The Words of the Ablong Family
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you so much for your hard work and sacrifice for Heavenly Providence.
Tomorrow, Friday, March 27th, 2009, is True Parents Day. As usual, let us do our celebrations at 7 am at home if we can’t go to Japan Church to celebrate with our Japan Church brothers and sisters.
For me, there are two recent events in the Philippine movement that have been considered of prime substantial value:
1. The visit of Hyun Jin Nim in Manila from March 2-3 and the inauguration by Hyun Jin Nim of the Peace Village on March 4-5 in Mindanao as a model center for the Mindanao Peace Initiative that was fully supported by the Philippine House of Congress, by some senators, the police and military forces and especially by the President Arroyo.
2. Philippines is ranked No. 4 in annual donations given to True Parents for this year 2009.
In addition to these wonderful events in our home country. Philippine members in Japan have created about 5 organizations already to support our witnessing activities here. These organizations are composed of members and non-members. They are:
1. United Filipinos for Peace and Progress led by Kuya Dante Negre based in Tokyo but have already branches in Nagoya and Mie-Ken.
2. Philippine Japan Tong Il Moo Do Federation (PJTIMD) based in Tokyo led by Brother Robert Alcamfor.
3. International Family Federation for Peace led by Brother Adel Villareal based in Miyazaki.
4. Filipino-Japanese Movement for Global Peace (FJMGP) led by Ms. Lina Obara based in Tokyo but have branches in almost all prefectures of Japan already.
5. Full Blooded Ilocanos (FBI) led by Kuya Dante in Tokyo.
I just came out of the hospital this morning for a minor surgical operation to remove a cystic, ball-like hardened flesh. A piece of that “cyst” was sent to a separate physical examination company for laboratory analysis.
I remembered all of you and prayed for your health and goodness during this minor operation. We are all already in our middle years, so it is natural for us to experience some kind of “abnormal” body conditions. Let us always remember that our physical body is very limited in time and space in this world and it is very important for us to make our spiritual bodies grow through this body that God has given us. Let us continue to take care of our physical and spiritual bodies. Here is a good message from Hyun Jin Nim about “Learning to Live Un-intimidated” even by death in our lives. May God and True Parents keep your health as you do your best everyday to take care of it for the greater public purpose.
Thank you. Raffy
Good afternoon, brothers and sisters. I don't know if you saw the Christmas decoration outside -- is it really wonderful? We're always honored to have you here in this sanctuary, and for those who are joining us via the Internet, we are welcoming you as well. Welcome brothers, welcome sisters!
I'd like to share with you from Cheon Seong Gyeong, page 859, today. Father talks about the spirit world. He says, "The spirit world is covered with the constituents of love. The earth is covered with air, but the spirit world is wrapped in love. On earth we breathe air and breathe out carbon dioxide, but in the spirit world, we should live by breathing love."
It's very interesting that Father connects the breath to the very spirit world, to life and especially to love. And every time we breathe in and breathe out during our meditation time, it's so important that we can remember that. That time of breathing and remembering that we are alive can fill us with a new sense of chance, a new sense of possibility, that today is a new day, that God is actually blessing us with a new time, a new breath, a new life. And each time we take that new breath, even though we may still be having remnants of the past, or some circumstance or challenge, we can still breathe in new life, new strength and move forward with that kind of hope.
Brothers and sisters, it's so important that, whenever we start service, we're starting with the right mindset so that you're looking at yourself not through your own eyes, but through the eyes of Almighty God. And that is very important. We don't want to only look at ourselves from our own eyes, because when we do that, we can see someone who is inadequate, someone who is not perfect. We can see someone who's in the growth stage.
But when we look at ourselves from the eyes of God we can see ourselves as if we have reached all of our potential, we can see ourselves as God sees us. When He sees us, we're truly being able to bring that much joy to him. When we see ourselves in those eyes, we can start finding new strength, new hope in ourselves, new inspiration to move forward in our lives.
Brothers and sisters, let's always look at ourselves with those eyes. In the past week, if you had the chance to look at yourselves with those eyes of hope that give you strength, then I believe that in the coming week you'll do the same as well. Once again, brothers and sisters, let's offer the glory and the joy that we have in this service, back to True Parents and God. Welcome.
I'm usually immune to colds but this week I was slightly sick; I had a fever, sore throat, headache and some things. But at the same time, while I was sick, I got so much love and care from my husband, my children and especially my second son, who kept on telling me, "You have to rest, Mommy. If I'm holding the baby I will take care of him and put him to sleep! So that you can rest, so that you won't go to spirit world!" And I said, "Oh no, no, no, Mommy won't go to spirit world because of this. I'm stronger than that!" I had to tell him that.
