Part I:The Life, Faith, and Thought of St. Augustine
Editor's note : This account of St. Augustine is based on his book Confessions (translated by Paul M. Bethel, published by Moody Press), as well as on Gidokkyo Sajeon (Dictionary of Christianity, published by Gidokkyo Munhurasa) and Segye Cheolhak Daejeon (Great Dictionary of World Philosophy, published by Seonggyun Seogurm)
St. Augustine's Life on Earth
St. Augustine was born in 354 in Tagaste, Numedia, a region in North Africa that was then under the Roman rule. His father Patricius, was a pagan, but his mother, Monica, was a devout Christian. From his childhood, his mother educated him to glorify the name of the Christ. His mother is one women in the history of Christianity who receives considerable admiration and respect. Especially, her love and sincerity towards her son stands out.Despite such a background, Augustine spent most of his youth in indulgence and rebellion against God. At the age of sixteen, he failed to contain his lust and sinned. The name of the woman involved is not known, but Augustine is supposed to have loved her a great deal at least for some time. At the age of eighteen he had a son, named Adeodatus, and in later days people called him "a son of God."
While living in Carthage, he was deeply immersed in Manichaeism, which combined Christianity and Eastern religions. And he sought after the road of salvation with keen interest in chastity and continence. While adhering to Manichaeism, he continued to raise questions about the root of evil and essence of existence. He fervently waited for Faustus, a hero of Manichaeism, to appear soon and resolve the issue, but when he did not so, Augustine abandoned Manichaeism and sought to resolve essential problems of life by means of human reason.
In Carthage, Augustine mastered Creek and Roman philosophies as well as rhetoric, literature, music, and mathematics. With such mastery of knowledge, he strove to resolve his problems of life, only to find that he was just piling up questions without attaining answers. While retaining wrong concepts about the root, essence, and origin of evil, he declared a complete separation from Manichaeism. In 384, he moved to Milan and met St. Ambrose, a great bishop and teacher of rhetoric, and through his persuasive sermon he finally resolved to embrace Christianity. His understanding of various philosophies including that of Plato sewed to stimulate his grasp of the gospel. The news of his conversion brought great joy to his mother, Monica. After witnessing the changed life of St. Augustine, Monica sent Augustine's mistress back to North Africa and guided his life to be devoted only to the Christ. Finally, God's work started anew for Augustine, but St. Ambrose still had no confidence about his dedicating his whole life to the Christ. From that time on, Augustine started to write Confessions, where he says the following:
My tears could not stop because of the remorse and pains whirling deep in my soul. My sin was so immensely heavy that I could never remove it with my own strength.
According to his own account, one day, when Augustine was sitting with a friend named Alipius he seemed to hear a voice, like that of a child, repeating, "Take up and read." He interpreted this as a divine exhortation to open the Scriptures and read the first passage he happened to see. Accordingly, he opened to Romans 13:13-14, where he read: "...not in revelry and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." At that time he was thirty-two years old. As his daily life became holier and his spirit grew, along with his son and friend Alipius, he received baptism by Bishop Ambrose on Easter Eve. Monica was greatly moved by this, witnessing her prayers being finally answered.
Monica advised Augustine to return to his home town and spread the gospel. When Augustine made all the preparations to return to North Africa together with his mother, son, and a few friends, according to Monica's advice, and was waiting for the ship to depart from the Roman port of Ostia, Monica suddenly fell ill and died. In his Confessions, Augustine gives an elaborate account about the happenings before his mother's death. Afterwards, when his son, who was his only hope, died as well in Tagaste, Augustine was filled with ineffable sorrow and pain. He disposed of what small inheritance he had, formed a religious gathering, and devoted himself entirely to prayer, Bible studies, and writing. From then on, Augustine's name began to rise throughout the entire area of Africa. In early 391, while he was serving as an assistant bishop to Bishop Valerius in the port city of Hippo, he was asked by Valerius to succeed his position. At first, he strongly declined the offer, but finally he accepted it. From then on, his church work began on a full scale. His Confessions reveals in detail how sincerely he practiced faith through his ecclesiastic position. While serving as a bishop, he solely focused on interpreting and teaching the Bible, and his spiritual knowledge centered on the Bible has had enormous impact through the generations. His life moved from darkness to light through the Christ. Believing that salvation is a free gift to human beings from God's grace, he had no hesitation in spreading this truth. He established a solid doctrine on God's existence, creation, the reality of evil, and so forth, and this has had a pivotal influence on the entire world of Christianity.
While Augustine was concentrating on writing and spreading of the gospel, North Africa was invaded by the pagan tribe of Vandals, who swept across the entire area, snatching out of the Roman rule cities including Hippo and Carthage. Augustine urged all the bishops not to forsake the sheep and strongly resisted the invaders. Nevertheless, Hippo was completely taken over by the pagan tribe. Augustine passed away on August 28, 430, at the age of seventy-six.
By engaging with doctrines and philosophies threatening the Christian belief at that time, Augustine established and strengthened an orthodox understanding of the Christian truth. For instance, against the Manichaean interpretation of the problem of evil, Augustine defended the goodness of God and the created beings; through polemic with the Donatists, he organized the ecclesiastic doctrine, code of the holy ceremony, and doctrine of the providence; and through polemic with the Pelagians, he developed doctrines on human fall, original sin, and predestination. St. Augustine's philosophy became established as the orthodox Catholic theology as Thomas Acquinas reinterpreted Aristotle in the thirteenth century, and influenced the entire world of Christianity in the middle ages and kindled crucial inspirations in religious reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin.
Overall in my childhood, I (St. Augustine) had no special characteristics by which to stand out. If I differed from ordinary children, however, it was in that I was strongly influenced by my mother, Monica, who lived in constant prayer and spiritual sacrifices for her child, and had the view that everything, from heaven to the smallest creatures, originates in God.
In my childhood days, my mother prayed very long prayers, and I had to wait long hours for her prayers to end, and frequently fell asleep by her side out of unendurable boredom. During her prayers, I often sneaked out and walked around town, looking for friends and amusing places, and she had to wander all over town searching for me.
After a while, she began to give me a strict education about God. She taught me that God is present even in small stones and grains of sand on the road. When I indulged myself excessively in comfortable thoughts or fun, she would admonish me in many different ways, for instance, saying that I had a great deal of things to do for God. She taught me a number of times that since we human beings are created by God, it would be a betrayal to forget about His grace. At meals, she consecrated each food on the table and gave thanks to God, saying to me, "Never forget gratitude to God, because all these foods are prepared by God." Also in many other ways, she instilled in me a faith in God. Her life was solely devoted to serving God, which she took as the entire meaning of her life. Her attitude of faith was wholly different from that of others. Since I grew up in such an atmosphere, my urge to run around freely with my friends was repressed by her faith. When this desire became irresistible, I would often run away. It was more fun and interesting to go out and play with friends because we did not have to talk about God. As time went by, I found myself enjoying a life opposite to the direction of my mother's teaching.
Meanwhile, the question of how to ascertain the existence of God, who is invisible, came to find a home in my mind. As my opinion began to tilt towards denying His existence, I had a strong desire to go the other way. I favored associating and having casual talks with my friends much more than thinking about my mother's admonishments. After this whole period, I frequently differed from my mother's view of God.
Nevertheless, my mother's devotion and zeal for me never changed or cooled down even a bit, though I continued to complain strongly against her education, more and more explicitly as days went by. Finally, I started on a path of indulgence and dissipation.
In general, people are born from their parents, grow up with their parents' teaching, obey their parents, share love with their parents, and become married with their parents' blessing. But my life was quite different from this normal pattern in many ways. How peculiar it was, that I even wrote the Confessions! From my childhood, ignoring my mother's tearful pleas for me to serve God, I walked the opposite way; because God cannot be seen. I always lived with a disobedient attitude to God, and this must have intensely agonized my parents.
At this time, my parents' admonitions only stirred up rebellion in my heart, and I only thought about how to escape from the constraints of faith, and live freely. As days went by, this tendency of mine became more and more entrenched, and I listened to no one. This way, with bad friends, I slipped into fornication, which my mother hated most, as well as into dissipation, indulgence, and even theft. I had neither a resolve to quit these evil practices nor a desire for, nor an expectation of a new way beyond this life. As for my studies, I took a passive view towards them, thinking of them as a means of satisfying my parents' desires and pleas, rather than any wish of my own that had anything to do with my future, and thus I did not devote myself to studying. I could not but be content with this abnormal life, and that was the most miserable aspect of my past life. Always associating with wayward friends, I prompted them to do more vicious things, while showing them even more wicked aspects of myself.
I thought that the child I had was a fruit of my devilish life. Our relationship was far from embodying even ordinary love between parents and children. I lived at will, without accepting anyone's interference or subjecting myself to any norm; this was my attitude and lifestyle at that time. At that time, the people I made most light of were firstly God, secondly my parents, and thirdly the woman I had; about them, I did not have even a small bit of worry or interest. In short, I can say that my youth was a long period of miserable indulgence. How, then, could such an unforgivable wretch be turned around to become St. Augustine, who is admired by so many Christians today? What worked to create my present self? Above all, I think it was my mother's devoted prayer and endurance, and God's endless love.
(3) Middle Age
Most people who have died, in the process of their birth, growth, and return to God, must have ended their life ignorant of the fact that the human being is a microcosm and part of God's body. This is also what happened to me. As I encountered the essence of religion in my youth, my view of life started to change. From that time, wholly unlike my teenage years, I developed a great interest in all things concerning God.
The human being lives as a part of God's body, and in the universe, from extremely small atoms to the enormously large heaven, there is nothing that does not belong to God. The human body and spirit all belong to God, and from small human cells to fine human hairs, there is none that belongs to human beings themselves. Thus nothing in our possession is untouched by God's hand. How were human beings created? We know little about such matters, and yet we have treated and used our body carelessly in any way we pleased, as if we owned it. If it is true that God created us, He must know details about each of us. There must be a being who knows where we came from, through what process we were created, and what the purpose of our creation is; if this being is God, would He not know all these things?
