Mother of Peace: Episode 17
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 70-75
Without sacrifice and service, one cannot even begin to think one is living for the sake of others rather than for oneself. As I strictly cultivated my faith from a young age, I cherished a dream deep within my heart. That dream was to liberate my Heavenly Father who, throughout history, gave Himself for the salvation of humanity. I wished to free Him from the chains of our fallen history.
We cannot meet God from a position of reigning over others. He finds us when we are silently working for the sake of those in greater difficulty than ourselves. I came to know that when we think about God’s will from the lower position, the position of offering and self-sacrifice, God’s bitterness washes away and He will come to us.
During the postwar years, the streets of Seoul were full of the wounded. Numerous children, including war orphans, were suffering from hunger and disease. Few people were able to get timely treatment when they became sick. I wanted to heal people’s injuries, relieve their pain, and guide them to a brighter world. As it was time for me to enter high school, in the spring of 1959 I entered St. Joseph’s Nursing School.
Heavenly and earthly phoenixes
In the late 1950s, it wasn’t easy for a single mother. My mother managed to make ends meet by doing any odd job that came her way. She did not rest even a moment in her devoted life of prayer, and in that way she triumphed over those hardships and tribulations. One day, however, she announced to her small family, “I’ve been living meaninglessly; I must live a life of greater value.”
She left my maternal grandmother and me in the care of my aunt and moved into the Cheongpa-dong Church, and dedicated herself completely to church activities. She chose to take on the most menial of tasks. People would try to dissuade her, but she pursued such work with a joyful and grateful heart. She had lived a life of devoted faith in North Korea, greater than anyone, but started at the bottom in the Unification Church.
She overworked herself, however, and her body grew weaker and weaker until she became seriously ill. Luckily, a church member she knew from the Inside-the-Womb Church took her in. This person, Mrs. Oh Yeong-choon, was like a sister to her. They lived together in the Noryangjin neighborhood, and as they cared for each other, my mother gradually recovered her health.
While at nursing school, I attended Cheongpa-dong Church every Sunday. One day, when my mother saw me there, she took me to a corner and softly whispered, “A few nights ago, I had a dream that was hard to understand.”
“What did you dream?” I asked.
“There were women from church wearing white holy robes and standing there holding pink flowers,” she said. “Then I saw you walking toward Teacher Moon.” At that time, we called Father Moon “Teacher.” “All of a sudden, thunder roared and lightning crashed from the sky and struck one spot. There you were, and other women all looked at you enviously.” She paused, collecting her thoughts. “That’s when I woke up. I think it means that something will happen that will shake the world.”
“I think so, too,” I replied. “I’m sure it is a prophetic dream, but I don’t want to guess more than that.”
My mother did not imagine that this dream was a revelation from God, a prophecy that her only daughter would be called to become the True Mother who would give her life for the world. But I had been thinking constantly about the word “sacrifice” and had determined to live a life of sacrifice for God. This dream fit with that, and I had a sense of its meaning.
In the late autumn of 1959, Father Moon conducted a national missionary workshop at the Cheongpa-dong Church, and I participated with my mother. I was on one side of the overcrowded church, busy with the workshop, but could see that on the other side, elder sisters were quietly working on another important matter. A few months earlier, senior grandmothers of deep faith had begun preparations for Father Moon’s marriage. They were considering which among the women of the church could be God’s choice to be his bride. As I was only a schoolgirl and so much younger than Father Moon, my name would not have come up.
Then one day, one of the sages among the grandmothers sought out Father Moon to tell him about her dream. “I saw many flocks of cranes flying down from the heavens,” she told him, “and even though I kept trying to shoo them away, they came and covered Teacher Moon.” Father Moon provided no interpretation, so the elder sister continued with confidence: “I believe my dream is revealing God’s will, that your bride’s name will include the Chinese character for hak (crane).”
Shortly after I heard that, my mother told me another revelation she had received in prayer. A phoenix flew down from heaven, and another flew up from the earth to meet it. The phoenix from heaven was Father Moon. It brought to her mind her dream from years before, when she went to Daegu to meet Father Moon; the dream in which a pair of golden dragons bowed down in the direction of Seoul.
My mother thought about what all this might mean, and then one morning at dawn she received a heavenly message. She had just taken a cold shower, and it came as she was reciting our Pledge prayer. “The phoenix descending from heaven represents the True Father,” she announced, “and the phoenix rising from the earth represents the True Mother.” My mother was happy with this understanding, but she continued quietly with the workshop and didn’t speak about it.
In the months following my 16th birthday, I matured quickly, and it caught people’s attention at church. Members would mention that I looked elegant and neat. I would hear someone say, “Hak Ja is peaceful and virtuous. She is like a crane, befitting her name.” And another, “She’s also very polite, and if you watch, you will see she is very observant and has clear judgment.” I stood out when I was with members of the congregation. People commented that I had an untainted purity, that I was one with God’s will, and that I had embraced the virtue of obedience through the difficulties I had endured in North Korea. Hearing such comments, I disciplined myself not to feel proud or act carelessly.
More than anything else for his bride-to-be, Father Moon was looking for a person with a sacrificial and devoted heart of living for others. He did not care about family background, economic status, or appearance. She had to be a woman with absolute faith who could love the world. She had to be a woman who could conceive of saving the world. Because he had been unable to find such a woman, there had been no marriage of the Lamb. He still did not fully know that the heavenly bride, who would become the Mother of heaven, earth, and humankind, was close by. I had come to understand God’s will, but I couldn't say anything. To recognize the bride was Father Moon’s mission and responsibility.
The heavenly bride
A short time later, Mrs. Oh Yeong-choon, the devout member who had taken in my mother, went to her job in a clothing store on the second floor of the Nakwon Building in central Seoul. She assisted the store owner at making garments. The owner was a longtime member we called “the prayer grandmother.” When Mrs. Oh arrived, the owner was sewing together a man’s suit. Mrs. Oh sat next to her as she pumped the wheel of the sewing machine, and asked casually, “Oh, who is the suit for?”
“This suit is for Father Moon” was the grandmother’s answer. “He is going to wear it at his engagement ceremony.” Mrs. Oh perked up immediately, and her eyes widened as she asked the natural question, “Who is to be the bride?”
“Well,” replied the grandmother nonchalantly, “the day of the engagement has been decided, but the bride hasn’t been chosen yet. However, the ceremony is going to be held soon, and so I am making his suit.”
Mrs. Oh’s mind was buzzing. “Who is going to be the bride?” She pondered the question but couldn’t come up with any possibilities. Mrs. Oh was a person who often heard God’s voice in revelations. In fact, she had been offering prayerful devotions for seven years for the sake of the appearance of the True Mother. She right away took her question to God in prayer, and she received a revelation: “Because Eve fell when she was 16 years old, the heavenly bride needs to be younger than 20.”
This had never occurred to her before. It was only then that she understood the logic of God’s will. She asked God again and again, “Who is the heavenly bride who is younger than 20?” And before long, she thought of me. “I know Hak Ja Han, who is around 16,” she said to herself. “She often sits right next to me in church! Why didn’t I think of her? Could it really be her?”