The Tradition, Book One
by Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak
Blessed Family Practices
For a general explanation of setting up prayer rooms, altars, etc., refer to chapter 2, Prayer Rooms and Altars.
Each blessed couple or family should try to set aside either a room or a designated area for prayer. If possible, set up a permanent altar in this area. Keeping such a place for prayer is important in cultivating a feeling of daily attendance to God.
Use and Care
If possible, prayer meetings and Pledge services should be held in this area.
Suggestions outlined in the Function and Care sections of chapter 2, Prayer Rooms and Altars, also apply.
Within the Blessed Family Unit
Significance of Daily Prayer Services. It is essential to hold daily prayer services within each blessed family. Of greatest importance to each blessed couple is fostering their children's faith. Therefore, it is vital that parents teach God's tradition and ideal to their children through means such as prayer meetings and Pledge service.
By holding daily services, blessed families will be able to feel closer and to more easily share with each other. Of course, parents teach their children in many ways every day, but when leading prayer
meetings and Pledge services parents occupy a more dignified and respectful position. At such times parents will find it easier to guide their children to live according to God's purpose and will. Through such prayer meetings parents can begin to perceive the characters of their children. Listening to their prayers will allow parents the opportunity to appreciate the depth and clarity of their children's faith and developing relationships with God.
Through daily prayer services, parents have the opportunity to teach their children to lead a devout life. Daily services afford time to explain our faith to the children and give them occasion to discuss their questions. Such a service can also include discussion.
Suggested Format. It is recommended that parents begin to hold prayer services as a family even when their children are at a very young age. As the children begin to mature, it is suggested that one or both parents pray, and that each child can offer a short prayer, one after another.
The members of the family can take turns selecting songs or readings (Bible, the Principle, Father's words) and then offering a representative prayer. Eventually one of the older children can be given the responsibility to guide or conduct daily family prayer meetings. If parents become too busy to attend, the children can hold these meetings by themselves. But, whenever possible, parents should participate and offer internal guidance.
One example of the format of such a service (morning and/or evening) follows: Song Representative prayer A reading (selection from the Bible, the Principle, one of Father's speeches, Unification Church publication, etc.) OR Internal guidance talk by parents Closing prayer
Focus of Prayers.
Blessed children should be taught the important responsibility which all blessed families have, to pray and support the True Parents and the True Family.
Father is quoted on this subject in The Way of God's Will.
Early in the morning, couples ought to pray in tears holding the hands of their children.
Within the Blessed Couple Unit
Significance of Daily Prayer Services. Blessed couples who are living together but as yet have no children, or who are expecting a child, or who have very young babies, should also conduct simple prayer meetings. Such services will more naturally create deeper unity and harmony.
Focus of Prayers. Blessed couples need to strengthen the family foundation supporting the True Parents and their family. This should be the main focus of prayers at these daily meetings.
Following our True Parents' example, it would also be appropriate to pray for unborn (or unconceived) children, pledging to dedicate them to Heavenly Father. Parents may also choose to pray about the qualities and characteristics they hope the child will develop. Our True Parents have testified that after doing so, they found that their child had depth and character strength especially in those areas.
(Refer to chapter 4, Pledge Service; Format for- Blessed Members' Pledge Service, for details on how to conduct a family Pledge service.)
Sunday Service and Sunday School
Each blessed family should attend Sunday service at the local Unification Church center. If there are any special reasons (e.g., church visitation or the Unification Church center is too far), the blessed family should attend service in the church of their choice.
If the children are too young and one parent must remain at home, it is important that the other spouse, representing the family, attend Sunday service.
If the Unification Church center has a Sunday school, couples should take children as soon as they are old enough. If the Unification Church center is too far away, the children should attend Sunday school in the church in which their parents are active.
In The Way of God's Will, Father shares thoughts on this subject.
On the day of worship service, couples-should go to church in such happy way that children will want to come along with them out of envy.
Blessed Family Lifestyle
All blessed couples occupy the position of son and daughter of Heavenly Father and True Parents. Centering on God's tradition, therefore, all blessed families should live a life of attendance and dedication to God and True Parents even through the routine activities of daily life.
