As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 28
As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 3: Internal Riches Through Struggles and Suffering
A Sincere Heart Is Most Important, pg 102-106
A Sincere Heart Is Most Important
I reemerged into the world after three months, having been found not guilty. I realized more than ever that I owed a tremendous debt to God. To repay this debt, I searched for a place where our church could start again. I did not, however, pray by saying, “God, build us a church.” I never complained about or felt ashamed of, the small and humble church building we were using up until that time. I was grateful to have a place to pray. I never wished for a large or comfortable space.
Nevertheless, we needed a place where our members could gather and offer services, so we took out a loan of two million won and purchased a house in poor repair on a hillside in Cheongpa-Dong. It was one of many houses categorized then as “enemy property,” meaning that it had been vacant since being abandoned by Japanese who left Korea at the time of our nation’s liberation. It was a small house with only about sixty-five square meters of floor space. It was at the end of a long and narrow alleyway. Approaching the house was like going through a long, dark tunnel. All the pillars and walls were covered with dirt, which made us wonder what had been going on there before we arrived. I worked with the young people of our church for four days with a lye solution to scrub off all the dirt.
After our move to the Cheongpa-Dong church, I could hardly sleep. I would sit on the floor of the main bedroom, crouched over in prayer until three or four in the morning. I might take a nap until five, but then I would get up and start the day’s activities. I continued this lifestyle for seven years. Even though I was getting only one or two hours of sleep a day, I never felt sleepy during the day. My eyes shone brightly, like the morning star. I never felt tired.
My mind was so full of things to do that I did not even want to waste time eating. Instead of having people take time to set a table for my meals, I ate on the floor and crouched over my food to eat it. “Pour out your dedication! Pour it out, even if you are sleepy! Pour it out until you are exhausted!” I kept repeating these phrases to myself. I prayed in the midst of continued opposition and false accusations with the thought that I was planting seeds that would someday reap a bountiful harvest. If the harvest could not be reaped in Korea, then I was confident that it would be reaped elsewhere in the world.
A year after my release from prison, our church had four hundred members. As I prayed, I would call out their names one by one. Their faces would pass through my mind even before I called their names. Some would be crying, some laughing. In my prayers, I could tell how each person was doing, including whether they were suffering from illness.
Sometimes, as I called out their names in prayer, I would get an inspiration that a particular person would come to the church that day. The person would come without fail. When I would go to someone who had appeared sick to me in my prayer and ask, “Are you sick?” the person would confirm it. Members were amazed that I would know without being told that they were sick. Each time they asked, “How do you do that?” I would answer with a simple smile.
Something similar happened as we were preparing for a Holy Blessing Ceremony. Before the ceremony, I asked every bride and groom candidate whether they had maintained their chastity. When I asked one particular groom candidate, he answered in a loud voice that he had remained pure. I asked him a second time, and he again assured me he had. I asked him a third time, and again he gave the same answer.
I looked at him straight in the eye and said, “You did your military service in Hwacheon, Kangwon Province, didn’t you?” This time he answered “Yes” in a voice filled with fear.
“You received some time off, and as you were coming to Seoul, you stopped at an inn, didn’t you? And that night, you had illicit sex with a woman wearing a red skirt. I know exactly what you did. Why do you lie?”
I became angry at the man and chased him out of the Blessing ceremony venue. If a person keeps his heart’s eyes open, he can see even what is hidden.
Some were attracted to our church more because of such paranormal phenomena than because of the teachings. Many people think that spiritual powers are most important. The phenomena often called miracles, however, tend to confuse people in the society at large. A faith that relies on unexplained or miraculous occurrences is not a healthy faith. All sin must be restored through redemption. It cannot be done by relying on spiritual powers. As our church began to mature, I stopped talking to members about the things that I was seeing with my heart’s eyes.
Membership continued to grow. Whether I faced dozens of people or hundreds, I acted the same way, as if there were only one. I would listen whenever a person wanted to tell me about his or her personal situation. Whether it was an old woman or a young man, I would listen with dedication, as if this were the only person I had to deal with. Each member would say, “No one in Korea listens to what I have to say as well as Reverend Moon.” A grandmother might start by telling me how she got married and eventually tell me about her husband’s illnesses.
I enjoy listening to other people talk about themselves. When people open up to me and talk about themselves, I don’t even realize the passing of time. I listen to them for ten, even twenty, hours. People who want to talk have a sense of urgency. They are looking for solutions to their problems. So I feel I need to listen to them with my full dedication. That is the way to love their life and repay the debt I owe for my life. The most important thing is to think of life as precious. In the same way that I listened with sincerity to what others had to say, I also shared with them my sincere heart with fervor, and I would pray for them in tears.