If God is the one who planned and created us, what is the relationship between God and us? We have our physical parents and also our Creator, God. What is the relationship between parents and children. And between God and human beings? In my middle age I attempted to concretely investigate and clearly elucidate this profound matter, and God's providence. My main concerns at this time included questions such as, "For what purpose was I born in this world?" "What are God's ultimate hope and purpose for us?" and "where do we eventually go? I strove to take responsibility for the doctrines I established, for I did not want my views to cause confusion to my disciples, successors, or people of later generations. I tried to write clearly where my past life had been directed, what I had lived for, and where we come from and go to. I wanted to do a valuable work as a part of God's body and complete my mission on earth.
I made great efforts to study about God's hope for us human beings, and about God Himself. I wanted to write in detail about what our duties toward God are, and why we should live under God's law. Only in middle age did I come to understand little by little the meaning of my mother's tearful prayers. My middle age was devoted solely to living with God and writing clearly and in detail about His existence, His providence, and our duties before God. Hence, my consistent desire and the motivation of my life in middle age was to convert a world ignorant of God into a world where only God is served and worshipped.
1. Entering the Spiritual World
I am glad that from today on I can write what I truly wanted to write. I do not think there are many who in their earthly life think, long for, wait for, and prepare for the world beyond death. Anxiety about the invisible world and fear of death must be common feelings for people with physical bodies.
In the second half of my life, I lived in awe of God's mystery and with absolute faith in and hope for God. Because I had such faith and hope, I met my death comfortably, although I did not clearly see the world to which we are headed after death.
From now on, I would like to convey as much in detail as possible the reality of the spiritual world I have experienced, and hope that this can benefit the life of those believers who remember and long for me. One day I sensed the approaching end of my life in the physical body and the beginning of my life as a spirit. At that time, I did not recognize my physical death, but felt a mysterious spiritual phenomenon arising in my body. With heartfelt joy, I was led by two or three women guides to join a line of many people and stand there quietly. My guides were wearing light blue clothes, whose brilliance dazzled my eyes. After telling me to quietly wait in the line, they went away. The line was not connected in one direction, however, and while following it, I could not see at all where the people in front were going.
There were also many people standing behind me, and most of them were quiet and warm. Their clothes were very natural and not colorful. Although I could not see where the people in front were going, they dwindled in number and my turn was approaching. Mysteriously, even without guides, those in front were quickly entering some place. Finally, it was my turn. While I was hesitating where to go, I suddenly felt myself being pulled up in one sweep of wind.
Then I came to settle down in one place; I arrived there without the help of any guide. I could see many people there: people in a large conference, people engaged in a worship service, people studying in a place like a school, children and adults getting together and walking around here and there, and so forth. I wanted to know where on earth this place was, but was unable to discover clearly where I was. Nor did I know where to proceed. Walking around and looking here and there, I asked a woman where that place was, and she looked at me and said that I did not have to know yet, after which she went away. Not knowing where to stay, I could not but keep wondering around the area. I did not know how many days I spent there this way.
One day, however, something strange happened; some unknown light emerged, wrapped me and held me up, and flew up in the air towards some place. At some point I fell from the air as if parachuting down, at which time a mysterious joy and peace sprang up in my heart and I started to look for God, shouting "God." Then, finally, I could hear God's voice saying, "Stay here from today on."
From that time on, mysterious things started happening to me. When I had a question, the answer promptly emerged in my mind, and when I thought of something in my mind, it immediately appeared in front of my eyes. Moreover, when I thought about going to some place, my body was already moving according to that thought. This finally made me realize that this was not life on earth. At that time, the situations of the invisible world I saw were still almost the same as my experiences on earth had been, and thus I could not distinguish between my life with a body and my life as a spirit. So I had to ask others about it. I came to see that those around me were without a body.
After a while - I don't know how much time passed - I prepared a fixed place just like the one I had on earth where I could pray to God.
In this place, I prayed to God, asking, `What am I to do here, and how am I to live?" Then, all of a sudden, bright light appeared from all directions, and it was as if electric lights of tens of thousands of volts had been suddenly turned on. In such an atmosphere, I shortly heard a voice saying, "You are you. So pray so that you become Me."
After this, the voice was silent. But I could not understand the meaning of the voice, however hard I thought. So I prayed to God: "God, what do you mean when you say, `You are you. So pray so that you become Me'?" I prayed about this over and over again. Then, one day, the voice reappeared in bright light, saying, "You are you, Augustine. Pray to become God. You are just you yourself. Now, become someone with whom God stays," after which darkness engulfed the place. My eyes filled with tears before I became aware of it. Tears of repentance started to flow from the bottom of my heart. I came to realize on my own that my service to God in the past had originated in my arrogance, and I deeply repented of this. This repentance was insuppressible. I could not hold back the surging regrets that I had failed to become one with God because of my arrogance and selfishness. I started screaming, saying, "God, Please forgive my errors. Please forgive me.
I did not know how many days of such repentance passed. I only remember that it took a long time to purify my heart. God did not appear to me in this period. I resolved to continue to pray and repent until God came to be with me. I continued to pray and repent from my very bones, saying to myself, "You are you. You are only you." Although I had served God all my life, God could not be with me.
2. St. Augustine's Place in the Spiritual World
Although I was living in God's tremendous love and light, many times I failed to fully carry out God's wishes because I did not clearly understand them. So continuing my prayer in many dimensions, I made all kinds of efforts to keep the standard of always saying "Yes" to God immediately.
As this effort continued to some extent, I came to realize little by little that God is a being who stays very near to me. God helped me become mature in many ways. He sometimes appeared in a brilliant and colorful light and sometimes in a whirlwind of light. Sometimes He appeared as an evening light coming from far away and waited until I welcomed Him by calling, "God." In fact, God is love itself. When I did not realize God's presence, that light just stayed there without motion, and when I realized that God was present, then it disappeared instantly. I realized that God is always with me only after this was repeated countless times. Afterwards, one day I prayed with tears of gratitude, saying, "God, thank you. Why do You love me so much? Why do You give me just love, when I am so dull?" Then, God embraced my whole body like warm spring sunshine and told me, "I have been with you from a long time ago, and yet you have been just you. Now that you have realized My will, go ahead and fulfill your mission. Pray to find out what your mission is.'' And then He left.
I was almost leaping with gratitude and joy. I prayed continuously in order to find my mission, saying, "God please help me. Give me the wisdom to discover my mission." But God did not directly tell me about my mission. When I prayed, I felt one thing common to every prayer: unless I totally emptied my own self before God, I could not realize God's will and teaching. I experienced that if I prayed after deeply reflecting on the statement, "You are you, so pray that you become Me," some insight would immediately dawn upon me. From this experience, I came to understand the following facts: God is clearly alive, and the living God appears to us as light. This light is not easily available to human senses, but if we unify our minds and bodies and sincerely desire and pray to be near God, He embraces us as many different forms of light. And I must make this known, and I have finally realized that this is my mission.
From that time on, I have conveyed the God of my experience in many images to many people. Now when God comes near me, I experience a kind of intense trembling. I have received from God the mission to make this known to many.
God is love. He appears to us as light. And God always stays with me. All people must discover and feel this God.
3. God as discovered by St. Augustine
(1) An Experience of God
When I was living on earth, I was very curious about God, but I was only able to form a vague idea of God, because we human beings cannot see or feel God. But any human being must think about God at least once in his life. Could there be anyone who has not wished to see God at least once or has not thought that God is helping us at least in some vague way? Although we cannot touch or see God, we cannot escape even for a minute from the thought of the existence of God. This is what we are like.
I, Augustine, also had many questions about God, and yet saw no way to find their answers. On the other hand, it is also true that we do not have a firm logical ground to deny His existence. Who is God? I would like to write about God as I have found Him in as much detail as possible.
In the spiritual world, we cannot indicate periods as we do on earth, for instance from when to when, and how many years and months. But in my case, earthly people will be able to count my time in the spiritual world from the time of my departure. As I mentioned earlier from the time I entered the spiritual world until now, I have had a desire to record God's will, God's profound truth, the history of God's providence, the relationship between God and human beings, and so forth.
I found God to be the unique being who has existed from the beginning of the universe. What expressions should I use to thoroughly satisfy your curiosity? In a nutshell, God is literally the honored being of oneness (based on the Korean word for God, Hananim). He is an absolute and unique being, of whom there can never be a second. Also, He is immensely large, fully present on the entire earth, omnipresent, and omnipotent. As a whole, however, God can never be captured in human thoughts or concepts; hence, no language that expresses something about God can be entirely accurate. It is thus impossible for me to describe the God of my experience as a whole and in every detail; even if it were somehow possible, you would not have the conceptual categories with which to grasp what is presented to you. But at least I would like to provide a few examples showing God as I have experienced Him.
One day, during prayer, I had a desire to see God. I prayed continuously, wondering, "What would God look like?" Then, suddenly, thunder and lightning struck from all directions, an atmosphere of terror attacked me, and I started trembling with vehement fear, asking God, "God, what is going on?" Then all of a sudden, the thunder and lightning disappeared, and I saw a light shining like a jewel and warm like the shimmering haze hovering over a meadow in spring. I wanted to touch that light because it was so beautiful and mysterious. This crystal clear light was turning around slowly like a snail, and kept disappearing and reappearing in a flash. After this repeated itself many times, the light changed into dazzlingly full colors and started turning around like a whirlwind. At the same time, magnificent fireworks were erupting on one side, and a brilliant rainbow was shining on the other. All of heaven and earth were filled with gorgeous light. On one side, light emerged from lovely clouds like a rain shower. Nonetheless, I know that it is impossible to express God properly in any language.
My eyes were so dazzled by this scene, and I was simply lost in the ecstasy. Then, all of a sudden, a loud voice called out, saying, "Lower your head." The voice also said, "Have you now seen God's image? God is not someone you can behold with your head straight as you are trying to do." So I dropped my head, kneeled down, and prostrated myself. Repeating "I am sorry, God, I am sorry," I started to see myself.
In this atmosphere, I experienced for the first time an enchanted and peaceful heart like I had never felt during my earthly life, and I felt confident that in such a state I could overcome any difficulties and resolve any problems. Throughout my entire earthly life, I had never felt or heard of such an enrapturing spirit. This feeling of happiness and confidence was so amazing that it simply defies description. I felt that this glorious light could melt away all my failings, sorrows, shame, hatreds, frustrations, and distrust, as well as all my pain and joy. It may be appropriate to call it a furnace that melts down everything.
