By Peter Ross
This article is drawn from a longer article entitled “I Have Seen the Mountain,” a reference to the meaning of the name of the city Montevideo. When he wrote it, in the mid-1990s, Peter Ross was the Director of Public Affairs for the Unification Church of North America.
My first impression of Montevideo is not what I expected of a South American city. Its design and prevailing atmosphere is entirely European. The natty, starched uniforms of the waiters serving coffee cornados in the cobblestone plaza in the shadow of the old cathedral, and the smart European fashions worn by the ladies, present a people who have carefully transposed their Italian and Spanish cultures across the globe. The striking elegance of the residential architecture along the narrow Calle Sarandi stretches down to the quays by the old navy yard. There old men fish with 15 foot long poles without even a reel and manage to pull in small sprat-like fish. The fine leather craftsmanship of an emigre French Jew ? his ?skills with the needle equaled only by his charms as an effective salesman ? and when fishing, the Magellan-like boatman ship of our young charter captain seemed more at home at some distant place and time. These images abruptly defy any expectations of a brash and uninhibited postcolonial indigenous metropolis. But this is the Montevideo that Spanish and Italian settlers have passed on to their descendants, generations later, to the virtual exclusion of any other influences. And they are proud of their achievements tending to set themselves apart from the rest of South America with a sense of some unrealized destiny. They are generous as a people, courteous in service, and they possess an obvious relish for discreet yet unpretentious humor.
And then came the lawyers.
Does God need lawyers?
Two years ago, Father hosted a conference for a representative group of lawyers from within our Unification community in Kodiak. He certainly does not disappoint us in his selection of exotic locations for our international conferences. His purpose, as ever, was multi-dimensional.
On a collective level he quickly got down to business. To ensure he had our attention, Father inquired whether God really needed lawyers and if in God’s Kingdom there would be any call at all for lawyers. He was curious as to what lawyers could offer God. His immediate answers to his own rhetorical questions later provoked considerable debate even in our own ranks. (I am sure the reader has his/her opinion too. But do read on.) Father asked what we had done since our last conference and whether we had pursued the recommendations he had then conveyed to us.
Father first reiterated his hope that we form an international lawyers association (Lawyers Federation for World Peace). He mentioned that he could have done so by himself as he is “somewhat famous.” But he thought we would prefer to do it ourselves. Secondly, as of two years ago, he was especially keen to see us create a publication to address the legal issues of the day and even of history in order to guide society in the shaping of public policy. Of importance in this regard is the ability to identify and study current trends to better inform and thus protect society. Our publication should likewise clear up old mysteries and unsolved crimes of history in order to allow society to move to a new level. Corruption within public institutions should also be reported, particularly within the executive, the congress and the courts. This should be done in a non-partisan way in order to offer guidance that is beyond reproach and to be a bridge to provide public officials with a central path to lead the nation. Ever consistent in his conviction that the family is the most sacred creation of God, Father advised that such a publication exalt and defend the family. While it would inevitably begin small, he hoped it would grow quickly and soon attain international recognition! And this was just for openers. We realized, as the conference evolved, that he had other matters to entrust us with.
Responsibility to care for others
On a personal level, Father again expressed his concern for our individual spiritual lives. As a religious teacher he shared his wisdom for those in professions who are called upon to exercise an expertise unavailable to others. He noted how three professions?in particular ministers, lawyers and doctors?are obliged to exercise great care in how they treat their flocks, clients and patients. Referencing the Korean word “sa” which means “professional,” he said that word has come to connote “those who swindle” people who are less informed on spiritual, medical, or legal matters. To violate that hallowed trust and duty of care is wrong. Moreover, it is a spiritual transgression that ultimately must be accounted for. For example: if a lawyer intentionally overcharges a client, he/ she should make a donation of twice the excess to a public charity or church. Otherwise, his/her future descendants will suffer.
Father’s insightful counsel
After inquiring about each person’s legal practice, professional achievements and fondest memory, Father imparted the most insightful counsel specifically for those engaged in the practice of law. In several sessions he expounded upon the following topics among others: how a lawyer should best represent a client; how to succeed in litigation and at trial; how to establish a successful practice; how to improve professional skills; and how to establish and maintain a lifestyle that consistently promotes personal growth and professional improvement. I will not say more or provide any further detail in this summary report. But keep an eye out for the first edition of a new publication! And perhaps by now you might have to reconsider your answers to Father’s rhetorical questions about lawyers as referenced above.
