The Words of the Kanari Family
At a recent 120-day workshop in New York, Mrs. Kanari shared with members about how she applies Father's words in her daily life. An early member in Japan, she was one of three Japanese "mamas" with a prayer mission. Now living in New York, she cooks for True Parents when they stay in the World Mission Center.
One of Father's sayings that most impressed me when I joined the Unification Church was this,
"We must really understand and acquire the word of God; not only that, we must become the embodiment of God's words and pursue the realm of His words and their embodiment every day."
At that time I felt at a loss, in a sense, because Father's words are so universal and so gigantic. I would write down the sayings of his that most impressed me and tried so hard to embody each of them, but the task seemed too great. So I determined to begin by striving to embody at least one saying of Father's.
Father once talked about Gideon [his story is found in the book of Judges, in the Old Testament] and his search for brave warriors. He asked those who came to him as volunteers to drink water from a stream, and Gideon chose those who scooped up water with their hands, without setting down their weapons. To always wear a weapon means to actualize Father's words. Based on this analogy, Father said that we have to keep alert -- even to the point of not changing into nightclothes to sleep -- ready to get up at an instant's notice. I was very impressed by this. In those days it was surprising to hear someone say that we should go to sleep without using a nightgown, but I understood Father to mean that we should not take our ease and be cozy, even at home, but always be ready to challenge and meet whatever circumstances that might come our way, even in the middle of the night. I began to live this way, going to bed with my clothes on and hair fixed, ready to jump up at a moment's notice.
In Japan I worked closely with Mr. Kuboki, president of the Japanese Unification Church, as his secretary. In those days, Mr. Kuboki used to go to holy ground to pray late every night and return around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. I had to wait up until he came back, so I would lie down with my clothes on. Father's words were very helpful to me then, when I had to remain attentive and prayerful through the early hours of the morning. The other members had gone to bed, but since the headquarters gate was left unlocked for Mr. Kuboki's return, anybody could have entered. Various strange people did come in at times, and I would become scared. But because I was prepared for any circumstance, I could jump up and confront anybody.
Another saying of Father's that impressed me was this:
"You should dedicate your whole life, for one second or one moment."
Therefore, I really started to challenge myself on this point and try to dedicate even one second to thinking about God's heart and relating to others with that heart.
I heard that Father always wakes up and prays at 4:00 am, without fail. Also, I know that his whole day is a day of prayer. I was very challenged by that standard. It is so hard for fallen man to lead a life of intensive prayer all day long; the tendency to become self-centered is so strong. Such a life requires much discipline.
I trained myself as much as I could to lead such a life of prayer. That doesn't mean always staying in the prayer room, but making life itself a prayer. So whether I am in the kitchen or bathroom, every second of the time I try to stay in the realm of prayer. Originally, I was not such a spiritual person, but through such moments of prayer, God has told me many things: warning me of a dangerous situation Mr. Kuboki was facing, a critical moment for some member, a potential accident, etc. Even though I did not pray for this knowledge, God would reveal such situations to me and I would be drawn to pray about them. Upon returning to the center, the person involved would tell how some kind of accident was about to happen, but somehow he or she managed to escape. Such incidents have taken place more often than I can tell.
To become the embodiment of God's words seemed an enormous challenge; it means polishing my personality according to the heavenly standard and deepening God's heart in myself. A big part of the battle is to become selfless -- to make myself nothing. This is one of the principles of any religion: to make yourself nothing; to become selfless and not be preoccupied about yourself; always to live for others; continually to strive to become the embodiment of God; and always to relate to other people and things from such a perspective.
Unfortunately, it is easy for fallen people to deal with other persons and things in the wrong way. Father often said that we need to become bigger receptacles for God and other people and be able to listen to all things.
Therefore, every day, I try to take a humble Cain position. When members who just joined yesterday -- or even today -- talk about God's words and their precious experiences with Heavenly Father, we should take Cain's position and listen to everything. I believe that Abel's position is held by the person who has gained some sort of victory and can report these experiences to God; but when young members talk about God, I try to open my heart and listen -- becoming Cain to them.
As fallen people, it is easy to look at things with a fallen mind and forget the good parts. I strive to discover and recognize the good points in each of our brothers and sisters. I try to think that since each person has so many good points which I don't have, I have to learn from them.
Internal truths should always be manifested in an external form. So it is not enough just to understand and acknowledge that I have to learn from others, but I have to manifest this in practice. In the process, I learn a lot about Heavenly Father's heart. If Adam and Eve hadn't fallen, Heavenly Father's heart would have been filled with only joy and happiness. But their fall filled His heart with so much sorrow and suffering. So Heavenly Father's heart leaps with joy when man fulfills even a small portion of responsibility. Therefore, I try to acquire all aspects of Heavenly Father's heart. Synthesizing what I hear.
One of Father's sayings really changed my life:
"Challenge your limitations,"
he instructed us. I felt that this meant to synthesize everything I have heard. One elder Korean brother once told me, "Mrs. Kanari, you are still wasting so many things: spiritually, mentally, your use of time, etc." I felt this was true: in so many ways I could have tightened up and done more. So I tried to practice a stricter schedule: going to bed at 2:00 a.m. and rising at 5:00 a.m.; also I would take a cold shower before going to bed.