Although I want to express the manifold images of God, I honestly feel at this moment that my description is short and unable to convey everything. One thing I could ascertain from this experience, however, was that God who revealed Himself in my experience is embracing us as a beautiful and crystal clear light of tens of millions of volts. I also realized that God comes to us in many different forms according to the different shape we each have.
(2) Where God Stays
God, who is omnipresent and omnipotent, cannot be judged by ordinary human thinking. God wants to be always present in our hearts and stay with us in all areas of our life. But God's desire to do so failed to materialize because we have failed to be one with Him. Although God has always come to us with a parental heart, we have failed to serve Him, and although He has always stayed beside us, protecting and loving us, we have failed to sense and realize it. Although God has been embracing, caressing, and caring for US from time immemorial, we have been living on without being able to experience Him. This is the root of God's sorrow and of all human tragedy.
While living on earth, I experienced God's love to some extent, and yet this was based on my physical senses, and thus utterly incomparable with the love of God I have experienced here in the spiritual world. One day, while praying to God, Augustine, a human being, was wishing, "If only I could always be with God," when God's voice sounded with gentle light, saying "Listen, Augustine. I have always been with you and will always be with you, too. You, however, are looking for Me, although you are always beside Me. This is because you and I have not always been one."
I asked Him, "How can I be one with You?", but without answering, God embraced me for a while with a charming light and went away somewhere. I prayed and waited for a considerable time in order to attain God's answer. One day, the brilliant light appeared again in a flash, and God said, "You are still you. How much have you tried to become Me?" I replied, "God, I have made no small efforts to achieve it, but I can not easily feel what it means to become like You." God then answered, "Augustine, abandon yourself, and empty your heart. Cultivate the field of your heart so that God can dwell in it anytime."
God wants to dwell in the heart of every one of us and live with us, and yet since Augustine's heart of prayer, heart of thinking, and heart of remembering others were all filled with self-centered desire - selfishness - God could not find His house in him. Here in the spiritual world, I have experienced this so much, down to the bone. But this filth is still lurking in the heart of Augustine. We can meet God only after removing all selfish desires from our hearts. I am making continuous efforts for that day.
(3) God's Love
We receive our body from our physical parents and live our lives in their love. Hence, we are always ready to honor the love of our physical parents. This is because we experience our parents' love through our physical senses.
On the other hand, since in general we cannot sense God's love through our physical senses, we live our lives with little concern about God's love. In fact, however, God's love plays a far greater role in our whole life than does the love of our physical parents. Nevertheless, most of us fail to detect God's love. In my life on earth, although I realized God's love to some extent, I fell short of understanding that God is giving us a love far deeper and wider than we imagine. Even after I shed my body and came here, I failed to realize this, despite experiencing God's love so many times; hence, my repentance over a long period. I cannot describe my heart at that time in words.
I think it is only out of ignorance of God that people serve Him, pray to Him, and make pleas to Him, for God knows in advance what we need and has already prepared what we pray for, just as a mother knows and prepares what her baby needs even before the baby cries for it. After I came here and heard God's voice, many times I felt my shortcomings and wrongs beyond my comprehension and thus made continuous prayers of repentance.
Every time I did this, God called me, "Augustine," and then said nothing further. And when I kneeled and bowed down, He would call "Augustine" a few times and then just leave. When I became speechless and just prostrated myself and shed tears of repentance, God called me and said to me, "Your tears hurt My heart," and then left again. After this, I resolved never to cry before God, in order not to agonize His heart. This is not everything about my experience of God; I have experienced Him in many different dimensions.
One day, in order to introduce God, I zealously explained to someone the image of God I had directly experienced, telling him that he could also meet God directly. After a few days, however; God called me and said, "God cannot directly meet that person. So instead of God, you go and testify to him about God. He still has a distance to cross before meeting God. Just as I love you, so guide him in love. But do not tell him that God cannot meet him directly." Through the long ages, although God has wanted to live together with people, the providence of restoration has been prolonged over and over again because people have continued to fall short of the standard.
My heart aches whenever I think about this. I can confidently introduce God to anyone, and will continuously strive to help all people to establish their own heartistic standard whereby they can meet God directly. I will earnestly pray to quicken the day when all humanity, as well as I, can cultivate the fields of the heart and correctly establish our attitude of faith.
4. People St. Augustine has met in the Spiritual World
In my life on earth, ever since I came to know God, my life was focused in one direction. However, the God I had known on earth and the God I have met here in the spiritual world are fundamentally different; the God of my earthly experience was only a tiny part of the whole picture. I have seen that the experiences of many other saints and believers here with respect to God are almost the same as mine. Now I would like to provide an account of their experience, without mentioning names.
(1) Protestant Ministers
1. God's Equal Love
When I settled down in the spiritual world, it was in a realm where I could converse with God. There, I studied continuously about God. In the course of this study, I wanted to collect stories of other people's experiences of God, and so I met a few Christian ministers.
One of them had served Christ and devoted himself solely to the ministry all through his life on earth. He said that he met God on earth, after which he experienced God's love and the Holy Spirit, and healed his own illness. He said, however, that there on earth he had only a very vague idea about God's real existence, thinking that God exists somewhere but can never be found in finite space. He asserted, however, that he clearly saw God's existence after coming here and that most people can cure their own illnesses through the Holy Spirit. He then told me real examples of human sicknesses cured by the Holy Spirit of God. However, he continued, there are many cases of human sicknesses not cured by the Holy Spirit of God, and he thought in many different ways about the reasons for this. He explained that God's main business is not curing our diseases but embracing all of us with equal love.
Conveying his realization that God equally loves both those who are cured and those who are not cured, he explained that the former people were cured because they had more things to do on earth than in the spiritual world, and the latter people were not cured because they had more important business in the spiritual world than on earth. According to him, although the latter people might deplore their own deaths, thinking only about their earthly life, both groups of people are equally important when seen from the standpoint of God's eternal providence. Thus, the minister's conclusion was that God's love for us couldn't be measured, judged, or expressed through ordinary standards or means.- May 1, 2000--
2. God's Everlasting Love
God transcends time and space, and can choose whether to appear to us or not. This means that although God's love for us is infinite and eternal, there can be circumstances in which God cannot be present. How sad this is!
Here, I would like to introduce another Christian minister's experience of God. He lived a long life of dissipation before becoming a minister on earth. Until his youth, he had no interest in God's existence or in matters of faith, and had no idea about the meaning of life. After he passed his youth, however, he was captured by the thought that God might really exist, and this was because he saw a youth who had been much more spoiled than he embrace a new and sincere life through God's love. He clearly witnessed that this previously wicked youth had changed his life after meeting God and was now living sincerely for the sake of God, which deeply moved him. So he asked the youth, `What is life for the sake of God, and how did you meet God?" and his answer was very simple: "I realized God's love, but I cannot show or explain to you the God whom I have met. I am living in full confidence of God's love." The minister however, confessed that even after witnessing the proof of this youth's life, he still lived carelessly for a long time without understanding faith in God or the meaning of life, and then told me the following story of how he experienced God's love.
One morning, he woke up to dazzling sunlight, and a ray of the sun was shining on him. In this light, he could hear something like God's voice, saying, "Your eyes may be dazzled, but open your eyes and see what that light is." When he opened his eyes, there was no sunlight to be seen, and he could see only the light of Jesus' cross shining from outside the window. He followed the light of the cross to a place, where he found a pitiful old man left alone in a shabby house. After this, the light of the cross disappeared, and as he recovered his senses, he realized that the old man was none other than his father, whom he dearly loved. Although his father was living alone so nearby, he had been living a dissipated life without caring about his father. He felt tremendous regret. As he looked at the cross that had disappeared, tears of repentance and flames of the Holy Spirit arose from the depths of his heart. Repenting for having lived shamefully while neglecting his suffering father, he called out for the Lord at the top of his voice and prayed God to open the way in which he could proceed. At this moment, he heard God's voice saying, "God's love is eternal. The beginning is love, and so is the end. So you love your brothers and sisters and your neighbors."
After this time, his view of life completely changed. Since there was no one around him to take care of him or help him, however, he relied entirely on prayer. He determined to love his own father first, who was so frail that he could not even stand up without someone's help.
Nevertheless, his father said to him, "You leave my side and love and save humankind." At this time, the love of his father and of God made him feel a pain that seemed strong enough to melt heaven and earth. He then went to a friend of his and begged for help, and the friend led him to the church and had him listen to God's word. Thereafter, he made a determination to walk the path of a minister for the sake of God and the development of the church, and devoted himself to loving humanity with God's word. Although God is love from beginning to end, we have almost no sense of His infinite love, and this is why God's love and human life are separated. Whether on earth or in the spiritual world, God's love is unfathomable, infinite, and eternal, and although in many cases God's love may not clearly appear to us, He is still loving us continuously. It is only that we human beings have a wrong idea about His love.
God waited for him and came to him even when he was living a wayward life, and here in the spiritual world, God loved him without asking him about his past sins. God's love is the foundation of eternal happiness, and the only problem is that we human beings are too dull to realize this. This was his conclusion.
3. God Is The Parent of All People
Since we human beings are born through our mother, we can easily understand our mother. Most people carry an image of their parents, which they have in common through heavenly decree. Regardless of who our parents are, we as human beings cannot escape from the problems of life, death, suffering, and joy, or the ups and downs in our life on earth. Hence, beyond our physical parents, this forces us to think about the question of the existence of God, who is the parent of all humankind. A question that we as human beings cannot but raise at least once in our earthly life is the question of God's existence.
I visited another minister to hear his experience of God. Without exception, he also had seriously agonized over such common human problems as were mentioned earlier. His parents died when he was small, and thus he grew up poor in an orphanage without being able to feel parental love. After a while, however, he was adopted by a rich family and lived a happy life with his rich parents. But he anguished over the unsolved problems of his physical parents, spiritual parents, and God's existence, and as a result he undertook theological studies. He led an uncommon life of faith and had an experience similar to that of Buddha, through which he met God.
