Mother of Peace: Episode 16
Mother of Peace: And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears from Their Eyes
A Memoir by Hak Ja Han Moon
Chapter 3: The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, pg 65-70
The Marriage Supper Of The Lamb
The true meaning of sacrifice
My mother officially joined the Unification Church in Seoul on December 15, 1955. Early in the following year, a small yet historic first step was made as the Chuncheon Unification Church convened its first public Sunday service at a home in Yaksa-dong. I was a young girl of 13 who had just graduated from Bongui Elementary School.
One day when the sun was shining brightly, my mother said to me, “Let’s go to Seoul for the day.” Without knowing why we were going, I followed her. That was the day I first met Father Moon. Cheongpa-dong Church, where we met, was a small, two-story wooden house. The Korean government had categorized it as “enemy property” because it had been owned by the Japanese during their occupation of our country. It was more like a home than a church.
I greeted Father Moon politely, and as he returned the greeting, he asked my mother, “Who is this child?”
“This is my daughter,” she replied.
With a look of surprise, Father Moon gazed at me as he said to my mother, “You have such a pretty daughter.” He then closed his eyes as if in meditation, and asked my name.
I politely replied, “My name is Hak Ja Han.”
As if struck by something, Father Moon spoke very softly to himself, “Hak Ja Han has been born in Korea. Hak Ja Han has been born in Korea. Hak Ja Han has been born in Korea.” After saying this three times, he began expressing gratitude to God, saying, “You sent such a magnificent daughter, named Hak Ja Han, to Korea. Thank you.” Then Father Moon spoke to me as if he were asking me to gather my resolve: “Hak Ja Han, you will need to make sacrifices in the future.”
“Yes!” I replied, surprised at my own forwardness.
On the way home on the train, my mother and I thought the encounter was curious. “How strange,” she said. “Why would he repeat that you were born in Korea three times?” As we fell into silence, I contemplated the word “sacrifice.” The word Father Moon used took on a meaning different from what I had learned in textbooks. What he was alluding to was a higher dimension of sacrifice, a nobler and more complete sacrifice. What you sacrifice is important, but why you make that sacrifice is even more important.
As I listened to the rhythmic rumble of the train and looked out the window at the scenery as it slipped by, I couldn’t stop thinking about what Father Moon had said. I thought about what I might need to sacrifice for. From that day, the word “sacrifice” was engraved in my heart. Thinking back as the person called to live as the Mother of peace, I realize that, over time, “sacrifice” became a name I could call myself.
God is my Father
From the time I could understand words, my maternal grandmother, Jo Won-mo, consistently taught me one thing: “God is your Father.” She went so far as to say, “Your mother is like your nanny who is raising you as God’s daughter.” Since I had been surrounded by an atmosphere of faith even while in my mother’s womb, I accepted this without a second thought. When I heard the word “God,” my heart would open unreservedly and fill with warmth.
My mother did not mind investing herself body and soul for the purpose of raising me to reject secular life and follow God’s way. She lived with single-minded devotion in absolute unity with and obedience to God. After joining the Unification Church, our family moved to Seoul, where she worked even harder to protect me from the world’s temptations. As a result of her dedication, God allowed me to see myself as a noble crane.
Even as an adolescent in middle school, I poured my heart into quiet reading and study. I attended the Seongjung Girls Middle School, located in Sajik-dong of Seoul’s Jongno district. Situated at the southern foot of Mount Inwang, it was a small school that seemed always bathed in sunlight. From the moment of its founding, that school shared in the suffering of the Korean people. It was established in May 1950, but had to close less than a month later due to the Korean War. After the war, its doors reopened and, true to its mission, the school prepared many girls to become talented women who would help build a prosperous country. In 1981, the school moved to the Eunpyeong district of Seoul, and in 1984, its name was changed to Sunjung Girls’ Middle School. Our Tongil Group acquired this school in 1987 and brought it into the Sunhak Educational Foundation. I have continued to give it support and attention.
In middle school I spoke little and developed a calm personality. I studied hard and always ranked at the top of my class. I was pretty and modest and, as I was also quiet and well-behaved, I received love and attention from my teachers. My school life was uneventful; I only remember that I missed a day or two of school in the first year when I became quite sick. In my second and third years, I received an award for earning the highest grades in my class. I preferred to read in a quiet spot and listen to music rather than engage in social life or sports. My hobby was drawing. I enjoyed art and had some talent, but set aside the possibility of becoming a professional artist.
For all three years of middle school I was the class representative on the student council, and in the third year I was the head of the student activities committee. I led many student activities, and this awakened my leadership abilities. One day when the entire school was gathered, I went to the podium and announced the decisions of the student council. The teachers complimented me on my poise and confident attitude. After witnessing this side of me, which they had not seen before, one teacher commented, “Hak Ja seems gifted …I thought she was just quiet and docile, but actually she shows good leadership skills.”
* * *
During adolescence, I didn’t worry about my life or losing my way. I credit this to my grandmother and mother instilling in me a deep faith in God and the habit of living in attendance to Him. My mother, in particular, strictly guided my life of faith. Yes, there were times when I thought it difficult and wearisome, but I am grateful now, for it prepared me to blossom as the only begotten Daughter of God who one day would meet the only begotten Son of God.
Within that atmosphere, I grew roots of unshakable faith. I read a lot. I enjoyed reading tales of the saints, and particularly The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck. The characters in that book struggle against nature and fate. The story helped me realize that ultimately we must return to nature’s embrace, represented in that book by the earth. It is human nature to cling to God’s embrace. I earnestly wished to be together with God, and for that reason I devoured songs and novels about the love of one’s hometown.
I knew from a young age that God is my Father, and naturally connected everything I read to God. I cut off entirely from the harsh secular world and lived a chaste life as if I were a nun. I was aware that a higher power was guiding me, that my path had been prepared in Heaven.
Especially during this time, the Bible was my close companion. I cried myself to sleep many nights after reading about God’s history of creation, the tragic Fall, and God’s work of salvation carried out through historical figures who took responsibility at the behest of Heaven. I learned how they sacrificed themselves, and realized that God created us so He could love us as His children. After reading God’s bitter history and His desire to embrace us, even though we give Him only pain and sadness, it was not just once or twice that I lay awake, unable to sleep, my heart aching for Him. I naturally continued to ponder ever more deeply what Teacher Moon had said to me about sacrifice. The question, “What can I sacrifice for God?” was shaping my life.