Heavenly Empathy of Heart
In Confucian, Chinese Buddhist and Taoist ethics, filial piety (Chinese: 孝, xiào) is a virtue of respect for one's parents, elders, and ancestors.... In more general terms, filial piety means to be good to one's parents; to take care of one's parents; to engage in good conduct not just towards parents but also outside the home so as to bring a good name to one's parents and ancestors; to show love, respect and support; display courtesy... Furthermore, the practice of filial piety provides the pious child with a sense of adulthood and moral heroism. [i]
Developing Filial Piety with our Heavenly Parent
The desire to be in a true relationship with our Heavenly Parent is manifested in filial devotion. Filial sons and daughters focus their attention on the heart of the Heavenly Parent. They think about Heavenly Parent's heart, dream, and circumstances.
The question is: How can we cultivate the same heart as our Heavenly Parent? One important point is to have sincere conversations with a touching connection. Sharing together is the lifeline to a relationship. Filial devotion is about empathizing with and experiencing the Heart of our Heavenly Parent.
We need more than a conceptual idea of our Heavenly Parent’s Heart. We need to feel Heavenly Parent’s Heart, to sacrifice ourselves for others, and understand Heavenly Parent’s will. Empathy of heart with our Heavenly Parent comes from experiencing faith in action. When we feel God's Heart, we want to do more for others. Our faith in God should take us beyond our own salvation to the desire to see the salvation of others through ardent prayer. We need to gradually increase our scope of care to the entire world, learning to embrace anyone.
Filial children inherit their parent's internal legacy. God is our Parent. Our Heavenly Parent's hope is to have a unique parent and child relationship with each and every person. At the time of creation, God said everything was good. This is God's hope. Heavenly Parent's legacy is continual suffering in the hope of one day seeing the world of goodness and peace where each person experiences fulfillment and Heart.
Filial piety is perfected in a mature unselfish mind of the adult child who sympathizes with his parents’ difficulties and sufferings and recognizes them to be more serious than his or her own small problems. Most importantly, filial piety is a doorway to a deeper relationship with God, our Divine Parent. [ii]
Resolving the Grief of God
God is a God of Heart. If God is a God of Heart, there is no way our Heavenly Parent can not suffer on account of humanity. Our Heavenly Parent’s Heart longs for a connection with our heart.
If you were in God's situation and could feel the agony of humanity's suffering, how would you feel? Since our Heavenly Parent is all loving, there can be no resentment or hatred of any kind. However, Heavenly Parent has a Heart that aches in unrelenting sorrow.
The “Fall” was a nail put in God’s Heart that was never taken out. The cross of Jesus was a reappearance of the nail put in God’s heart. God’s pain of sorrow was displayed by the bleeding of Jesus. The fall has destroyed the family, society, and world. We can gain a longing Heart for our Heavenly Parent when we know the suffering of Heavenly Parent’s Heart.
No matter how lofty and great God may be, His greatest sorrow is not having seen the day when He can call people His own sons and daughters. If people are created through these Heavenly relationships, the failure to raise up such sons and daughters is the source of greatest sorrow. This is also the greatest sorrow of humanity. If God has true sons and daughters whom He can call His own, that by calling them He can forget the toils of the past six thousand years and all the grief of the past, then this will be the beginning of the liberation of Heaven. Humanity will finally then be able to sing the song of joy. [iii]
Devoting Joy Through Heart
Filial Piety is about devotion to God and in particular, about relieving the suffering heart of our Heavenly Parent. When we experience sorrow, it is an opportunity to experience God's sorrow. As we come closer to God, we can feel Heavenly Parent’s sorrow as high as mountains and tears as deep as the ocean. When we connect with our Heavenly Parent it produces incredible joy with our Heavenly Parent. When we experience God's sorrow and joy, we are alive. If we are alive, we always focus on saving the lives of others.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -- 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 - 18 NIV
True joy is deeper than happiness or contentment. In some ways, we can't even imagine the depth of joy we can experience in a life with God.
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him. -- 1 Corinthians 2.9 NIV
As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Parent, we are created with the ability to relate with God in the deepest way.
Human beings are endowed with emotional sensitivity to the Heart of God, intuition and reason to comprehend His Will, and the requisite abilities to practice it. A person who relates with God in this manner will attain perfection of his individual character. [iiii]
[i] “Filial Piety.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Jan. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filial_piety.
[ii] “Filial Piety.” World Scripture and the Teachings of Sun Myung Moon, Vol. 2, Universal Peace Federation, 2007, p. 339.
[iii] The Sermons of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, Volume 7, The True Sons and Daughters of Heavenly Father Who Will Remain in the Last Days, July 26, 1959 - Former Church Headquarters, Seoul, Korea
[iii] Moon, Sun Myung. Exposition of Divine Principle. “Part I – Chapter 3: Eschatology.” http://dplife.info/divineprinciple/part-i-chapter-3-eschatology/