So I would say it was a really good time to remind myself of how precious my family was. I thought that the development of the Unification Church is very similar to this. Our church has been suffering from many sicknesses and illnesses. In order to overcome these obstacles and make it better, we not only need good medicine, but also we need love amongst each other. We need to have an attitude that we are stronger than this. And that this obstacle will not defeat us. That we will not die because of this. We need this kind of strong attitude, I think.
Brothers and sisters, let us feel the bright Unification future, together with Heavenly Father and True Parents. Aju!
Heavenly Father, thank you for this day that you have blessed upon us. Father, today as we are near the season of Christmas and Thanksgiving, Father, we pray that we may also be participants in this holy communion. Father, we pray that we may remember the great sacrifice and tears that you have shed throughout so many thousands of years. But Father, let us not stop there. Let us wipe away your tears. Father, let us lift You up and bring You joy this season, and let us start the new year with a new hope, a new strength and new possibility, that all things will come to pass.
Heavenly Father, we pray that You may be in this sanctuary today, and You may extend Your holy hands into the lives of the brothers and sisters who are here. Father, if there are any obstacles, any hindrances, any circumstances that are holding us back today, we pray that during this time You may come down and erase, and scoop away, those hindrances.
Father, we pray that we may leave this sanctuary with a pure heart, with our minds focused on You and True Parents, that we may truly become the blessed families that You have desired from the beginning of creation. Father, thank You so much that You are allowing us to be here in this sanctuary. We pray that You may also be with the families that are joining us all around the world. Father, that we may understand that we are all connected in a worldwide family web, that You are looking after us and that You are helping us every single day.
Heavenly Father, thank You once more, we pray and offer all the glory, all the joy and all the thanksgiving that we receive today back to you altogether as one, in our own names as Central Blessed Families. Aju.
You know before we begin, we'd like to start with something a little interesting. I heard a beautiful story: There was a college student who wrote a letter home to mom and dad. It read like this: "Dear Mom and Dad, I feel miserable! Because I have to keep writing for money. I feel ashamed and unhappy. I have to ask for another $100. But every cell in my body rebels. I beg on bended knee that you forgive me. Your son, Marvin.
P.S. I felt so terrible that I ran after the mailman who picked up this letter. I wanted to take this letter from him and burn it right away. I prayed to God that I could get it back, but I was too late."
A few days later, Marvin received a letter from his father:
"Dear son, good news! Your prayers were answered. Your letter never came!"
Brothers and sisters, woooh, you got it today!
Today I'd like to talk to you about, "Learning to Live Un-intimidated." You know, in order to live the blessed life, it is so important to live life un-intimidated. There will be circumstances, events, petty minds or archangels that will try to intimidate you into defeat. They know that if they scare you out of pursuing your own dreams and potentials that God has given you, they will injure God through that defeat. Knowing that God is on your side, and learning to live un-intimidated is one of the keys to living the blessed life. Let's take a look at some of these World Scriptures today.
From Christianity, let's look at Romans. Let's read it together, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" A very important one. Let's look at Islam today: "Oh, who you believe! If you help God's cause, he will help you and will make your foothold firm." Quran 477. Let's look at Buddhism today: "Men of little ability, too, by depending upon the Great, may prosper. A drop of water is a little thing, but when will it dry up, if it is united with a lake?"
Let's look at True Parents' words today. Let's read that together, "What should be the standard of the life of faith? We cannot base the standard on the things that people of this world ordinarily interact with. Because the life of faith seeks after infinite value. Since the center of infinite value is none other than God, therefore the standard for the life of faith should be placed on God."
Brothers and sisters, it is so important that we focus our minds on such statements. But many people will look at themselves and say, "You know, I have a bad past," or "I can't pursue my dreams right now, there's no way I'm going to bring them to pass in my life." But don't be intimidated by your past.
You know, Joseph was an inmate, he was a prisoner. Look at Moses. He was a murderer on the run. Even Jesus himself, he was a criminal. He was executed on the cross.
But what if I try and people make fun or people don't believe that I can do it, or they even try to bring me down, bring me to ruin? Don't be intimidated by naysayers in your life, brothers and sisters!
Nehemiah was mocked for wanting to rebuild Jerusalem, Job was mocked by his friends for having trust in God, Noah was mocked by own his family for doing what God had commanded.
"But what if I try and I fail?" Don't be intimidated by failure. It's better to risk failure than to risk your potential. It's better to risk failure than to risk the possibility of not actualizing your God-given potential and dreams.
In Zen Buddhism, there is the teaching that there are three things that are needed, that are critical along the spiritual path. It teaches that those things are, number one: Great Faith, number two: Great Doubt, and number three: Great Effort. See, having faith in God's goodness, in our ability and talents, in the possibility for ourselves and others to mature, are critical things.
