Linz, Austria—The fourth Interreligious Breakfast of 2017 focused on the theme “You Shall Be a Blessing.”
Representatives of Catholicism, Islam and Unificationism gave their thoughts on the topic.
The breakfast was held on October 14 by the Upper Austrian branches of the Universal Peace Federation and the Family Federation for World Peace (FFWPU), an affiliated organization.
After everyone had helped themselves to the breakfast buffet, Mr. Heinrich Krcek began his talk. Drawing on his vast experience as a former Benedictine monk and theologian, he delivered a nuanced contribution to the topic of blessing. He began with the three blessings that God gave to humankind, as described in Genesis 1:28, expressing both the grace and the responsibility that they entailed. Starting from the birthright blessing that Jacob bought from his brother, Esau, Mr. Krcek proceeded to the marriage blessing conducted by the FFWPU.
Catholic Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger explained the blessing effect of the Psalms in the Old Testament. She also referred to the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty,” which illustrates that both a blessing and its opposite, a curse, can have great consequences. Good thoughts and words can spread like a cloud. She concluded her contribution with an Irish blessing.
Mr. Yunus Mayrhofer, a representative of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, emphasized that because one cannot own a blessing, one therefore cannot keep hold of it. The blessing is only a blessing when it is passed on. In his youth, he had experienced the Christian culture as something welcoming and not restricting. For him the same is true of Islam. It merely eliminates that which does not bring blessing, thereby allowing one to live a good life.
Mari Peham multiplied the effect of all these good words through the songs she sang, accompanied on the piano.
Finally, Mr. Johann Ledermüller gave a personal testimony. When as a young man, he left home for boarding school and his father blessed him beforehand with holy water, he experienced the deep value of parents’ blessing to their children. It was exactly 35 years ago, on October 14, 1982, in Korea, that he experienced this depth of blessing again at the Marriage Blessing given by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.
Mr. Kurt Sattlberger affirmed that a blessing given from parent to child can have great effects on generations to come—as can a curse, unfortunately. Other participants contributed their meaningful insights, and a lively discussion ensued.
The group concluded the breakfast by singing the Irish Blessing together:
All participants were of the same opinion that we can only keep a blessing when we pass it on.