He related that when God called him, He always said, "My son! I am your Father" instead of calling his name. The moment God called him "My son," he experienced a special comfort that he had never felt from anyone; for him, that soothing voice was warmer, happier, and more peaceful than any parents in the world could make one feel, he remembered. When he asked God, "How is it that You are my Father?" God answered, "I, God of all, am the Creator of all people and the Father of all people. This is why I am your Father, and you are My son."
Having felt the warmth and happiness of God the Father on earth, he wanted to see the real being of God the Father in the spiritual world, and made endless prayers and spiritual conditions for that purpose. He came to realize clearly, however that God cannot appear with a body, and if He could, He would not be able to appear as the Father of all people. He said that although he had studied theology for a long time on earth, he could not really feel that God was his parent. He also said that although on earth he could not believe it with certainty, his experience in the spiritual world helped him understood very clearly that God is his eternal parent. He gave an honest confession saying, My hope has come true. I am infinitely happy and blessed.- May 8, 2000 --
(2) Catholic Priests and Nuns
1. Life and Confession of a Priest
The Catholic worship service is much more solemn and elaborate than the Protestant service. Hence, the Catholic Church offers many opportunities to purify and evangelize human hearts through service ceremonies and sacred events. I would like to introduce a divine experience of a pure-hearted priest who lived his whole life unmarried in such an environment purely for the sake of the Lord. He said that he had chosen the religious road under heavy religious persecution and contempt from his family. He suffered in heart from his childhood and decided upon the way of religion in an urgent and acute spiritual situation. Thereafter he had no more interest in secular affairs and single-mindedly followed the spiritual path. He was all alone not only during his days as a novitiate, but also all throughout his holy mission. He was not without family members, and yet none of them cared for him or visited him. His parents and siblings had complicated relationships. His holy mission meant his living together and sharing joy and sorrow only with the Lord. During his clerical mission, he had a radically unexpected experience. Spiritual discipline requires that you limit all your secular connections. One day, however, when he was deep in sleep, a stunning beauty came to him thoroughly naked and asked to sleep with him. Shocked, he asked her, "What is going on? Who are you?" In fact, she was a virgin who was serving a holy mission together with him in the convent attached to the same church.
What must have happened when such a thing occurred to a young man and woman?
There, they sinned before God, and after this they went their own ways. He tried to give up the path of the clergy. He struggled vehemently over the question of God's purpose in creating human beings and how much human beings must discipline themselves spiritually. His mind and body became covered with scars, and his frustration, despair, and feelings of nothingness drove him to the verge of death. But it was in this misery that he experienced God's love. Feeling completely ruined, he was alone in a dark room, when suddenly a bright light emerged and embraced his mind and body. Comfortably wrapped in this blanket of peace and happiness, he could not tell whether it was real or a dream. From that light, a kind voice came, which said, "Jehovah God loves you. Hence, just as Jehovah God loves you, so should you love all humanity. I gave Eve to Adam as his spouse because it was not good to behold him alone. You think that you are all by yourself, but you are not alone. Jehovah God will always be with you and love you." He spiritually renewed himself in that dreamlike happiness and cultivated his mind and body, thereby becoming a new person; now, he experienced that God's love could completely wash away his pain and beyond that the suffering and wounds of all humankind. Thereafter, always remembering God's compassionate voice, he devoted himself to loving humanity as a clergyman. During his remaining life he sewed the holy mission, strictly following the regulations of the monastery, and when he departed the earth and came here to the spiritual world, he experienced God's eternal and boundless love and the destined relationship between God and human beings. He also realized that celibacy is not God's original will. In other words, he came to discern with certainty that God always rejoices to behold people getting together as couples and that even God needs to be with people if He is to be happy. God created Eve as Adam's partner, and wished that they would multiply and fill the universe. Hence, he wondered why, then, God had given directions for celibacy. He asked God that question by making many spiritual conditions, and finally discovered God's will. He firmly realized that, while God needed a spiritual course of celibate priests and nuns before the providence was fully accomplished, His original purpose in creating humans was that Adam and Eve become a couple and multiply children, thereby establishing an ideal family, society, country, and world. So he sincerely wished that many spiritual seekers and the papacy truly discerned God's original purpose. He said emphatically, "The way of the spiritual seeker is by no means easy; however, such tribulations in our life are not God's original will." Such was this priest's conclusion. Immediately before the reporter received this message, she had offered a prayer, whereupon a vision of a man and a woman embracing each other in the bedroom appeared to her suddenly. So she started the reporting while wondering what this vision meant.
2. The Fallacy of Denominational Division
Protestants and Catholics all started out centered on God's love and serving God as the ultimate object of their faith. Thus, it is based on a serious fallacy that Protestants and Catholics have split up, each of them having further divided into many denominations and factions. Their divisions are based on differences in how they see faith, life, and the universe in light of the words of Jesus. However, do they not all serve the one and only God, and do their fundamental views not affirm, rather than deny, the existence of God?
From God's point of view, our talk of Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Presbyterianism, Baptism, etc. is simply silly. This division between religious denominations is outrageous to God, as He sees all humanity identically as His children. Here, I would like to introduce the opinion of another priest. He researched the reality of sectarian division, and raised many theological questions on many levels about this problem.
Besides Protestantism and Catholicism, there are myriads of other religions. Are the Gods they serve different from one another, or do they all represent one and the same God? Why do human beings seek God and yearn for and wonder about the other world? What is the nature of God and the original human nature, and how do these natures differ? He anguished over these issues for long time.
Every country has an array of different religions, and yet they all ultimately pursue goodness and the formation of one human community. This suggests that religion is essential and indispensable for human life, and we can never make light of the impact it has on our life. Then, where does religious desire come from, and why is it that we never manage to leave our religiosity behind? Where does human religiosity come from? Why do we yearn for and seek to lean on God? If people do not rely on absolute God, they still try to rely on some being: bowing down, for instance, before the sea, a river, or a tree and try to lay the burdens of their lives at the foot of some god. Where does this kind of nature come from?
Notwithstanding our constant desire to be perfect, why is it that we cannot but live as an imperfect creature? Why is it that we cannot determine the matters concerning our life and death? And why do most people live each day in anxiety and insecurity about an uncertain tomorrow?
These were the questions that troubled this priest. According to him, he took the path of religion because he felt that he could not live normally and have a family while anguishing over these questions. Even throughout his lifelong religious life, however, he still could not find a fundamental solution to the problems of human reality. "How can we say that God exists, when we cannot even see Him or talk to Him comfortably?" He asked. Although he had many doubts about life during his religious pursuit, he could not abandon religion. This was his life on earth.
Although he concluded his earthly life through religion and came to the spiritual world, his doubts still lingered. What he has realized clearly here, however, is that in the spiritual world, the different religions may serve their own founder, but the Gods they used to serve on earth are nowhere to be seen - their only object of faith is the one God.
One day, someone was giving a lecture to a large crowd. The lecturer spoke passionately, saying, "There is no God for us, but only we ourselves." All of a sudden, however, the whole area turned dark, and thunder and lightning struck, together with a whirlwind. After a while, the darkness left, and a brilliant light appeared and a thundering voice could be heard, which said, "I, Jehovah, am the Creator of all humankind. With no beginning or end, there is only one Jehovah." All the people there were trembling, and the impassioned lecturer had already disappeared.
What he realized through this experience was that, although there are many different religions and denominations, their only differences are in their method of serving God, and there is for all of us only one God, Jehovah, the God of all people. There, finally, he could completely put behind him the doubts he had had all his life and start concentrating only on serving God. He said that he wanted to confidently convey to all the religious seekers wondering and agonizing like him that there is only one ultimate object of our faith. He claimed that the denominational divisions on earth have sprung from wrong human thinking, and that if all humanity served the one God only, sectarian schisms would not occur. In conclusion, he stressed that God can rest easy only when the multifarious religions become unified, and that the peace of humankind will be realized only when we serve no one but the one God
3. Confession of a Nun
Each of us is a vessel to be prepared and offered to God during our lives. We are born with a portion, whether it is large or small, which we must offer God according to our unique characteristics. The form given to each individual at birth is an object of God's joy, for already at the time of our birth, we are given our portion to offer to God, and this is the form God created. Now, I would like to introduce the life of a nun who walked a spiritual path all throughout her life and served God with all her mind and body.
She was born to Catholic parents. Her father firmly pledged to the Holy Mother that his daughter would follow the spiritual path all her life from the moment of her birth. The rest of her family members, however, vehemently opposed her taking the spiritual path. Hence, it was amidst a serious family struggle that she started her life as a nun, and after she became a nun her parents and relatives together opposed her being a nun. They often visited her convent and attempted to persuade her to give up her spiritual pursuit and return to a normal life. Hence, her spiritual path was very turbulent.
After a long struggle in heart, she finally decided to leave the convent and return to her family. On that very day, however, the Holy Mother appeared to her and said to her with tears, "Sister! Have you forgotten the promise you made with me? When I made this promise with you, I asked God to take care of you for your whole life. No matter how hard the path may be, it must be walked by someone." Hence, she told all her family members and relatives about the appearance of the Holy Mother and pleaded with them, saying. This is the will of God. so please do not try to stop me from going this way." She then continued her serious religious life.
Although her family and relatives were deeply pained to see her take the rugged path of serving God, they promised no longer to block her way. Unlike other people, she had a special grace and mission given directly by God. Whenever she prayed to God, His Holy Spirit and light, and the Holy Mother's light of grace came to her, and God and the Holy Mother stressed the importance of her mission.
Before many fellow believers, she started doing various miracles and signs through healing by the grace of the new word. Steeped in Catholic doctrine, however, those believers stubbornly refused to accept the grace of the new word and her work of healing, thereby causing her many struggles. The Holy Mother wanted her to personally cure the pain of her fellow believers, and yet Catholic law did not accept the work of the Holy Spirit through her. This forced her to move to another convent, and her work of the new word and healing was pushed into the background. She then embarked on a very arduous life of witnessing. In her old age, she left the convent and wondered around, spreading the work of healing and the Holy Mother's new word of truth, until she concluded her earthly life and came here to the spiritual world.
