Let Us Give Thanks
Reverend Sun Myung Moon,
November 23, 1980
Translator – Bo Hi Pak
Everyone yearns to have a situation where they can be thankful. In what kind of position can we be thankful? In Oriental philosophy, sons and daughters have a position where they can serve their parents with love and filial piety. That opportunity is a situation for gratitude. Do Westerners feel the same way? An opportunity where one can serve his country is also a situation for gratitude. When you are in a position to be a holy person who serves the world and mankind, truly you can be grateful.
All of these positions I have described are horizontal relationships. Vertically speaking, however, when you are put in a position to serve almighty God in heaven, certainly that is the position for supreme gratitude. In that position a person can be a child of filial piety, a patriot, and a saint, without limit. Certainly we would like to have all these opportunities to serve as opportunities for gratitude. Can all these positions be found easily on earth? They are relatively difficult to obtain, so we must strive for them, but the striving makes their accomplishment more valuable.
If you want to be a true son of piety, you have to be recognized by the entire household as one who is giving his utmost to his parents. That position is usually unwanted by others because it requires sacrifice and tribulation. But is it more valuable when your tribulation is short or long?
What kind of sons and daughters would receive recognition from God as number one? What would the qualification be? There are many criteria. A person might serve unselfishly, even becoming crippled, for instance. There are many situations that could qualify a person. A person might even lose all his arms and legs, or his face might be mutilated. Imagine that he lost all his limbs, plus his eyes, nose and chin! Even if his neck came off, there are many different ways in which this could happen. But if a person decides ahead of time what recognition he wants to achieve, there is already an element of failure there. For who is he doing it in that case? For himself. You must serve without any concept of what level of achievement might come.
There are many ways people can die. People can die reluctantly, or out of duty, but also out of a fervent love which goes beyond the call of duty. Parents are not always exalted or important, but a son who serves such humble parents without thought of reward is really the son of filial piety. That is genuine love. Perhaps they may just lie in their sickbed for ten years without hope of recovery, but day after day the son willingly takes care of them. Is that easy?
The standard of supreme piety toward one’s parents is determined by length of suffering and intensity of love. When God recognizes someone as the son of greatest filial piety, it is most important that no one be in a position to criticize and say he doesn’t deserve it. How much can such a person be thankful for the opportunity to become such a person, though he never planned to strive for it? The greater the tribulation a person overcomes, the greater the thanksgiving he feels afterward. Do you agree with me?
By following the same standard, a great patriot can be born. Is a patriot a power monger who dominates his people and country? He is the one who can take all the burdens or grief of his nation’s people on his shoulders. How can you become a true patriot? Just serving the head of state or the king and queen is not enough. A true patriot loves the people at the bottom of the ladder as well. When he sees their suffering and misery, or sees their bad behavior, he feels it is his own. When a patriotic American sees his countrymen committing shameful acts, he feels ashamed himself. A patriot feels connected to his countrymen as though they were his own parents or family.
What patriot would receive an award from God for being the best? There are many different ways of serving one’s country. In many cases when one serves his country he is rejected by his own people, but a true patriot would continue to serve his country anyway. Today, for example, most people are trying to have fun all the time, but if a person goes in a totally different direction then people say he is foolish and they criticize him. Fads will pass away, but will the value of a patriot come and go? No, it will remain for eternity. Even if negative powers try to destroy such a person, he will rise above them and be a winner. A patriot is in a position to be accused and rejected by his own people.
Let’s look at a step higher. A saint loves all mankind as his family. Each country has patriots, but not every country has a saint. Would your supreme goal be patriotism, or sainthood? Does a saint have to be handsome or beautiful? Does a saint normally live an inconspicuous, comfortable life? On the contrary, he lives entirely differently from the rest of the world. Jesus lived just a short life, and during that time he was rejected by his own family and people, and finally he was crucified as a criminal.
Jesus said once that even foxes have holes and birds have their nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head. In those days was he poorer than you, or better off? Jesus envied the foxes and birds because he was rejected by his own family and people, and pushed to such an extreme that he had nowhere else to go. Finally he was pushed up against the stone wall of crucifixion. Undoubtedly everyone thought Jesus was a fool for living such a way. No one sympathized with him.
But Jesus had one consolation that at least God knew him. On the cross God abandoned him, however, and Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But even then Jesus never changed his principle of loving God and mankind. Even in such an incredibly poor situation, he had the attitude to pray for the sinners and for those who were killing him. Was Jesus complaining or thankful in his mind? Even if Jesus had not been thankful, the whole Roman Empire and nation of Israel would have been thankful in the future. That was a supreme manifestation of true love, which all future generations would be thankful for.
2,000 years later the American nation became Christian and worshipped Jesus. If Jesus knew that in his last moments he had complained to God, would that be a source of great regret or pride to him? But Jesus has felt good about the gratitude of posterity because he has a clear conscience that at the last moment he was grateful and asked forgiveness for his killers.
Can there be any level higher than saint? Was Jesus a son of God? Then what is the difference between Jesus and you? As a son of God he was crucified, but you are alive. When Jesus died his mission was left undone here on earth, but you are proceeding with that mission. If Jesus had united his people and was moving toward the Roman Empire and then was killed in action, then many more like him would have come forth from Israel to complete his mission. Then the world would have been united at that time. Would that have come about by force and weapons? By true love.
How much more grateful would Jesus have been for the opportunity to fulfill his mission so he had no regrets left behind. The true tragedy of Jesus was not necessarily the crucifixion itself, but that the mission was left undone, that only spiritual salvation was made available to mankind.
