Articles From the May 1995 Unification News
Marriage, Family and World Peace
by Dr. Frank Kaufmann-NYC
This is an excerpt from the booklet Marriage, Family and World Peace published by IRF and available from IRF, 4 W 43rd, NY NY 10036. Dr. Kaufmann is the executive director of the Interreligious Federation for World Peace.
The ministry of Sun Myung Moon and Mrs. Moon has been characterized by an emphasis on marriage and family as the centerpoint for the experience of divine love. They teach that true love can be most fully realized in a family in which God's love abides. The relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, and brothers and sisters should be characterized by a profoundly fulfilling and enduring love. They also teach that the greatest problems in our world have their root in the breakdown of the family ideal through the misuse of love. If the ideal of the family can be reestablished, then eventually world peace can be achieved. In emphasizing the sanctity of marriage, the wedding day is described as the day of Blessing.
Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han, known as True Parents to Unification members, administer the Blessing as a conduit for communicating divine grace and support to families. The term True Parents designates a couple which manifests God's ideal of true love in the family. The Blessing initiates each couple on the path to become True Parents and establish true families in their own right.
Since 1960 the Blessing has been offered to tens of thousands of couples. The majority come to the Blessing as young fiances who, through the Blessing, begin married life as man and wife. Others who attend the Blessing have been married for many years. These married couples attend the Blessing to re-dedicate their loving families before Heaven and Earth.
Every Blessing has large numbers of international, interracial, and inter-religious couples. They gather together at the same time and declare in the name of True Love the unity of humankind. They proclaim their solidarity with people from all parts of the world and from all different cultural, religious, racial and national backgrounds.
The Blessing Ceremony itself is simple. Couples gather together at an appropriate place, vows are recited, rings are exchanged, and prayers are offered to bless and protect the couples who have taken these vows. The vows emphasize the couples' readiness to serve the will of God. Then, commitment to true love, fidelity and permanency in marriage, and their pledge to serve the cause of world peace. Prior to the Blessing Ceremony, there is a Holy Wine (or Holy Nectar for those who may not take wine) Ceremony which signifies internal purification. Following the Blessing, couples participate in a brief ceremony called the Restoration Ceremony (in Korea, Tan Gam); the purpose here is to begin or renew the marriage free from any past resentment or bad feeling between the husband and wife.
After the Blessing the couples spend a period of time, usually forty days, abstaining from sexual contact and during this time each spouse prepared in a prayerful way for a pure, new start to married life. After this period of time, a three-day ceremony is performed privately by the husband and wife, thus completing the process of the Blessing.
Blessing People From World's Religions
Although the Blessing has largely been a practice for Unificationsts, in 1992 the Blessing was offered to couples from other faiths who held similar ideals of marriage and family. Such couples are not expected to become Unificationists. Their participation, however, does represent a profound appreciation for the work of Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han, and for their teachings on marriage and family. Blessed families of all religions can become members of the Family Federation for World Peace, an organization through which such families support each others' efforts to realize these lofty ideals.
The Blessing is meant for all people. It has proven to be of great help in strengthening each person's own religious life. Like important religious ceremonies in other faiths, it enables people to climb higher into the realm of heavenly fortune. Participation in the Blessing helps overcome barriers which interfere with efforts to achieve one's own long-cherished spiritual and religious ideals. Furthermore, the Blessing helps to strengthen the ability of believers to relate to friends in other religions.
Blessing `95 provides the opportunity to expand ones love and service beyond ones personal family to the society and world. Couples who participate in the Blessing form a unique international alliance dedicated to applying the family's lessons of love to the complex world of social and international relations. This common bond has proven successful in overcoming and dissolving barriers of race, religion and culture. The thousands of blessed families proclaim to the world that they stand for peace and universal brotherhood and sisterhood.
The Blessing is an opportunity for couples of every religion and nationality to renew and rededicate their marriages and families to God and to the cause of world peace. It can open a new channel for God to abundantly Bless your family and to aid you in your efforts to live up to the highest ideals of your faith. We sincerely hope that you can join the many people from every religion, nation and race in this glorious testimony to the Divine purpose of establishing world peace. We invite you to join in building one great loving family of humankind, under the Blessed grace of Heaven-the One True and Loving God.
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