The Words of the Blanchard Family

Testimony of Henri Blanchard


Mr. Henri Blanchard and his family.

An excerpt from Henri Blanchard's autobiography published by l'A.U.C.M., Paris, France, 1985. Translated from the French by Angelika Selle and Jean-Michel Brejard.

On their wedding day, Louis and Amandine Blanchard determined to offer all their children to God. The seventh, Henri, born on April 22, 1943, was meant to actualize their pledge to the fullest.

Raised in a pious home in which "each day started and ended with prayer," Henri developed a great fondness for the rituals of the Catholic tradition. His deepest experiences with God occurred while vacationing in Brittany at his maternal grandmother's home. While wandering in nature or talking by the fireplace with his grandmother, he discovered the best qualities inside his heart: his love for God, for others, and for nature.

His happiness was suddenly shattered when his grandfather was murdered by a neighbor gone insane. His tragic discovery of the reality of evil reinforced Henri's desire to become a missionary and spread the love of Jesus.

In 1953, he entered a pre-seminary school. With the Fathers of the Sacred Heart of Picpus, he led an austere life of prayer, adoration of Jesus, and sacrifice for others, seeking to harmoniously merge contemplation with action. While reading "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis, Jesus appeared to him and awakened his spirit.

Intellectually, Henri Blanchard was deeply impressed by the theologian Teilhard de Chardan, who inspired 20th century consciousness with his vision of science and religion united in a civilization of love. Bible criticism led him to discover another Jesus underneath the garments of glorious theology. Confronted by the political and religious environment of Israel at that time, he saw Jesus as a vulnerable man who had nothing substantial to work with but his bare hands. Two thousand years of Christian history made Henri understand that a total victory over evil had not been won in the physical realm. He saw Christianity losing ground in a non-religious world. The appearance of liberation theology and the theology of the death of God hastened his decision to leave the religious order in March 1967. He started to look for God in the world.

For one year, he was not able to find Him. For the first time in his life he struggled with mundane material problems and with the demons inside of himself. It was his period of trial in the spiritual desert of the world. He found that he was capable of doubt, anxiety, egoism, and revolt. In the depths of his despair, he thought about either getting married or committing suicide.

At the end of 1967, God led him to the top of a hill overlooking the city of Paris, and he saw the city spiritually engulfed by fire. He realized that God was calling him to help. He started to live again for God and for others. He decided to get rid of all his books and journals in order to start anew, and he determined to put his life and future into God's hands.

In March 1968, Henri Blanchard met a stranger who wanted to introduce him to a new philosophy from Korea. Henri refused, tired of experimenting with so many intellectual dead ends. But the stranger offered to teach him German and English, so Henri finally made an appointment to meet him again.

* * *

When Reiner Vincenz opened the door, his broad smile welcomed me. The German lesson didn't last for more than five minutes. My host invited me to study a series of diagrams on a large sheet of white paper. I read distinctly: God, Adam, Eve, children, Kingdom of God. It was only then that I discovered the true intention of Mr. Vincenz.

He knew how to put my mind at ease very quickly and initiated an exciting dialogue which lasted the whole afternoon. I challenged him with many questions which he always answered to my complete satisfaction. I was literally captivated by the perfect logic of the Principle. He told me: "God is our Heavenly Father; He is eternal, unchanging and absolute. He wants all humankind, both men and women, to become like Him. When God created Adam and Eve, He had a precise purpose for His beloved children, which was to bless them in marriage after they reached spiritual maturity. These first ancestors would have multiplied to become a divine society. In such a world no evil, no hell, no sin, no suffering, no conflict, and no murder would have existed. Churches, religions, philosophies, theologies, and dogmas would not have been necessary." My teacher repeatedly drew the same diagrams in his book, showing me clearly the stages of spiritual growth which our first ancestors should have passed through victoriously.

"Man is destined to reach perfection!" My new-found spiritual guide said this over and over again. Was my intense desire for purity and unity with God about to be satisfied by His new message? That was my sincere hope, as I listened to this truth I felt I knew already. Perhaps God's truth had rested on the bottom of my subconscious all along, awaiting the day of liberation.

A special emotion overcame me, a harmonious mixture of inner peace and gratitude for this enlightening revelation, a free gift which could only have come from heaven. There was a deep, peaceful feeling in my soul that did not leave me. When we had to part that evening, we were no longer teacher and pupil, but two new brothers united in God.