Why are you here? Do you like me? What would be gained by loving me? I am just another man, with no special appearance. You say you love me for my heart, but as soon as people discover you are Moonies, you always hear sharp words from them! What you get out of Reverend Moon’s heart is nothing but grief. Not only scholars, but regular working people scoff at you as being Moonies. What have you gotten out of loving Reverend Moon? All my life, wherever I have gone fingers are pointed at me and controversy begins. People pray to God to take me away, but somehow those prayers are never answered. Not only that, I am never even seriously ill.
What do I get out of all this? I could come here just like any other foreigner to get something out of America, but instead of taking something away, I am bringing everything I have to give for this nation. The Unification Church leaders all want me to approve more budgets for them! Why do I live like this? Knowing that America is so negative I could very well turn away and say I don’t care any more, but the more animosity I receive, the more love I give.
Everyone knows there is nothing to be gained by making enemies in the government, but for four years I have been outspoken and critical. The American President has fantastic power at his fingertips, and for four years the government has been after me, even seeking the cooperation of 25 other nations to try and block me.
I never retreated in my crusade, but was always ready for a showdown. I knew that even if I went to jail that history would ultimately declare me the victor, and that Americans would repent later with tears, so I was not intimidated. I would never have conceded defeat. Even if I was pushed to the ground by the enemy, I would never change my course but would have continued until I could finish the victory.
This past election was not a normal one. It was a life or death matter for not only me but for America and the free world, and for Korea. Most importantly, whether God’s will could be done now or postponed also turned on the election. But God saw that justice would be done, and with this result I could declare to the world that I was right and the Divine Principle teaching was correct. Particularly when I declared that New York would vote on Reagan’s side, everyone thought I was crazy and now I was really on the way out. But I knew that God’s will would be done.
The communist world wanted another result, but I knew that my grip was stronger than theirs because it represented God’s grip. I knew this was a unique, incredible historical showdown between me and the world. Can you imagine how seriously I was thinking in the early morning on November 4? Your job was working in your home church, but I was responsible for the final consequences, and no one can imagine how I felt. It was again proven that God is with me. The election was an historical miracle.
God has been moving the world, but always He has been in the back seat. Now He is in the driver’s seat, guiding history in His own direction. You must have absolute conviction that God is with us and that our goal is God’s goal and ambition. Therefore, He is absolutely with us, and we are all one. Even before victory came I predicted Reagan’s landslide. Is God on the side of secular America, or on my side? I happen to be the one who is pushing you all the time, but still you love me? I would like to bring everyone to God’s victory party in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The important thing is that now your turn has come. If you can have absolute faith and confidence that God is with you, when you move in all four directions what do you think this nation and world will be like? Would you have the power to turn this world around? This is the best opportunity because you have seen that God is in action.
Do you have confidence that in God’s will you can become a Senator, or even a President? If even one man can do this much, how much more can happen if all of you here become Reverend Moons? Politics is not our primary job, and by doing it we suffer losses, but never mind; in this experience we learn that God is working and providing the victory. That one conviction is good enough.
It is true that we are lonely people, accused and rejected, but God is backing us, and with Him as our champion there is no way we can be defeated. We shall march forward in the name of God and then there is nothing that cannot be done. The world is crumbling, so we have to hold tight to the world to steer it and give it direction. You are going to be locomotives, and the rest of the world will be the passenger cars. The Principle is our rail, God is our goal, and we will pull the rest of the world.
Knowing we are taking action, God is with us, and we are in a position to look into heaven and thank God. The rest of the world feels Reverend Moon and Unification Church have no hope, but now new horizons have opened up. We will not only run in our gratitude. but ultimately take off and fly. God cannot sit still in that case, but would shout out, “Oh thank you my children!”
Such a person will never fail, but will always win. As long as God is on your side, there is no such thing as stagnation or failure. With this heart there is nothing we cannot bear. Even if your children or husband are sick, there is nothing to discourage you because this overriding gratitude dominates your life. Suppose there was a football game between Russia and America, and in the last ten seconds America won a cliffhanger victory. If the crowd is jumping and cheering wildly, and one person’s foot lands in your pocket and tears your coat, will you get angry? You wouldn’t care about one jacket in your excitement over the victory.
Many trivial things happen in our lives every day, like accidents and sickness or bills, but these things don’t overwhelm us because we have a source of joy and overriding gratitude. When I heard on the phone about Reagan’s victory, I was very solemn because I knew it would come, and I thanked God. I knew that more work lay ahead, that the real victory is yet to become complete. This was not Reagan’s victory, but God’s victory for Unification Church. This is an opportunity God is giving us to truly win His victory; this merely sets the stage, but now we shall move on and truly win God’s ultimate victory.
Up to this moment I have won many victories, but your victories still lie ahead. From now on the stage is yours and you must win. Your challenge lies ahead, and now you are the leading actors on the stage. This is the time for you to set your tradition. My responsibility and leadership will go on, but you are the mainstream, and by overcoming obstacles you shall make yourself great. With a thankful heart you shall meet new demands and challenges, and win victories for God.
I know you say you will do what I ask, but from now on it may be someone else giving you direction. Will you still say yes and be thankful? You know where your victory lies-with God and True Parents. A black brother may be in supreme command; you never know which channel God may use. You just say, “God, your will be done. You shall win.”
Who are the true heroes in Unification Church? Not necessarily the leaders, but those who suffer most and give themselves most. These people shall inherit my tradition and ultimately my accomplishment, and they can operate on my foundation. That is what makes a hero in Unification Church.
My mission here in America has been consummated. Who is next now? Anyone among you who will say to God that you shall be next, assuming the heavenly burden and suffering the most and winning the victory, raise your hands. Thank God! God bless you.