Here, while living in deep love of God and the Holy Mother, she seriously repented for not having been able to convey the new truth of God correctly to many fellow believers. She surely experienced and ascertained that the love of God and the Holy Mother is truly great and can transcend anything in heaven and earth. In the life of faith, the law exists for completing our love and not for binding us, and the restrictions of the law are not the original will of God. Now all religious seekers must stop differentiating themselves as a Catholic, Protestant, or member of some other denomination, embrace one another, and become one by respecting the uniqueness of different teachings, thereby returning to the original faith transcending religious faction. Acknowledging that each religion shares the common root of goodness, they should uphold one truth centering on God as the only standard of good and evil. We should fundamentally change our attitude of faith, realizing that all people are brothers and sisters in God's love. We have God as the only object of our faith, and we should think deeply about how we can serve and attend God when we come to live in the eternal world. This is what she wanted to convey clearly.
Here, she always lives humbly in accordance with the directions of the Holy Mother and sometimes serves Jesus. She always tries not to deviate from her position as a nun.
To me, her attitude is so beautiful; what is more important, however is that she was bold enough to jump into the lives of her fellow believers. I earnestly hope that through her upright attitude of faith, many Protestants and Catholics can strengthen the basic spirit of faith.
4. The World Where the Mind and Body Become One
In our life on earth, the problem of clothes, food, and shelter is important, and yet it is just for the growth of our body. You should deeply ponder what you can do for the sake of the maturation of your eternal spirit self. Actually, is not our earthly life but a grandiose dream of spring? We absolutely cannot ignore the matters of our spirit self just because we cannot see it. Here, I would like to introduce the life of a nun who seriously concerned herself with and anguished over the maturation of her spirit self all through her life of faith.
In her life, she could not be freed from agony over the problem of the physical self and the spirit self, because she realized that following bodily demands troubled the mind, whereas going with the mind distressed the body. Unable to resolve this problem, she took the path of religious pursuit. However, even through her religious life, she could not find the answer, which made her struggle and wonder whether she should go back to the world.
She could not understand why God created human beings in such a wretched shape. One day, however she felt the warmth of God during her prayer and from heaven heard a solemn voice saying, "I am Jehovah, who is your Parent and at the same time the Parent of all humankind. Now you are living in a very narrow and momentary world, but in your future there is a world where you can live in happiness and abundance. But you do not come to this world with your body." During this time the nun was trembling.
Thereafter she stopped worrying about physical things, and with the understanding that earthly life is for maturing the spirit self, she started on a religious life in order to prepare her inner being to live in the eternal world. Although she always had to struggle over her failure to unite her mind and body, she took God's instruction to heart and devotedly carried out her spiritual self cultivation. No matter how much she tried on earth, however, she could not easily bring together her mind and body or develop her spirituality to maturity.
According to her, however, when she came here to the spiritual world, she experienced God's love, in which she could resolve the problems that had troubled her on earth. She asserts that since God's love is omnipresent and omnipotent, it can solve all human problems. For instance, she has seen that wherever God goes, all the trees and grasses around Him make all kinds of efforts to bring Him joy according to their unique characteristics and forms, and all the people around Him looked warm, humble, peaceful, and happy, although there was no one to give them commands or to intervene in their life. All their attitudes were rooted in God's love, and like a magnificent painting, their minds and bodies were completely united. She understood that the driving force for the unity of our mind and body is God's eternal love alone, which He gave us at the time of our creation.
The disunity of our minds and bodies is a distortion of the original form of the human being. Therefore, she realized that a life of faith and spiritual cultivation are absolutely necessary for us to regain the original image. What she has discovered while observing many things here is that human beings deviated from the original image during the process of their growth.
She has clearly understood that God's infinite love is the power to overcome every hurdle and resolve every problem. We should all fully prepare for the next life in order to live there eternally in God's bosom of love. We must make efforts to nurture our inner being while we have our bodies. This was the conclusion of the nun.
(3) Sakyamuni Buddha
When my life ended on earth and I came here to this kingdom, I clearly saw that my works had been written from a very narrow and parochial perspective. When God created human beings, He was their only master and creator, but as their lives, circumstances, and living methods changed, they came to have new masters, one after another.
In human history, people have served many different gods other than God. Why, then are human beings unable to live independently, without serving a god? How did they come to have a desire for something ultimate? Why do they have feelings of nothingness and incompleteness in life? Why do they want to rely on a god? People had to seek God or other gods in order to solve these questions.
Whether on earth or in the spiritual world, how long do people have to live in separate groups? I have realized many times that this is not God's will. I also have seen that God does not always have a bright and joyful look. While considering many different aspects of God, I decided to meet some of the world's saints. I first met Sakyamuni Buddha in order to compare Christian and Buddhist perspectives on God.
Buddha was very gentle and humble. Before becoming a religious man, he had been a man of character He opened wide the door of conversation for me, and from our first meeting we could talk over many things in a bright atmosphere, without a bit of awkwardness.
First, I asked him, "I would like to hear about the God you have been serving," and he answered as follows: "We human beings desire to be liberated from many dimensions of mental struggle about life. We want to be liberated from the human realities of birth, death, old age, and sickness and solve the problems of life." Although Sakyamuni put himself through many torturous ascetic practices on earth, still he could only conclude that humans are incomplete beings who can neither resolve nor escape from the agonies of birth, old age, sickness, and death. In efforts to solve this problem, he struggled intensely for countless days, striking his body and concentrating his mind, and yet no clear solution emerged. He had no interest at all in the world, for he thought that life in this world was but an instant, and thus the riches and fame, joys and sorrows of the world were meaningless.He continued: "Today, many Buddhists admire me and worship me, but I am just like them, an incomplete and humble being, the only difference being that I discovered it before others. In order to bring myself to completion, up from a self with defects and contradictions, I struggled hard before others did. In this process, by the help of an unknown Buddha, I felt my mind spinning around and experienced a state of no self (emancipation). Through this, I came to see that the human being is an extremely small self emanating from a certain being. But if I express this by saying that we are a self emanating from some God . . .`' Sakyamuni paused for a short meditation and continued "Simply speaking, if we are small beings emanating from some God, I should be able to terminate this self and rise to the state of self-renunciation through spiritual cultivation and training. Then, when at that time I receive another being from God, from whom my being has emanated, I think my small self can appear as a small part of God." Buddha also explained: "If, through that emancipation, I solved my life's problems in some way, I think the reason lies in my having experienced in that state that I am a part of God who is being helped by Him. I believe that all human beings can experience that they are a part of God who can serve God and that they are being helped by God. When we have such an experience, worldly desires and individual greed diminish and disappear in our heart, and we come to have some freedom in which to think about the other world. Therefore, self-reflection is absolutely necessary for us."
My hearing these words of Sakyamuni led me to the following thought: what all people including Buddhists, Christians, and Catholics instinctively feel in common is the fact that the people seeking God are surely incomplete and limited. I believe that when we find God and live with Him in accordance with the desire of our original mind, we will be able to have eternal happiness.
When we are born to the world, we are not complete, with all of God's attributes. We need internal and external environments on many levels during our growth to perfection. However, we shaped ourselves in the wrong direction before we reached perfection.
Then, what is the original human image and the standard of human perfection, and what process is required for us to perfect ourselves in the original form? As you know, I have experienced both the life on earth and one in the spiritual world, and I would like to elucidate this issue on the basis of this experience.
For this, I wanted to meet Confucius, who is highly respected and admired by all people on earth. When on earth, he strictly observed the rules of propriety even in such minor things as taking a step. This intrigued me, and I asked him why he felt he had to live like this. Confucius opened his mouth only after a long silence. He believed that since he had not been born according to his wish, he should cherish everything around him as he respected his parents, and furthermore that his parents were also a precious inheritance from his ancestors. According to him, in our life on earth, we should respect and serve our elders in all matters, and love our juniors because they are to inherit our tradition. Since our vertical and horizontal human relationships are for the sake of sharing precious love, we should rely on one another in trust, cover one and other's defects, share things together and strengthen our friendships. Confucius feels that this is the natural human way.
On the other hand, exhorts Confucius, our natural environment is also a precious inheritance from our parents and ancestors, and so we should cherish and improve it so that we can again hand it down to our descendants pure and clean. All we have received from our ancestors, including our bodies, our thoughts, and our living environment, reflect their spirit. All of us have the responsibility to keep what we have received intact and pass it on to our descendants. Therefore, he continues, in heaven and earth, there is nothing that is without value. It is necessary for us to cherish them, and to do this we need to be educated in the rules of propriety. Serving our ancestors is no different from believing in and serving God.
This is the conclusion of Confucius.
Although I do not know when, where, and how Confucianism started, I concluded that this philosophy has something important for us. The human nature that seeks to use freedom within the limits of certain established norms, instead of living arbitrarily must eventually come from the nature to love and serve God. In this light, we can say that from the beginning, we are created in such a way that we live in an inseparable relationship with God. I believe that all human beings should live this way, and that this is very natural for them.- May 18, 2000--
(5) People without Religious Faith
1. A Musician on the Street (Classic Singer)
At birth, all of us are endowed with a unique character and we try to promote our unique talents throughout our life. I would like to introduce one person who did so very well.He was born with a God-given voice, and could proudly present his talent before anyone. Such a person is best advised to be a classic singer. Developing his talent, he majored in vocal music, became a professor in this field, inspired the hearts of many people through beautiful songs, and lived in glamour and comfort. Hence he always felt gratitude for his talent. He thought he was lucky because he had not gained his fame and wealth through hard work but through inborn talent. In this affluent life, however, he was full of excessive arrogance, self- admiration, selfishness, and so forth, and had no regard for other people's situations. With his genius, he attained his goal in life.
One day, however a sudden misfortune was visited upon him. He contracted cancer of the larynx. Now he could neither sing nor keep his professorship. From that time on, he began to feel the vain transience of life and realized that human beings are extremely weak and helpless. He met many patients in the hospital, and his eyes opened to their troubles and to the difficulties of the people around him. He deeply felt his powerlessness and the emptiness of his life and painfully regretted having been so heartless toward other people.