1969: Father and Mother near the holy ground in Paris with Mr. and Mrs. Reiner Vincenz and Mrs. Won Pok Choi.

Power over Satan

On the following evening it took Reiner only a few minutes to tell me about the tragedy of the fall. He told me that Adam and Eve didn't reach the state of individual perfection but formed an illicit union without the permission and blessing of God. This brought about the multiplication of children of sin generation after generation, and the fallen history of the kingdom of hell on earth, with Satan as its ruler. Everything finally made sense to me! I realized that Satan was responsible, along with our first ancestors, for that wrong relationship which cut us off from God. Satan could accuse God and humanity without punishment as long as his crime was not discovered. Therefore, the knowledge of Satan's crime had to be a very powerful spiritual weapon. Reiner said that the Principle could give us the power to accuse Satan-for his terrible crime, which has caused God and humanity the greatest suffering.

This understanding liberated a force within me that I knew would help me control "attacks" of evil much better. But by then Reiner had already introduced another topic: the mission of Jesus. One sentence caught my mind: "The cross was not the will of God." The winds of Pentecost started to blow in my numb soul. Something powerful had awakened me. I could hardly hear the voice of Reiner: "It was blindness and ignorance that killed Jesus Christ. Paul's testimony confirms this: 'None of the rulers of the age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory:"

I couldn't control my tears. Everything suddenly became clear. Our Heavenly Father had sent us His son Jesus in the position of the Second Adam, hoping to recreate His original dream here on earth -- a perfect family, perfect children, and a perfect Kingdom centering on the love of God. My tears intensified when I realized that millions of men and women trapped by secular and false doctrines had remained orphans, unaware of the wonderful but broken heart of their Father. Actually, these were not my own tears but those of my Heavenly Father, who suffered incredibly, having been separated from His beloved children for such a long time without having had the chance to embrace them even once. They were also tears shed for the Father and His child, for this day of reunion.

I found this truth to be so obvious and so simple! How had it been possible that the belief that Jesus came to die on the cross had become the very foundation of Christianity? What great suffering it must have been for God and His Son to be misunderstood by Their own children for so long!

My prayer that evening was moving in its simplicity and sincerity: "Heavenly Father, Your heart is so big, overflowing with love for all of Your children. How could I have lived during all those years at the seminary in total ignorance of the reason for humankind's deep suffering? This evening, please receive the love of Your returning child.

A true revelation of God

This first experience with the personal love of God opened up to me the royal path leading to His hi art. God was my father, a true father, invisible of course, yet very real, caring tenderly each moment for the small details of my internal and external life. Since He was my father, He ardently wished to reveal to me His main desire -- to share His parental love with all His children in joy and freedom. I understood very quickly that the Principle was neither an abstract philosophical system nor another theology, but a true revelation of the living God.

When I saw Reiner for the third time, he invited me to dinner. I was overjoyed because I felt that God and Jesus would also be with us. After we had finished our simple meal, I waited impatiently for Reiner to share other secrets of God's heart. "Henri',' he began, "I was very happy yesterday to see that you realized how much God has suffered and is still suffering due to the separation from His children. This time I would like to go over the history of salvation, to help you to understand the providential meaning of the time in which we are living

Reiner made me feel again the excitement and incredible hope of Heavenly Father in the Garden of Eden. Through his talk I discovered even more deeply the great despair of God after the fall of man. "Heavenly Father lost His children, whom He loved above all things," Reiner said. "When God lost Adam and Eve, He lost His ideal, His joy, His Kingdom, His creation. His heart was completely broken and inconsolable. There was no one with whom He could share such suffering:"

Reiner stopped when he saw that I was deep in thought. Actually, I was beginning to understand the hidden meaning of the Bible. The Old Testament and the New Testament were actually the record of the long history of the blood, sweat, and tears of our Heavenly Father, searching for His lost children. When Reiner noticed that my internal meditation had finished, he said, "Jesus could not establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and God's heart was pierced once again. The resurrection of Jesus represented an alternative, chosen by God to open the way to spiritual salvation. Yet the body of humankind had to stay nailed to the cross and continue to suffer. Christians find meaning in actively preparing for the return of Christ, who is to bring the full salvation of both the body and spire

Meeting the Messiah

At this point Reiner put a chart in front of me showing the incredible parallels between Old and New Testament history. When I discovered that our time related perfectly to the time of Jesus, I felt an almost uncontrollable enthusiasm. We were living at the time of Christ's return! This fantastic discovery generated a radical transformation in me. My heart overflowed with extraordinary hope. I wanted to meet the Messiah!

