The Words of the Walsh Family

Legacy of Peace

Thomas G. Walsh
March 18, 2010
Honoring a Legacy of Peace
United Nations Building, New York.
President, Universal Peace Federation International

The Seunghwa tradition was initiated by the Reverend Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, or True Parents, at the time of the passing of their second eldest son, Heung Jin Moon, who died in an automobile accident in December, 1983, at a time when True Parents were leading a series of rallies in Korea aimed at preventing the advance of totalitarian communism. True Father's tradition has always been to stand at the forefront of the providence, sacrificing his family for the sake of the world, and setting the standard and tradition for future generations.

True Father understood that the passing of Heung Jin nim was related to God's providence, and True Father was unshaken in his absolute faith, absolute love, and absolute obedience. His life has never been merely personal. Rather he is the embodiment of a life of true love, a life that is lived fully for the sake of others.

Therefore, True Father responded to Heung Jin nim's passing by initiating the Seunghwa tradition that underscores not "death" or "loss" but "ascension" and "victory." What is customarily referred to as "death" is actually only a passing or rather an "ascension" to the spiritual world, which should be understood as our ultimate destiny, our original hometown. In a world dominated by satanic power, this passing is fearful and sad. Yet, in a world that reflects the liberated sovereignty of God, the passing is a graduation, indeed, a new birth. For example, the day that we commemorate Heung Jin nim's ascension is known as the "Day of Victory of Love."

Just as we make the transition from life in the womb to life in the physical world, we all will make the transition from life in the physical world to life in the spiritual world. Moreover, just as the birth of a child represents a time of joy, gratitude and celebration, the "ascension" of a child of God from the physical world to the spiritual world is also a time of grateful reflection, appreciation and joy.

Recently, following the passing of a dear friend, General Alexander Haig, in March of this year, True Father asked that a special ascension ceremony take place at the United Nations. At that time, not only General Haig, but other leading figures and Ambassadors for Peace who exemplified a life of service to others were to be honored, including Hon. Rodrigo Carazo, former president of Costa Rica, Hon. Abdurrahman Wahid, former president of Indonesia, Hon. Steingrimur Hermannsson, former prime minister of Iceland, Hon. Kim Dae Jung, former president of Korea, Sheikh Hassan Cisse, a Muslim leader from Senegal who served on UPF's Presiding Council, Dr. L. M. Singhvi, a former member of India's Supreme Court and a member of UPF's Presiding Council, and, finally, Ambassador Hedi Annabi, who led the delegation of 101 UN staff members who perished in the earthquake that devastated Haiti.

This special ascension ceremony was convened on March 18, 2010 at the United Nations with 160 high level diplomats, NGO leaders and religious leaders in attendance, along with members of the family of General Alexander Haig. The program was entitled, "Honoring a Legacy of Peace: A Memorial Ceremony of Ascension and Peace." Pictures of each of the honorees were placed on the stage, and a representative related to each of the honorees place a bouquet of flowers and lit a candle before the picture, after which everyone joined in for a moment of silence.

This simple ceremony, offered on a global platform at the United Nations, represented an expansion of our Seunghwa tradition to the world level, providing an opportunity for us to share the beautiful vision that underlies our Seunghwa tradition and to honor those who have left behind a "legacy of peace." That our True Parents were there, and that True Father spoke so powerfully and beautifully, underscored the significance of the program.

This special ascension ceremony represents an important new stage in the global expansion of True Father's vision. No longer should we view our Seunghwa tradition as esoteric or of significance only to long-established Blessed Central Family members. Rather, like the Unification Church Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony, which has been proclaimed and practiced widely in every corner of the world, the holy tradition of celebrating the ascension of God's sons and daughters from our temporary home in this physical world to our permanent hometown in the spiritual world should be shared with all humanity.

Furthermore, the added blessing that comes with celebrating the ascension of our loved ones and the great, God-centered leaders of history is that we have the opportunity to reflect on our own lives and to consider our own legacy. Will we, at our passing, leave behind a legacy of peace, in our marriage, in our family, our community, our nation and in the world? This, of course, is a serious and all-important question. Each ascension ceremony brings the essential priorities of our lives into full view for honest self-assessment and re-dedication to a life of goodness.

The Seunghwa Ceremony is a time of appreciation, gratitude, self-reflection and renewal. Just as our birth and our Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony are critical turning points in each of our lives, the Seunghwa provides the concluding moment. Let each of us live in order that our own passing and the passing of those we know and love will merit the epitaph of a "day of the victory of love." 

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