes, true Christians must be willing to sacrifice their own lives for the salvation of the world and all mankind. However, Christian teachings today are self-centered. Christians are seeking their own personal salvation. Christians are crying out for "my salvation" and "my heaven.'' This is contrary to God's truth and contrary to God's ideal. We must steadfastly give, love, sacrifice, and live for the sake of others.

We must all work for the ideal way of life. I exist for my family, my family exists for our society, our society exists for our nation, our nation exists for the world, all the world exists for God, and God exists for you and me, for all mankind. In this great circle of give and take there is harmony, there is unity, and there is an eternal process of increasing prosperity. Furthermore, since in this circuit all existence will fulfill its purpose of creation, there is abundant and profound joy. This is the Kingdom of Heaven, in which feelings of happiness overflow.

In this world, selfishness ruins everything. Selfishness in the family causes disharmony, which then erupts into bitterness and strife. Everyone wants to be served instead of serving others. Wives tell their husbands what to do and then seek to be served. Husbands want to be served by their wives. Parents expect service from their children and the children take their parents for granted. This is demonstrated in our families, in our societies, and in our nations.

In this world today the nations are existing solely for their own national interests. They plot, connive, cheat, and lie. They destroy other nations for their own national benefit. Is there even one nation on earth which pledges to God, "God, you may use this nation as your sacrifice and as your altar, if that is the way you can save the world?" Tell me, where is such a nation? Where?

It is a recognized fact that when America demonstrated the spirit of service and sacrificial duty in the world, and went out of her way to help others in their need-when America gave lives, money, and a helping hand-she enjoyed a golden age. But now America has a selfish attitude. The domestic problems today are very difficult. America's situation is chaotic. Today there are greater divisions, more corruption, and graver problems choking this land.

I am not criticizing any people or nation. I am merely proclaiming the heavenly truth that all mankind is seeking.

I started the Unification Church. If this Unification Church exists solely for the benefit of the welfare of the Unification Church itself, then it is doomed to perish. I founded the Church so that I could give my life, my heart, and my soul for the advancement of the salvation of the world. Among this audience there are many members of the Unification Church. Their great desire, their only motivation is to serve others, to save this nation and the world.

Jesus did not teach his disciples laws of retaliation. He told them, "... if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; ... and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." (Matt 5:39-41) You never have to retaliate; all you have to do is completely and totally give, and then God will return to you more and more abundantly.

When Jesus was crucified, Roman soldiers pierced him. And Jesus prayed for his enemies: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) Even at the moment of death on the cross, Jesus was so earnest in forgiving. His very last act was motivated by his love for his enemies. He was the supreme form of giving--a paragon of love. The example of Jesus Christ is the absolute standard for all mankind. Just imagine an entire nation composed of Jesus-like men. What would you call it? The Kingdom of Heaven on earth: it could be nothing less.

Jesus Christ was lord over all life because of his unparalleled form of loving, giving, and sacrifice. He will remain the Lord forever. In the same way, no one in this universe surpasses the total giving and loving of God. So God is God forever. He reigns over all creation.

Look at the decline of Rome. The entire Roman Empire collapsed in front of an army with no weapons, the army of Jesus Christ. By what means did the Christians conquer Rome? They conquered by love, sacrifice, and total giving, up to the cost of their very lives. History is a witness that no empire can withstand the army of sacrificial love. And this history shall be repeated.

Up to now in our lives we did not know clearly the definition of good and evil. We could not be certain where to commit ourselves, when to act, what to serve. This has been the source of the greatest confusion in human lives. We must not become the Christians who merely crave their own well-being. As Christians, we must live the life of Jesus and give ourselves totally for the benefit of others, so that others might have life. This is God's way.

This present world is evoking the wrath of God. It truly deserves His uncompromising judgment. But God is love, and He is long-suffering. God is suppressing His anger because He wants to save us. He is giving us a chance to change. He is waiting.

I know that Western culture is characterized by individualism. However, selfish individualism is doomed. Sacrificial individualism will blossom. Individuality in itself is good. God gave each one of us a unique way to serve. But individualism without God can only build castles on the sands of decay.

Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon: God’s Hope for Man – Lisner Auditorium, Washington, D.C., October 20, 1973

Monday, January 5, 2015

Who are the Peace Makers?

Last month I wrote about "peace by any other name."  This time I want to elaborate some more on the nature of peace makers.  Making peace is an action; it is not just enough to love peace or declare peace.  It is an ongoing task to bring reconciliation among all people and show them a common denominator (ideal).

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."