As I was leaving Reiner that evening, I felt that I was flying over the city. When I came back to my little room, my Heavenly Father was waiting for me. Sitting on my brass bed I felt uplifted by the infinite love of Heavenly Father, as if He existed only for me. He called me by my first name. Then I felt that the almighty God -- the creator of heaven and earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Moses and Jesus, the God of all the saints -- was my personal God. He had to go through thousands of years of suffering in order to reach me! There is no word to describe the infinite happiness of the little grain of sand that I felt I was, seemingly forgotten in the immense universe, suddenly becoming the center of all the attention and love of the Creator.

God and I found ourselves embracing each other. My being was transfigured and transported in ecstasy to the throne of God, my creator and father. I tasted infinite and perfect love fully from this living source. It was a glorious celebration of the most intimate heart-to-heart relationship between Father and child!

The man of doubt had died and a new man was born, now filled with the absolute certainty that the love of God had the power to resurrect all of humankind. God Himself had anointed this new man for a mission: "Henri, go! Be a witness of My love to the world" I felt that my whole life wouldn't be long enough to sing my gratitude for having received such a wonderful gift from God.

I also realized that God wasn't the only one responsible for this miraculous encounter. The author of the Principle also appeared to me in his providential and cosmic dimension -- the visible incarnation of the invisible Parent. I realized that Sun Myung Moon had inherited the holy mission of Jesus to establish the dominion of God's love on earth. Heaven had come down to earth at last, and the realm of truth, goodness, and beauty had begun. That evening I fell asleep to the sound of heavenly music in the arms of God.

1975: Father and Mother in Vaucresson, France, with Mr. Henri Blanchard and Mrs. Won Pok Choi.

A gigantic task

Reiner didn't seem to be too impressed when I described my moving encounter of the night before. He was just happy. His spiritual child was born. I myself was convinced that I had just joined a very big family. I was overjoyed about the idea of meeting thousands of brothers and sisters, who I was sure were spread throughout the whole country of France. Within three days, the Principle had made me another person. I imagined with great excitement that the fire of God's love would convert the whole nation within a few months, or at the most a few years.

When Reiner then told me pointblank that I was the first and only disciple in France who had accepted the Principle, I almost fainted. I looked Reiner firmly in the eye, suddenly realizing that he was alone! Our destinies became all the more bound together as we found ourselves to be like two survivors on a raft in the midst of a rough ocean. Several feelings that seemed contradictory overcame me: the greatest happiness in having met the living God and His messenger, deep sadness over the small number of workers for this immense harvest, and paralyzing fear at the gigantic task in front of me.

Reiner looked concerned. He could guess my thoughts and feelings. "Henri, we shall go to Germany in two weeks:' he said to encourage me." "A big family is waiting there for you already." The thought of meeting with other European brothers and sisters filled me with joy. We weren't alone after all. I did belong to a worldwide family.

Reiner knew how to prepare me with great care for that meeting. Each day I made new discoveries of the truth. Reiner encouraged me to keep my job so that I could take care of my personal needs, which were minimal. But for me my real day started in the evening.

My spiritual father invested a great deal to give me an excellent education in the Principle. He didn't spare any time or effort in guiding the first steps of his spiritual child. He entrusted me quickly with the mission of teaching the Principle to guests. This always gave me the opportunity to experience a spiritual fire which completely took hold of me. God's spirit spoke through me. Overwhelming joy carried me to heaven while I explained with passion about God's original ideal.

Prayer in the evening was the highlight of each day. Reiner's relationship with Heavenly Father was so intimate; tears often ran from his eyes when he referred to the long path of solitude and suffering which God Himself had to go through to reach us. Every time he asked me to pray, I too could not withhold my tears. We felt God's love pouring down upon both of us.