Another of Father's mottos which I have tried to embody is to
"forgive, love, and unite."
This is very important, because it contains a wealth of meaning, for our personality and heart, teaching us how to deal with brothers and sisters.
Father once told the leaders,
"Speak words which will not fall down to the earth and disappear, but speak words which heaven can receive. Talk about what you have experienced with Heavenly Father -- something which is really living; don't speak words which Satan can snatch away."
This means that every moment we have to study Father's course and Father's life.
Father also said,
"Devote yourself 120 percent, to the point where you can give your life every second."
This doesn't mean that Father said we should wish to die, or any such thing, but that our devotion and dedication should reach 120 percent. This saying was fearful to me, for I still don't feel I have devoted myself enough to serving Heavenly Father, True Parents, central figures, and all the brothers and sisters. We really have to serve more.
Regarding the tortures which Father has gone through, one spiritualist said, "From the spiritual point of view, Father faced life and death situations 430 times." But in the midst of all this, Father never forgot the heart of challenging every situation. Because he wanted to save all mankind, and because he wanted to serve all men, he could overcome the most critical and dangerous moments.
My attitude about prayer has changed since the beginning of my time in the church. While Father was still striving to complete his 21-year course, he said that we should begin our prayers with gratitude that we were able to join the Unification Church. Thus, each of us would recall in prayer our deep and tearful encounter with God, the deep feelings and impressions we had when we first joined the church. "Please never forget these early experiences in the church," Father had said; "start your prayer with these feelings."
But now, after finishing his 21-year course, Father says we should begin our prayers by recounting to Heavenly Father how our True Father carried out his course and focusing on the heart and determination which Father maintained throughout those 21 years. "Father has been carrying such a cosmic burden up until now," we can tell God, "so please let me now carry this burden too."
In the early years of the church, there was one member who for three days refused to have any relationship with the brothers and sisters. Father pleaded with him and wept. "Please talk to me," he repeated, over and over. Because of Father's tears, that person's resistance melted, his heart opened, and he began to talk with the others. This is the kind of standard of love which Father has set.
His concern extends even to those who are no longer in the church -- those who could not maintain the standard of Unification Church life and eventually left. In Korea, whenever he had time, he would go to such a person's door and say a prayer for him. "This person is now out of the church," he would tell God, "but he contributed so much. Heavenly Father, please remember the great contribution till, person made. Right now, I don't have enough time to take care of him, so please take care of him." This is the kind of prayer Father offers for former members, and I think that we as well should carry that kind of heart for each person.
Centers I have been in have sometimes included very, very difficult members; other brothers and sisters occasionally wanted to ask such a person to leave, or in some way cut off the relationship, for the benefit of the center. Then I would remind them of Father's standard.
Once I asked Father about a person who was causing difficulties. "Don't cut off the relationship," he replied. "Rather, you should love him more than Satan loves him; if you can do that, the person will stay and automatically begin to change." Again I had to think of Father's standard of loving every brother and sister. "If you cannot give someone enough care," he said, "at least face him with tears and share with him; plead with him." Some of these difficult members have stayed with us and are now blessed and raising families.
We must remember the importance of practicing Father's words. If we cannot change ourselves, we cannot lead others. Father has often talked about heavenly law and emphasized its importance. Actually, we still don't know clearly the contents of heavenly law; only Father does. Eventually, we will have to live by its standard.
In 1981 I served Father in Gloucester, while he was tuna fishing. Every morning at 2:30, without fail, he set out for the ocean. The night before the opening of the tuna tournament, he checked all the preparations with great seriousness. It was almost 1:00 a.m. when he ended. "Let's go to bed," he said, and everyone left the boats. Suddenly he thought of one boat and asked its captain, "How about your boat? Is it all right?" "Yes, Father," was the reply. "Last year it was prepared, and tomorrow morning I will check it again." But Father got so angry. "No, you have to check it now. You have to finish today what you must do today. Don't put things off until tomorrow. Satan can invade if you procrastinate." So Father himself went back and checked the boat and its lines. "There is no time for joking now," he told all present. "This is a time for fighting. Don't put things off until tomorrow; do today what you have to do today."
I was startled by this serious attitude, and I repented internally. So many times I have postponed things until the following day.
I really hope each of us can challenge ourselves to live up to Father's standard and put into practice the words which he has given us with so much heart and love. Even though we cannot be as perfect as he, still we should try our best and not offer excuses such as, "I know I can't do it, so I won't try." Satan can invade a person with such an attitude. My motto is, "Even though I cannot do it, I will try my best; even though I cannot do it perfectly, I will still take up the challenge." Americans and Europeans, stand up!
Leaders have big responsibilities; the expectations of many people rest on your shoulders. I have learned so much from those of you who have come from other countries. I feel that the mission in America should eventually be taken care of by Americans, and the mission in Europe by Europeans. Of course, those of us from other parts of the world should help and do whatever we can. But Americans should stand up, and Europeans should stand up, and deal with their own problems.
Internal faith is the base of everything, and when that foundation is solid, so many external things can be built upon it. Father said, "A loving person is tolerant of others, but strict with one's self." In my present position, all I can do is pray for each of you. I would like to help you and serve you as much as I can, but in reality, you are the ones who must fight and accomplish many things. I challenge you to embody Father's words and inherit his heart and personality.