A very important part of our time with Father was his enormous personal effort to inform us of his current activities in South America and how they fit within the central stream of God’s providence. He invited other representatives of our community in South America to explain some of the achievements and recent accomplishments. It is more than impressive. But hearing Father’s own intimate account of how this has been done, how he has applied himself throughout his life, the obstacles and difficulties he has contended with, and how he still continues, was so much more a wondrous encounter. Father spoke of how he made the Unification Church, no, how he created the Unification Church out of nothing. (“Made” he said connotes pre-existing and having available raw materials.) “Do you want to be people who make history or who create history?” he then asked. God’s providence of restoration is in fact “re-creation.” Therefore, the person who creates history must be someone who is self-motivated. God cannot be liberated or perfected by Himself. If God is sorrowful, how can we help Him if we too are sorrowful. In order for development to take place, the object has to become greater than the subject. Unless true people open the door, God cannot come to the world. Until then, God is under house arrest. This is why God graciously bows down to those who absolutely accomplish His Will and why God allows true people to come to the place of true love before Him.
Understanding Father’s mission and heart
As always Father spoke poignantly about Jesus and his mission to overcome the fallen world. Every time Jesus cried and overcame, God appreciated him. Father too makes God cry. How many times have we made Father cry? When Father accomplishes a project God always cries. The way to make God really cry is to jump in front of God and say “I will do it; I will go!” If we ask a spiritualist, they will say that Father is the figure whose whole life is the union of three bodily liquids, tears, snot and drool, as he cries in anguish for God and the world.
After one such session, he said we should be able to comprehend what Father is doing and why he does what he does. Therefore, when we return to America (and to the other countries represented at the conference) we should apply the principled methodology that Father has consistently practiced throughout his life and be responsible for America. He smiled and said “I leave America up to you.” My honest reflection and regret is that while I hear Father I know I have not yet comprehended the depth and quality of his motivation. I recall, when once asked why he was so persecuted throughout his life, Father answered simply that people did not understand his heart, and thus his motivation.
World Peace through culture and sports
During our stay, Father invited us to be a part of the Convencion de Lideres Deportistas del Mundo [Convention of International Sports Leaders], sponsored by the Family Federation for World Peace. This event was held simultaneously at the Victoria Plaza Hotel from October 12 through 14. This convention attracted over 700 representatives from the world of sports throughout South and Central America. Father asked those present at the lawyers’ conference to represent our countries at this exciting event. And so we did. Remarkable as it might seem, there was a very natural basis for us to readily establish friendship with the sports personnel, not only because we could clearly be identified as fishermen after our days on the water, but because many of the national delegations had sports personnel and athletes who were also lawyers!
Father’s immediate hope was to establish through this conference a special organization to promote sports, the arts and culture, with the purpose of exalting and edifying the peoples of the world. He did so at the closing banquet with the unanimous support of all the participants. He expects the top champions in all areas to be examples and role models and particularly so for young people. Father’s welcomed contribution to the world of sports as expressed by many I spoke with is his emphasis on the importance of spiritual values and spiritual principles in training, playing and managing, as well as in the administration of sports events and competitions. Father appears confident that a world that promotes these additional elements in sports will in turn foster and promote peace.
Because Father was not quite done with us yet, he commissioned our delegation to actively assist in the expansion of the Cultural and Sports Federation for World Peace in North America. In the near future, increasing numbers of sports programs will take place under the banner of this federation. Stay tuned as well as toned.
You may have noted that the time Father spent with us overlapped the schedule of the sports federation conference. Father gave all he had to us and to the sports conference participants. He spoke on two occasions to all the participants and met with others more privately. When he finished his formal speech at the closing banquet of the sports conference, he continued to talk with great passion of his vision for South America, the vertical tradition of love within the family, and the true standard of patriotism in each nation and citizenry in the world. The participants gathered closer as he walked among them and interacted freely with them Belvedere style. He completely delighted them! They in turn responded with spontaneous affection and admiration in a way I had not seen before from a diverse audience in such a setting.
Father and Mother in love
Father also made time to go out for many hours on the ocean to fish and to contemplate. He invariably returned on time to his suite to support and listen to Mother as she spoke publicly throughout Europe and America. With the windows to his verandah opened to the night sea air, Father would look out across the ocean in Mother’s direction or otherwise maintain a prayerful vigil. The ensuing celebrations after each event stretched into the wee hours, Uruguay time. But Father never tired and remained ebullient and full of song. A principal reason is the absolute love he and Mother share. Never have I seen a couple so intimately and passionately in love express their sentiments in a manner so uplifting and nourishing for others. Those parting, lingering words of love between Father and Mother as the telephone link closed?like lovers slowly letting go of each other’s fingers at the moment of farewell?will ever remain my reference for what is true and soaring romance.