Education of Blessed Children
Books about educating blessed children will be forthcoming from the International Publications Department. There is a great deal to discover and implement in the area of education. This book, therefore, cannot adequately cover such material. Simple guidelines will, however, be offered in several of the chapters regarding certain traditions for teaching young children.
Ideally, parents should teach their children by example. For instance, if parents go directly to the prayer area and pray when entering or leaving the house, the children will observe and begin to follow that example. Eventually the children will come to understand that they live not only with themselves but also with God. A child's observation of his or her parents in prayer or in discussions about our faith can be key in shaping their morals, attitudes, etc. The example parents set for children teaches them more than any amount of preaching.
Through developing a pure attitude in living a life of attendance, children will learn that blessed families must live with True Parents and God, not just within the unit of their individual family. This is a very important concept for blessed children to understand. They will begin to feel what a holy and divine attitude one must have when attending guests, and in this way, learn how to attend the True Parents.
Attitude of Attendance
By observing the traditions of preparing a plate for the True Parents and the guest offering dish described in the following sections, members of a blessed family can develop the attitude of attending the True Parents daily. According to God's teaching, we should love our neighbors as ourselves. This is one substantial way we can be prepared to do so daily.
In the early days, True Father taught all members to observe these traditions because they teach us to always be prepared to serve and
attend the True Parents and guests. This is part of the tradition of the ideal world. We should always open our heart to welcome any guest. If a blessed family is always prepared to serve the True Parents and/or guests, it will never be faced with not having enough food if an unexpected guest arrives. The quality of the food is not important. Of greatest importance is the attitude of openness such a tradition teaches us in cultivating a life of service and attendance to Heaven.
True Father has always taught that blessed couples should warmly welcome guests and visitors. If parents show gratitude to receive guests, their children will learn respect for visitors and how to attend them. In this way, the entire family will naturally extend their hospitality to callers.
In a speech given to blessed couples in America on February 11, 1980, Father said the following;
We should practice opening our homes for families that are traveling through. To let a guest stay in a hotel or motel is a downright disgrace; share your lodging up to a week or month, whatever. We should feel pride in doing so. Make a beginning and then keep practicing it. The couple should feel it is their brother's house and not feel embarrassed as in a stranger's house. Over a meal talk about America, what they do in their country, how our church is coming.
In The Way of God's Will Father speaks more on the responsibility blessed couples have toward each other.
Since we are in the Head House as the first sons, we must feed all who visit us. Just as I took care of all the members throughout the night without sleeping, blessed families must take that responsibility in my place.
Plate for True Parents
A custom which each blessed family might want to initiate is that of preparing a daily plate of food in honor of True Parents.
It is important to invite Heavenly Father and True Parents to share each meal with us. Of course True Parents physically cannot eat with each family, but through preparing a plate in their honor, blessed families express to Heaven their desire and willingness to attend True Parents.
Required Articles and Preparation. If a family decides to begin this practice, certain guidelines to follow are included below.
Buy an entire place setting (for example, plate, cup and saucer, glass, silverware, chopsticks) which will then be used exclusively for this purpose. Sanctify all items with Holy Salt before use.
Select a shelf or an area in the kitchen or dining room cupboard where these items are stored when not in use. After this area is sanctified with Holy Salt, it should then be considered a divine or holy area and kept clean and free.
A small picture of the True Parents could also be kept in the same area but it is not mandatory. It may not be practical if many guests would have occasion to see this.
One might also wish to place a container of Holy Salt and other decorative touches such as a small arrangement of flowers, but these are optional.
Serving the plate. When the meal is ready to be served, the first plate should be prepared as if it would be served to the True Parents. Either the cook or another member of the family should serve a portion of the food directly from the pots and pans on the special plate. The plate should then be taken to the area where it is kept. While holding it in both hands, he or she should offer it with a prayer of thanks. There is no special prayer content; the expression of heart is more important then the actual words.
The plate should remain on the shelf for a few moments.
If a guest (member or non-member) comes to share the main meal with the family, he or she should be served this plate of food and use the glass, cup and saucer, etc., from the place setting. However, even if there are no guests, the food should-be eaten from the plate for True Parents. Wait several minutes and then bring it to the table. One suggestion is to offer it to a different member of the family each time.
After these dishes have been washed, they should again be stored in the special area.