How often I prayed with tears through the night! Tears saturated the floorboards where I prayed, with no chance to dry.
Later, while I was in the United States, I received word that church members were planning to remodel the Cheongpa-Dong church. With great urgency, I sent a telegram telling them to stop work on the church building immediately. Yes, this church embodies an irrecoverable period in my personal history, but more important than that, it testifies directly to the history of our church. No matter how wonderfully it might have been refurbished, what good could come of it if our history were destroyed? What matters is not some beautiful exterior but the secret life of tears that dwells within that building. It may not be up to a certain standard, but it embodies a tradition, and therein lies its value. People who cannot respect their own traditions are destined to fail.
There is history carved into the pillars of the Cheongpa-Dong church. When I look at a particular pillar, I am reminded of a time when I clung to that pillar and wept over a particular matter. To see that pillar where I wept makes me weep again. To see a door frame that is a little crooked reminds me of the past. Now, though, the old floorboards are all gone. The floorboards where I bent over in prayer and shed so many tears are gone, and the traces of those tears are also gone. What I need are the memories of that pain. It doesn’t matter if the external style or appearance is old. Much time has passed, and now we have many churches that are well built. But for me, I would rather go to the small house on the hill in Cheongpa-Dong and pray. I feel more comfortable there.
I have lived my entire life praying and preaching, but even now, I tremble when I stand before a group of people. This is because to stand in such a position and speak about public matters can mean that many lives will be saved or that many will be lost. It is a matter of utmost importance to me that I can lead the people who hear my words onto the path of life. These are the moments when I draw a clear line on the crossroads between life and death.
Even now, I do not organize my sermons in advance. I am concerned that doing so might allow my own private objectives to enter into the content. With such preparation, I may be able to show off how much knowledge I have stored in my head but not pour out my earnest and passionate heart. During this time, before I appeared in public, I always offered my dedication by spending at least ten hours in prayer. This is the way I set my roots down deeply. Even if the leaves on a mighty tree are a little bug-eaten, the tree remains healthy if its roots are deep. My words may be a little awkward at times, but everything will be alright so long as a sincere heart is there.
In the early time of our church, I wore an old U.S. military jacket and fatigues dyed black and preached with such fervor that I dripped with sweat and tears. Not a day went by without my weeping out loud. My heart would fill with emotion, and tears would pour from my eyes and stream down my face. Those were times my spirit seemed on the verge of leaving my body. I felt as though I were on the verge of death. My clothes were soaked with sweat, and beads of sweat rolled down from my head.
In the days of the Cheongpa-Dong church, everyone went through difficult times, but Hyo Won Eu endured particular difficulty. He suffered an illness in his lungs, and although it was difficult for him, still he lectured our church’s teachings eighteen hours a day for three years and eight months. We could not afford to eat well. We ate barley instead of rice and sustained ourselves with two meals a day. Our only side dish was raw kimchi that was left to ferment for only one night.
Hyo Won Eu liked to eat small salted shrimp. He placed a container of these small shrimp in one corner of the room, and once in a while, he would go over with a pair of chopsticks and eat a few. That was how he endured through those difficult days. It pained my heart to see Hyo Won Eu lying exhausted on the floor, hungry and tired. I wanted to give him salted conch, but this was much too expensive for us in those days. It still pains me to think of how hard he worked, trying to record my words that flowed like a waterfall, even as he was ill.
Aided by the hard work and sacrifice of members, the church grew steadily. The Sunghwa Students Association was formed for middle and high school students. They were inspired to take the lunches their mothers prepared for them and give them up so our pioneer missionaries could eat. On their own initiative, the students created a list to take turns providing their lunches in this way. The evangelists who had to eat the lunch of the student knew that the student would be missing lunch that day and going hungry, and so they would eat the lunch in tears. The students’ expression of dedication was even more impressive than the lunch itself, and we all redoubled our determination to accomplish the will of God, even if we had to sacrifice our lives.
Though times were difficult, we sent missionaries out to many parts of the country. Despite the members’ humble desire, the cascade of vile rumors made it difficult for them to feel open to say they were from the Unification Church. They would go into neighborhoods and clean streets and help out in homes that needed it. In the evenings, our missionaries would hold literacy classes and tell people about the word of God. They would serve people in this way for several months and build up trust. As a result, our church continued to grow. I have not forgotten these members who, though they wanted very much to go to college, chose instead to remain with me and dedicate themselves to the work of the church.