As his health deteriorated, he felt that he did not have long to live; hence, resolving to dedicate his talent for the sake of others, he started going around singing, with all his strength, mainly to patients, lonely people and on the streets. Strangely, however every time he sang, he had new courage and felt less and less pain in his throat. Having this mysterious experience, and remembering his past, he went around many places to sing with all his strength. One day, in the middle of his singing, he experienced God. His body became hot like a fireball, and he felt as if he were flying in the air when God appeared in a voice saying, "Now your sickness is healed. Use your voice for the sake of others from now on." Then He disappeared in a flash like a white cloud. Thereafter, he turned into a street musician and comforted the hearts of passersby until his life ended on earth. Here in the spiritual world, he was surprised to see God again, and gained conviction that God can cure what is humanly incurable and do what is humanly impossible. He said that he was now living and serving God in the place of God while thoroughly repenting of his having been so pitiless and arrogant towards other people. When I heard this story, the thought came to me that no matter how brilliant a human being may be, he is but a small existence before God, and yet he does not realize it. If we are to be wise children of God, while on earth we should not show off our talents too excessively, but help others and keep correct faith.
2. An Atheist
We have but a very short stay on earth, and yet we live as if our earthly stay were forever. I have met someone who lived his whole life believing that God did not exist, and I would like to introduce him here. He was healthy and enjoyed riches and glamour, with nothing wanting in life. He thought, "What is the point of trying to find God?" He believed that people sought God because they had something missing in their lives, and thus he did not need God since he had nothing missing. Asking, "Where is God?" he enjoyed the bounties of his life until he came to the spiritual world.
According to him, when he concluded his comfortable life on earth and came here to the spiritual world, there was nothing prepared for him. Here, there was no one to take care of him, nothing for him to eat, and nothing for him to wear, and even all his friends despised and ill-treated him.
People around him kept ridiculing him, saying, "You do not eat this kind of thing, do you? You do not wear this kind of clothes, do you? You do not live in this kind of place, do you? So go and eat what you want to eat in the kind of place you like." So he was kicked out from everywhere and ended up having to live like a beggar, without knowing how long this kind of life would continue. When I asked him, "Do you know why you fell into this misery?" he answered by saying, "God is just and fair." He said that although he deserved the suffering here because he had enjoyed all the affluence and glory on earth, even now he still hoped to repent of his denial of God and lean on God. He said that after slipping into a situation of such want and difficulty, he became able to see his past mistakes, and that he would go after God if He did not forsake him, or even if He forsook him. He said that if he went before God, He would forgive him some day; he was confident that God is such a person.
In general, if we are too entrenched in the joy and comfort of the earthly life, we easily fall into a trap, without being able to get out. Hence, earthly things can easily be a deadly poison for us, and we should handle and relate to them properly. As you all know, the human being has a dual structure of the spirit self and the physical self, which are needed for the eternal world and the earthly life respectively. Think deeply about which of the two you will focus on in your life.
5. St. Augustine's Conversion in the Spiritual World
(1) The Unification Principle
I, Augustine, have found a new truth here in the spiritual world. This is the Unification Principle. It was in a large lecture hall that I first came to hear the Principle. Since many people could freely come and hear the lectures there, I could listen to them without worrying about incurring any obligation. Seeing that the Principle was very logical and systematic, I felt urged to hear more. Later, I even arranged for private lectures. I sometimes asked new questions during a lecture. I found the Unification Principle very helpful. The content ranging from the Principle of Creation to the Principle of Restoration was deeply moving. I asked the lecturer where the root philosophy of the Principle came from, whereupon he explained the advent of the Messiah and His purpose and said, "The Principle came from the Messiah." He also explained to me about the earthly activities of the Messiah. At this time, I fell into no small confusion thinking, "If the Messiah came to the earth, who can save the multitude of spirits here in the spiritual world, and what can be done for the numerous people who dedicated their whole lives to faith and spiritual discipline in service to the Messiah without being in the right time for the benefits of the age? I struggled immensely in my heart because I was also a part of this unfortunate crowd. As I asked why not everyone could know and benefit from the Messiah's coming, I felt that the situation was so unfair and bitter, and I lost my calm. However, it was not just because of the advent of the Messiah that the Unification Principle greatly surprised me. I felt that the Unification Principle is a formula course for human beings, that it is too certainly true to doubt. But I could not easily accept the Principle view on the advent of the Messiah. After struggling over it for a few days, I offered a prayer. I went back, expressed my heart to the lecturer, and decided to hear again the explanation of the timing of the Messiah's appearance.
The lecturer's explanation helped a great deal. He said that, rather than feel bitter about having failed to receive the benefit of the age, I would live a much more valuable life and practice correct faith if I studied carefully about the Messiah who had come. As I heard this, I felt pain as if my heart were being carved out. I could not believe that the Messiah had returned, and wished that it were not true. "All these fluent lecturers of Divine Principle must be disciples of the Messiah, and what have I been doing so far to hear such news only now?" Thinking thus, I was intensely tormented by irresistible regret and pain.
Nevertheless, I could not deny even a bit of the Unification Principle, which had already taken deep root in my heart. The Principle of Creation explains about God, the process of God's creation, and the Universal Prime Force; Eschatology and Human History reveals God's regrets and laments over His having created human beings; and the chapters on the providence of restoration explain that all people are to return to the original form and that human history is God's providence of restoration. All these points are an utterly undeniable and absolute truth. Where can there be a truth that is clearer than this! After completely emptying my heart, I reflected on Rev. Moon's bloody battles in the physical and spiritual worlds until he discovered the Principle. I also felt very deeply that the Last Days of human history are near. Refreshing my mind, I started thinking beyond my bitterness to reckon the vast pain and sorrow of all humankind throughout the history of God's providence of restoration. I determined to accept as my eternal truth the Unification Principle and the words of truth spoken by the Rev. Moon. Firmly pledging to live as one of the youngest and humblest disciples of Rev. Moon, who has revealed the Unification Principle, I declared my conversion in the spiritual world.
(2) Unification Thought
The Divine Principle and Unification Thought are established on the basis of the new words of truth given by Rev. Moon. Unification Thought systematizes this content academically and in more detail based on the Divine Principle, and as such it can provide great inspiration to many people, especially intellectuals.
Whenever I study Unification Thought, I find myself deep in a marvelous academic realm. When I become immersed in the philosophical grandeur of Unification Thought, I cannot but be moved to insuppressible inspiration and joy. For humanity, there seems to be no philosophy that is greater.
I have heard a passionate lecture by Dr. Lee, who systematized Unification Thought. Far from being an ordinary lecture, the lecture captivated my entire heart and mind with spiritual power, humility, love, and intellectual acuteness. He was humble, kind, sincere, and truthful.
Throughout the lecture he made it clear "I am nothing. This is the philosophy of the True Parents. Do not think that it came from someone's thoughts." He had both a sincere attitude of faith and special virtues.
While listening to this Unification Thought lecture, I realized many new things. I also felt fear and envy, thinking that Rev. Moon was truly a happy man to have such a disciple. Now that I had converted to the new truth of Rev. Moon, I wanted to work as a faithful and humble disciple of his, who could fully trust him and entrust everything of mine to him.
So I determined to thoroughly study and analyze Unification Thought and first of all become its lecturer.
When I asked Dr. Lee if I could become a lecturer, he said that I had to study hard and receive True Parents' recognition and approval. This reminded me of God's word, Augustine is too greedy. Humble is the position of Augustine.
So I made a firm determination, saying, "Now is too early for me. But when I diligently study and immerse myself in the Divine Principle and Unification Principle, carefully observing the characteristics of different lecturers, I will be able to eliminate all my defects, at which time I can finally be recognized by the Messiah, Rev. Moon. Waiting for that time to come soon, I will keep my place and sincerely maintain my faith. Keeping the stature of St. Augustine, I will live in preparation for the day to see the Messiah." This is the firm and immovable goal of my life.
(3) Blessing Ceremony in the Spiritual World
I am living in incredible truth and boundless grace, which I could never imagine in the physical world. Having attained freedom in this truth and grace, I am living a happy life here every day. What is more amazing, however, is the Blessing ceremony in which those people who had left their physical bodies and come to the spiritual world participated.
What is the Blessing ceremony? It will feel quite unfamiliar to the one who hears about it for the first time. Simple speaking, it is a marriage ceremony. But in the Blessing ceremony, an honorable man and an honorable woman pledge to be husband and wife in God's presence. As you well know, Rev. Moon is the True Father of heaven and earth. Hence, the Blessing is a ceremony in which people pledge, in God's presence and with True Parents as the officiators, an eternal relationship as husband and wife in the spiritual world or the physical world.
In the Blessing ceremony, people on earth will be able to see only the people on earth, but the Blessing candidates in heaven can see both the couples on earth and those in heaven. The scene of the Blessing ceremony is truly beautiful and enchanting. I would like to introduce to you an aspect of the Blessing ceremony that I have experienced. During the ceremony, the officiator, Rev. Moon, suddenly changed into the shape in which God had appeared in the Garden of Eden before the human fall; God's rays spun in splendid and enrapturing colors and circled around Rev. Moon, whereupon he assumed God's body. Then, the whole scene of the Blessing ceremony was showered with brilliant light, as if floodlights of thousands of volts had been turned on in a dark room. In this ceremony, God's light touched each and every couple. At this time, my wife was on earth and I was, of course, in the spiritual world. An earthly person would not understand what this means, but at one word from Rev. Moon, the ceremony site changed colors and structures, and the couples' ceremonial dresses changed. God's light touched all the people, and their spirits became consecrated, after which their forms became different from those of the spectators. To illustrate by an example, suppose there are two vessels, one of which is well washed and polished (the blessed couples) and the other cracked and stained. This was the Blessing ceremony. Although earthly people were unable to see or hear this at all, I saw it clearly. I would like people on earth to be clearly informed about this.The Blessing is a ceremony through which God brings together an Adam and an Eve in the Garden of Eden when they become fully mature. I believe it because I have seen it clearly with my own eyes. I firmly believe that Rev. Moon is marrying honorable men and women as an officiator in God's body. So I am grateful to him for finding my spouse, and I sometimes go to the earth to see her. People on earth, now I am able to be on earth together with my wife. Although I am surely in the spiritual world, we are married. We were blessed and spent the first night together. Please believe this. I am Augustine, who has converted himself in the spiritual world. I am St. Augustine, frequently talked about by earthly people.