Frequency of this Tradition. Ideally, this tradition should be observed at all three meals. Yet because this is the transition period in God's dispensation, many members have no home base and irregular schedules. If this practice is kept, it is acceptable for families to prepare this plate for True Parents only once a day.
Significance. Another practice which allows a blessed family to nurture the attitude of attendance is keeping an offering dish. Its purpose is to share a portion of any gifts of food given to the family with guests who visit the home or center.
Whenever others remember the family with gifts of fruit, candies, cookies, nuts, etc., members of the family should have the attitude to share these items with God and True Parents before enjoying them. It is best to offer thanks to God and express gratitude for the heart of the giver.
Required Articles and Preparation. If it is possible, purchase a new dish or bowl. Sanctify the dish with Holy Salt before use.
As with the plate for True Parents, keep this offering dish in a (different) special area or shelf in the cupboard. This area, too, should be considered divine or holy and not used for any other purpose.
Receiving gifts of food. Relating this gratitude to a life of attendance, before eating a gift of food given to the family, a portion of what was given should be placed in the offering dish. Be sure the food is covered with plastic wrap or foil to prevent spoilage or staleness.
Serving the offering dish. If the True Parents (or other guests) visit the home, it is appropriate to offer this food, signifying the first and best of these gifts of food, to them.
If no guests visit, the contents of the dish should be shared by members of the family before the food spoils. This could be done after an evening prayer meeting or Sunday morning after Pledge service.
Once the dish is shared, it should be washed and kept in its special place for further use.
If a blessed member must, for any reason, receive a blood transfusion, it is appropriate that he or she receive blood (according to his or her blood type) from the blood bank of a hospital or clinic. It is not imperative that a member receive blood only from another blessed member.
There are no restrictions on either single or blessed members donating blood to a national organization, hospital, or clinic during a local blood drive, at a time of emergency, etc. It is good to sacrifice for others in this way.
Blessed Family Associations
Establishment of Blessed Family Associations in Each Nation
As the foundation of the Unification Church movement develops to a level substantial enough to organize Blessed Family Associations, the members belonging to a certain Blessing may wish to establish an association.
Blessed Family Association Fund
If the members in a particular country have enough members, they may wish to set up their own Blessed Family Association Fund.
Any money raised by donation (meeting dues, a monthly fee, etc.) should be used for purposes such as assisting couples with financial difficulties, scholarships for blessed children, meetings with True Parents, or sending flowers or gifts to True Parents or the True Children (on such occasions as birthdays, Blessings, Seung Hwa Ceremonies, etc.).
It is permissible for economically poor countries to use such funds to send eligible members to matchings and Blessings.
All blessed couples should realize that True Parents have great concern for the blessed families worldwide. Father himself has asked that several kinds of scholarships be set up for the future education of blessed children.
As there are more and more international Blessings, and as members will be very mobile, it will be impractical to manage an international Blessing Association Fund for the larger Blessings. It is, therefore, suggested that these be set up on a regional or national basis.
National Blessed Family Department
It is recommended that (when appropriate) each nation set up its own Blessed Family Department. With the larger Blessings, it may be difficult to manage national Blessing associations; therefore it is suggested that in these cases, regional associations be established instead. It is suggested that the person responsible for each of the different Blessing associations report to the national Blessed Family Department.
According to the situation, the frequency of meetings, amount of dues, etc., can be discussed and decided. If there are only one or two blessed families from a certain Blessing in each region, state, and nation, perhaps Blessed Family meetings could encompass all blessed families.
Topics to be discussed at such meetings can be decided as the occasion merits. However, several suggestions follow: unity with the True Parents Family, home church work, testimonies of family life (those with children as well as childless couples), family life in the context of mission, and practical concerns such as child rearing and prenatal education.
Cooperation with the International Blessed Family Department. At the time of Blessing or important events regarding blessed families, each national or regional Blessed Family Department should cooperate with the International Blessed Family Department for the purposes of information gathering, communication, etc.
The International Blessed Family Department will also be responsible to assist in clarification of all areas regarding the Blessing and blessed family lifestyle. This department can be contacted for this information by the various national level departments. Moreover, Blessed Family, an international journal for the constant dissemination of information on various aspects of religious lifestyle and the raising of children, will insure a continuous flow of answers to the questions that will arise. National publications and newsletters can speak to the specific national and local educational needs.
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