At this time, I would like to introduce a son of Korea who possessed a heart of a lion. He is An Joong-Geun, a famous Korean independence activist and nationalist.
We can’t be certain that he grew up in a home of three generations of faith, but I can say with certainty that he received a great legacy of faith from his parents.
An Joong-Geun grew up as a faithful Catholic under that guidance of his parents who were also Catholic.
At one time, An Joong-Geun became very exhausted mentally and physically after his difficult activities leading the Korean independence movement.
He desperately wanted to see his mother who had always given him strength. So, on one cold winter day, he headed home.
He needed to avoid the eyes of Japanese officials, so he travelled in the darkness of night. He finally arrived home and stood in front of his mother’s room.
The candle was still lit in the room. Thinking that his mother would rush out and greet him, he called out.
“Mother. Mother, I’m here.”
His mother did not even open the door and replied coldly.
“My son has left to fight for the independence of our country and is not here. I have not heard a news of independence yet. I don’t understand who could be standing at my door.”
An’s heart sank and he was speechless. But, soon, he realized something great.
“That’s right. Just as my mother is saying, I must forget all worldly things until the goal of independence is met.”
An Joong-Geun eventually led an uprising and spent 6 months in jail. A famous anecdote tells us that during the time he was jailed, the Japanese officials were moved by the character of An and that they treated him with great respect.
Before his execution, An was working of his essay, “On Peace in East Asia.” Two days before his execution, he had finished the introduction.
He requested 15-day stay of execution so that he could finish his essay. His request was granted by the Japanese government.
This was unheard of in Japanese history and stands as a testimony on how impressed the Japanese officials were of An’s character.
During his imprisonment, An actually gained 1.2kg in his weight. This shows his lack of fear. Only thing that caused him suffering was his love for his mother. He left the following as his last words.
Last word of Ahn JoongGeun
After my death, bury my bones in park. Once our nation has been restored, please send my bones to my homeland. From heaven, I will continue to work for Korea’s independence.
Please return to your countrymen and tell them to be responsible for our nation and to do best to fulfill the duties as citizens united. When I hear of the independence of Korea in heaven, I will dance and raise my arms in joy.
There was a reason that An Joong-Geun was able to live a life of power, love and self-discipline. It was his faith. He received this faith from his parents. Particularly, his mother’s love allowed An to overcome his fear and live a victorious life as a man of faith.
ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지