Please study the Blessing ceremony and who Rev. Moon is.I, Augustine, will clearly tell all believers who he is. As your predecessor in the spiritual world, I will clearly tell you about the eternal and blissful life in the Heavenly Kingdom.
(4) Rev. Moon as discovered by St. Augustine
I think I am truly fortunate because I have achieved the greatest hope a human being can have. Among the vast numbers of humankind, I am able to serve God closely, understand God's providence correctly, and directly participate in God's providence; so who can be more fortunate than I? Here in the spiritual world, I have encountered a new truth, new providential facts of many dimensions including the internal and external worlds of the person, the mysterious creation of the world, the relationship between people and the natural world, love between God and people, the heartbreaking providence of restoration, how God was forced to leave the people in the Garden of Eden, the wrong beginning of human history, the archangel's domination of humanity as a false parent, and the pain of reordering the foundations of history. The Unification Principle contains secrets nobody has been able to divulge. This truth is really precious and incredible.
The one who has brought to light the Unification Principle is Rev. Sun Myung Moon. I have determined to serve him as the greatest teacher of human history.
Although we should not even dare to mention his name freely, I still would like to introduce the supreme teacher here for the sake of those people on earth who are longing to see him. I have always felt bitter to have missed the benefit of the age to receive the Messiah, and so I have eagerly studied the Unification Principle and intensely envied the Unification members. You cannot know how much I envied them, who could behold the great teacher on earth and live together with him. For quite a while I suffered intensely over this. But I have made a new determination after thinking that here there are still many who do not believe the teacher. I did this first of all to be liberated from my own greed. Unification members are always filled with longing for their teacher. But how can I, who have never attended him, say anything about him? I, however, can convey aspects of him that I have discovered and that are difficult for people with physical eyes to see.
Here, God comes to people as light and expresses His love to them through luster of many dimensions. When God's light appears without notice, we all receive Him with longing and love. Rev. Moon, on the other hand, has a physical body. God appears as light and luster because He has no body, but Rev. Moon has a body, and I have clearly seen him wrapped around in light and walking upon glorious beams of light wherever he went. Perhaps there are few earthly people who can witness such a scene.
I have directly seen Rev. Moon in this state looking around the scene of the Blessing ceremony very thoroughly. His face is covered with a face of light, which, when he speaks, appears in many varieties such as blue and red. When I saw this for the fist time, it was immensely mysterious and stunning, and I simply watched it speechless, as if I had lost my entire consciousness. And I saw God protecting Rev. Moon in every place and at every moment by winding him with light, during which they two became one, sometimes separating and sometimes uniting. No words can express the beauty of this sight. It is wonder itself. Sometimes, God was groaning while sitting on the clouds as light and looking down on people, and every such time Rev. Moon's face dripped with drops of sweat like blood. This shows the complete heartistic oneness between God and the Messiah in their love and concern for humanity.
When I encounter such a scene, I feel my heart boiling with new spirit and hope, and I tighten my fists, saying that I also have a loving heart for humanity that is just as strong as anyone. I think that the Unification members on earth, who are living under the shade of the Messiah of humanity and True Parents, should possess the spirit of the True Parents and walk the path of pioneers for humanity, disciples of a true teacher, and children of the True Parents. I am very sad, however, that a great number of people on earth still do not realize the stature and value of the True Parents.
But through this message I hope to be able to convey the reality to people on earth. The Rev. Moon as I have discovered him is not someone who can be judged by physical eyes, still less is he a teacher whom we should simply watch and adore. How happy the earthly people are, who can directly see their teacher on earth and receive his teaching and guidance! Lest you suffer the pain of regret in the future, cleanse your heart and escape from your tiny self. And study Rev. Moon. It will be difficult to judge him with your brain, however hard you analyze him, but those who make painstaking efforts to study him will be granted a chance to attend him. This is an ardent hope I myself have, the Saint, Augustine.
(5) The Unification Realm of the Spiritual World
The Unification Realm of the Spiritual World must be quite unfamiliar to you. You have heard such names as the Heavenly Kingdom and Paradise, but perhaps there are few who have heard of the Unification Realm of the Spiritual World. Speaking simply, this realm can be called a Unification village, where eighty to ninety percent of the residents are members of the Unification Church, living together with the rest, who are nonmembers.
Here, I will skip discussing the Heavenly Kingdom or Paradise, and just talk about the Unification Realm of the Spiritual World. In this realm, mostly the people who have served and lived with the True Parents on earth before coming to the spiritual world are living together, doing activities and holding events just as on earth. In the spiritual world, the one condition of having lived with the True Parents on earth constitutes enormous merit. In the Unification Realm of the Spiritual World, there is hope and joy unavailable in other realms of the spiritual world.
There are special educational opportunities of various levels in this realm. This place is neither the Heavenly Kingdom nor Paradise, and yet its residents have the hope and joy to proceed to the Heavenly Kingdom in the future. For this reason, they are always lively and vivacious. In contrast, why do the residents in the other ordinary spiritual realms have no hope? It is because they receive education with no purpose or direction, and thus their daily lives lack vision for tomorrow. People of the Unification Realm of the Spiritual World are working hard to bring the truth of the True Parents to these frustrated people.
The people in the Unification Realm of the Spiritual World are living in waiting for the coming of the True Parents, and this sight always makes you feel fresh. What is interesting here is that when other ordinary people come into this realm and live together with the residents of this realm, the ordinary people become assimilated to the residents and change their ways of thinking. The people of the Unification Realm are always zealously witnessing to the novices who are encountering the Divine Principle for the first time. I tried to find out how these people, who had not attended the True Parents on earth, became admitted to this realm. Most of them did not live comfortably just for their own benefit on earth; they could easily embrace the Principle because they had already been familiar with living for the sake of others.
Also in the Unification Realm of the Spiritual World, many people come in and out, and many Principle courses, ecumenical seminars, and workshops are being held. Many religious denominations flock together here, and I could not easily recognize which religious sects they belonged to. We can say that this is a place of entry for receiving the True Parents. Since God's special attention and love is present here, everyone always longs to stay here. But just because people have received an education in the Principle, does not mean that they can automatically stay here. Also, even after receiving such education here, they are free to return home, just as on earth. To be able to live in this place, you have to have lived a Principled life, as well as having lived with the True Parents, for those with a serious sin cannot abide here even if they have lived physically with the True Parents on earth. The Unification Realm of the Spiritual World is a place in which everyone in the spiritual world longs to stay and which manifests the glory of the True Parents. Also, this place is filled with love. If, while on earth, you set and follow your purpose correctly in attendance on the True Parents, you will be able to come here. I believe this is the wisest life you can live.
6. The Direction and Purpose of Our Lives
God created human beings, rejoiced while watching them, and hoped that they would grow up, become a husband and wife, prosper through the generations, and live happily in a garden of love. But the fall of the human ancestors misdirected human history, away from God's purpose of creation, and humanity has been journeying through the painful history of Restoration. In order to correct this, humanity needed to receive the Messiah and see the start of the history of rebirth through the Messiah. For the rebirth of humanity, the return of the Messiah is absolutely crucial. I converted in the spiritual world after realizing that the Messiah desperately yearned for by humanity is none other than Rev. Moon. I hope you pay attention to why I had this conversion experience and study it deeply.
(1) The Original Form of the Human Being
1. Before the Fall
Before the human fall, God had great hope for human beings. He had them freely rule over all things in the Garden and gave them boundless riches. God also gave them a commandment to keep during their immature period, and yet, unfortunately, they broke it.
God's hope towards people contained only joy and happiness, and no suffering, sorrow, sickness or pain. Having created all things for them, He desired that they would live and multiply, and enjoy the bounties of the world of God. Owing to their fall, however, their relationship with all things became severed, and so did their reltionship with God. Human history has been moving in dark clouds, with the vertical relationship between people and all things severed. It has been continuing with its beginning and end hidden under a veil.
God, however, is an absolute, unique, infinite, and eternal being, and thus God's creation is unique and eternal. This is why God has been waiting until we restore our original nature. The one who has recovered the original human nature in the long trajectory of history is Rev. Moon. After inheriting the entire mission of the Messiah from Jesus at the age of sixteen, Rev. Moon overcame many deadly obstacles to achieve his mission and became enthroned as the True Parents. While drinking from the cup of suffering and endurance, he has been shedding his blood and sweat in sacrifice for the sake of the liberation of God and humanity. We should unconditionally kneel down to and obey Rev. Moon's word and teaching in order to return to our original form before the fall.
When you have a physical body, you will think that there is tomorrow, next month, and next year. But suppose that you have already shed your body and are a spirit confessing your painful stories to earthly people. How close this moment is to you! Even after a thousand or ten thousand years, will you have another chance to receive the Messiah?
Please pay attention to my, St. Augustine's, desperate and painful confession. In preparing an eternal abode, what dignity or what circumstances do you have to worry about? If you die in the spirit, you will be unable to enter this spiritual world. So you will have to hold on to Rev. Moon with all your life. He has had an eightieth birthday celebration. Serve him at least once while he is on earth and before you come to the spiritual world. The problem of your eternal life will not be solved except through him.
The first time I heard lectures from Unification members, I did not have even a bit of desire to convert because I was burning with jealousy and bitterness and reluctance to listen. But what else could I have done, for missing this opportunity would have meant death for me. So before coming to this spiritual world, receive the Messiah with all your might, overcoming and leaving behind everything that comes in the way. Forget about keeping your face or your dignity, and devote yourself entirely to testifying to and serving the Messiah.
In general, fools hesitate over their useless pride. As you live in this age, if you only think about your pride and fail to receive the Messiah, you will end up being the worst fool of history. The Messiah is someone God has sent in order to restore for you the original human form before the fall. You will have to hurry. Pray about how many more years the Messiah will stay on earth. You will restore the original form when you receive, serve, and live with my Messiah and my True Parents. I hope that through this you can find a new life.
2. After the fall
When human beings left God in the Garden of Eden, the history of human suffering and the history of God's sorrow commenced together. By deviating from God's direction, we came to breathe and live in the evil camp under Satan.
In daily life, all people came to live under the shadow of evil without being aware of it, and seeds of evil spread through the human lineage as this evil lifestyle became established as habit, practice, and tradition.