But there will be moments of doubt in your life, no matter how strong your faith is. There will be moments where you will doubt God's goodness. You will doubt your ability and potential. You will doubt whether or not others can mature around you. You will doubt whether or not the dreams God has given you will ever come to pass. You will also doubt whether or not you can overcome a circumstance that you are facing.
But if you make great effort, then, according to this teaching, you will make it through that doubt and you will enter into new life and new faith. See, you will enter into a new faith and confidence in God, faith and confidence in your ability and your potential, and faith and confidence in the teachings that allow you to do that.
In our life of faith there are moments of those kinds of doubts. These doubts can become so great that they can intimidate us out of our own consistency and perseverance. Doubt, unchecked, can lead to intimidation, misery and dread of the unknown. But doubt, used well, can be helpful along the spiritual journey.
It can cause an urgency in our lives to pursue a more rigorous practice, to become better and mature, to challenge ourselves to actualize more readily. So in our lives it's very important that we don't beat ourselves up because we have doubts that come into our mind. But that we know that if we move through those doubts with effort and perseverance, we will come to a new level of faith to that God is leading us.
You know, doing ministry there are plenty of times where I myself have doubts in my own faith, or my own potential, or my ability to lead, my ability to fulfill what True Parents expect or have given me to fulfill. But I realize that if I keep at it, with humility and effort, a way emerges, a door opens up. God sends the person that I've been praying for, he sends a person I need, or He opens up the door that I just needed, or He makes an opportunity out of a crisis that seems to be so strong in front of us.
See, faith is only weakened by doubt if one gives in to that doubt and fear and gives up. People with weak faith are easy to spot, because when things don't go their way, they easily and quickly give up on themselves, their work, or their consistency and perseverance in doing that work.
But by going through the intimidation of doubt and fear, your faith is strengthened, our faith in our character, in our potential is strengthened, and we realize, "You know what, I'm not doing everything and I don't need to do everything. God is on my side, and He is helping me." Just as True Parents told me when I was inaugurated as International President, "Don't worry so much, there will be plenty of people to help you." And that is so important and that gives me so much strength when I start doubting myself.
You know, brothers and sisters, whether we realize it or not, God is doing 95% already. He's already doing it behind the scenes. We had a luncheon this week with 11 of the top newspapers here in Korea (Joongang, Donga, Chosun, Yonhap, all these big newspapers.) We had a wonderful lunch, they asked many interesting questions, they heard my story, they took pictures, etc. And I was assuming that this would just be a luncheon, a kind of an end of year formal greeting where we just kind of talk and wish each other well for the season, and I didn't think anything big would come out of it.
But the very next day, Joongang, Donga, and Yonhap, Korea's top newspapers wrote very prominent articles about the luncheon discussions. Joongang, Donga, etc. actually never published something positive about our movement, never, if anything at all. But the prominent articles were very well written, they were accurate, and had not a negative, not even a neutral tone, they had a positive tone. [Applause.] And I was told this was the first time for them to actually look at us and write for us such a thing.
I was so grateful, so thankful to them. They didn't have to do that, they went out of their way to write us a very good article. And so that night, I called up the reporters that night and personally thanked them: "Thank you so much for writing such a nice article. Really thankful, grateful that you went out of your way to do that." And they were so surprised and they told later on that no President of a religion calls them up after a good interview. So it was the first for them. But I felt very right about thanking them from my heart, because I realized that they didn't have to do it, and also that I didn't do any of it. I realized that it was God.
When I was explaining my story I realized, "Hey, you know what, I didn't live this life. God prepared this. He made me study Buddhism, Catholicism and Christianity, He made me be with those different traditions, helped me learn different languages, and study religion, meditation, and He made my story." That's something I realized.
There is no way I could have planned the decade of events that led up to my decision to begin ministry. The ten years that were my own training, I did so many things which became assets to me now in my ministry. And I realized, it wasn't me. It was all in God's hands.
As in the legend of Hanuman, in Korea his name is Sonogong, he's kind of the monkey hero. He has this amazing staff. In the more recent times you probably saw the movie "Forbidden City" with Jet Lee, and Jackie Chen. Jet Lee plays the monkey king. Pick that up, by the way, it's very good Kung Fu! And so in this legend, Sonogong has this magical staff that can help him leap 108,000 Li or 54,000 Km. He tries to escape from the Buddha and uses the power of his staff to fly away. But he realizes that he simply moved from one area of the Buddha's palm to the other.
That is when he realizes that it is futile to think that I'm doing everything, futile to think that I'm moving mountains. He realizes that no matter how great he thought he was, the Buddha was helping him and protecting him. Sonogong says, "No matter how much I traveled or how far I could go, I realize that I was still in the palm of the Buddha." It's a very famous phrase in Korea.