What is the Nature of a Peacemaker?
·       Acts as a servant leader
·       Adopts the discipline of the parent/leader
·       Becomes a mediator between the physical and the spiritual realms
·       Brings reconciliation among all religions
·       Empathetic to others, and willing to help
·       Encourages compassion/communication
·       Exercises spiritual muscles
·       Has the innocence of a child
·       Lives in the present moment/the NOW
·       Lives by the heavenly rules and values
·       Opposes violence
·       Practices obedience to God, the parent
·       Resolves conflict among followers
·       Speaks the truth
·       Takes responsibility for mistakes
·       Teaches atonement
·       Understands human nature 

Jesus is a Peacemaker
The words from the Beatitudes by Jesus show us the essence of the New Testament.  Jesus taught us that God is our Heavenly Parent, who can unite all His children.  Jesus was not only a great teacher but he was the utmost example of a Son of God by demonstrating how to live and how to love.  With His compassion He took upon himself the role of a peacemaker, calling all of us to follow his standard.

Throughout the ages there were many who called upon the goodness in mankind and demonstrated a better way of life.  They made an important contribution and brought us through the dark ages to a time of greater tolerance and unity.  Here are some people who made a great impact for peace in their country and with that for the larger good:

“Women are, in my view, natural peacemakers. As givers and nurturers of life, through their focus on human relationships and their engagement with the demanding work of raising children and protecting family life, they develop a deep sense of empathy that cuts through to underlying human realities.”
~ Daisaku Ikeda (1928), Japanese Author on Buddhism and leader of Soka Gakkai.

“Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds.”

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Leader of the Indian Independence Movement

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”
~ Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India (1917-1984)
"One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means."
~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (1928-1968),  American Pastor and Civil Rights Leader

"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
~ Peace Pilgrim (1908-1981)  American Peace Activist

“People respond in accordance to how you relate to them. If you approach them on the basis of violence, that's how they'll react. But if you say, 'We want peace, we want stability,' we can then do a lot of things that will contribute towards the progress of our society.”
~ Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), South African Apartheid Leader and President of South Africa

“Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s actually remembering--remembering and not using your right to hit back. It’s a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important. Especially if you don’t want to repeat what happened.”
~ Desmond Tutu  promoting Ubuntu.  Ubuntu (philosophy) is an ancient African word meaning 'humanity to others.'

"The order of existence in the universe is rooted in acting for the sake of others.
The world of true peace, true love and the true ideal is both the ideal of God's creation and the desire of humankind.
Therefore, the origin of happiness and peace lies in living for the sake of others."
~ Sun Myung Moon,  (1920-1992), Korean Religious leader, author of Philosophy of Peace

Sun Myung Moon is a Peacemaker
Rev.Moon has lived his whole life promoting peace.  It has been his deepest desire to teach mankind that we are God’s sons and daughters and as such are meant to live together as one family.  He has revealed to us the heart of God which is broken because of the way we live: fighting wars, living in strive, killing and conquering each other.  He has inspired members and leaders around the world to overcome differences in religious beliefs, cultural traditions, political opinions and scientific viewpoints to find the common denominator through his conferences and rallies.

The following video was recorded in 2012 and portraits the life and works of Rev. Moon.

“Rev. Moon has emerged as a great peacemaker and unifier on the world stage. He is a leading force for interreligious dialogue and understanding between people of all backgrounds, and for global peace and security.”
~ Alexander Haig, (1924-1990) former Secretary of State (59th)

Our greatest challenge today is to resolve the conflicts among people of different opinions and viewpoints.  It is not just enough to fight wars with weapons, overpower another country with strategies or battle the enemy.  By recognizing the spiritual nature of man, we need to develop that spiritual quality and absorb each other’s resentment and ill feelings.  We can exercise our spiritual muscles with forgiveness and tolerance.  By accepting each other for who we are and seeing the “Christ-consciousness” in each other peace can be a way of life.  It can only be possible when we see each other from God’s point of view, the view of the parent looking down on His children.  On the world scene politics have taken the upper hand over religious practices.  Or religious opinions have taken the liberty to dominate other’s beliefs rather than demonstrating the mastery of their principles by manifesting acceptance, forgiveness, kindness, tolerance, and other forms of love.

Even science has now confirmed that we are hard-wired to have a relationship with God, the creator.  That connection lays in the foundation for internal unity between mind and body.  Even those who are not looking for a spiritual experience like artists, athletes and inventors have had profound ‘aha’ moments where they could encounter an internal peace.  For most of us these kind of ephemeral moments come and go. 

Here is an historical example of how enemies can make peace: 

I like to finish with the words of the song by John Lennon:

“Imagine there's no country,
It isn't hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.”
John Lennon, British musician (1940-1980)