This is how human history has been moving. As history thus started with evil under the Yule of Satan, God's dream and hope to rejoice over people and the things of the universe were shattered into pieces.
Who has understood the fact that the relationship between God and people, the relationships among people, and the relationships between people and all things were cut off, and the fact that human history had a wrong start? We have been struggling to deal with our plight while having lost sight of the beginning, direction, and purpose of history, and human history has continued with no one able to bring light to fundamental human problems. It is Rev. Moon. the Savior and Messiah, who has discovered the heartbreaking story of God and people and the misery-ridden secret of human history.
While studying the Principle, I did not realize that his course of tribulation had to precede the revelation of the Principle to him. But he has triumphed over all challenges after going over the countless obstacles of the providence, and the Principle has come to us over such providential obstacles. The words of the Principle are truly a textbook of life to recreate the vast numbers of people. Human beings, whoever they are, should carefully study this textbook and live according to the truth revealed by the Messiah. You will have to change the starting point of your life. Now that our truth has been found and the master of the truth has appeared to us, we will have to straighten our lives in accordance with the truth.
Even if we were to go to the spiritual world tomorrow, we should still clean up and end our wrong life today. Before tomorrow comes, we must quickly obey this truth. If you are hesitating to receive the Messiah and the truth because of your pride, what can be more foolish than this? You are to depart from there tomorrow,and what is the need for hesitation and pride?
Throw away your pride and empty yourself of wrongful desire. Without settling into your present reality, fully dedicate your energy to preparing your eternal shelter and place of rest. Rev. Moon is a genuine teacher of the truth, the true master, and saving Messiah, the one for whom you have been so eagerly waiting. This can never be said to you too many times.
I, St. Augustine, have clearly conveyed this to you. I have made an honest confession of the fact that Rev. Moon is the Messiah of humanity
(2) The Form of the Human Being to Be Restored
The fall of the human ancestors gave a wrong start to history. Unless history is corrected, its course straightened, and human nature restored, we will continue to live in constant misery. Then, the spiritual world, our eternal abode, will fall into chaos and complication, and God and people will drift further and further apart, perpetuating the human tragedy. Hence, we have needed the history of the providence of restoration through which we can return to the God-desired original state.
The providence of restoration, however, must have a clear beginning and purpose rather than flowing aimlessly like a river. Already at the time of birth, human beings have a clear purpose and direction; likewise, human history should have a clear beginning. In order to achieve this purpose, a person was needed who could handle whatever challenges came before him, in other words, a hero who could accomplish the providence of restoration. Would it be easy to turn around the history of sin, which has been in progress up to now? The course of restoration is strewn with the sacrificial blood, sweat, and tears of numerous providential figures, and we can proceed to our original hometown because of the foundation of their sacrifice. Think about the time when Moses was leading the Israelites across the Red Sea. In the providence of restoration, there have been too many stories that were more challenging than this.
The path of restoration requires that we offer our lives. There needs to emerge a general commander of the providence who can willingly offer even his life for the sake of human salvation. This is none other than Rev. Moon. He has risked his only life for the sake of moving the providence forward. Only the True Parents of heaven and earth, the Messiah, and the Savior can be the true master of the providence of restoration. We have come to the ultimate conclusion of the providence; if we just follow the Messiah, even if we may be barely hanging on to him, we can be completely restored and return to the original form desired by God.
The Unification Principle contains many lessons for life, formulae for human living, and the absolute truth of the universe. Since the Unification Principle is the last truth for humanity, I, Augustine, again ask you all to carefully read it together. If you have a problem with a certain part of the Principle, try a fasting prayer to resolve your question. Also, investigate from many angles and pray about whether Rev. Moon is really the Messiah.
About this matter, I prayed and investigated countless times, and sometimes gave up, despaired, and struggled.
And finally, since the Unification Principle leaves no room at all for doubt, I decided that it was wisest to empty my mind and converted myself. I firmly believe that Rev. Moon is the Messiah prepared and sent by God and a True Parent of heaven and earth. I, Augustine, believe. Augustine has now realized and firmly grasped it. If there are people despising and persecuting Rev. Moon, they are only exposing their own ignorance in broad daylight. Pledging to become a pioneer of restoration before them, I declare to serve Rev. Moon as the True Parent of heaven and earth and gladly offer all myself to him. Shouting "Long live the True Parents in the garden of restoration," I sincerely pray and pledge to become one of his precious comrades in labor. Before the incredible new truth, I strongly pledge by putting together my knees and my hands. I have announced my conversion to all the people on earth and in the spiritual world. I, St. Augustine, pray and plead with you to quickly receive and serve the Messiah.
7. The Final Destination of Human Beings
We human beings come from dust and return to dust. This is how simple our final destination is. For us, the earth is a momentary world, while the spiritual world is an eternal world. We are created in such a way that our body lives on earth, and our spirit in the spiritual world, so we live in the momentary world on earth and then proceed to the eternal world in the spiritual world. We are supposed to return to the eternal world and live with God eternally. We cannot go there with our body.
Then what do we bring with us? Only our spirit self goes to the eternal world and takes with it the values and fruits we have produced through our lives on earth. In this world, no one issues commands or provides a guide as on earth; each person is to find his own way. Just as the four seasons do not come by someone's orders, this rule has been in effect without change ever since God's creation of the universe. We take with us the standards and fruits of our lives in entirety to the eternal world. This is a heavenly principle.
Who can replace winter with spring when he dislikes winter? As we cannot stop the heavenly principle, our place in the eternal world is determined through our earthly life.
Therefore, in planning your earthly life you should be more concerned with your place in the eternal world rather than your momentary position on earth. This is the significance of our earthly life.
(1) Life on Earth
As I have already mentioned, from birth to death human beings live in the body. We need our body only during our life on earth, and not in the eternal world. Hence, for the sake of the eternal world, on earth we should prepare for the growth of our spirit. Unlike the earthly life, there is no distinction of first and last in this world. Your accomplishments themselves will become your reality in the spiritual world. The spirit self can hardly grow after being separated from the physical self, nor can it make restitution for its wrong doings once it has left the earth.
Gypsies, because they do not know when they will leave their dwelling places, always live in temporary huts. What if Gypsies have built and decorated a house like a palace when they find themselves forced to leave? Who would be more foolish than this? Our lives on earth are similar to that of Gypsies.
It is proper that we live on earth with this kind of heart in preparation for our lives in the spiritual world. What we are not to forget is that on earth we should prepare a house for our spirit self rather than for our physical self, and that the house of our spirit self is built while we are on earth. If you only build a house for your body on earth and come to this spiritual world, you will find yourself with no shelter and thus end up as a beggar.
And there is only one sure way in which we can secure our eternal home, and this is to receive the Messiah, our True Parents, on earth and live earnestly according to their direction. Then, a palace of golden colors will be your eternal home.
Therefore, you should never fall out of the Messianic realm of living. As long as you are within this realm, although you may be covered with all sorts of filth or you may be hanging on at the end of the line, you will still be able to escape the fate of a beggar. As for myself, although I have not been able to benefit from the merit of the age, I still had an opportunity here in the spiritual world to meet the new truth and be converted. You myriad of people of faith! You Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Confucianists, and followers of other religions! I strongly wish that you transcend denominational boundaries and produce a sweet fruit in your earthly life. I wish for you that you make a good choice in your short earthly life so that you can live eternally with God in the golden nest.
(2) Everlasting Life in the Spiritual World
We human beings live on earth for a short while and then proceed to the spiritual world for eternal life. Very few people would be content with a mediocre life on earth, and most people work hard to improve their lives as if they could live on earth forever. If such people should suddenly die someday totally unprepared, they would find no place to stay in the spiritual world and end up as beggars.
Earlier, I mentioned many times this reality of the spiritual world, and yet I want to emphasize it again now. We have an eternal world to go to, and this is the final destination of our lives. When we arrive at our final destination after a long journey, we unpack, feel relief, and settle down. But if the journey is not yet over, we will be unable to unpack or relax our mind and body. This spiritual world is the final destination of human life, a nest where we are to build our everlasting life.
But if your place of settlement and eternal home is not prepared, what are you going to do? You build your eternal house, not while you are in the spiritual world, but while you are on earth. You should plan and build while on earth a beautiful house for the spiritual world. For farmers who have toiled and sweated from spring to fall, the autumn harvest will bring them riches, and they will not go hungry over the winter. No one will be able to take their harvest away from them because it is the fruit of their hard work over the past seasons. In like manner how you live your earthly life will determine whether you have a palace or a shack in the spiritual world. There may be people who do not have even a shack or a small patch of land in the spiritual world.
Do you understand what this means? If you have lived only for your individual benefit, no one will prepare a place for you here. On earth, poor people can manage to live on charity and neighbors' help, but here, no one will pity or help you because all your heart will show even if you try to cover it in many different ways. Who can send back winter by saying, "Go away winter for I do not like you?" If you said to autumn, "I like your atmosphere and scenery, autumn, so stay with me all the time," would it really do so? No one can stop the heavenly principle. The spiritual world operates according to the heavenly principle without a fraction of error.
You people on earth! Please heed my earnest plea. Do you know about St. Augustine? Do you know about the earthly life of St. Augustine? Although I had lived on earth a life of Catholic faith as diligently as anyone could, I could not but turn myself around in the spiritual world after awakening to the Unification Principle. I have entrusted all myself to the new truth and completely emptied myself. I could only be silent before the truth.
The Unification Principle is truly life's tonic and a formula that any human being should know and follow without exception. Who is Rev. Moon, who has revealed the Unification Principle? Study him deeply. Since he is living with the same body and in the same environment as earthly people, they can judge him only through their physical eyes. I, St. Augustine, earnestly plead with you not to let the tragedy of the cross be reenacted, a tragedy caused by the failure of the Jewish people to recognize Jesus.
Here, Jesus also came to serve him as the True Parents and receive the Blessing. Earthly people! In these pages I am conveying to you the reality of the spiritual world as clearly as I can in order to help save your souls. I emphasize again and again that the Messiah to come is none other than Rev. Moon. I ask you to serve him and live by his teaching. For your eternal soul, I earnestly wish that you reform and purify your earthly life before coming here. This is my last message.
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