It's the same with our own lives. In our own lives, what we will realize is that there are so many events and circumstances that led us to be the person we are today. And that we could have never actually planned all those circumstances and events perfectly, to lead up to the person we are today. And when we realize that, we know, "Hey, I don't have to do everything. I can rely on God. God is doing the 95%, and I will fulfill my 5%."
You see, brothers and sisters, on our way to the World Temple CBG, we must acknowledge that we may sometimes feel doubt and intimidation.
What if society attacks us? What if we are not able to make the Temple? What if we fail, etc.? And these are natural questions, but whenever the archangel starts tempting me with these doubts, I just remember how much God has done up till now.
The culture of our movement is changing, it is becoming more fair, more transparent, we have elections for leadership in Korea, we are rediscovering our faith, our confidence, our belief that our tradition can make a difference in this world. Step by step, God is leading us to fulfill that destiny. So many believed that the movement had no more hope. So many proclaimed it as dead, that it's over once True Parents are not here. Nobody believed we could ever stop being persecuted by the media. Here, now that media that was negative has turned positive.
Nobody believed that we could have Presidents come to church. Then President Carazo came to church. Nobody believed there would be a change in leadership. Then True Parents appointed the True Children all around the world.
Nobody believed that the Unification Church would become mainstream and capture the imagination of nations. But you know what happened? When we met these reporters, they kept on asking me about the World Temple. Already the rumor is out all around Seoul. These people were asking me, "Oh where is it? How is it going to look?" I said, "I can't tell you, so stop trying to tempt me!" [Laughter]. They're already hearing about it, it's capturing the imagination of the people, of society. Brothers and sisters, it is time for us to know, to believe. It is happening.
You see, what can we learn today? In life there will be intimidating times, there will be circumstances, people and archangels that intimidate us in our lives. But when you do something great, there are always petty minds that come up and want you to fail. But if you give up you are letting those petty minds steal that greatness, that potential, that talent and enthusiasm for life that God has put inside your heart.
If you get intimidated along the way, then realize that it's okay. Don't beat yourself up, but push through with that effort, with hard work and perseverance, and you're going to make it through. In the end, we will be able to respect the person that God has created us to be and when we do get through, we will be stronger, braver, more confident, we will have more self-esteem and more self-respect. On our way to the World Temple let us have that faith, and if we doubt, let's use that doubt well, push through with effort and become even stronger.
Brothers and sisters, God will see us through and we will see the Unification Church bring joy, happiness and glory to God and True Parents on earth as it is in Heaven. Let's give it up for the Unification Church, come on, let's give it up!
Brothers and sisters, I do believe, that if we go forward with this kind of heart, learning to live un-intimidated in our lives, being brave and bold, then we will find ourselves with more victory, illumination and peace, and we will live that blessed life that True Parents have blessed us with. If you can receive this message, let's give it up one more time for God and True Parents! Thank you so much.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this day that You have blessed upon us. Father, we are praying for all of the brothers and sisters around the world today who are joining us here in this sanctuary. Father, we may not be present in the same room, but Father we know that our hearts are connected, and as You look down upon us You can see your blessed central families. Father, we pray that You may endow them with your strength, that You may give them and fulfill through them all the things that You wish to be actualized on this earth.
Heavenly Father, we pray that You may give us that kind of great courage and that boldness, so that we do believe in ourselves, that we believe in the people that You have created us to be, and Father, that we never give up on ourselves. Father, even if we doubt, we will use that well to bring us to a new level of strength, a new level of perseverance. Through that effort we will become stronger and we will become more wise. Father, thank You so much for this day. We pray that You may be together here with us, and we thank You that You have given us and opened up new pathways in our lives; maybe You've closed doors that needed to be closed, and we thank You for opening up new avenues in our lives.
Father, we pray that You may erase and eliminate any of the hindrances that are in our minds, that are in our bodies, and that You may bless us with divine health and protection. Father, that You may give us the strength and wisdom to help others, to mature ourselves and to be catalysts for change around. Father, we pray that You may work Your history and Your miraculous happenings through Your blessed central families, and let these blessed central families not only live victoriously, but let them shine before the world. Let them truly be the embodiment and representation of Your glory.
Father, thank You so much. We pray with an everlasting love and tremendous gratitude. Father, we thank You for this year, we are praying for 2008, 2009 to be truly blessed years, where we can find ourselves with more victory, more illumination and more peace, and become a greater blessing to this world. Thank You so much. We return all the glory to You and we pray these things together as blessed central families, Aju!
Rafael Enriquez Ablong