One evening Reiner invited me to go with him to a place near the Eiffel Tower. Along the promenade he showed me a magnificent acacia tree and explained that our Father had blessed 120 places like this during his first world tour in 1965. Each of these "holy grounds" symbolized a fragment of creation that had been reclaimed and sanctified. I then realized very clearly the purpose of the Lord of the Second Advent: He is to bless the whole cosmos, physically and spiritually.

Faithful heroes on the path

Sometimes in the evening Reiner spent time with me looking at his photos of early pioneers of the church. He made many comments on each picture and helped me understand the incredible sacrifices which marked the beginning of the families in Korea, Japan, the United States, and Germany. The names of these pioneers of the "new age" became familiar to me: Mr. Hyo Won Eu, Mr. Won Pil Kim, Mr. Young Whi Kim, Mrs. Won Pok Choi, Mr. Osami Kuboki, Miss Young Oon Kim, Mr. Peter Koch.

In France, Reiner's course was no different from these great pioneers. Repeated fasting and exhaustion had made him dangerously weak. One day he fainted in the middle of the street. I learned later that Reiner recovered in a miraculous way, thanks to the prayers of Father himself. A true missionary has to lead a life of prayer and sacrifice. Such was the lesson of my two first weeks with the first French pioneer.

Also during this time I read the Divine Principle book more than 10 times. Each reading was a source of inspiration for me that never dried up. Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses -- all these champions of the living God became my intimate companions in the daily fight against the number one enemy: myself. My lack of courage and my selfishness disappeared when I became inspired by the saga of the faithful heroes who prepared the path on which I was walking.

When I first arrived in Essen, West Germany, I was intimidated. Mr. Peter Koch, the champion of God who was the first one to bring Europe the revolutionary message of the Principle, stood in front of me. But I was easily won over by his friendly attitude, full of simplicity and goodness. I was very attentive to the admirable lectures given by Peter during my first weekend with my German brothers and sisters.

We numbered about 20 all together, and I was very moved by the heavenly spirit around us. Everything was bright, beautiful, and harmonious. Peter explained several times that the original ideal of God, represented by the four position foundation of God, Adam, Eve, and children, was now for the first time substantially realized. Today, the original dream of God was living on the earth through a true man and woman, blessed in marriage by God as the True Parents of the great human family.

The German family was only a nucleus, but still representative of the ideal world. Going back on the train I had only one thought on my mind: I wanted to create in France a family as beautifully united, as dedicated to the mission, and as prayerful as the one that I had just met.

Back in Paris, Henri was comforted by the idea that the spirit world was working to bring new spiritual children. Reiner had testified that dreams and inner voices had often guided him to people.

A few days later, a voice awakened Henri from his sleep and informed him that his brother Remi was "awaiting." Reiner went to visit him in Brittany, and a week later Remi joined Reiner and Henri in Paris. Later on one of Remi's friends, Therese Lebreton, became the first French sister to join.

The four of them moved into a new apartment in Boulogne, a suburb of Paris. On November 12, 1968, the Association pour Unification du Christianisme Mondial was officially created.

Almost a year after Henri met Reiner, True Parents came to visit the European family in West Germany. Henri went with 120 brothers and sisters to welcome them at the Dusseldorf airport in Germany. Henri was overwhelmed with joy when Father shook his hand and called him by his first name. Suddenly he recognized the voice that he had first heard in his sleep, and he considered this as a sign that God was speaking through Rev. Moon.

During True Parents' visit, on March 28, 1969, eight European couples were blessed. Among them were Reiner and Barbara Vincenz. The joyful and simple ceremony recalled one of Henri's most vivid dreams: a vision of men and women dressed in white walking toward a beautiful royal couple.

The gentle presence of Mother, the spiritual strength of Father, the love they shared with each other, their parental concern for the members -- all this kindled in Henri the burning desire to witness every day for God's hew message and to create the restored family of mankind.

Two great events determined Henri's future: his Blessing in Korea in October 1970 to his wife Hilde, and the leaders' workshop he attended at Belvedere in the spring of 1973. At the end of that workshop, Henri was asked to accept the leadership of the French church. Father told him that he was to become the Jacob of his nation and win over millions of Esaus with total humility, service, and unconditional love. He also urged him to love every nation as his own nation, and every man and woman as his own brother and sister, in order to build a united world. 

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